Jul 042018
 

 

Today is the Independence Day holiday here in the U.S. The first thing I saw upon scanning the local Seattle paper after waking up was a fascinating story that included the photo above, and this headline:

 

Puget Sound explorers partied so hard for July 4, 1841, a sailor blew up his hand with a howitzer

 

We’ve come so far since that event, marked by the monument above near Puget Sound, which was reportedly the first official Fourth of July celebration held west of the Mississippi: Now we can blow off our hands without using military armament; inexpensive fireworks will do the job just as well. And what better way to commemorate the birth of the nation than by an orgy of drunkenness and self-inflicted wounds? Continue reading »

Jul 032018
 

 

As you may have noticed, I compiled another round-up earlier today, though I was just following instructions with that one, all the choices having been urged upon me by my comrade DGR (and Andy Synn, in part) to suit a What Year Is It?!? theme. I haven’t completely escaped the urgings of my comrades in this collection either, since three of the songs and videos were pressed upon me by Mr. Synn.

However, although I’m less the curator of this particular gallery and more like the slovenly dude who frames the stuff and hangs it on the wall, I did include music of my own choosing at the end (and for better or worse, I’ll be picking everything for our Independence Day round-up tomorrow).

But before we get to all the music, I have a couple of news items (and even the second of those was brought to my attention by my colleagues).

KRISIUN

How could I resist the opportunity to brandish (extra-large) the painted artwork of Eliran Kantor at the top of our page again? Obviously, I couldn’t. It will appear on Krisiun’s new album, Scourge of the Enthroned, marred by text, as follows: Continue reading »

Jul 032018
 

 

This is a SEEN AND HEARD round-up that’s going under a different name today. If the reason for that isn’t already obvious from the title of this post, let me explain:

Below you will find new songs and one new video, plus a news item, from seven bands. One of them is by a band whose last release was 10 years ago. Three are from bands whose last albums came out eight years ago. Two more are by bands whose last albums were released six and four years ago, respectively. And the video for the last one is set in a time when if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you went to the VHS store.

I can’t take credit for the Robin WilliamsJumanji meme or the post title. That was suggested by DGR, and actually it was he (with an assist from Andy Synn) who foisted all these new songs and videos on me. Basically, today I’m just a marionette whose strings are being pulled by others. Let’s get this over with so I can go back to listening to really disgusting death and black metal. Continue reading »

Jul 022018
 

 

In March of last year Prosthetic Records released Lunar, the surprising debut album of Chicago’s Without Waves, a constantly morphing collection of music that displayed a form of artistic experimentation which brought into play a range of influences, from extreme metal to jazz fusion, from electronica to atmospheric rock. Next month Without Waves will embark on a six-state tour with label mates Zaius, and to mark the occasion they’ve prepared a music video that we’re bringing you today, for one of the eye-opening tracks off Lunar.

If you haven’t heard “Victorian Punishment” before, you’ll discover that it rarely stays in the same place for very long, nor does it follow a predictable course. It’s a study in sharp contrasts of style, volume, and mood. It puts your head in a blender set to puree, and then smoothly untangles everything. It’s a shock to the system, and a spell. Continue reading »

Jul 022018
 

 

(As we reach the mid-year turning point, Andy Synn highlights a baker’s dozen of releases from the year’s first half to which we haven’t previously paid sufficient attention but recommend now.)

How did you all like that utterly pretentious/portentous title? Originally I was going to give this piece a much more mundane header, but then I thought “hey, I’m trying to get people’s attention… so why not go with something eye-catching?”

You see, we’re now officially in the second half of 2018, and, despite our best efforts and our best intentions, we’ve still failed to cover a significant percentage of the multitude of Metal albums released over the last six months.

Now I’m not a fan of those “Best of the Year So Far” lists (though others at the site seem to view them more favourably) but, in an effort to make at least some small recompense for this terrible dereliction of our duties over the preceding 182 1/2 days, I decided to put together this column highlighting thirteen different records which you might otherwise have overlooked. Continue reading »

Jul 022018
 

 

We have a couple of fine premieres coming later today, and because I devoted some time to writing about those, I didn’t have time to prepare a full SEEN AND HEARD round-up for this Monday — but with a few spare minutes and a bit of a lag in our publication schedule before the first of those premieres is due to arrive, I thought I’d give you a quick hit — two recent songs that made very positive impressions when I heard them this weekend. I might have time for another one of these posts in between those two premieres as well.

