Mar 212019
 

 

Ascension MMXIX will take place on June 13 – 15, 2019, in Mosfellbær, Iceland, about a 20-minute drive or half-hour bus ride from the city center in Reykjavik. Over those three days 30 bands from a dozen countries will perform at the Hlégarður venue. The impressive line-up includes not only Sólstafir and the best-known names from the vanguard of red-hot Icelandic black metal but also such U.S. bands as Akhlys, Drab Majesty, and King Dude; Antaeus and The Order of Apollyon from France; Auroch and Mitocondrion from Canada; Mgła from Poland; Sweden’s Tribulation; Akrotheism from Greece; Jupiterian from Brazil; and the Belgian band Wolvennest.

Ascension is the spiritual successor to the widely acclaimed Oration Festival, which ran for three years (from 2016 through 2018) in Reykjavik. Like Oration, Ascension is the brainchild of Stephen Lockhart, who is the owner/operator of both the Icelandic record label Oration and of Studio Emissary, where Lockhart has been responsible for recording, mixing, and mastering an extensive list of great metal releases since the studio’s founding in 2010. The bands with whom Lockhart has worked through the studio have formed the nucleus of both Oration and now Ascension, but the appeal of the festivals to performing bands obviously extends much further. Continue reading »

Mar 162019
 

 

I’ve gotten dramatically busier at my fucking day job over the last week (and unfortunately it’s going to get worse in the weeks ahead). I’m way behind in crawling through the hundreds of e-mails we get each day (no telling how many indie pop masterworks and ED treatments I’ve missed), and have had no time to do the other things I usually do in an effort to discover new music that isn’t being plumped by press releases.

Fortunately, a cadre of faithful allies had left messages for me, which collectively gave me the six songs and videos you’re about to see and hear. And so, I’m grateful (in order of their recommendations which appear below) to Rennie (starkweather), DGR, Andy Synn, eiterorm, Miloš, and Rennie again.

POSSESSED

On May 10th Nuclear Blast will release the first album from Possessed in over three decades.They lined up Peter Tägtgren to mix and master it, and enlisted Zbigniew Bielak to create the cover art. And, as Rennie wrote in his message to me, it sounds like they didn’t miss a beat, 33 years after Beyond the Gates. Continue reading »

Mar 142019
 

 

The members of Chicago-based These Beasts have a friend named Greg Shirilla. They say he loves a good bath. When the band worked out the song you’re about to hear in a practice-night jam session, they named it “Shirilla in a Tub“, as a kind of placeholder for something else that would be developed after the lyrics were written. As the band have told us, the song “actually has nothing to do with Greg, but we tend to give songs names before the lyrics are written and sometimes those names just stick”.

The name obviously stuck here. Funny name. But there’s nothing funny about the music. It will tear you a new one, and won’t apologize for doing so. Continue reading »

Mar 142019
 

 

It might be a good idea for you to take many deep breaths before you begin listening to the song we’re streaming below — because for more than 10 minutes you’ll be breathless. Eye drops wouldn’t be a bad idea either, because the music is also capable of leaving a listener wide-eyed and unblinking for just as long.

The song in question is “L’Hoirie de mes Ancestres“, and it comes from the stunning new album by the French black metal band Sühnopfer, which is the sole creation of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ardraos. Entitled Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes, it will be released on May 10th by by Debemur Morti Productions, which describes the music (quite accurately) as an amalgamation of “regal Bourbon madness with quintessential black metal fury”. Continue reading »

Mar 142019
 

 

Here’s Part 2 of today’s new-music round-up. Hope you dig what I’ve chosen.

SCHATTENFALL

I paid attention to (and wrote about) the 2017 debut album (Schatten in Schwarz) of the multinational band Schattenfall because their line-up included two former members (Vladimir Bauer and Yurii Kononov) of the band White Ward, whose brilliant debut album Futility Report I had the pleasure of premiering earlier that year. The third member at the time of that debut was vocalist/lyricist Ole Heidenblut. Now Schattenfall have finished a second album, Melancholie des Seins, on which Bauer and Kononov are joined by a new vocalist, Stefan Traunmüller (who also contributes additional solo guitar), whose work I’ve admired in Golden Dawn, Rauhnåcht, and Wallachia (among other groups). Continue reading »

Mar 142019
 

 

I have more than enough new songs and videos to recommend to your eyes and ears to justify two installments of this Thursday round-up, and (barely) enough time to introduce them. So let’s get right to it:

