Tomasz Alen Kopera – “Ascension”
(TheMadIsraeli has some ideas and invites some feedback….)
So I haven’t written much lately, and I’m sure you all have noticed that. The last year was really rough for me personally, and it sapped away a lot of my energy and passion over time. I’ve come back swinging in a huge way all the way from the brink of a bad place last year, and now the current delay in my writing is due to me trying to get my life together and moving in a way I never have before.
With this new commitment to reshaping myself, I also want to recommit myself and redefine my tenure here at NCS and write the absolute best stuff I can for the site, provide the best content I can possibly muster, and I hope get back to my old borderline inhuman output. For now, instead of trying to churn out piece after piece, I am focusing on making what I write count and be super-substantial. I want to recommit myself to my original goal of writing about music that is nothing short of borderline perfect for me, and I have been recapturing my passion for metal quite quickly as of late.
photo by Tim Flach
In the 5+ years NCS has been alive, we’ve failed to post something new on only four days (including weekends and holidays). Yesterday was the fourth missed opportunity. You may be wondering what produced this tragedy. I thought about just using this excuse.
In reality, it was crunch time for the project at my fucking day job that has kept me on the U.S. east coast for the last three weeks. I got three hours sleep the night before, and the hours when I was awake allowed no time for me to even format and post what other people have written — apologies to everyone who wrote things to help keep the site from going dark and have been wondering why it went dark anyway.
Every November here at NCS we renew a few year-end traditions that have been a part of our site since the early days, and I thought now would be a good time for a reminder, since we depend on our readers for help in rolling them out.
First of all, we’re approaching another birthday for our putrid site. We made our first post on November 21, 2009, and by resorting to higher math with the aid of a calculator, I’ve determined that in 10 days we will be five years old! We won’t need your help with that celebration when the blessed day arrives — we’re capable of patting ourselves on the back all by ourselves. We do accept presents; cash is preferred.
Second, we will soon be starting our year-end LISTMANIA series. There are three parts to that endeavor: We publish year-end lists of metal’s best albums that we find on certain “big platform” websites and zines; we publish year-end lists by our own staff writers and by special guests; and we provide a platform for our readers to post their own lists of favorite releases from the year that’s nearing an end.
We’ll need your help on that last part, so put your thinking caps on and start winnowing down what you’ve heard into the best of the best — we’ll invite you to start sharing your lists in about 2 weeks.
(We welcome guest writer Grant Skelton who delivers this opinion piece on the impact of social media on metal.)
When I was about 6 years old, I can distinctly remember seeing Pantera’s music video for “Cemetery Gates” late one night on MTV. At the time, it was unlike anything I had heard. It was beautiful balladry and at the same time auditory madness. And I had to hear it again. And again.
In the 80’s and 90’s, you knew a band had “made it” when you saw their music video on MTV. It was MTV or bust. There was no other option. Many a metalhead during this period would stay up into the wee hours of the morning, VHS tape primed and ready, to record their favorite band’s brand new video. If you didn’t, you might not see it again for another week… or maybe not at all.
You couldn’t pull your phone out of your pocket, swipe the screen, and open your YouTube app. You couldn’t Google it. You just had to sit and languish for seven more days while all of your friends at school gave accolades to the video that you were too lame to see. If you were lucky, one of your friends might lend you the VHS tape that they had recorded. Hopefully they remembered to put down their beer long enough use the tracking knob.
(We welcome our guest Jeff from Life In the Vinyl Lane, who will be reporting on the Iceland Airwaves festival in the near future.)
This is Jeff from the Life in the Vinyl Lane blog, coming to you from the land of the midnight sun and black metal, Oslo, Norway. I’d asked Islander if I could send a dispatch from this year’s version of Iceland Airwaves, which is just around the corner, and while I was at it I figured I’d tell you a bit about what’s out there for metal fans who might be visiting Oslo, since we stopped off here prior to the festival.
