Once again, I’m behind in posting round-ups of new music and videos. I have a long list of new things that emerged this week, just not enough time to write about it… because once again my day job has sent me away from home. More about that in a later post today.
But although I can’t write about all the good new things I saw and heard this week right now, I’ll throw a few diverse tracks your way in this post and try to collect more tomorrow.
I’m going to start with the most unlikely of choices for a site like this one — it’s an exception to our inconsistent “rule”.
Eternal Champion are an epic heavy metal band from Austin, Texas, named after a character premise in Michael Moorcock’s fictional universe and featuring an ex-Iron Age vocalist (Jason Tarpey) and Power Trip’s lead guitarist Blake Ibanez.
Tuomas Saukkonen (Wolfheart)
It’s the same old story. Metal is such an over-boiling cauldron of creativity that if you have to wait a few days to go exploring for new things, you find yourself up to your neck in hot water. Or at least that’s what happened to me yesterday.
Having failed to compile a round-up of new music since last Sunday, I felt overwhelmed when confronting how much I wanted to write about today. I had to make some hard choices about what to recommend, and even then I had to stifle my usual verbosity — time is a harsh mistress, and not in a good way. So, with a regrettable (to me) minimum of introductory comments, here’s a selection of what lit me up over the last 24 hours, presented in the order in which I saw and heard them. I’ll have a few more new items to share with you on Saturday.
Earlier this month Spinefarm Records re-released Winterborn, the fantastic album by Wolfheart that we praised to the skies (repeatedly) when it was first self-released by the band in 2013. The re-issue comes with two bonus tracks (“Isolation” and “Into the Wild”). Two days ago Wolfheart premiered a music video for the album’s first track, “The Hunt”, which shows scenes from the recording of the track. It’s a wonderful song (it was on our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs), and any excuse to hear it again is welcome.
As I announced a few days ago, we’ve launched a new series at NCS in which we’re inviting readers to submit pieces for publication with the goal of putting the spotlight on lesser known bands from the towns, cities, and regions you folks call home — whether in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. For details about this project, go HERE.
Yesterday we posted the inaugural piece in this series by Grant Skelton (who had the idea for the series in the first place). Hot on the heels of that, I received a submission by Seattle resident Eric Bauer (who has his own blog — “High Defamation” — here). As it happens, Eric’s piece puts the spotlight on a Seattle band that’s one of my favorites — and they’re also a group of very cool people on a personal level.
But I thought, in keeping with Grant’s original idea, that a “Local Focus” piece on Seattle ought to include a few more bands, and so with Eric’s permission I’m adding three to this post following his own feature.
Happy goddamn Sunday to one and all. I’m working on a THAT’S METAL! post this morning. It’s going to take me about an hour and a half to finish it. So I thought I’d leave a musical interlude for you before I resume toiling away on that other piece (which I may post tomorrow if not today). As the tag says, what follows truly is random fucking music — these are the last seven songs I listened to last night and this morning, presented in alphabetical order by band name. They’re all new, they’re all good.
KevinP tagged me (and about 100 other people) on a Facebook link to two songs by this Ukrainian doom/death band. Both songs are drawn from the band’s forthcoming debut album, Wolf Will Swallow the Sun, which will be released by Naturmacht Productions on February 22 (and can be ordered here). The first track is “Post Mortem” and the second is “Edge”.
These are long songs, in the eight-to-nine minute range. They create an atmosphere that’s both ethereal and crushing, both mystical and tangibly powerful, hypnotic and harrowing. The forlorn, keyboard-enhanced melodies are sweeping and memorable, while the riffs are titanic. The harsh vocals are gargantuan and vividly impassioned; the clean vocals are sombre and sorrowful — and both are impeccably performed by a woman (Natalia Androsova). Truly compelling music…
What’s that they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men? I had collected a great volume of new songs since Monday and began displaying the ones I wanted to recommend yesterday, in alphabetical order. I made it through “L” and had intended to finish the back half of the alphabet today. But in the meantime I came across still more worthy new song premieres by bands whose names didn’t conveniently fit in the “M” – “Z” category. So much for that idea.
