(In this post Grant Skelton reviews the new album by Germany’s Ahab.)
I am someone who is relatively new to the Ahab fold. NCS reader blend77 recommended the band to me last year when I was just beginning my descent into the subterranean mausoleum of doom metal lore. Ahab’s 2006 debut The Call Of The Wretched Sea remains their crowning achievement in the minds of many. Nevertheless, I began my exploration of their music with The Giant, the band’s third album released in 2012. From there, I worked my way backward to their 2009 offering The Divinity Of Oceans. I finished with The Call…, which I mentioned above.
Ahab loyalists are aware of the band’s devotion to nautical and marine literature. But if you’re new to Ahab, then you might like to know that their albums are each based on books relating to the ocean. As a writer, this fact immediately enticed me about the band’s music. You see, sometimes metal is like a Z-grade horror film. Sometimes you just want to lay back on your couch, turn on the television, and zone out. You’ve got your trusty go-to food-and-beverage combo while you’re enamored by Transdimensional Transgendered Zombies From Planet Squiddleboxtoastmeat or some other nugget of modern cinematic camp. Plenty of metal bands cater to that particular appetite and I’ve enjoyed my share.
But Ahab needs to be absorbed and mulled over. You certainly can listen to them passively as background noise. But to do so results in an insipid listening experience. That would cause you to miss out on all that Ahab have to offer, particularly on their new album The Boats Of The Glen Carrig. It is an album that must be plunged into headfirst without hesitation. You must follow them on their descent into aquatic oblivion, much like the fate of their namesake. The further down you go, the less you will see. The less you see, the more you will find.
(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by The Black Dahlia Murder.)
If Everblack was BDM’s darkest record, Abysmal is the band’s brightest, brimming with a raw, incendiary energy that calls back to the band’s early days of Unhallowed and Miasma. With a distinctly higher quotient of Arsis-isms in the riffs (undoubtedly due to Ryan Knight’s influence) and an overall recommitment to the band’s love of pedal-point-intensive harmonized riffing, Abysmal is to these ears a refreshing record.
I felt Everblack was less melodic death metal, and more of a death metal album that had melodic parts in it, which I think was the band’s goal at the time. I thought and still think it’s in fact the band’s best record, and while Abysmal doesn’t hit the sweet spot for me that Everblack did, that may be because Abysmal just isn’t punching my personal preference buttons hard enough. That’s not intended to detract from the fact that it’s a great record, among so many others that BDM have produced over the years.
(Grant Skelton presents his review of the new album by Broken Flesh — along with our premiere of a full-album stream.)
Broken Flesh formed in 2004 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They released their first album Forever In Flames in 2009 on black metal label Sullen Records (now defunct). On Forever In Flames, the band performed as a three-piece with Kevin Tubby handling guitar and vocals, additional guitar by Steve Maxwell, and Brandon Lopez on drums. Forging a strong DIY ethic, Broken Flesh followed up that album with an independent EP called Stripped, Stabbed and Crucified in 2012. The EP was the band’s only release to feature Ricky Puckett on vocals. Jacob Mathes took over as the band’s bassist and backup vocalist.
Over the next year, the band adjusted their lineup, honing their sound and perfecting their craft. While guitarist Kevin Tubby and drummer Brandon Lopez remained constant, Jacob took over lead vocals, with Joshua Mathes stepping in on bass. The musical seeds they began to sew on Stripped, Stabbed and Crucified manifested in 2013. That year, the band birthed Warbound. Their evolution was complete. In the span of only one year, Broken Flesh’s songwriting metamorphosed into a repulsive death metal scourge devoid of mercy… a wanton and sadistic lash with which to flagellate their listeners and fans.
Warbound saw Broken Flesh ascend from sepulchral obscurity. After its release, they played a hometown show with Rockstar Energy’s Mayhem Festival and Mexico’s Exodo Fest. In 2014, the band gave live audiences the pleasure of hearing new material written after Warbound. Broken Flesh attracted the attention of Luxor Records, and Luxor re-released Warbound in January. The new album was produced by Nick Morris of As They Sleep (who also have new material in the pipeline). The track “Hell” features a guest solo from Morris.
Now, No Clean Singing is proud to offer an exclusive stream of Broken Flesh’s new self-titled album in advance of its September 4 release date.
Paroxysm is the name of the new EP by Plague Rider. The Oxford English Dictionary, which seems like the appropriate reference source since Plague Rider hail from the former mother ship, alternately defines “paroxysm” as “a sudden strong feeling or expression of an emotion that cannot be controlled” and “a sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity”. With a name like that as an EP title, you don’t expect ambient drone. And as you’re about to find out, the EP lives up to its name.
