(Wil Cifer reviews what may be the final studio album by a band named Iron Maiden.)
Iron Maiden is right behind Black Sabbath when it comes being one of the most revered classic metal bands of all time. This is for good reason, as they have maintained tons of integrity over the years, even if they did break down and use keyboards and made the poor choice of trying to replace Bruce with Blaze. Line-up changes and tweaks to nuances in their sound aside, in the bigger picture of their legacy, they have never really whored themselves out by appearing on American Idol, which sadly is something Rob Halford cannot say. So for me the bar is held really high when it comes to this band, and if you have any questions as to my devotion, all I need say is that I have The Number of the Beast album cover tattooed on my left forearm… what do you got? So I have been upping the Irons since 1984.
Going into this album, the trepidation I had in regard to how it would uphold their legacy was due to the Dickinson’s much publicized battle with throat cancer and how that would affect his voice. Then there was the cowbell-infected lead single off the album, “Speed of Light”, which might have quelled my fears of “will Bruce still have it” and replaced them with “will this album be filled with cheesy rock n roll”?
Mgła ‘s new album Exercises In Futility crept up upon us, like some stealthy night creature. One day, not long ago, there was simply an announcement out of nowhere that it was finished and would be released, and a song appeared. And then this weekend it pounced for all to see (and hear).
The album was to be streamed publicly for the first time on the day of its release, but then some asshole leaked it, and the band then promptly decided on Saturday to upload all of it for streaming on YouTube. The cause may have been deplorable, but the action was like a gift to those of us who relished their first two albums and have been impatient to hear this one.
I encourage you to read the lyrics before listening to the album. Apart from the insights they provide into the music itself, they are as fascinating, as well-formed, and as harrowing in their poetry as what you will hear.
One reason I’m perpetually far behind in my planned reviews is a tendency to unexpectedly and impulsively get caught up and carried away by new music. That’s what happened this afternoon.
I was just about to start writing something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time when I noticed that a friend had sent me a link to a stream of a forthcoming EP entitled Pedicabo Mundi by a band from Providence, Rhode Island, named Sangus. I decided to delay my other project just long enough to listen to the EP’s first song. I mean, that first track was less than three minutes long — how could that hurt?
Man, that first song hit me like a lightning bolt, and with all my nerve endings twitching like mad, I damned well couldn’t turn away, now could I? And so I listened to the rest of the EP, and then listened again, and then began flailing away at this write-up.
(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.