Nov 232014

 

Vyrju began as the one-man project of Norwegian musician Jan F. Lindsø, but Vyrju’s debut EP Black also features session drums and clean vocals by Tim Yatras (Germ, Austere, ex-Nazxul, ex-Woods of Desolation). I’m a fan of Tim Yatras, and it was his participation in the recording that originally attracted me to it — well, that and the three big skulls on the EP’s cover, of course.

In a word, Black is captivating. The melodies in each of the four songs, with the exception of the short instrumental piece “Gone”, have a sombre and even depressive air, but they’re memorable and often beautiful in their own grim, ravaged way. 

Nov 212014

 

(DGR reviews the debut EP by Kunstzone.)

There are a couple of names that I expect to see whenever an industrial metal project slides across ye old NCS promo desk. If it comes from one of those names, then I immediately start looking for the other batch — because if the name Alex Rise seems familiar to you and you’ve been following NCS then you know of his Tyrant Of Death project, and there’s a circle of musicians around him that seem determined to crossbreed into as many different projects as there are available combinations, most of which tend to be heavy on the electronic noise and programmed drums.

One of the more commonly observed names is an enigmatic entity named Candy — who has gone to tremendous lengths to hide its identity — responsible partly for President Streetwalker (which to this day remains the earliest I have ever gotten in on the ground floor for a band), the noisy as all hell Khaozone, and a myriad of other works including contributions to T.o.D vocalist Lucem Fero (Omar)’s own solo releases.

Nov 212014

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new third album by the Israeli band Prey For Nothing.)

First, you should go check out my previous article on this band where I gave an overview of their music, as well as band-authorized downloads of their first two albums. I’d like to not waste time on the typical introductory shit today.

Melodic death metal nowadays really does need to be two things if it wants to be relevant and interesting. It needs depth, and it needs songwriting. While we’ve definitely seen this in the doom-driven aspect of the scene, every other approach to it has been more often than not done rather halfheartedly, much to my disappointment. Prey For Nothing definitely have the depth and the songwriting, taking their brand of Schuldiner-drenched melodic death-dealing proficiency to a new level of intricacy.

Nov 202014

 

(Here we have DGR’s review of the highly anticipated new album by Bloodbath.)

There is a knee-jerk reaction provoked by the name Bloodbath, an impulse to instantly want to like what the group are putting forth. At this point, there is a part of me which loves that Bloodbath have as much hype surrounding them as they do,  while likewise also recognizing that the group have become something of an institution.

For some people, they were the first real deep introduction to traditional death metal — especially if you were one of those listeners who checked out the band because a bunch of Katatonia and Opeth band members were in the mix. Not only that, but as something of a tribute act, Bloodbath were also stunningly consistent with their sound. They’re experienced professional musicians already, so there’s none of the sense that they have been stumbling into what they’re doing — they know already.

They know how to write it, and because of that, when you’re listening to Bloodbath you’re hearing a group who are really good at throwing us back to the past when death metal was a dark and disgusting monster that people were scared of — the type of music that was a horror movie incarnate.

Nov 192014

 

Musical inspiration comes from a wide array of sources. Taken as a whole, it reflects all life experiences, emotions, and thoughts, from the most mundane to the most mystical. In the case of the Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, the music emanates from a desire to invoke Chaos through the unleashing of Lvciferian energies.

It exists as a spiritual devotional, as a path toward self-realization, as a channeling of dark, liberating powers to listeners enslaved by a materialistic world, with each song — the music and the lyrics — constituting a ritual for the summoning of arcane forces. Thy Darkened Shade is a bringer of Promethean fire, the stunning music a means of achieving transformation.

To be clear, I’m not saying I personally know all of this to be true (though the ritual character of the album, beginning with its brief introductory track, is hard to miss). Instead, I’m trying to summarize what I’ve read in interviews of Semjaza, the man who created all the music on their new album Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet (with others participating in the vocals and the drums) — one interview we published (here) and an even more involved one here. These explanations manifest the inspiration for this music.

As for the music itself, one need not be as serious a student of the occult as Semjaza (and he is quite serious indeed) to appreciate the remarkable achievement of Liber Lvcifer I. You just need ears to hear, an open mind, and a lot of time — because there’s no way you’ll be satisfied listening to this 78-minute opus just once.

Nov 182014

 

(DGR reviews the new album by Italy’s Hideous Divinity, which is out now via Unique Leader.)