You will find out, because today we’re premiering a full stream of all four songs on Paroxysm. Like the EP’s name, the song titles are also suggestive — “Retrovirus”, “Occidite”, “Hydrophobe”, and “Prion”, most of them referring to infectious, lethal agents. In a word, all the songs are remarkable (as well as lethal).
(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by My Dying Bride.)
Type-O Negative might have gotten bigger with their more Goth-infused brand of doom in the ’90s, but My Dying Bride brought the dismal darkness in a heavier and more mournful fashion. They started off with more death metal in the mix and evolved from there. This album is another step.
Aaron Stainthorpe’s voice is the only trademark of the band in the opener until it slows down at the two-and-half-minute mark. The violin feels a tad toned-down in the mix. Each song becomes a little more identifiable as the death metal vocals return on the second song. They are layered atop an up-beat metal gallop that slows into the dirges they are known for.
(In this post DGR reviews the new release by Chicago’s Mechina.)
Mechina are a band whom I’ve learned to stop trying to figure out. They’ve somehow evolved into superhuman musicians who can seemingy do no wrong when it comes to putting out quality music. They’ve consistently kept to a yearly release schedule, and recently have even added a single release mid-way through the year — and those have become huge efforts in their own right. I keep waiting for them to slip, but it seems that somehow the people behind Mechina are absolutely tireless as well as immensely talented.
The Mechina singles are some of the longest songs the band have written and are the musican’s equivelent of a short story — which is odd to say when it comes to music, but given that the band have created their own universe and continually add to it, it isn’t hard to see the band’s brand of symphonic/industrial/groove/death metal starting to become like sitting down with a storyteller and letting them entrance you with another tale.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Advent Sorrow from Perth, Australia.)
Every so often a band you like makes an unexpected shift in sound, transforming that “like” into outright “love”. And that’s precisely what Advent Sorrow have done with their new album, As All Light Leaves Her, shedding the symphonic grandeur that permeated their debut EP in favour of an all-round darker and more desperate form of borderline DSBM-style sonic despair.
It’s not a complete paradigm shift, of course, as this extra layer of grim(e) was already apparent on Like a Moth to a Flame, the stand-alone single they released last year. But As All Light Leaves Her takes things a step further into the murk and mire, resulting in an album of bleak, harrowing melody and torturous metallic agony that errs closer to the sound of Infestus or early Shining than it does the more dramatic Dimmu Borgir-isms with which the band first made their name.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a one-of-a-kind town in a remarkably beautiful location. I’ve been fortunate to visit there three or four times over the span of my ancient life, but I couldn’t recall coming across any Santa Fe metal bands until I was introduced to Dysphotic about a month ago. What I heard then was a single called “All Consuming” that the band had released in advance of their debut EP, Chaos Terrain, and I really enjoyed it. And that led to this:
On August 29, Dysphotic will officially release Chaos Terrain, and we’re now giving you the chance to hear it in advance through our full stream of all the songs. And you really should make time to listen. Here’s why:
Back in May of this year we premiered a full stream of the first release by a new label named Redefining Darkness Records — an excellent EP by Vintage Warlords — and today we’re bringing you a full stream of the label’s second release. This one is a self-titled monster by the Cleveland band From the Hellmouth, which is set for release on August 28.
You have to hand it to this group for coming up with a band name that so accurately represents their sound. They also made wise moves in both illustrating the album with the masterful art of Zdzisław Beksiński and also having Alan Cassidy of The Black Dahlia Murder record the drums on this debut EP. Cassidy’s performance is absolutely decimating — a machine-precise, turbocharged, eye-popping percussive demolition project.
But the songs really demanded someone of Cassidy’s skill to complement all of the other head-spinning, utterly savage performances on the EP. The songs generally fly hard and fast, one blast after another of pugilistic riffs mixed with grisly tremolo-picked swarms, segmented by booming grooves that will both get your head moving (and loosen it from your spine).
(Andy Synn reviews the debut album by Myrkur.)
Let’s get this out of the way nice and early shall we? Yes, controversy (some groundless, some deserved) has certaintly dogged the name Myrkur since it first appeared on everyone’s radar last year. Barbs were thrown, aspersions were cast… mistakes were made. By both sides.
But honestly, I really don’t care about that. I’m not here to question or criticise anyone’s marketing strategy, nor am I prepared to wade into the sticky mire of “he said/she said” that made up a large amount of the internet’s reaction to the inevitable reveal.
No, all I’m interested in is whether Amalie Bruun, the head and heart and the soul of Myrkur, truly grasps the essence of Black Metal or not, and whether she has the vision and the execution to match her ambition.
Spoiler alert – she does.