Photo by Guðný Lára Thorarensen and Guðmundur Óli Pálmason
Here’s a quartet of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth your time. I could have sub-titled this “The Exception to the Rule Round-Up”, because the vocals are almost all of the clean variety.
I’ve written about every advance track that has appeared from Sólstafir’s new album Ótta, which will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America. So I guess it stands to reason that I’m going to write about the full-album stream that premiered yesterday at Noisey.
I love the album, but I’m not sure were going to review it. We didn’t get our promo copy of the album from the label until less than 24 hours before the stream went up (and only about 10 days before the European release date), and I do sometimes wonder what the point is of writing a review when everyone can hear the album for themselves, especially when there are so many other albums whose music is less accessible that are also worth praising. There’s always a point to bringing music to the attention of people who might not be aware of it, but anyone who regularly visits our site couldn’t possibly remain unaware Ótta.
Anyway, whether we write more about the album or not, you really should go listen to it. Among the previously unreleased songs, “Non” in particular has been getting repeated spins among our staff. The goddamn riff at the end is just glorious. Go here — you’ll be glad you did:
Not long ago we posted Part 2 of Ty Lowery’s list of personal favorite album covers for 2014 to date. And then about 5 minutes later, I saw THIS ^^^^!!!
It’s the cover art for Citadel, the new album by Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris. The artist goes by the name Xen, (aka Xenoyr) who is the band’s lead vocalist and lyricist, and whose Facebook page is here:
And wow, isn’t that a fantastic cover?
We have very high hopes for the music on this album, too. It’s set for release through Season of Mist on November 7 (November 11 in the U.S.).
And since Ne Obliviscaris is on my mind, I think I’ll just put this music stream of their debut album right here:
(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Part 1 appeared here. Once again, Ty asked his wife Heather (who he says isn’t very big on metal music as a whole) and his friend Adam (who is) to look at the album art and provide guesses about the music. Once again, please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)
Alright, so the first round went pretty well for my two assistants. Where we left off, they were neck-and-neck in our little guessing game. So, time to finish this thing up and see if the trend continues. Lets get right to it, shall we?
Schammasch – Contradiction
There’s just something about the color red with me, for some reason. I really like how while the majority of this artwork is solid red, yet there’s enough variation that you can divine the angel, the demon, the symbols, and the serpents. With that knowledge, Heather was able to correctly suggest that this album was steeped in religious undertones, probably in the vein of black metal, as did Adam. He suggested that it might have something to do with atheism, but changed his mind after seeing the symbols along the bottom.
This is a collection of new (or newish) songs I heard yesterday that I wanted to recommend. The music is quite diverse, yet each song contains elements of black metal — hence the “Shade of Black” title. Lots of creativity on display in what you’re about to hear — and a few things that will hit you like a semi-truck with the pedal all the way down.
San Antonio’s HOD will release their new album Book of the Worm, on September 9 via Arctic Music. The cover art, which I like a lot, was created by Jon Zig. Earlier this week Revolver (Revolver???) premiered a song from the album, and I finally caught up with it — or more accurately, it caught up with me and rode me down into the mud.
The song is “Where Are the Demons”, and the answer is — right here, in this song. It’s one of the best things I believe I’ve ever heard from HOD — a slashing, galloping, ravaging powerhouse assault, loaded with writhing, head-whipping riffs, frenzied chord progressions, and blistering percussion. It’s a hellish inferno with tremendous surging power, but a very interesting and technically impressive song at the same time. And the vocals will bring the grizzlies down from the hills.
Here are a trio of discoveries I made last night and early this morning that I believe will be worth your time.
The next album by Britain’s Winterfylleth, The Divination of Antiquity, will be coming our way via Candlelight on October 7 (October 6 in the UK). I’ve been very eager to hear the new music. The first single from the album, “Whisper of the Elements”, was released on August 5, and this morning a lyric video for the song got its premiere.
