a pleasant slumber
Hey there, happy Friday. I got back home late last night after a short out-of-town trip for my fucking day job. I didn’t write anything to post this morning before crawling into bed and sleeping like a dead man. By coincidence, none of our other regular writers sent me anything last night or this morning. So, basically, I got nothing right now.
I do have a very nice album premiere planned for today, but I haven’t finished writing it yet. In the meantime, rather than just have the site sit here with nothing on it except yesterday’s posts (as good as those are), I thought I’d try something out for a change — basically, the idea is to see if you’ll do my work for me.
One thing I haven’t managed to do this week is put together a round-up of new songs and videos. So, what I’d like to propose is this:
(Andy Synn interviews Runar Pettersen, press manager of the long-running Inferno Festival, which has been staged in Oslo, Norway, since 2001.)
To start with, I wonder if you’d be able to give our readers a bit of a condensed history and background to the festival, as I don’t always like to assume everyone who comes to our site necessarily knows the ins and outs of the festival scene, particularly in Europe. So when/why did the festival start, who was involved, what were the early years like?
It started out as a two day festival in 2001. The festival boss, Jan-Martin, used to run a small club called Mars here in Oslo, and used to book bands there. He wanted to book Borknagar for a gig (after he ran into guitarist Jens F. Ryland one day), and when they were looking into dates for the show, there happened to be an open spot on Easter at Rockefeller. So from this Borknagar gig came the idea to turn it into a two-day festival. There weren’t any similar festivals back then, only much smaller or much larger outdoor festivals, so it was very unique. Only Norwegian bands played the first year and, when it turned out to be a success, it was all set to continue on the next year.
(Father Synn has once again donned his cassock, dusted off his manual of medieval penance, and prepared himself to receive your abominable confessions.)
Greetings once again my loyal cadre of sinners and sycophants. What a joy it is to be here once more among you all, after last week’s unplanned absence!
I see more than a few familiar faces out there bearing a look of contrition and shame… or maybe that’s just the hangover kicking in. I know mine is.
So come, join me in another bout of confession and prayer… it’s good for the soul, don’t you know?
“Bloody Mary, full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for us now and at the hour of our death… which we all hope is soon…”
You may have noticed that over the last day and a half it has been difficult to connect to our site. You have probably been getting messages that tell you there has been an error establishing a database connection. Sometimes, with persistence, you can get through, and sometimes you can’t. The reason this is happening is… well… fuck if I know!!!
Your humble editor has spent significant amounts of time with our web host’s tech support people, who have given conflicting and inconsistent explanations and no useful advice about how to correct the problem. At one point they thought the issue was caused by the fact that our dedicated web server was running an out-of-date version of the MySQL database software. They upgraded that… and it didn’t help.
Then they informed me that we have been experiencing frequent spikes in the load on the server that it is unable to handle. Initially they had no explanation for that, but later told me that it appears we’re being deluged with spam comments. Our spam filter prevents them from appearing in the Comment sections, but they’re still incapacitating our server — at least that’s the best guess I was offered by those tech support people.
(NCS supporter and occasional contributor Grant Skelton is looking for help… )
Fellow NCS Comrades –
I was recently brought on board with Local X Radio, a station here in my hometown of Memphis, TN. I run the station’s metal format, Metal X, which airs a show each Monday from 7pm – 9pm CST. Our April 20th show featured music from No Clean Singing alumni Beyond Grace (“Omega Point”) and Godless Angel (“Containment Breach In Sector 6”). With Islander’s permission, I wanted to tell you a little about this opportunity and my vision for it.
Hosting a metal radio show has been a dream of mine for more years than I’d like to admit. I initially contacted the station back in November (ironically, right around the same time I began contributing to this lovely website). Fast-forward to February. Evidently my email had been lost in the cyberbowels (if Austin Weber can make up words, I can too) of the Internet. Alas, it was rescued and my query was answered. After a couple of initial meetings, the station manager offered me a chance to make a dream into a reality. I have carte blanche when it comes to Metal X. But this isn’t just about me playing what I want. It needs to be about something more than that.
(DGR reviews the new EP by Worse.)
“No, there is nothing”
There’s something under the currents of the latest release by San Francisco-based grind band Worse, To Be Alive Is To Be Alone.
Grind, I’ve hypothesized before, is one of the ultimate plug-and-play genres — loaning itself incredibly well to expulsions of anger and violence. We like to parrot the phrase that a huge chunk of heavy metal’s appeal comes from the cathartic release aspect, and the grind and powerviolence genres remain high on the menu for doing that.
Worse, whose self-titled release I pounded out a review for last year, was a vortex of sound. In that review I compared their release to the sound of someone kicking their instruments down a flight of stairs. To Be Alive Is To Be Alone, is a wholly different beast, one that is more composed, and this time around, more prone to self-harm, and more inwardly explosive than before.
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.