May 262017

 

(Andy Synn reviews the debut album by Wrath From Above, released in February by Apathia Records.)

99% of the time when you see Russia mentioned in the media these days, it’s invariably something bad. Whether it’s the annexing of the Crimea, the potential involvement/collusion of Russian interests in influencing the outcome of the US election, or just seeing a topless Putin riding a tiger… it’s never pretty.

Thankfully, Wrath From Above are capable of bucking that trend with aplomb, and their debut album, Beyond Ruthless Cold, is one scintillating (hyper)blast of pure sonic savagery.

May 242017

 

The latest edition of Roadburn Festival took place at Tilburg, The Netherlands, on April 20-23, 2017, and L.A.-based photographer extraordinaire Levan TK was there to capture the performances on film.

We are fortunate to bring you some of his amazing photos, divided among the days of the festival, with his photos from the first day in this post.

P.S. Levan was quick to get us these photos. The delay in sharing them is entirely the fault of our half-wit editor, who will be flogged in public at a location to be announced.

May 232017

 

We have a double-premiere for you in this post, both of which have stirred excitement here at the NCS metallic island. The first of these is the stream of a powerful new two-song EP by the Norwegian melodic black metal band Vinterbris, set for release on June 6th, the title of which is Ad Absurdum. And the second, which was inspired by the first, is a time-lapse video of the wonderful Norwegian artist Kim Holm that depicts his creation of the EP’s evocative wrap-around cover art.

In 2014 we wrote repeatedly about Vinterbris‘ superb second album Solace. What first drew our attention to the album even before hearing the music was the artwork that Kim Holm created for that album. In addition to a cover piece, Holm created separate illustrations for each song on the album (which we collected in one place here). Having been lured into the album by this artwork, we found the music to be a treasure as well. We even included a song from Solace on our list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

And now we will face the challenge of deciding which of these two new songs to pick for the 2017 edition of that list — because both songs surge with infectious energy, both of them immediately appealing at the first listen, and both of them persistently boiling in the listener’s mind long after they end.

May 232017


Acherontas V. Priest

 

(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three superb 2017 albums by Acherontas (Greece), Dødsengel (Norway), and Hetroertzen (Chile/Sweden), and provides full streams of the music from all three as well.)

When people talk about the background and historical impact of Black Metal, the majority of the praise and prestige is given to the genre’s Norwegian progenitors… and rightly so, as this is, ultimately, where the first seeds were sown.

But focussing entirely on Norway doesn’t tell the whole story. After all, not only is Black Metal these days a worldwide phenomenon, it’s also one with global roots, and, as its influence has spread, different countries and different localities have all given birth to their own particular variants on the style.

The three bands featured here – one from Greece, one from Norway, and one from Chile/Sweden – all epitomise, in their own particular way, the eclectic, exotic, face of Black Metal today, so it only seemed fitting to me to group them all together under one black banner.

May 182017

 

Part 1 of this late-week round-up can be found here. I’m still not finished throwing recommendations your way, but Part 3 will have to wait until tomorrow. They’re closing the door on my airplane now.

INTEGRITY

Yesterday Integrity released an official video for “I Am The Spell“, a track off their new (12th) album Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume, which is described as “a conceptual foretelling of the final days of Armageddon”. It will be released by Relapse on July 14th. The lyrics tell you a lot about the sound of this new track:

May 172017

 

Soulskinner is a Greek death metal band with a storied history, one that stretches back to 1997 when the band was formed under the name Terra Tenebrae. Although line-up changes have occurred, the band is still anchored by vocalist Gothmog and guitarist Bill Zobolas (“EL“), both of whom have also been fixtures in the ranks of Thou Art Lord, and for their new fourth album they’re joined by drummer Kostas Savvidis, guitarist Spyros Triantafyllou, and bassist Costas Analytis.

That new fourth album is Descent To Abaddon, and in advance of its May 22nd release by Xtreem Music, we have a stream of the entire album for your enjoyment.

May 172017

 

(Andy Synn once again focuses on recent or forthcoming releases by bands from his native land, this time selecting releases by Belial, Drekavac, and Monolithian.)

Breaking with convention ever so slightly, this edition of “The Best of British” is focussed on EPs, rather than albums, providing you with a hand-picked triptych of short, but oh-so-sweet, metallic morsels to devour at your leisure.

BELIALNIHIL EST

Punishing Deathcore with a pronounced Technical edge, the sophomore EP by these Swindon-based savages is a crushing conglomeration of coiled riffs, convulsive rhythms, and cascading electronics — plus the occasional bone-shattering breakdown – that should appeal to anyone who considers themselves a fan of All Shall Perish, Fit For An Autopsy, and their ilk.

May 162017

 

(TheMadIsraeli wrote this review of the new album by the Spanish band Moonloop, released in March.)

Moonloop are one of those bands whose existence feels like a justification for the underground metal scene. I’m not talking about underground in the mainstream sense, of course — not the Suffocation’s or the Immolation’s of the world — but the really obscure “you have to be a sad sap who does nothing but scour the Internet for cool album art and weird-sounding band names to judge your listening off of” sort of underground.

We’ve sorta mentioned Moonloop on this site once or twice back in 2012 courtesy of posts Islander made, but we haven’t ever given these guys their due and just coverage, and their newest record Devocean, which came out back in March, is as good a place as any to start.

May 162017

 

(Wil Cifer wrote this review of the new album by Loss, which will be released by Profound Lore on May 19.)

The Tennessee mongers of funereal doom have returned with a long-awaited album. This one has been years coming, and the growth made since their first album is evident. While some things have changed, the core of what you might have liked on Despond is present, but the production is much fuller and shows they have gone the extra mile to expand their sound.

I personally came across this band when they were opening for Agalloch and was struck by the clean guitar tone that uttered out such sad phrasing. Those sounds are intact but the tones sometimes shift into something heavier, yet they still retain the sonic properties.

May 152017

 

(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by the Polish band Loathfinder, released near the end of April by Godz Ov War Productions.)

Never underestimate the power of some eye-catching artwork… I mean, just look at that cover art… the rotten, roughly-sketched lines, the gritty, granular colour-scheme, the subtle suggestion of oozing, necrotic motion… how can you not want to find out more when confronted with an image like that?

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