May 242017


Tau Cross

 

As I begin typing these words I’m on an airplane just entering the air space of Michigan, and if all goes well will be landing in Baltimore in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Maryland Deathfest awaits.

I spent the first part of the flight scrolling through the NCS in-box, adding to my very long list of music to check out. As you know, that’s a ridiculously long list. I don’t expect to get much blogging done while MDF is in progress, so I impulsively decided to write this thing.

Since the wi-fi on this jet isn’t good enough to permit streaming, I haven’t heard most of what I’m putting in this post, nearly all of which I found during that e-mail reconnaissance. I encourage you to leave a comment with reactions, since I have almost none (so far).

May 242017

 

(Andy Synn (and other fiends here at NCS) is attending Maryland Deathfest XV, which begins a bit later this week, and here he names the five bands whose performances are highest on his list.)

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a little event called “Maryland Deathfest” happening this week, and I’m lucky enough to be attending for the second year in a row.

As a result, my contributions to NCS are going to be somewhat… minimal… until next week (though I do have a little something blast-tastic lined up for Friday for you all), while I do my best to develop and nurse a cumulative five-day hangover/bangover.

In recognition of this momentous occasion, however, I thought I’d put together a quick list of the five bands I’m most looking forward to seeing at MDF this year – although thinning it down to only five definitely wasn’t easy!

May 162017

 

(Today our Russian friend Comrade Aleks isn’t bringing us one of his interviews, but instead some news about the Finnish band Cardinals Folly, including a single from their new album.)

This blasphemous doom cult was started in Helsinki in around 2004, under the name of The Coven. That title fitted the band’s music, but there were just too many bands with the same name, so The Coven was dissolved and renamed Cardinals Folly, after a place in a Dennis Wheatley black magic novel.

The head of this sect is Mikko Kääriäinen and he’s been the only constant member of Cardinals Folly since its beginning: other musicians have come and gone after a number of occult sessions. Probably only drummer Sebastian Lindberg demonstrated real perseverance, as he accompanied Mikko from the first EP Heretic’s Hangover (2008) until the second full-length Our Cult Continues! (2014), but even he left the band a year after that album was released, and the next one, Holocaust of Ecstasy and Freedom, was recorded with a new lineup.

May 032017

 

Rather than save this news and new music for our next round-up, I decided to strike while the iron is hot. It is Goatwhore, after all, and their consistency both on record and on stage has always been impressive. Plus, we’re huge fans.

First, here’s the news, announced not long ago: The band’s new album (their seventh) is named Vengeful Ascension. It’s a ten-track, 41-minute record, featuring eye-catching cover art, and it will be released by Metal Blade on June 23rd. The press release we received also included this description of the album’s lyrical themes:

Apr 302017

 

This catching-up effort which began on Friday may have gotten out of control. I have music from 7 bands in this “final” installment, including three full releases as well as a quartet of individual tracks. And I put “final” in quotes because I still have a bunch of new black metal for a SHADES OF BLACK feature. I almost always post those on Sundays, but this time I may have to post it tomorrow. Depends on how long I can go without food, bathroom breaks, sociable interaction with my wife, rational thought, other distractions from our glorious mission….

TEMPLE OF VOID

“Huge, enormous, vast, immense, large, big, mighty, great, colossal, tremendous, prodigious, gigantic, gargantuan, mammoth, monstrous, monumental, giant, towering, elephantine, mountainous, titanic”. These are all synonyms for the word “massive”. By listing them, I’ve gotten a head start on the task of describing the first single from Temple of Void’s new album.

Ooops! I forgot “humongous” and “hulking”.

Apr 292017


Schammasch – photo by Andrea Stoppa

 

Happy Saturday. I’m continuing an effort to catch up on things I spotted over the last week but didn’t have time to write about. For this Part 2, I decided to include mostly news items, and leave a lot of the remaining new music I’d like to recommend for Part 3. Not sure when I’ll get Part 3 done, maybe in time to post later today but most likely for tomorrow.

The first three items here are announcements of new albums, with artwork. The last three are new tape and CD releases that provide reminders about very good releases that originally appeared last year or early this year. And sandwiched in the middle is a bit of recommended new music.

