(We welcome back New Zealand writer Craig Hayes (Six Noises), who wrote this review of the debut album by Verberis, which has recently been released by Iron Bonehead Productions.)
The roster of German record label Iron Bonehead Productions reads like a who’s who of pre-eminent cult metal bands. That’s certainly true when it comes to bands who reside in the far-flung isles of New Zealand. Indomitable underground New Zealand bands like Vassafor, Sinistrous Diabolus, Veneficium, Witchrist, Diocletian, Creeping, Prisoner of War, Solar Mass, and Heresiarch have all had storming works released under Iron Bonehead’s banner. And next on the label’s list of uncompromising releases from the southern latitudes is Vexamen: the debut full-length from blackened death metal band Verberis.
(Grant Skelton reviews the new album by the UK’s 40 Watt Sun.)
On October 14, 40 Watt Sun birthed an album that has proven difficult for me to review. Part of this is because the music on Wider Than The Sky is just about the complete opposite of what we cover here at No Clean Singing, though surely we’ve covered many bands that exclusively employ clean singing, as an exception to our “rule.”
But there are other reasons why reviewing Wider Than The Sky has been an atypical experience for me. In a recent interview with Sarah Kitteringham for Noisey (here), 40 Watt Sun’s Patrick Walker expressed his distaste with the band’s previous record label promoting them as “doom metal”.
Monday morning, Oakland waterfront
This wraps up our coverage of the second installment of CALIFORNIA DEATHFEST, which took place from October 14-16, 2016, in Oakland, California. As was true of my posts on Day One and Day Two, I haven’t written fulsome reviews of the performances I saw on the final day, though this time I have included a few more impressions than in the earlier installments — but I’ve once again included photos and videos I made using my iPhone.
Yes, this is a half-assed way to document a festival compared to what you will probably see from a few of the more well-healed metal publications out there who employed professional photographers and videographers. However, because “Half-Assed” is in fact my middle name, I’m being true to myself.
During this past weekend two very good German bands released a split in which each of them covers a song by the almighty Bathory. The bands are Ultha and Morast. The split is available on Bandcmp now and will be released on 7″ vinyl by Vendetta Records (Halo of Flies will have copies for U.S. distro). The songs will also be included in a Bathory Tribute Compilation to be released later this year by CVLT Nation. Here are a few thoughts about the split, plus streams of the songs:
In March of this year I posted (here) an interview of this new German black metal band along with a stream of a song from their debut album Pain Cleanses Every Doubt, which was originally released by a group of European labels last year and then re-released in April 2016 by Translation Loss Records.
And then in August I also reviewed the band’s new EP, Dismal Ruins. Both releases were so very good that I was eager to hear Ultha’s cover song for this new split.
(Andy Synn reviews the eagerly awaited new album by the UK’s Mithras.)
In the interests of transparency I’d like to lay all my cards on the table right away. As some of you will know I’ve been a pretty big Mithras fan for a long time now. In fact not only did I select the band for my 34th edition of The Synn Report way back in April of 2013, it also happens that I’ve struck up a friendly relationship with Mithras mainman Leon Macey in the intervening period between then and now.
On top of all that, in two weeks’ time Beyond Grace are lucky enough to be opening the London date of the band’s long-awaited UK tour in support of their new album (their first in nine years), so I can’t say you wouldn’t be justified in having a few concerns about my overall ability to be even semi-objective in this instance.
So, if you’re really that unsure of my ability to offer a clear critical appraisal this time around, perhaps it might be best to think of this less as a strict, set-in-stone review, and more just a textual primer for what to expect in advance of the album’s release this Friday.
After all, if worst comes to worst, you can just ignore everything I’ve written here and check it out for yourself, because the whole thing is now available to stream in full!
(This is the second part of a multi-part post prepared by Austin Weber putting the spotlight on recent releases, and today he focuses on music from these three bands: Ehnahre, Absvrdist, and Körbl. To check out Part 1, go here, and Part 2 is at this location.)
EHNAHRE – NOTHING AND NOTHINGNESS
Back in January of 2016, I helped the Boston-based avant-garde doom group Ehnahre stream their fascinating new full-length called Douve here at NCS. It seems 2016 is a particularly productive year for Ehnahre, as the band is already back with a freshly released EP called Nothing and Nothingness.
I started this Sunday morning in Oakland earlier than I would have liked, but it had its compensations. Grabbing coffee and my smokes, I sat for nearly an hour along the Oakland waterfront enjoying the peacefulness of it, with no one else around except a hopeful seagull and a swooping flock of starlings.
Yesterday was not peaceful, but it was electrifying. It was the second day of this year’s edition of California Deathfest. Between a late lunch, a dinner break, and my inability to physically make it to the bitter end, I only caught about two-thirds of the 12 bands on the line-up. And as was true of yesterday’s write-up on Day One, I’m not going to take the time to write reviews of the performances. Instead, here’s what I’ve done:
I’m in Oakland, California, this weekend for the second edition of California Deathfest, which began yesterday afternoon (Friday, October 14, 2016) and continues through Sunday. The photo above captures one of the sights that greeted me this morning a few steps from our waterfront hotel. I’m here with my NCS comrades DGR and BadWolf and some other good Seattle friends, enjoying some mild and occasionally drizzly weather while Seattle is getting beat to hell by a weekend windstorm. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Usually when I go to metal festivals I take lots of photos (and more recently videos) and try to write up reports on the performances for the site. This time, before leaving for Oakland, I decided not to do that. I decided I would just devote myself to watching the sets and talking with people and not worry about “work” for NCS. So far I’ve mostly kept to that resolution — but not entirely.
(This is the second part of a multi-part post prepared by Austin Weber putting the spotlight on recent releases, and today he focuses on music from these three bands: VIII, Shioya, and Cyprus. To check out Part 1, go here.)
VIII – DECATHEXIS
For all the things in modern society we blame on social media, the flip side is how much good comes from using it as a tool to spread and share new music and other art forms. Without it, I would never have heard of VIII, a strangely named Italian black metal group whose new album Decathexis continues to blow my fucking mind.