Apr 122014

I did say that I intended to post three editions of MISCELLANY on three successive days, but yesterday kind of got away from me. So, with an unplanned hiatus day, here’s the third installment.

Once again, here’s how the MISCELLANY game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups whose names I’ve never heard before either. The selection process is random; for these three editions of the series, I tended to focus on bands who’ve written us recently. I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad). For this listening session I once again investigated the music of three bands.

DIM AURA

Dim Aura are based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Earlier this year they self-released a debut album entitled The Negation of Existence (though they’re searching for a label to facilitate wider distribution). The band have put four of the album’s eight tracks on Bandcamp. I started with the first one, “Scarred Flesh Supremacy”, but I’ll just tell you up-front that I really cheated on the MISCELLANY rules and wound up running right through all four songs. They’re all good and they don’t all sound the same.

Apr 102014

As promised, I’m posting three editions of MISCELLANY in three successive days, this being the second.

Here’s how the MISCELLANY game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups whose names I’ve never heard before either. The selection process is random; for these three editions of the series, I tended to focus on bands who’ve written us recently. I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad). For this listening session I investigated the music of three bands.

OPHIDIUS

Ophidius are an instrumental death metal band from New Jersey. Their debut album (or I suppose you could call it an EP too), The Throat of the World, was released via Bandcamp last December and it’s available for a price you name. It consists of four songs, and the band explain that the compositions were inspired by “The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim”.

Apr 092014

MISCELLANY is probably the most irregular of the regular features at NCS.  Though I’ve found that it’s a good way to discover new music, I often let weeks or months go by before revisiting the series. But this week there will be an unusual burst of activity. I have the 65th edition today, and both the 66th and 67th editions are in various stages of completion. With luck, I will post them over the next two days — three in a row!

Here’s how the game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups whose names I’ve never heard before either. The selection process is random; for these three editions of the series, I tended to focus on bands who’ve written us recently. I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad). For this listening session I investigated the music of three bands.

NIHILO

Nihilo are from Switzerland. They’ve released three EPs, as well as a previous full-length (2010′s Concordia Perpetua). In March of this year they released a new album entitled Dum Spiro Spero, which features cover art by Paolo “Madman” Girardi, and was a promising sign, all by itself.

Mar 192014

Are you shocked? I know I’m shocked. After doing these MISCELLANY installments about once every three months, here I am writing another one less than a week after the last. I wish I could say this is the beginning of a new regime, but I ain’t nearly that fuckin’ organized. This is today and tomorrow is another day.

The rules of this road: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, I listen to one or two songs and write my impressions, and then I stream what I heard so you can form your own opinions. As I did last week, I decided to just pick the last three bands I heard about over the weekend with recent Bandcamp streams. Although I didn’t know exactly what they would sound like, it turns out there’s a common theme, and it can be summed up in this immortal line from Aliens II: “Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” Substitute “your skull” for “site”.

NUCLEARHAMMER

I know I’ve heard this Toronto band’s name before. How could you forget a name like Nuclearhammer? But I’m virtually certain I’d never heard their music before. I became aware of them via a message from our longtime supporter Utmu. It turns out they have a new album coming in June named Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer, which follows their debut full-length from 2009, Obliteration Ritual, with an EP and a bunch of splits in between. Naturally, the album is being released by Nuclear War Now.

Mar 132014

Every time I write one of these MISCELLANY posts I promise myself that I will do them more often. But, as ever, the promises you make to yourself are the ones most easily broken: My last installment in the series came more than three months ago! But hope springs eternal, so I’m promising myself I won’t wait that long to write the next one. Why I would trust a proven liar I don’t know.

Anyway, here’s how this game is played:  I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, I listen to one or two songs and write my impressions, and then I stream what I heard so you can form your own opinions. This time I decided to just pick the last three bands I heard about with recent Bandcamp releases. They’re all from the U.S.

BARROWLANDS

I learned of this Portland band’s new album via an e-mail alert from Bandcamp that I found yesterday. The name rang a faint bell, and through a search of our site I learned that our guest BreadGod had put their 2012 demo in the “Honorable Mention” category of his “Best of 2012″ list for NCS. The new album, released March 11, is entitled Thane and I knew I had to listen simply because of the wonderful cover art by Sam Ford.

Dec 042013

I want to thank all of the guest writers who have sent in such excellent posts for publication during my vacation. I’ve got five days left before returning to earth with a thud, and some really interesting guest posts remain to be published between now and then. And if any of you are still pondering whether to send in something, there’s still time.

Though I haven’t been listening to much music during this trip, I did set aside some time a few days ago to go exploring. And for those who don’t know, that’s what this MISCELLANY series is all about: I pick a band whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on names that aren’t household words, and I listen to a song or two. I write my impressions, and I stream what I heard so you can explore right along with me. I picked four bands for this trip, and they turned out to be a really diverse lot.

OBSCURE SPHINX

I came across this first band via an album review by Madam X at Angry Metal Guy. I usually read what she writes anyway, but in this case there was a double attraction — the other being that album cover you’re looking at. It’s a photo of a doll created by Klaudia Gaugier, and once I saw it I knew I would be listening to the music.

Oct 232013

A reminder about the rules of MISCELLANY:  These are the only posts on this site that feature music which hasn’t been filtered in advance by me or any of the other writers. I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before, I listen to a recent song or two, I write down immediate impressions, and I stream the music that I heard. When I play this game, I try to focus on bands who are under the radar. It’s a good way to discover and spread the word about new music, but it’s a bit of a crap shoot.

Here’s how I picked the bands in this edition of MISCELLANY: I saw a Facebook post by my friend Prof. D. Grover the XIIIth urging me to pay attention to a St. Louis band named Black Fast and their recent album Starving Out the Light. That became my first pick for this expedition. After hearing a few songs, I liked them on Facebook, and not long after that I saw a status they posted recommending a song that premiered yesterday which was a collaboration between two more St. Louis bands — Indian Blanket and The Lion’s Daughter. I listened to that song, which became my second stop on this MISCELLANY tour. And then I discovered that The Lion’s Daughter have an album on Facebook named Shame On Us All — and that became my third and final pick for what turned into a St. Louis edition of MISCELLANY.

BLACK FAST

The Black Fast album was released via Bandcamp in August of this year and it follows a self-titled EP from 2011. The featured song on Bandcamp is the album’s fourth track, “Obelisk”, and I listened to that one and then checked out the album opener, “Levitations”. They’re both head-whipping riff machines with bounding bass lines, jaw-dropping guitar solos, and caustic vocals. “Blackened thrash” is a start at a genre description, but doesn’t do justice to the intricacy or the strong progressive leanings of the songwriting. It’s kind of like a mash-up of Vektor and Blotted Science.

Oct 042013

After almost four years of hit-or-miss experimentation, we’ve arrived at the glorious 60th edition of MISCELLANY. I wish I could tell you that I have something red-hot and extra-special lined up to celebrate the occasion, but that’s not the way MISCELLANY works. The way it works is that I randomly pick bands I’ve never heard, I listen to a song or two, I write my impressions, and I stream what I heard so you can make up your own minds.

All of which means that when I picked the following bands I didn’t know what they would sound like or whether they would be worth a damn: Omnihility (U.S.), Dejadeath (Spain), The Slow Death (Australia), and Elision of Animus (Portugal).

OMNIHILITY

I know I’ve heard this band’s name before, but I’m also pretty sure I never listened to their music until deciding to make them my first stop on this MISCELLANY tour after receiving a message from the band. They’re from Eugene, Oregon, which I confess warmed my heart, since I know they’re going to be enduring the same dank Pacific Northwest winter that I am, or something very close to it.

Sep 242013

This latest installment of the MISCELLANY series is really a carry-over from the immediately preceding installment. I originally picked four bands to explore for that installment, but by the time I began writing about the fourth one I decided the post was already so long that people might lose patience before reaching the end — particularly when they discovered the length of the last song. So I carved out the last band, and they’re the subject of this post.

And as a reminder about the way MISCELLANY works: I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves.

THACLTHI

This pick was truly a random choice. After reviewing the new album by Progenie Terrestre Pura earlier this month, I made a mental note to explore the web site of the long-running label that released the album, Avantgarde Music. I finally did that yesterday. I found lots of bands whose music I’d never heard before. Being short on time, I picked one to explore, and I honestly have no explanation for the selection I made.

The band’s name is THACLTHI, which means “in silence” in the ancient Etruscan language, and they appear to reside in the town of Volterra (or “Velathri” as the Etruscans called it) in the Tuscany region of Italy. They have a new album named …Erat Ante Oculos that was released on tape last month by Unholy Domain Records and will be released by Avantgarde on November 13, 2013.

Sep 242013

For newcomers to this series, here’s how the MISCELLANY game works:  I impulsively pick bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands whose names I’ve never heard either), I listen to one recent track from each of them (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more than one), I write my impressions, and I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves. In this installment I explored the music of Dominia (Russia), God Eat God (UK/Russia), and Sensory Amusia (Australia).

DOMINIA

Over the weekend I posted a teaser clip for the forthcoming third album by UK-based Eye of Solitude, an album I’m eager to hear. I mentioned that the album will include guest contributions by violinist Casper and vocalist Anton Rosa from the Russian band Dominia. I wasn’t familiar with Dominia, but yesterday I received a message from an NCS supporter who I’ll call JcDA encouraging me to check them out. So I went exploring.

Dominia’s last album was Judgement of Tormented Souls, released in 2008, but they’ve recorded a new one entitled Theophania. Last month they released a two-song single that includes one track destined for the new album (“Death Only”) and a live recording of another song recorded earlier in the band’s career (“Cellar Door”). The single can be acquired on Bandcamp via this link. I listened to both songs.

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