Jul 212017

 

Do you groan when you see these big round-up posts? Especially when they come three in a row, day after day? Is it too much to process? Do you feel overwhelmed by the volume?

These are what are known as rhetorical questions, i.e., a figure of speech in the form of a question that isn’t intended to elicit an answer, e.g., “Can’t you do anything right?” Right or wrong, too much or too little, on we go… this time with new or newly discovered metal from seven bands.

HATE MOON

Fólkvangr Records tells us that “Hate Moon is a Norse-Gael symphonic black metal band hailing from Pennsylvania”, formed by “two Irish American descendants of Norse Vikings” (Tuathail and Tohmar) who have created music that “romanticizes the ancient Celtic world through a soundscape of historical fantasy”. Their debut album is The Imprisoning War, and the first item in today’s round-up is an album track named “Mountain of Death“.

Jul 202017

 

As forecast in yesterday’s SEEN AND HEARD post, I’ve accumulated enough new things of interest since the end of last week to justify posting a round-up today and tomorrow as well as yesterday. Because of the delays occasioned by goofing off last weekend, some of the items I’ve gathered together aren’t as “hot off the presses” as I’d prefer, but they still may be new discoveries for some of you, especially as I dig a bit deeper into the underground for Friday’s post.

DYSCARNATE

Dyscarnate was the subject of a SYNN REPORT back in 2016 in which my colleague Andy reviewed their discography as it then existed, culminating in 2012’s And So It Came To Pass. But nothing has come to pass from these death metal titans since that stunning record, until word began to spread last spring that the band were in the studio recording a new full-length (and that news landed them on a list of Andy’s most anticipated releases for this year). Now, more details have surfaced about this new Dyscarnate effort.

Jul 192017

 

I had a great weekend, thanks for asking. I devoted it to visits by out-of-town family and a two-day picnic, and NCS took a distant back seat, which is why there was no weekend round-up and no SHADES OF BLACK column. We avoided going dark only though the valiant efforts of Andy Synn and DGR.

Predictably, I now have a big list of new songs and videos to share around, too many for one post. We’ll start with offerings from five bands, and I’ll have at least one and probably two more round-ups this week. Might get one more done today, but maybe not. A meteor strike could decimate my home, the chime on a dryer could alert me that it’s time to get the clothes out, I might feel like chasing a passing car, the lorises might commence war games again. The crystal ball is cloudy.

KERES

The new Keres EP (released July 12th) is an exception to the (admittedly porous) rule in our site’s title, but it’s a slam-dunk exception: Justin Helvete’s voice is a truly remarkable instrument. And everything else about these three songs is also remarkable.

Jul 172017

 

(DGR takes over round-up duties again, with this collection of new songs and videos from eight bands.)

The end-of-the-week news flood was insane, as we have settled well into summer now and a lot of bands are either gearing up to hit the road or are already out making numerous loops on the festival circuit. Of course, this also means that there are a lot of albums in the hopper, getting ready to come out within weeks, or you’ll start seeing a lot of press for albums set to hit when the first leaves of fall drop.

That’s how you wind up with posts like this SEEN AND HEARD that helped kick off the weekend — not even counting our own fuel that we added to the fire, and the one that you’re reading now, which is basically just a gigantic dragnet for bands that had premieres elsewhere throughout the tail end of last week, or just blasted that thing right out to the world to see.

This episode of SEEN AND HEARD is eight (!) bands deep and skews death-metal heavy, so prepare yourselves for a lot of gigantic grooves, growled vocals, enough blasts to reach gunfire status, and enough chainsaw guitar destruction to fuel the planet.

Jul 142017

 

Well, that didn’t last long. Two days ago, when I posted the last SEEN AND HEARD round-up, I announced a plan to post other shorter-than-usual compilations of new music both yesterday and today. Having failed to post one yesterday, that means I’m now back to serving up a more typical groaning smorgasbord of new stuff, enough to challenge the most gluttonous of listeners. Et voila, music from nine bands!

POISON BLOOD

Poison Blood is a collaborative effort by Jenks Miller (Horseback) and vocalist Neill Jameson (Krieg), the latter of whom is a valued contributor to NCS. We’re told that these two came together as fans of each other’s work and a mutual appreciation for Beherit’s classic Drawing Down the Moon LP and the experimental deathrock of cult UK act Rudimentary Peni“.

I confess that I haven’t yet listened to all of their self-titled debut EP — which will be released on August 11 by Relapse — but I’m really enjoying the two tracks that have surfaced so far in the run-up to the release date. The first of those is “The Scourge and the Gestalt” and the second is “Deformed Lights“.

Jul 132017

 

(Our friend and long-time NCS supporter Booker from New Zealand prepared this guest post about an unusual new band from NZ named Alien Weaponry.)

New Zealand is a strange place; trust me, I live here. It refers to itself as “God’s own” country, and sees itself as an idyllic little egalitarian (supposedly) land at the edge of the earth, filled with natural beauty, and sparsely populated with easy-going sports-loving people. And yet, behind this idyllic facade it hides a dark past – and hides it well. But as readers of this site know, the hidden, darker side of human nature just happens to be something of a favourite theme for metal. All too often society seems to act like the evil queen in Snow White, only wanting the mirror it holds up to shower it with platitudes and reflect the good. But metal holds up the mirror which flatters not.