The tree of the Italian super-fast death metal scene, as it has currently come into focus, is one that has so many branches that have crossed over with one another that photos of it could be turned into logos for other death metal bands. It is also one that has been intensely vibrant, dropping new seeds and allowing new trees to form underneath it, becoming slight permutations of the initial home from whence they came.

The section that houses bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse and Hour Of Penance is one that has seen groups not only founded off of each other, but also exchanging musicians time and time again. People have left and rejoined and likewise gone off to form their own groups. Despite making conscious efforts to be clear of that musical style, some of the offshoot bands can’t seem to help themselves and go back to the super-fast, intensely brutal branch of death metal from which they sprouted.

Nov 182014

 

(Not long ago Andy Synn reviewed all the full-length albums of The Flight of Sleipnir leading up to their new release — and today he reviews that one.)

If there’s one word that comes to mind when listening to V., the fifth album by blackened bards The Flight of Sleipnir, it’s… refined.

The duo have taken the strongest elements of their previous four albums, filtered them, purified them, and distilled their central essence into fluid, musical form.

The seven songs which make up V. are, on average, longer and more intricate than on previous albums, with a greater sense of light and shade than ever before, their hidden depths and subtle secrets concealed beneath waves of gleaming melody and brilliant metallic clarity.

Nov 172014

 

(DGR reviews the debut album released last month by Woccon from Athens, Georgia).

While I was driving home from work today, two drops of rain hit my car. I know, because I counted them — which, given the current weather conditions trying to turn Sacramento into the Sahara desert via drought, means that I basically drove through a veritable hurricane. That, coupled with the hint of grey sky and the glorious ton of fog that blanketed the highway, pretty much signaled my seasonal shift in music reviewing. I’m probably not the only person in the world who does this (keeping in mind that six-billion-plus people roam this rock), but as Sacramento shifts between its two seasons — from too fucking hot to too fucking cold — I find that my tastes tend to change and I start to seek out some slower, darker, and doomier material, and the reviews come easier because of that.

We love us some melodic doom metal here at NCS, as evidenced by our coverage of bands like Daylight Dies, Aetherian, Mist Of Nihil, Enshine, October Tide, In Mourning, and even Insomnium’s slower stuff, just to raffle off a handful of bands, and Athens, Georgia-based Woccon have been a recent newcomer to that fold. We actually included a track from Woccon’s debut EP on our gigantic list of Most Infectious Songs Of 2013, and the wait for Solace In Decay has been a long one.

Woccon formed out of a common love of a group of influences in the melo-doom genre (for lack of a better term — I’ve seen “Ethereal Doom” bandied about and kind of like the idea, but only for the bands who feel more like they were born in frozen-over forests). When a band like Woccon put out a disc like Solace In Decay though, as a metal fan it feels like you need to take notice. Even as the group’s first full album after a string of demos and EPs, the band have released something that doesn’t make the mistake a lot of bands in this genre commit — sounding like a group whose influences are clear and just acting those out, putting checks in boxes and praying at the proper altars.  Instead, Solace In Decay is the sound of a band who have found their place within the doom genre and seek to share that sweet, beautiful misery from a place you wouldn’t ordinarily expect.

Nov 162014

 

There is no disguising this. It’s all right in your face, like a brain-damaged, starving wolverine thrown in your face. With very few exceptions, it goes like a jet-fueled, turbocharged, bat-winged, red-eyed, race from start to finish. It’s the latest release from the venerable Morbosidad, and they still show no mercy.

Morbosidad have been shaking the foundations of extreme metal since about 1993, releasing a host of splits and EPs as well as four albums.  This latest release, with a new lineup recruited by founding vocalist Tomas Stench, is a four-song EP named Tortura that will be released by Nuclear War Now! on December 15. On the final track, it features a guest appearance by Chris Reifert of Autopsy. It kicks all the asses.

Nov 152014

 

After two albums in 2012 and 2103, Denver’s In the Company of Serpents have blessed this year with a new EP, set for release on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. It’s stupefyingly heavy and viciously catchy, and although its title is Merging Into Light, the merger seems to be happening in the last brief instant before the glimmer is extinguished and everything goes dark.

The music is tank-like in the roll of its mechanics, the guitar and bass chords so distorted and sludgy that it seems like an experiment in the most efficient means of sonic spinal compression, the drum strikes so powerful that they come down like a pile-driver on concrete. The effect is near-cataclysmic. But oh man, the groove is so dominant — these are neck-grabbing songs that will bend your head up and down to their will.

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