Now, to be fair, at least 99% of the No Clean Singing readers are probably bigger and/or more knowledgeable metal fans than I am. Let’s get that out there right from the start. I came of age in the early 1980s, back when you couldn’t turn on MTV without seeing Quiet Riot and Mötley Crüe videos in regular rotation, before metal was ghettoized into “Headbangers Ball”. So while I discovered the genre in the 80s, I didn’t advance too much past there — the hardest stuff on my shelves are the classics like Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Slayer, and most of the bands featured on No Clean Singing are new to me, with the notable exception of Iceland’s Sólstafir. Maybe that makes me a tourist here. I don’t know.
Be that as it may, I knew that since we were spending a few days in Oslo prior to Iceland Airwaves this year, I owed it to myself to check out Norway’s black metal scene, and some quick research indicated that the one “must visit” stop on the trip was Neseblod Records.
According to Metal-Archives, Cleveland-based Nunslaughter have released more than 140 recordings, only four of which have been full-length albums, the rest mostly consisting of splits, EPs, and live albums. Hells Headbangers is releasing two more splits this fall, and I spent some time with both of them this past weekend.
In this split with a relatively new Chilean band named Perversor, Nunslaughter contribute two tracks — “Impure Thoughts” and “Bless the Dead”. “Impure Thoughts” is a thick, black, boiling cauldron of riff liquor, a mix of d-beat rhythms, skin-flaying black thrash, and grisly corpse-crawling death metal. “Bless the Dead” switches up the beats and the styles, too, and at its core is a head-wrecking chug-stomp, catchy as fuck and impurified with a wash of vocal pollutants. The songs are gone before you know it, but it’s a sweet trip while it lasts.
You’re going to see some temporary changes here at NCS over the next 10 days, and I thought I’d explain why.
I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m trying to do too much. Partly because of increasing demands on my day job, and partly because NCS has just gotten way busier than it used to be, I can’t do everything at the site that I’d ideally like to do. Something has to give.
I spend a big chunk of time every day reading e-mails and scouring the internet for metal news and for new song and video premieres, and then every day (or every other day) I spend more time writing about at least a few of the new discoveries that I think are worth sharing. I also write about new songs or videos that we ourselves have agreed to premiere. And I do other shit that doesn’t involve my own writing at all.
All of this has left me little time for reviewing new albums and EPs. My NCS comrades do their part, but we don’t make review assignments here — everyone writes about what they want to write about. And we’re diverse enough in our tastes that what I want to write about often doesn’t get reviewed at all if I don’t do it.
(DGR compiled this round-up of news items and music, the theme of which you will figure out… because you’re a geek.)
Ovid’s Withering are releasing a chiptune interpretation of their album Scryers Of The Ibis at the end of the month and calling it Scryers Of The Ibits. It’s being done by a guy named Josh Foreman. Right now the only available pre-order is 50 bucks because you get a poster, the original Scryers, the 8-bit version, A Shirt, and a 7″ sculpture. All physical goods on top of the downloads.
Right now, they’re streaming “Murder To Dissect”, which we named as one of last year’s Most Infectious — so thats a good start — and “Acheron”, another really good track. I’m curious as to how “Panikon Deima” is going to handle the “PANIKON DEEEEIMA….TERMINUS!” yelling section. Also, it has a new intro.
Here are a couple of North American tours announced this morning that I thought were worth spreading around. The music in the two tours lies on divergent ends of the metal spectrum, but both shows should be excellent.
CARNIVAL OF DEATH 2014
This death metal blockbuster is co-headlined by Suffocation and Kataklysm, with Suffocation closing the shows on the US dates and Kataklysm playing the final sets in the Canadian shows. Accompanying those two heavyweight acts on this tour will be Jungle Rot, Pyrexia, and Internal Bleeding.
As the poster up there indicates, the tour schedule hasn’t been announced yet.
Now, changing gears…
(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli would like your assistance in helping him decide what to write about.)
So I’ve been thinking about who to do for the next Higher Criticism series and it’s been rather difficult. I’ve decided to poll all of you for your opinions, based on the bands I’m considering, since the series seems to be rather well-liked and I’m curious to see what results I get.
The bands in the running for consideration are…
Old Man’s Child
Pain of Salvation
Of course, I also want other suggestions if you can think of any. If you’re interested in doing that, there are specific criteria I have in mind to make this legitimately interesting. The requirements for a Higher Criticism series are as follows…