Apr 162014

Agalloch – photo by Veleda Thorsson

These are things I noticed over the last 24 hours that I thought you might want to notice as well.

AGALLOCH

When I found out that Agalloch was going to play a special show at Highline in Seattle on May 17 with YOB and Wounded Giant, I didn’t crow about it on our site. I can be pretty boorish when I want to be, and even when I’m not trying to be, but even I recognized it would be a dick move to express my joy about something I could see but the vast majority of our readers couldn’t. But now, finally, Agalloch has announced an official tour — Serpens In Culmination.

No doubt, the news will still be painful to fans who aren’t within reach of one of the stops, especially people who are also fans of Obsidian Tongue, Vex, and Jex Thoth, because those bands are also appearing at select stops on this tour. But on balance I feel okay about posting this news. Here’s the first part of the schedule, as announced late yesterday by Agalloch and Profound Lore:

Apr 142014

You might think that having posted 23 very recent song and video premieres over the weekend (here and here), I’d be fresh out of new material to toss your way. But you would be wrong.  Here are four more that surfaced over the last 48 hours that I’ve been enjoying, and the music is so varied — including two exceptions to our Rule — that I’m betting you’ll find something to like as well.

KAMPFAR

As I previously reported, on May 27 in NorthAm (and May 23 in Euope) Season of Mist plans to release a special 2-disc compilation entitled One And All, Together, For Home. The project was initiated by Drudkh’s  Roman Sayenko and it will consist of 17 songs by eight excellent bands performing traditional song interpretations from their native countries, cover versions of folk songs, or the use of themes and melodies from their musical heritages in original compositions. All of the songs will appear exclusively on this release.

I’ve already streamed the track by Primodial (here) and today I bring you the song contributed by Norway’s Kampfar.

The song is called ”En Hymne Til Urd” (A Hymn for Earth)”. Here’s the band’s explanation about the song:

Apr 142014

Belgium’s Aborted will be delivering their new monstrosity Necrotic Manifesto via Century Media on April 28 in Europe and April 29 in North America (available for pre-order here). Last month we featured the album’s title track, and today the band unveiled a lyric video for yet another song — “Coffin Upon Coffin”.

The song delivers flensing riff flurries and brutish hammering, machine-gun percussion and a blistering solo, multisyllabic linguistics and vocal excretions that will leave scars on tender skin. The video also makes Par Olofsson’s  grisly cover art come to life.

In other Aborted news, the band have been uploading the results of a horrific photoshoot to Facebook, and after you listen to the new song after the jump, you can gaze upon their modified visages, which strangely seem like fitting improvements upon the faces that nature gave them.

Apr 132014

John Martin: “The Deluge” (1834)

As I mentioned yesterday, the past week brought good song and video premieres in a flood, which was unfortunate only in the sense that I didn’t have time to write about all those discoveries day-by-day as they happened. So this weekend I decided to just flood you with them, leaving behind all but some short snippets of my own sparkling prose and mainly delivering the streams, along with release info.

Yesterday I collected 11 (!) new songs and videos, plus a couple of tantalizing news items, and today I’ve got 12 more, plus a few more news items. Once again, I present them in alphabetical order:

AMBIENT DEATH

The Song: “Apotheosis of the Hangman”
From: Dismembering the Image of God
Release info: self-released by the band on April 7; below is a new video for the opening track
www.ambientdeath.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/ambientdeath

Vicious melodic death metal with flying fretwork that gets more interesting and seductive as the song progresses. Punches pretty damned hard, too.

Apr 122014

This has been one of those weeks where my blog time was severely constricted by both personal and job-related demands. You might have guessed that, based on the complete absence of any “seen and heard” posts since Monday. I didn’t have time to do much more than quickly scan through the interhole each day looking for new song and video premieres and make lists of what I’d like to hear and see when time would permit. This morning, I finally crawled through that list, and found a shitload of new things I really liked.

Because I’m behind, and because I don’t want to fall further behind, I’m taking the wimp’s way out in this post. I’m just going to stitch together a bunch of recommended song and video streams (11 of them) with almost no commentary. It’s a stream dump, and I will bet money you’ll find something to like, almost regardless of your tastes. It’s spring, and metal is in bloom.

Salted within this list are a couple of news items that perked my interest, even though there’s nothing available to hear… yet.

I present this box of chocolates in alphabetical order. There will be another similar collection either later today or tomorrow. Tell me what you like. Leave comments!

Apr 102014

(NCS contributor Leperkahn decided that for a school project he was going to spend a week without metal. He received a lot of suggestions from our readers for non-metal listening, and he wrote day-by-day reports of what he explored instead of metal. In this post he reflects on the experience.)