Not surprisingly, then, eventually a New Zealand metal band would come along which would dare speak openly of the country’s past. But what would be a surprise, is that it would take a band whose members are still in high school to do it – and in what seems to be a world first, do it with lyrics in Te Reo, the language of the indigenous Māori people. Welcome to Alien Weaponry.

Jul 122017

 

I’m showing rare restraint in this round-up. Rather than try to stuff 8-10 new things into one bulging post, which my gluttonous self has a habit of doing, this time I’ve just picked four new things. Following this new, but probably short-lived, format, my plan is to scatter more of these shorter round-ups over the remaining days of this week, too.

GODHUNTER

Back in May we had the pleasure of premiering an unusual song named “Cocaine Witches & Lysergic Dreams” off the band’s new EP, Codex Narco, which has now been released. The whole EP is as hard to pin down as the song we premiered, and that’s one of its many attractions — the creative and unexpected splicing together of disparate musical elements, along with the strong emotional force of the songs, is a big part of what makes Codex Narco stand out.

One of the tracks on the EP is a cover song, Godhunter’s take on “Walking With A Ghost“, which was originally recorded by Tegan & Sara. I also mentioned that the song would eventually become the subject of a music video made by Mitch Wells from Thou, and that video was finally released yesterday. It’s the first item in this collection.

Jul 092017


Amenra photo by Stephan Vanfleteren

 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Overflowing Streams round-up, my plan was to pull together another compilation of recent recommended music under the SEEN AND HEARD header. By the time I finished, I realized that almost everything I had picked came in the form of a video, and the one exception was close enough that I decided to change the heading for this post.

I arranged these videos to achieve a kind of flow, or an arc — not seamless, to be sure, but in a way that made sense to me. Things begin in very dark fashion with the first three videos, then we have some death metal necrophilia as a transition (necrophilia is always a good transition, right?), and then a trio of high-energy tracks that have ethnic musical elements mixed in with otherwise diverse sounds, and then we go out in an explosive bonfire. And with that, let’s begin…

(P.S. My usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK feature will be posted on Monday.)

AMENRA

The Belgian band Amenra are returning with a new mass, five years after the last one. Mass VI will be released on October 20 by Neurot Recordings, a date that seems very far away, but at least it’s on the calendar now. The video below isn’t a full song (sadly), but it’s a very effective teaser for the new album nonetheless.

Jul 082017

 

I’ve been recovering from a concussion I suffered last Sunday night. Based on the experience so far, my advice to you is this: Never get a fucking concussion. Between the persistent headache, the nausea, and the general feeling of debilitation that forces me to nap in a dark, quiet room as often as I can, it has put a real dent in my usual scouring of the interhole and our e-mails for new music to recommend. Just in case you were wondering why there were no round-ups this week.

I’ve been feeling (slightly) better over the last 48 hours, so I’ve been looking at what I missed — and damn, did I miss a lot. I’ve picked a trio of things to stream and comment on specifically, and a lot more things to just point you to. I’ve also included two new worthy label samplers. I also plan to write a SEEN AND HEARD post to cover a handful of other new songs and videos.

PARADISE LOST

I haven’t heard the new Paradise Lost album, Medusa, but a couple of trusted friends who write for print zines have heard it, and they have a high opinion of it. The album comes out September 1st on Nuclear Blast. Yesterday brought the debut of the first single from the album, “The Longest Winter“.

Jul 072017

 

(We have a little-used category of posts that, for want of a better term, we call “Off Topic”. This is one of those “not metal” posts. But it also fits in another category of posts — “That’s Music — But It’s Not Metal” — which is too complicated to explain in detail, but basically refers to music that isn’t metal, but also kind of is “metal”. I’ll shut up now and let Grant Skelton take it from here.)

I used to loathe country music. Going to college near Nashville, the Mecca of country music, probably didn’t help. Metal was all I wanted to hear. That is, until I discovered late greats like Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zandt.

Whole libraries have been written on each of those two. And even among metal fans, Cash and Van Zandt seem to occupy something of a sacred place. Late last year, Islander gushed over Panzerfaust’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” referring to Cash as, “the most black metal country singer you can find.” Neurot Recordings has released two compilations (Volume I and Volume II) of Townes Van Zandt covers by Scott Kelly, Wino, Mike Scheidt, and Steve Von Till. Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand recorded her creepy rendition of Van Zandt’s song “Rake” for her self-titled 2015 solo album The much-hyped upcoming outlaw country cover album from DevilDriver (whether you hate that idea or love it) further underscores my point.

Don’t get me wrong, the country music you’ll hear on the radio is nothing more than the foul ordure of red-state identity politics. The songs aren’t songs, they’re lists of ideals and symbols that perpetuate a mythical, illusory way of life. But this article isn’t about that. It’s about artists whose music, while not metal in the slightest, I believe will still be meaningful and enjoyable to readers of our site. On my honor, here you will find no songs about girls in trucks.

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