I wrote most of this post yesterday and then got side-tracked trying to deal with the technical problems inflicted on our glorious site by scum-sucking spammers. And then when I’d done all I knew to do, I spent the rest of the day and the night celebrating The Fourth. Rather than start over on this post, I just added one word to the title and wrapped it up this morning.
I checked our Google Analytics data yesterday, and it confirmed what I’ve suspected: Over the last year, only 40% of the total visits to our site have come from people in the United States. And that means that the for the majority of people likely to pop in today, July 4 was just another Saturday.
I haven’t compiled one of these round-ups in three days, and so of course I’m now awash in news, new music, and new videos that I think are worth your time — too much to stuff into one post. Rather than become paralyzed with indecision about what to foist upon you now and what to save for later, I drew names out of a hat. Here’s what emerged…
Thanks to a tip from Grant Skelton, I saw yesterday’s announcement that Finland’s venerable and venerated Skepticism have a new album named Ordeal set for release by Svart Records on September 18. For me, the band’s performance at this year’s Maryland Deathfest was one of the event’s true high points, so I could hardly be more thrilled about this news — especially since seven long years have passed since the band’s last full-length.
And to add even more intrigue, the band recorded the new album live before an audience on January 24th at Klubi in Turku, Finland, and captured the performance on film.
(Guest contributor Grant Skelton provides this collection of recently released new music by two bands — Chaos Order and Dolven.)
Chaos Order are a metallic hardcore band from my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. In October, they will be recording with Steve Albini (Nirvana, TAD, High On Fire, Neurosis) for a split release due in 2016. The band have an EP due in the fall as well (date TBA) titled, Distant Chords of Disharmony. Recently, Chaos Order posted 2 songs from that release. Regarding the song “Eternal Recurrence,” the band posted this on their Facebook page:
“Eternal Recurrence is the most experimental Chaos Order track to date.”
Now, I know that in the metal world, the word “experimental” can have multiple meanings depending on its context. Depending upon the temperament of the audience, bands can be praised or condemned for “experimenting” with their sound. Rest assured, “Eternal Recurrence” sees Chaos Order borrowing various well-worn musical weapons from their arsenal.
I was outside all day yesterday, untethered from my computer, and astonishingly did not spontaneously combust as do most vampires exposed to the sun. I had some plans for today’s first post that I intended to execute this morning, but those plans did go up in a burst of flames when I awoke to discover three new songs by three favorite bands that premiered over the last 24 hours. Here they are:
JUST BEFORE DAWN
Sweden’s Just Before Dawn, who have been a fixture at our site since the band’s first release, have just delivered a new single named “Graves Without Crosses“. For this new song, JBD mastermind Anders Biazzi (guitars, bass) is joined by vocalist Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud, Skineater, Syn:drom) — who also mixed and mastered the track — and drummer Fredrijk Van Daaten (Ashcloud), with a finishing guitar solo contributed by Håkan Stuvemark (Wombbath, Skineater). As expressed in Jonny Petterson’s lyrics, the song is dedicated to the heroes of war — “not the ones mentioned in the history books”, but
“the forgotten souls that fight side by side in a rain of fire, the ones to defy a hail of bullets, to give their life, not for the cause or the country, but for their brothers in arms!!”
We had a busy day at the site yesterday, and I thought I wouldn’t have time to explore new music. But my wife decided to strand me at home last night while she went out and whooped it up with some friends of hers, and so what was I to do? I damn sure wasn’t going to venture into the loris compound by myself; my wife’s good with a knife and she usually has my back, but without her I’m not getting close to those devious fuckers. So instead I decided leave the loris ninjas to their own devices, hunker down at the computer, and drown myself in new metal. Here is a collection of new stuff from four bands that helped me pleasantly pass the time.
Let’s first have a round of applause for Juanjo Castellano, because goddamn, is his cover art for the new EP by Avulsed the absolute shit, or what?
Under normal circumstances, I would have included this song in a round-up of other new songs, but I decided to give this one stand-alone attention because the trajectory of The Black Dahlia Murder has been such an interesting one to watch. For an extreme metal band, they are tremendously popular, they have a lot of musical talent in their ranks, and they’ve got a larger-than-life, charismatic frontman. But in certain quarters of metal fandom, they’ve sort of been permanently stuck with a metalcore or deathcore label despite the evolution of their sound since 2005’s Miasma and Trevor Strnad’s self-professed “long, intimate love affair with death metal”. And if you haven’t been paying attention, their sound clearly has evolved, and the evolution has clearly been purposeful.
I’m one of those people who wasn’t a big fan in the band’s early days, even as their visibility and popularity skyrocketed, but have been warming up to them as time has passed (for example, I enjoyed Everblack more than any of their previous releases). And so I’ve been curious about what their new album Abysmal would sound like, especially after seeing the fantastic cover art, which seems to scream “magnified brutality inside!”.
This morning one of the new songs popped up on YouTube, apparently a leak, and so it probably won’t be around for long (though today is the day previously appointed for release of the first single and the launch of album pre-orders). Its name is “Vlad, Son of the Dragon“.
Because I only write about metal that makes me enthusiastic, these round-ups of new music necessarily reflect my own idiosyncrasies. Fortunately, I suppose, I get enthusiastic about lots of different styles of metal (though I vehemently deny the accusation that I like everything I hear). And so it’s true again today that what you’re about to hear ranges far and wide across the metal landscape. Still, to ensure further diversity of viewpoints, you’ll also find a recommendation from Grant Skelton in addition to my own.
Here are some questions for you: Do you enjoy writhing black metal extremity, with riffs that swarm with reptilian menace and hammer powerfully at the gates of doom? Does your pulse quicken at the sound of a drummer who rocks out as well as he blasts with mechanistic precision? Do you relish bestial growls that come straight for your throat with teeth bared? Do you search for black metal songs that get stuck in your head as well as generating an atmosphere of infernal menace, befitting the rising of a vengeful sun that emanates death?
photo by Tim Flach
Greetings from the lovely Shreveport Regional Airport in northwest Louisiana. The project on which I’ve been slaving away in East Texas all week has ended and I’m now beginning to make my way back to Seattle after a late night of partying and an early morning of packing.
I’m feeling seriously metal-deprived, especially during the last week when I had almost no time to listen to anything or write about it. I’m going to start making up for that with a road trip to Vancouver on Sunday to catch Bolt Thrower, and then I think things will start getting back to normal around our putrid site on Monday or Tuesday, though I do have some thoughts for posts on Saturday and Sunday.
(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the previous month.)
Here we go again! With May long behind us, there was a lot of material to sift through, along with a hell of a time at Maryland Deathfest to remember. All good things!
Overall, May wasn’t the best month this year, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some gems to uncover. Quite a good amount, actually, with the selections coming from a broad spectrum. Hey, that’s why I’m here – to give you the goods from all over! I try to deliver. Maybe not as exciting as the pizza delivery guy bringing carb-loaded goodies, but I do what I can!
Still in Texas, still working my ass off (but not on NCS), still not able to listen to much metal — but I did have time for a quick swim through the effluent of the interhole, and these things caught my eye (and ears).
Thanks to my NCS comrade Andy Synn, I saw the striking cover art above, by Valnoir Mortasonge, which Finland’s Amorphis posted on their Facebook wall, along with this announcement: