Sep 212017

 

Almost  two years on from the release of their debut album Anxiety Never Descending, the Polish death metal band Kult Mogił (whose name translates to “cult of graves”) have surfaced again with a new EP named Portentaque. It is an immaculate rendering of madness, each of its three tracks intricately plotted, constantly changing, persistently fascinating, and deeply unnerving.

The EP will be released by Pagan Records on September 29, and today we’re helping to premiere what has become one of my favorite EPs of 2017.

Sep 212017

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Satyricon.)

Back in 2013 it seemed as though I was one of the few people – at least of the ones I knew and regularly interacted with – who genuinely enjoyed and appreciated Satyricon’s self-titled opus.

And although, in the years since then, I’ve seen more than a few of them come to appreciate the album’s proggier, more introspective, charms, it remains a divisive and frequently (though not always fairly) criticised entry in the band’s extensive catalogue.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not also a vitally important one.

As a matter of fact, I said at the time, in light of lines like “the stage is yours / I can no longer rule”, that the album was either going to mark the end of the line, or the beginning of a new age, and that only time would tell which was true.

Well, four long, hard years later, we finally have our answer.

Sep 212017

 

(Later this month Unique Leader will release the latest full-length by California’s Arkaik, and here we have DGR‘s review.)

Southern Californian tech-death group Arkaik have become something of a slowly gathering storm in the music world for a little while now, having remained on a fairly consistent up-swing since the start of their series of meditative science fiction concept albums with 2012’s Metamorphignition.

Over the years the band have seen a rotation of members — including various members from Deeds Of Flesh, Flesh Consumed, and Brain Drill (even more fun considering former drummer Alex Bent currently sits behind the kit for Trivium) — yet they’ve been able to keep their hybrid of tech-death musicianship, brutal-death slamming, and yes, light deathcore sense and dedication to all things groove relatively unchanged.

Sep 192017

 

(New Zealand-based writer Craig Hayes (Six Noises) joins us again with this review of the debut album by NZ’s Methchrist, which has just been digitally released on Bandcamp.)

Methchrist are a belligerent, hate-driven war metal trio from Dunedin, New Zealand. And the band’s Nomadic War Machine debut is the third album from a New Zealand war metal band that I’ve covered here at No Clean Singing in recent times.

To be honest, it’s not the easiest task coming up with fresh ways to unpack more bestial metal from the southern reaches. But that’s not because Nomadic War Machine is uninspiring. The album’s actually a skull-cracking riot –– it’s as fuelled by pure fucking spite as it is any creative ambitions –– but I inevitably feel like I’m repeating myself talking about war metal, because the subgenre’s somewhat of a stylistic cul-de-sac.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a criticism of war metal’s established characteristics. I mean, I love crust punk and d-beat to death, and they’ve got a limited range of musical hallmarks and potential descriptive options too. It’s simply that war metal’s parameters are so resolutely set in stone. There’s only so much you can say about the subgenre before you’re reiterating the same points or uttering the same phrases.

Sep 192017

 

Almost exactly two years ago we had the pleasure of premiering the third album by In Twilight’s Embrace. True to its name, The Grim Muse was vicious, but also electrifying, bursting with magnetic guitar melodies that were given room to shine in even the most turbo-charged and barbaric of the songs. It proved to be one of 2015’s highlights, and something of a breakout release for a band who were demonstrating a new level of both songwriting and performance skill.

And here we are two years later, fortunate again to premiere a new full-length by this Polish band. This fourth album is named Vanitas, and it’s set for release on September 22nd by Arachnophobia Records. And to waste no time answering the question that most fans will be asking, it is at least a match for the quality of The Grim Muse, and in this writer’s opinion even better.

Sep 192017

 

(Austin Weber wrote this review of the new album by Pyrrhon, which was released on August 8 by Willowtip Records and Throatruiner Records.)

Pyrrhon occupy a unique place in the death metal landscape. From their inception on, they’ve only gotten stranger, darker, weirder, and more unorthodox, after beginning as an already outside-of-the-norm band but one still recognizable in most ways as a purely death metal group in their early years.

The real turning point was 2014’s The Mother of Virtues, a release that really saw them dive into the deep end of madness and experimentation paired with searing and uncomfortable heaps of dissonance. It was an album that even I struggled to comprehend initially, though countless repeat listens helped, as did seeing them play the material live in 2014, which really helped it click for me even more.

After that, they embarked on a series of EPs, simultaneously pushing the improv. and experimental aspect harder, while also returning to a more “digestible” form of death metal for some of the songs. Given that, I had high hopes and a lot of questions as to what their newly released album, What Passes for Survival, would have to offer. But above all, I went into it knowing not to place expectations on it, since Pyrrhon are an amorphous and ever-shifting beast — and this album holds true to that established maxim.

Sep 182017

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Vancouver’s Archspire.)

If you’re even vaguely aware of the comings and goings of the modern Tech Death scene, then chances are you’ll have heard the names Archspire and The Lucid Collective (the band’s 2014 album) before now.

Famous (or perhaps infamous) for their shameless dedication to ludicrous speed, as well as their ability to change direction faster than a TRON light-cycle (ask your parents…), the band are (rightly) held up as an example of Technical Death Metal at its most outrageously and enjoyably OTT, with everything (and I do mean everything) turned up well past 11.

There are those, however, who believe that the Canadian quintet’s addiction to excessive velocity is a flagrant example of style over substance, and that the spitfire vocals of motormouth mic-slinger Oli Peters, impressive though they might be, are little more than a gimmick designed to disguise the group’s lack of finesse in the songwriting department.

Well, it appears that the band must have taken some of these criticisms under advisement when putting together their new album, as this is one area in particular where Relentless Mutation improves upon its predecessor in leaps and bounds.

Sep 182017

 

(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Chelsea Wolfe, which will be released by Sargent House on September 22.)

With a Burzum cover early in her career Chelsea Wolfe gained a solid following in the metal community. Her brand of gloomy folk rock was dark enough to keep them listening. Gradually this darkness grew denser and began to cross over into a more metal-influenced sound on Abyss. Her newest album takes it even a step further into metal.

On her last album the bass was fuzzed enough to give it a doom-like heft. Now the guitar is assuming a more metallic role. Production-wise, this recalls her older work, in the sense that her voice is mixed with ghostly effects against the guitar. Tempo-wise, it is very much in a doom/sludge direction.

“16 Psyche” finds the guitars kicking the door down, then backing off for her to sing, then it comes back around to the verses. “Vex” summons up more intensity in the drive of the song and finds Aaron Turner’s growled vocals coming into the background toward the end of the song.

Sep 182017

 

I had a busier than usual weekend that left me little time for NCS, and so I wasn’t able to compile a SHADES OF BLACK post yesterday. I did spend some time here and there exploring new music, and it occurred to me that the collection you’re about to hear would make for an interesting playlist to start the week.

I don’t know whether you will find this as interesting as I did, but I chose these songs and the order in which you’ll hear them in order to juxtapose very different sounds, alternating between extremely heavy, harrowing music and music whose emotional effect is more sublime, or more uplifting. (Thanks to Miloš for links that led to most of these discoveries.)

SAND WITCH

I chose to lead off with the Vancouver sludge/funeral-doom band Sand Witch, because the first song from their new demo (“The Cushion of Roosevelt’s Wheelchair“) itself provides a dramatic contrast that kind of encapsulates what I tried to do in arranging everything in this post. It moves from a slow, reverberating, elegiac guitar instrumental that’s beautiful and mesmerizing… to a shockingly heavy and abrasive apocalypse of sound, also slow, but soul-shuddering in its brute intensity.

Sep 162017

 

(Andy Synn is playing catch-up in a furious torrent, with brief reviews and streams of music from 12 striking 2017 albums.  Open wide… dine like queens and kings.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again)… the vast array of music now available at the touch of a button is both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you look at it.

And while I generally celebrate the fact that I’m now able to search out and discover music from all around the world with an ease that’s quite mind-boggling when you think about it, the sheer plethora of albums clamouring for my attention means there’s simply not enough hours in the day to give them all the attention they deserve.

As a consequence of this, my “to do” list has swollen to a frankly rather distressing size over the last 4-5 months, so I’ve made an executive decision to clear my slate a little bit by pulling together twelve albums, which we’ve thus far failed to cover properly here at NCS, into one collective round-up.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?

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