(Grant Skelton wrote this round-up of recommended new music.)
On top of what’s been an already amazing year for doom releases, 2016 brings with it the release of Witchcraft’s new album Nucleus, which will be available January 15 on Nuclear Blast Records. In advance of the album’s release, the first single “The Outcast” is available for streaming below.
Around the world, this fall has been a season of tragedy, an ugly reminder that death takes the innocent every day. And it has included some especially terrible reminders of that fact for music fans. The slaughter at the Bataclan music venue in Paris on November 13 has of course dominated the news in recent weeks, overshadowing another tragedy that happened on October 30 at a club in Bucharest, Romania.
On that night, at an album release show at Club Collectiv for a local band named Goodbye to Gravity, an explosive fire broke out that has claimed the lives of 60 victims so far, including two members of the band, with more than 100 people still hospitalized, some still in critical condition. The catastrophe led to three days of national mourning, massive protests in the streets, and the resignation of Romania’s prime minister.
To raise funds for the victims of the tragedy (for both medical bills and funeral expenses), the noted Romanian graphic artist and musician Costin Chioreanu, whose name will be familiar to readers of this site, has released a collection of music entitled The Quest For A Morning Star via Bandcamp, and I think it’s worth your time and your money.
We have survived another year. And when you get right down to it, sheer survival is the reason any of us celebrate birthdays. We are six years old today, having made our first post on November 21, 2009.
Measured by the lifespan of your average Galápagos tortoise, six years isn’t so long. Measured by the lifespan of your average metal blog, a species that tends to fall victim to accelerated decrepitude, I guess we’re almost ready for a nursing home.
For something that has never been a business and to this day relies on purely volunteer effort, it would have been entirely understandable if the vagaries of life had moved all of us on to other things and left NCS behind as just a fond memory. The fact that we are not only still here, but somehow more widely read than ever, makes me shake my head in wonder. We surely have defied the odds, even if we now need help going to the bathroom.
We just received the announcement of the line-up for the 2016 edition of THE DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR, and it’s a blockbuster: Running from mid-March to mid-April next year, the fifth installment of the tour will feature Abbath (performing not only songs from the band’s forthcoming debut album but also tracks from Immortal’s back catalogue), High On Fire, Skeletonwitch, and Tribulation. There will be regional openers in select markets announced soon.
Here’s further info that accompanied this announcement:
Greetings again from Anchorage, Alaska, where it’s colder than a well-digger’s ass in the Klondike and where I’ve come down with a raging cold myself. On the plus side, I’ve once again had a few hours to myself this morning before having to dive back into my day-job labors. On the minus side, it’s looking like I may not be able to get back home until Monday, which blows.
In my free time this morning I made a quick scan through the NCS e-mail. Despite the fact that it’s overflowing with stuff that I don’t have time to read, a few things did leap out at me, and I’ve collected those here — presented in alphabetical order by band name.
We’ve previously featured a trio of live videos by Abbath that the band released in the ramp-up to their self-titled debut album (coming from Season of Mist on January 22) and a 7″ single that’s due for release on December 11. Yesterday Abbath debuted the album’s cover art (above) and the first studio recording from the new album, a track called “Winter’s Bane”.
If you haven’t noticed, we don’t make an effort to keep you fully informed of newsy announcements, including tour announcements. There are only so many hours in the day, and some of those must be devoted to things like eating, sleeping, evacuation of bodily waste, and punching the clock for people who expect us to earn our salaries and could care less about our precious metal blog.
However, I did spy a couple of mainly U.S. tour announcements yesterday that I thought were worth publicizing, even at the cost of evacuating some waste in my chair to make up for the time required to prepare this post. Hard choices.
AT THE GATES – DECAPITATED – THE HAUNTED – HARMS WAY
The first tour, which was announced yesterday, will happen in February and is headlined by Sweden’s At the Gates and includes for almost all the appearances Decapitated (Poland), The Haunted (Sweden), and Harms Way (Chicago). I presume none of these bands needs an introduction.
Although we featured quite a lot of music, both new and old, this weekend, we’re far from exhausting our new discoveries. And so we begin the new week with a large collection of recently discovered songs. Most of these are ones that caught my eyes (and ears), and Austin Weber contributes one as well. Coincidentally, every band has a one-word name, which I find pleasing for reasons that make no sense at all.
I’ve been following Sweden’s Kall since mid-2013, initially because I learned that their line-up included members of the late lamented Lifelover, and later because I discovered how good their music is. I was a big fan of last year’s self-titled debut album (reviewed at length here), and I learned this weekend that the band are now working on their second full-length, projected for release before the end of this year via Catatonic State. There’s also a new song from the album available on Bandcamp — and it’s really good.
The small Himalayan nation of Nepal has experienced a staggering onslaught of natural disasters this year, with devastating earthquakes last spring that took more than 9,000 lives and injured many others. Yet the Nepalese are clearly a resilient people — including those in the community of metal. I’ve been fortunate to get to know some of those people via the internet, including Aabeg Gautam of Dying Out Flame, and through him I’ve learned of a metal festival in Nepal that I wanted to do my own small part to help publicize.
The festival is called Nepal Deathfest, and the third edition of the event is now scheduled to take place on January 22-23, 2016, in the capital city of Kathmandu. The second day of the festival will feature the long-running German death metal band Fleshcrawl as the headliner, and the Japanese noise/grind band Sete Star Sept will headline Day 1.
As a result of finally finding a few hours yesterday to use in exploring music (for the first time this week), I’m again deluged in new things I’d like to tell you about. To avoid overburdening your patience, I’ve split my discoveries into two posts for today. The focus of this one is announcements of new albums that don’t yet have any music streaming. But because I hate to post anything on the site without some sounds, the last item is a fantastic new song.
We’re very big fans of Rotting Christ around here, and so this announcement from two days ago was especially exciting. I’m just going to quote the statement from Sakis Tolis:
After more than a year and a half of deep soul searching, and 4 grueling months in the studio, I can proudly announce that we have finished recording the new Rotting Christ album. It’s eleven new songs, with eleven different and unique stories influenced by rituals and myths from all around the globe. All of these new creations are mystical journeys into hidden knowledge under the name Rituals that will release on the 12th of February, 2016.
Rituals is the darkest and most personal-sounding Rotting Christ album that we’ve ever made, and you’ll be able to hear it very shortly. Stay tuned brothers & sisters!
(As many of our readers already know, NCS contributor Grant Skelton is a budding writer of dark fiction, and now, as he explains below, he has some great doomy music to accompany his creations as well as inspiring them.)
Doom. Indisputedly one of the most metal words in the English language. It’s a very simple, monosyllabic utterance. It has only four letters. But “doom” carries with it a subterranean labyrinth of macabre connotations. In the metal world, it conjures images of abandoned cemeteries, perverse religious iconography, shadowy horned monstrosities, and a scummy chalice of nihilism.
Doom metal is a genre I’ve really grown to love in the last year. This site has led me to discover doom bands whose music has become personal, and even sentimental to me. And now we’ve finally made it into the throes of autumn, a season where nature itself decays. And how beautiful is that decay!