Nov 172017

 

(In this post we present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Italy’s The Clearing Path, set for release next month by I, Voidhanger Records, and the premiere of album track “Stargazer Monolith“.)

 

Way back in the hallowed era known as… 2015… a hitherto unknown artist by the name of Gabriele Gramaglia came out of nowhere to deliver what I still believe was one of the best Black Metal albums of the year, Watershed Between Earth and Firmament by The Clearing Path.

In the two years since its release …Firmament (and its similarly stellar companion EP Abyss Constellation) has remained in pretty much constant rotation in my daily/weekly/monthly listening habits, providing me with a regular dose of frenetic riffing, frenzied drum work, and tumultuous atmosphere that never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

So you can perhaps imagine how excited I was to hear that the band’s second album, Watershed Between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea was scheduled for the release at the end of the year (December 8th, to be exact) and even more excited when the promo for it suddenly appeared in my inbox.

Nov 172017

 

(This is Andy Synn’s review of the performance by Norway’s Ulver at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on November 15, 2017.)

Despite the fact that Ulver are definitely not a Metal band by any measure (in fact they’ve not been a Metal band for so long that even stating that they’re “not a Metal band” seems utterly redundant at this point), I’m always happy to cover them here at NCS, whether on record, or in the live setting.

When people ask me “why” I keep covering them, particularly in the light of their most recent, shamelessly electro-pop turn, I always answer them in two ways:

Firstly, it’s entirely possible to make “Pop” friendly music which has both depth and substance. Yes, the majority of today’s big sellers may, in general, be the most vapid, soulless examples of “popular” music, but there’s still a rich legacy of acts and artists who have made a very successful career out of twisting and subverting the expectations of their audience in a variety of surprisingly clever ways.

Secondly… well, it’s Ulver, isn’t it? And if any band has earned my trust over the years, it’s them.

Which is why I recently found myself in Islington Assembly Hall watching the band perform material from their latest album, The Assassination of Julius Caesar.

Nov 172017

 

(Our New Zealand friend Craig Hayes (Six Noises) brings us his review of the new album by NZ’s Stalker, which will be released today by Napalm Records.)

The pressure’s definitely on speed metal trio Stalker to step up and deliver with their first full-length, Shadow of the Sword. The Wellington, New Zealand band have already made a huge impression, selling around 1,000 copies of their neck-wrecking Satanic Panic demo in 2016. That’s obviously a significant achievement for any band in this day and age, let alone one based in a far-flung corner of the world. There’s clearly an audience hungry for Stalker’s music, which explains why Napalm Records snapped the band up. There are a number of reasons why the band have proven to be so popular, and why the expectations for Shadow of the Sword are set so high.

Reason #1: Stalker’s guitarist, Chris Calavrias, once played in (the now defunct) high-speed power metal band Razorwyre. That name might not mean much if you’re a full-time guttural grunt aficionado, and Stalker certainly aren’t Razorwyre under a new guise. But Razorwyre’s blistering full-length debut, Another Dimension, met with a rousing reception at home and struck gold in Europe too.

Stalker also features ex-Razorwyre drummer Nick Oakes, whose meteoric percussion also added substantial power to much-loved NZ metalpunks Numbskull. Joining Calavrias and Oakes is powerhouse vocalist and bassist Daif King. And King’s pummeling bass and soaring Halford-worthy falsetto seals Stalker’s 666% TRVE METAL deal.

Nov 162017

 

(Our ally Gorger from Norway returns to our putrid neighborhood bearing gifts — four more underground gems from 2017, three of which we haven’t previously reviewed. To find more of his recommendations, type “Gorger” in our search bar or visit Gorger’s Metal.)

And so, a month did pass anew. That’s what you get when life finds its way of twisting and turning for a handsome young man. To the worse I might add.

Nah, who am I fooling. I’m neither young nor good looking. Fuck it. Time to drown ourselves in more tunes never before presented on No Clean Singing.

By the way, I’ve sunk to new depths, and enrolled with the herd of sheep. So for those who care to give a fuck, this cunt can also be found on Facebook now. With this self-advertisement I likely can’t get any lower, so let’s fire up the engines and soar into mighty metallic sceneries.