MANTAR

I may have mentioned before that Mantar are one of my favorite bands on the planet. And without meaning to detract from the impact of their recordings, they have become one of my favorites because of their live performances, which I’ve been lucky to witness on three occasions. The power and electrifying impact of what these two do on stage can’t really be captured in a studio, in part because they’re so riveting to watch.

Having said that, I’m still eager to hear their new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on August 24th. Continue reading »

Jun 292018
 

 

Today Osmose Productions releases the fifth album by the Swedish black metal band Vanhelga, the name of which is Fredagsmys, and a complete stream of which you’ll find at the end of this article. Long ago, Vanhelga proved themselves to be powerful spellcasters, capable of creating intense and lingering emotional responses to their varied summonings of human darkness. In plumbing those depths they’ve achieved impressive highs in their previous releases, but Fredagsmys really is their best album yet.

Unmistakably, Fredagsmys is the work of people who have a firm grasp on who they are as musicians. What inspires them is carried forward into sound with remarkable assurance and consummate skill. Even if what they see in their mind’s eye and feel in their fractured hearts is something you might rather not confront or dwell upon, they have a way of defeating such resistance and carrying you down with them. And if it’s any consolation, every now and then there’s a sign in the music that (maybe) all is not lost… not quite yet… and they continue to reveal glimpses of beauty in the most terrible of tragedies. Continue reading »

Jun 282018
 

 

Completing the round-up for today that began here, I’ve made some selections of new music and videos that cross a range of genres, and therefore should appeal to a range of preferences. Four of these bands are making their first appearances at our site; one is an old favorite.

But before we get to that, I’ll begin with a late-breaking news item.

DEICIDE

On June 5th I received an e-mail from someone I don’t know pointing me to a page at Metal Kingdom listing a new Deicide album named “The Devils of Saint-Médard-en-Jalles”, and identifying the line-up as Glen Benton (Vocals, Bass), Steve Asheim (Drums), Kevin Quirion (Guitars), and Mark English (Guitars). I couldn’t find anything to corroborate what was on that page, so I didn’t write about it. But today… Continue reading »

Jun 282018
 

 

Extremity’s debut EP, Extremely Fucking Dead, spawned legitimate comparisons to the music of Carcass, Death, Exhumed, Repulsion, Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Impaled, Vastum, and Entombed, and the comparisons didn’t stop there. Depravity, gore, and a fanatical taste for destruction were rampantly on display, along with a knack for crafting insidious melody and skull-plundering grooves. The veteran musicians who had joined forces to record all those monstrous tracks had plainly found a shared passion and an electric connection in what they were doing together. And thankfully, Extremely Fucking Dead didn’t exhaust their morbid creative impulses — there’s now a new Extremity album headed our way.

The name of the new record is Coffin Birth, and it’s calendared for a July 20 release by 20 Buck Spin. It’s our extreme and sadistic pleasure to bring you a track from the album called “Like Father, Like Son“. Continue reading »

Jun 282018
 

 

I’m going to make this fairly quick because I’m working on some other things I want to post today, including a second installment of this round-up, before I have to turn to non-blog stuff for the day.

I collected these three new songs, one of which comes from an album that’s already out, partly for nostalgic reasons. Although my own tastes in metal have grown increasingly extreme over the years, melodic death metal and metalcore were my gateways into the heavier corners of metal. Their popularity seems to have waned, or maybe it’s only my taste for them that’s waned. But they’re not dead letters, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the music you’ll find here, for reasons that I think go beyond the rekindling of fond memories.

OSKU KINNUNEN

Finnish musician Osku Kinnunen was once in a UK-based band named Karhu, which no longer exists. He tells me that he had little time to invest in music for some period of time after that band’s dissolution, but eventually began writing and recording songs again. He released an EP in 2016 that I haven’t heard (you can find it here), and is planning to release an album later this year on which he’s doing everything except the drums — guitars, vocals, bass, mixing, etc. An e-mail from him led me to check out the first single from the album, “Beginning“. Continue reading »