Anyway, here are a few more things I discovered since yesterday and a few (but not all) of the tracks I originally intended to provide today. I guess that means I have more round-ups to prepare for the weekend…
20 Buck Spin is set to release the debut album by a Toronto band named Abyss — the album’s title is Heretical Anatomy — and yesterday DECIBEL premiered a track named “The Atonement”. It’s a searing blast of thrashing, lashing death metal that punctuates its fury with forceful hammer blows and a breakdown that will provoke sore-neck syndrome. Gruesome, morbid vocal vomit, too.
Greetings sistren and brethren. I have a bountiful collection of new songs and album streams to recommend. One of the reasons the collection is so bountiful is that I haven’t had time to pounce upon them with my usual catlike reflexes this week. I am instead moving at the speed of the loris horde in the NCS compound, which is to say, slower than the oozing of maple sap in a Vermont winter. In other words, there’s a backlog — and now the dam bursts.
Don’t be daunted by the volume of music in this collection. Just sip it slowly, a little bit at a time, as you would that jug of 100 proof rot-gut moonshine you keep under the sink next to the dry-aged head of the last person who pissed you off.
I’m presenting the music in alphabetical order by band name — and in this post I’ve only made it up to “L”. I actually have still more new music from bands whose names come later in the alphabet. I hope to package those up for tomorrow.
A lot of exciting things have happened in the world of metal over the last 48 hours, despite the fact that I haven’t had time to write about them. Yes, amazingly, it’s true: When trees fall in this forest, they make a sound even if you don’t hear them (or read about them) on this putrid blog. I will mention a few of the occurrences in this post, and then collect more for a post tomorrow.
RELAPSE RECORDS: 25 YEARS OF CONTAMINATION
Yesterday Relapse Records released a digital sampler that, at least in my memory, is the most humongous collection of songs yet released in a digital format. And on top of that, it’s a “pay what you want” offering.
It’s part of the label’s celebration of its 25th year in business, and it includes more than 180 tracks, one from almost every band that has released an album or EP on Relapse since 1990. The sampler can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp at this location:
(TheMadIsraeli revives a feature designed to put the spotlight on recommended groups, and today the focus is on New Zealand’s In Dread Response.)
In Dread Response have been mentioned a couple times here on the site, but I figured a full feature on them was relevant and due, considering the band’s next album Heavenshore is coming soon. These “Bands you should be listening to” segments will be exactly as the title says, but I kind of aim to use them as indirect awareness and hype for a band’s upcoming output as well, especially when it’s a band I really believe in and love to death. In Dread Response are definitely such a band, and this little feature is for those who may not even know who these guys are, as well as for those who do but maybe haven’t followed them lately.
In Dread Response play blazingly fast-as-fuck technical and emotive melodic death metal. Make no mistake, this is a band who not only perfectly conform to what NCS is all about, they are also completely unrelenting, in a genuinely militant way that melodic death metal doesn’t often display.
A lot of the best melodic death metal nowadays really borrows from the Daylight Dies and In Mourning school of ambience, melancholy, and dragging tempos, but In Dread Response capture the ferocity the style was born with. If you want band references or comparisons, think of a combination of Dark Tranquility and Darkest Hour. In Dread Response have the savagery and melodic tendencies of early Dark Tranquility, and the speed and recklessness of Darkest Hour on Hidden Hands Of a Sadist Nation. They lack the commercialized elements both bands later tried to incorporate, and have instead retained only the best and most intense aspects of those sorts of influences.
Presented below, for your entertainment and edification, is a collection of songs and videos I discovered this morning. All but one are new. All are recommended. No two of them sound alike.
Within the last couple of days Noisey published an interview of Leviathan’s Jef Whitehead by Drew Millard, preceded by Millard’s thoughts about the subject of the interview (“Whitehead’s a scary guy”). If you want to read that, the link is below. But the main point of attraction to me was an accompanying premiere of a new song from Leviathan’s forthcoming album, Scar Sighted (due for release by Profound Lore on March 3). Below, I’ve included the Soundcloud stream for that, too.