SCHAMMASCH

Here at NCS we’re big fans of the Swiss band Schammasch. And so it was exciting to see the band’s announcement this morning that they plan to release a new trilogy of records as the follow-up to last year’s Triangle trilogy. The new series will be entitled The Maldoror Chants, and the first album — The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite — will be released on the 9th of June. Here’s the cover art, along with the band’s description of the new trilogy:

Apr 262017

 

Shameless cronyism alert: Andy Synn, my old friend and steadfast NCS comrade for the last six and a half years, is the frontman for the band that’s the subject of this news announcement — Beyond Grace. With that pesky disclosure out of the way, here’s a synopsis of the news we’re announcing (with more detail to follow): Beyond Grace’s new album Seekers is complete; it will be released in July; it features cover art by Michael Cowell; and it will become available for pre-order on Monday, May 1st.

Now for the details. First of all, the image at the top of this post is only the top portion of the cover art created by Michael Cowell (who has a web presence here). This is what the middle and lower portions look like, along with the complete piece:

Apr 242017

 

Niklas Göransson is a Swedish writer whose impulses and talents have led him to create something very special for serious fans of metal whose interests go beyond the pleasures and enlightenment of the sounds themselves. He named his creation Bardo Methodology.

According to Göransson‘s own explanation of how Bardo Methodology came to be born, he had been intermittently contributing articles to Sweden Rock Magazine, and in late 2015 began the exercise of translating some of his writings into English and publishing them online. In early 2016 he conducted an interview of Deströyer 666, with only two pages allotted to the discussion in Sweden Rock Magazine. And so he “ended up with the vengeful boil in every writer’s posterior; excess material too good to discard.” And as a result, Bardo Methodology was born, as an online vehicle for presenting that interview in full, and one thing led to another.

The site was launched in March 2016 with a collection of translated, stockpiled interviews appearing on the first day. By June, something new was appearing on a weekly basis, and that weekly publication schedule has been followed ever since, like clockwork — here.

Now, Niklas Göransson has taken a further step and has begun publishing a print edition that’s so distinctive I felt compelled to help spread the word about it.

Apr 192017

 

As mentioned in the first installment of this mid-week round-up earlier today, I have enough items I want to spread around, and enough time to do it, that I’ve divided the collection into multiple segments. There might even be a Part 3, but we’ll see how the day goes.

Part 1 was a sequence of songs specifically organized as a playlist because of a certain flow and mood in the music, at least as discerned by my twisted head. This Part 2 has no unifying theme, other than my own interest in everything here. There are a couple of news items at the outset, and then some very good music.

JUST BEFORE DAWN

Just Before Dawn will be a familiar name to regular NCS visitors, but for any newcomers, it has been the studio project of Swedish musician Anders Biazzi and his drumming ally Brynjar Helgetun, with a changing array of vocalists and guitar soloists. It’s one of my favorite current purveyors of old school Swedish death metal. And now JBD will be moving out of the studio in order to destroy a few stages.

Apr 172017

 

The Dark Army Raises is the debut album of the Russian band Lucifer’s Dungeon. It was originally released in digital form by the band earlier this year but is now slated for wider distribution on CD (and digitally) by GrimmDistribution on May 7th. Today we’re helping spread the word about the new release by hosting a stream of the album’s second track, “Unconcious Faith“. And while this may not qualify as a premiere, given the album’s previous digital release, it will probably be the first exposure to the album by many of our visitors.

For that reason, it’s also worth noting that the tracks on The Dark Army Raises do not all sound alike. While black metal shapes much of the album, even in those songs the music diverges. “War”, for example, is alternately brooding and chillingly delirious, while “Burn Your Dogma” is haunting and depressive in its slower movements and anguished in its bursts of speed and intensity.

Yet black metal is only one of this hour-long album’s faces; it also includes ambient tracks, such as the opener, “Dungeon”, in which ethereal choral voices rise up above dark, droning tones that create an ominous atmosphere, and “The Last Day of the World”, which is mystical and hypnotic, gleaming and cold.

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