KAMPFAR

It’s been a long four years since the arrival of Profan, long enough for the Norwegian black metal band Kampfar to be almost out of sight and out of mind, but not buried so deep in the memory that a new song wouldn’t provoke a sharp burst in the pulse at the mere mention of their name. After all, they’ve been plying their trade for almost a quarter-century so far, and filling that time with seven albums of substantial worth. And now an eighth one has been announced. Continue reading »

Mar 112019
 

 

There might be one or two people out there who landed on the second part of yesterday’s SHADES OF BLACK column within the first 60 seconds after I posted it, before I realized I’d forgotten to delete links to the music of two more bands I had intended to include in that segment. I ran out of time yesterday before I could write about those other two releases, but I’ve decided to go ahead and do that now, on this Monday morning.

And, because most of you probably don’t live by black metal alone, or at all, I’ve added a couple of other things I’ve been meaning to recommend from other genres. But before we get to all that, I couldn’t resist beginning this round-up with something I discovered at the last minute. Perhaps you’ll understand my impulsiveness once you’ve heard it.

GRYLLE

Fans of medieval black metal (of which I’m one) have a lot to be thankful for this year, though we haven’t even reached springtime yet. February brought us Par le Sang Versé by the French band Véhémence, which I described in my review and premiere as “one of the most thoroughly entrancing and gloriously vibrant metal albums I’ve heard in years”, and in May Debemur Morti Productions will release an exceptional new album by Sühnopfer (if you pay attention to us this week, you might get to hear something from it). And in April the same label that released Par le Sang Versé (Antiq Records) will bring us a new album by Grylle. Continue reading »

Mar 092019
 

 

I had a weird 24 hours that began Thursday night and ended last night. Not weird enough to be entertaining if described in detail (though it did involve me never making it home until Friday morning), but weird enough that it left me frantically scrambling just to write the two premieres I’d committed to do yesterday, and no time for anything else NCS-related.

Saturday morning arrived with no ideas about what I might do for a Saturday post (and no Waxing Lyrical from Mr. Synn), but it turned out that my NCS comrades had left various exclamatory pieces of news at our on-line meeting ground, and another friend had enthusiastically fired off a link in my direction, and all of that proved quite sufficient for this round-up.

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE

It would go too far to say that we are primed to reflexively shower every Fleshgod Apocalypse release with praise. We have pointed out a few mis-steps by the band here and there. But it’s also true that we get pretty excited whenever something new surfaces (years and years ago there was a running joke at the site that as soon as I finally received the great mountains of gold that Nigerian princes were offering me via e-mail, I would bribe FA to become the NCS house band and play at my home whenever I wanted, which might prove to be every other day). Continue reading »

Mar 072019
 

 

Last night, as I made my way through a batch of new songs that I noticed yesterday (almost all of which actually surfaced just yesterday), a pattern began forming in my mind, a bit disjointed at first, but then everything fell together as I began rearranging the pieces (one of the pieces that fell into place came my way via NCS contributor Grant Skelton, who also furnished some words to accompany it). The result is what you now have before you.

In an effort to present this musical pattern in a way that has the pieces falling into place for you as you go along, and because I’m short on time, I changed the usual format of this round-up. You’ll see what I mean (but if you like the usual format, don’t worry, the change isn’t permanent). Continue reading »

Mar 052019
 

 

I’m kind of scrambling due to interferences from my damned day job, but I didn’t want too much time to pass before sharing with you a few items of interest — the first of which is an exclusive piece of very exciting news.

EYE OF SOLITUDE

Those of you who’ve been following the site for a while will probably be aware that we’re big fans of Eye of Solitude and their fearsome brand of funereal death/doom. We’ve been writing about these Romanian/British doom lords for well over six years now, and have featured articles on their work a number of times (such as here, here, here, and here), as well as one of Andy Synn’s Waxing Lyrical interviews of the band’s main man Daniel Neagoe (here).

Eye of Solitude’s most recent album, 2018’s Slaves of Solitude, presented (in Andy Synn’s words) “some of the best music we’ve heard from the band since their career-defining Canto III“, and was definitely one of the year’s doom metal high points, successfully achieving “that rare feat of providing a listening experience which is both utterly devastating yet eminently re-listenable.”

And now we are delighted to report that this year Eye of Solitude will be returning with another album named Godless, and to reveal the album’s cover art (above). Continue reading »