The music is beautiful, intensely melodic and atmospheric, more so than anything the band have done before, and the nature-cenric lyrics well suit the dramatic emotional power of the sounds. Listen next…
Here are some things I saw yesterday that opened my eyes wide and increased my flow of drool, requiring an early change-out of the trademarked NCS bib I wear at all times. You may increase the size of some of these images by clicking on them.
Item One appears at the top of this post. It’s a shirt design created by Manuel Tinnemans (Comaworx) for Switzerland’s Bölzer, based on the song “Steppes”. I guess it’s not enough that Bölzer are making lots of people jealous with their music. Now they get shirts like this made for them. Stunning. Here’s the artwork on a black background:
I intended to finish this collection and post it yesterday, making it Part 3 of a big Wednesday round-up of news and new music, but the old fucking day job interfered, and so I’m beginning our Thursday with it. This collection is a bit different from the usual “Seen and Heard” because it includes a couple of items at the end that aren’t new — I’ve just been really drag-ass in bringing them to your attention.
I first came across Hetroertzen last May when I impulsively decided to explore (and write about) some of the releases by an underground Swedish label named Lamech Records. The band are originally from Puerto Varas, Chile, but are now located in Sweden. They have completed recording a fifth full-length album, entitled Ain Soph Aur. It’s currently projected for release on December 6, 2014, in a variety of formats by Lamech Records, Terratur Possessions, and Amor Fati Productions.
In recent days, two songs from the album have been made available for streaming — “Blood Royale” and “The Rose and the Cross”. Both are long pieces, in the seven-and-a-half minute range, and both are very good.
Here’s Part 2 of today’s effort to catch up on news and new music I think are worth your attention. I had planned a third part, but that will have to wait until tomorrow (fucking day job).
I’ve made no bones about my lukewarm reaction to much of what passes for “traditional” thrash — perhaps primarily because of the genre’s vocal style. But the new song (“Final Journey”) that NPR premiered today from Accept’s 14th album Blind Rage has knocked my socks off, not least because it includes a guitar melody lifted from Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood” as an unexpected accent near the song’s end.
But that’s only part of the attraction. The riffs and the solo are absolutely galvanizing, the melody is heart-pumping, and I actually like the vocals by Mark Tornillo as well. Check out the new lyric video next. The album can be ordered here from Nuclear Blast.
Revocation’s new album Deathless will be in stores on October 14 via Metal Blade (and on slightly earlier dates in Europe). Minutes ago the label began streaming the album’s title track on YouTube, and with a little net snooping I also found an image of the album’s cover art, created by painter and tattoo artist Tom Strom — which I like a lot.
I’m enjoying the song, too. It’s downright ferocious — fast, feral, and of course filled with blistering fretwork, but it bludgeons as well as it strips skin and the melody sticks. Also, those throaty clean vocals you’re going to hear work quite nicely. Check it out after the jump.
Metal Blade is accepting pre-orders for the album here.
I’ve been remiss in posting round-ups of news and new music lately, and I’ve collected quite a large batch of items worth spreading around. As a consequence, I’ve divided the collection into multiple parts that I’m going to dribble out over the course of the day, because what else am I going to do with all this drool? One thing the four items in this Part 1 have in common: Killer cover art. You’ll see.
This UK band’s self-titled 2012 album was one of my favorite releases of that year, and I included the song “Godless” in my list of 2012′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Needless to say, I’ve been eager for the band’s follow-up. They funded its production through a Kickstarter campaign in four days, and yesterday the band revealed a lot more info about it, to wit:
Its name is Demons and it will be released in the UK on October 26. It was was mixed and mastered by Danish engineer Jacob Hansen (Aborted, Amaranthe, Volbeat, Destruction, Epica, Pestilence). It features guest appearances by Sven De Caluwé (Aborted, System Divide), Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Teemu Mäntysaari (Wintersun), Andy James (ex-Sacred Mother Tongue), and Chris Amott (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy). And as you can see, it features a gob-smacking album cover by the talented Pär Olofsson (click that sucker to make it bigger). I’ll be waiting, eagerly and drooling, for the first advance track…