Well, I’ve finally returned to my beloved metal. Though it was very interesting and informative to explore other genres, the experiment also proved to affirm metal as my outright favorite genre, at its best combining all the disparate positive elements of nearly every other genre into one. Part of that may stem from the extremely vague definition metal has come to assume: Perhaps the only uniting factor is a strong, loud percussive unit (and even that could be called into question).  Many of the other genres I explored seem to have somewhat stricter definitions, which necessarily seems to place an eventual constraint on the directions in which a genre can evolve.

That’s not to discount the ability of these other genres to go places where metal has never gone, nor could ever go. Most forays of metal into rap’s “territory”, for example, have been rather ill-fated (I think of Limp Bizkit here, as opposed to the success story of Rage Against The Machine).

Apr 062014

I’ve collected here some things that made a big impression on me when I discovered them over the last 24 hours. Perhaps they will make an impression on you, too.

IMPALED NAZARENE

2014 will see the release of the TWELFTH (!!) album by Finland’s Impaled Nazarene. Although I haven’t listened to even half of those dozen, I’ve listened enough to know that although their sound might not be entirely predictable from album to album (not a bad thing), it’s always likely to be a skull-hammering good time. From what I’ve heard of the new album, that will hold true yet again.

The new one’s name is Vigorous and Liberating Death, and the album cover was painted by Taneli Jarva. It’s scheduled for release by Osmose Productions on April 14. It includes 13 songs, almost all in sub-three-minute territory. You can get a sense of what’s coming via a track named “Kuoleman Varjot” that recently appeared on SoundCloud. Plus, the band have released a lyric video for the album’s title track. You can check out both below.

Apr 042014


cover art by Anne O’Neill

I’ve been waiting impatiently to hear Majestic Downfall’s contribution to the band’s forthcoming split with The Slow Death for two weeks, ever since hearing the latter band’s part of the split (which I thought was wonderful). And this morning it began streaming through the interhole. Using my well-known cat-like reflexes, I pounced on it without delay. I prepared to be enveloped in its fuzzy embrace, but instead lost my grip and fell into it like a drowning pool.

As the solo project of Zombiefication’s Jacobo Córdova, Majestic Downfall secured a place on my personal “listen to everything they do” list with 2013′s Three, an album from which we had the pleasure of premiering a song last year. And this new song proves the wisdom of pouncing on the band’s every new release without delay.

The song’s name is “The Dark Lullaby” and it’s an amazingly rich and varied tapestry of sound that makes full use of its 13 minute run-time. It may be premature to say this, since I’ve only heard the song a few times, but I’d venture to say that it’s the best thing I’ve yet heard from this very talented project.

Apr 032014

Over the last 48 hours I found a lot of really good new metal. I’ve picked three of those new songs to feature in this post. The “Shades of Black” post title doesn’t mean all the music is black metal, and it isn’t.

ROTTING HILLS

Rotting Hills are a Vancouver sludge/doom band consisting of four drummers, two guitarists, and a bass player (and one of them is a vocalist, too). As far as I can tell, they’ve put out three singles so far, all of which are available on Bandcamp. The second of those, released in mid-2012, is named “Belgrave”. For that song, the band’s Brian Sepanzyk wrote and directed a striking video with a different title — “Seventh Prayer” — that premiered just a few days ago.

Everyone who worked on the video should be congratulated; it’s beautifully made, with a high level of professional skill. And Rotting Hills should be congratulated on the song as well. It’s slow, spare, and deeply sombre, a gradually unfolding piece that moves from the beautifully melancholy to a wrenching cataclysm. The video is one of those prized accomplishments in which the music and the visuals not only complement but also enhance each other.

Apr 032014

Almost every day we read about new crowdfunding campaigns by metal bands. We don’t try to mention even a small fraction of the ones we see; there’s just not enough time or space. But there are three in this post we wanted to spotlight, in part because all three involve bands we’ve supported in the past — because they’re damned good. And to remind you of that, music is included.

NERO DI MARTE

This first appeal for funds was spawned by a tragedy involving two Italian bands. One of them, Nero di Marte, delivered a self-titled 2013 album that our reviewer Andy Synn called “a phenomenal debut” — “an unusual form of technically twisted death metal with a taste for sudden, erratic explosions of extremity, and a progressive streak a mile wide.” (The review is here.) The other, Void of Sleep, are a sludge-rock band whose 2013 album was Tale Between Reality and Madness.

On Sunday, March 23, after playing a show in Rome, both bands were robbed of all their instruments and gear. Here’s their statement of what happened:

In less than 30 minutes someone broke into our van and was able to take everything. It happened in broad daylight near a police station in Rome, despite there being a massive amount of police forces surveilling the area but, alas, no security cameras.

Guitars, amps, pedalboards, drums, merchandise and personal belongings… a total amount of 25.000€ was stolen from both bands. They took everything. A full list can be found here:

The sad reality of this situation is that without any instruments we cannot continue as a band. We can’t play, rehearse, tour, record a new album.

It took us years to buy our gear, and to start from absolutely nothing, without any help, means paralyzing anything we could do for a long time or seriously put ourselves into debt beyond what we can afford.

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