Nov 152017

 

Even if you think you have nothing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, you will on the day after that, because on that day Dark Descent will release the new EP by Thantifaxath, Void Masquerading As Matter. The odds are it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard, unless you’ve heard Sacred White Noise, and even then, this one pushes the envelope even further.

These songs are the children of Dionysus and Hermes, of Ares and Hades, of the Maniae and of Apollo. You could pick a different pantheon, but this is the one that sprang to my mind, because the music is orgiastic and ecstatic, mysterious and arcane, warlike and tortured, grand and funereal, and above all insanely creative — and simply insane. Thoughts of The Wild Hunt and George Gershwin sprang to mind, too.

It might be possible to parse these songs into their manifold musical ingredients, to map them in a blueprint, which no doubt would look labyrinthine, but I lack the musical knowledge and the word-smithing capability to do that adequately. And so, mainly, my thoughts are about the sensations of this sensational music.

Nov 142017

 

Rotting Kingdom is a new band from Lexington, Kentucky, that features current and former members of Tombstalker, whose music we’ve covered several times in the past. They’ve recorded a self-titled EP that is being released today, digitally and on tape, via Morbid Records, and we’re helping spread the word through the premiere of a full music stream.

The EP consists of three songs that entwine melodic doom and death metal to produce staggeringly bleak but seductive results, featuring beautifully bereaved dual-guitar performances, a crushing bass-and-drum tandem, and a vocalist whose growls are lower than ocean trenches.

Nov 142017

 

(TheMadIsraeli returns with another blast of fast recommendations, with music streams that will let you take the full plunge.)

Welcome back to rapid fire recommendations where I throw brief reviews or recommendations of albums that would have been reviewed already if we hadn’t been drowning in the metallic avalanche of 2017.

Deivos – Endemic Divine

Polish hyper-death titans Deivos have put out a killer death metal record bathed in rabies, bath salts, beefy guitars, schizophrenic riffs, and classically Polish militaristic technical drumwork.

Nov 142017

 

In this past Sunday’s edition of this series I mentioned that I had enough new recommendations to fill a two-part post, but wasn’t sure that I would have time to write the second part. Well, I did, and this is it.

Three of the recommendations are individual songs (one of which comes with a video). The other three are complete albums, accompanied by something less than full reviews, and one of those (the first one below) was a last-minute addition.

VRÅNGBILD

As mentioned, this first album wasn’t part of my original plan for this carry-over from Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK. I became aware of it on Sunday night through a recommendation from starkweather, who never steers me wrong. After listening to the first track on Bandcamp, I bought it immediately.

Nov 132017

 

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new fourth album by The Faceless, which will be released on December 1 by Sumerian Records.)

Talk to any writer worth their salt and they’ll tell you that, no matter how long they’ve been writing, the temptation to be the first to review something, to get your opinions out there before anyone else, never fully goes away.

But while there are certainly times where first impressions can be useful, it’s often better to let your thoughts marinate for a little while before committing them to paper (or, at least, to digital ink).

Now I’ve been lucky enough to have this album in my possession for a few months, meaning that I’ve had more time than most to digest the music contained therein. And while this doesn’t necessarily make my opinion “better” or more authoritative than anyone else’s, it does mean that I’ve been able to take a bit more of a long-term perspective, and so you can be sure that what you’re about to read is much more than just my first, fleeting impressions of an album that comes laden with a heck of a lot of baggage and some serious expectations to live up to.

Nov 102017

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Vitriol from Portland, Oregon, with a complete Bandcamp stream on the day of its release.)

Ted O’Neill of Oblivion tells me about this guy, Kyle Rasmussen, and his band Vitriol and says I should look into them, tells me he thinks they’re going to be a significant band to pay attention to. I get these recommendations all the time, and of course as a music journo or blogger of any sort your instant thought is to think someone’s just trying to signal-boost their friends. I still check those recommendations out, of course, because I’d be close-minded to take the cynical route. I hit up Kyle for his band’s debut EP and… it did not disappoint.

Vitriol hit a death metal note that’s not really been struck for a while now, that brand of out-of-control, rabid, and schizophrenic tech death some of us associate with the likes of Cryptopsy and Cephalic Carnage — structured delirium, organized chaos, encapsulated insanity.

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