(We’re turning off our usual beaten paths — but just going parallel to them — as we present the following piece by NCS contributor Grant Skelton. If you’re a writer of fiction, this may interest you. And there’s music in here, too.)
I love writing about metal. I love discovering new music and sharing it with others. I love discussing current favorites and ancient gems. I love metal. And while I am not a musician, metal inspires and influences my own specific creative passion – writing fiction. Especially horror fiction.
On August 1, Transcending Obscurity India will release the second EP by Wired Anxiety, entitled The Delirium of Negation. Two tracks from the EP have surfaced so far, and today we bring you a third, a dynamic piece of full-bore death metal bludgeoning that tranforms into something eerie and unsettling called “Focus 22“.
At the outset, “Focus 22” shows the band in full attack mode, propelled by murderously weaponized drumming, pile-driving riffs, and a writhing, grinding lead-guitar, with vocals that spawn images of a barking pit bull the size of a water buffalo. But this initial onslaught is just designed to begin tenderizing your flesh for the beat-down to come.
Baltimore-based Grimoire Records has been a consistent source of releases that we’ve gluttonously consumed around here like the metal pigs we are, and today we’re very happy to help Grimoire announce their most recent discharge — a 42-minute monolith of apocalyptic black metal and doom aptly entitled With Cunning Fire and Adversarial Resolve by a three-piece band from the hills of Appalachia named Athame.
But spreading the word about the announcement is not all we’re doing. We also have for you the premiere of the album’s first advance track, a song called “Five Fold Kiss“.
Athame may be a new name for most people, but the band includes members from Fortress and the now-departed Wolfnuke. To help locate the band on the map of your metal tastes, Grimoire makes references to names such as Craft, Aosoth, and Gorgoroth. But at this point the best way to get a sense of what they’ve created is to check out this new song.
We have mentioned Dehn Sora many times on our site. On all those occasions, it has been because of his visual art, which has graced the covers of albums by such bands as Blut Aus Nord, Ephel Duath, Code, and Otargos. But he is a musician as well, and he has given his newest project the name Throane.
The first Throane full-length bears the title Derrière-Nous, La Lumière, and it will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on the 27th of May. To open the door to this work, we have the premiere of a song named “Un Instant Dans Une Torche“, and the video that accompanies it.
There is movement in the video. If you look away and look back again, you will see it more easily than if you stare unblinking. The symbolism of a slit throat.
When I wrote the last post with the title of “Blog Break”, I was off in a magnificent part of Montana partaking in a boondoggle for my day job. The explanation for this one is a tragedy.
On my last night in Montana I found out that one of my closest friends had been broadsided in her car by a Seattle emergency vehicle flying through a red light at a downtown intersection. She was uninjured — except for head trauma that required emergency brain surgery on Sunday night.
I flew home Monday morning and spent most of yesterday at a hospital ICU, watching her lie there on a respirator and feeding tube in a coma, trying to be supportive of her husband and parents. I felt sick beyond repair inside, and still do. She gave birth to her third child last fall. I guess he’s about eight months old now.
This is the first post I’ve ever written on my phone. I’m doing this because we’re having a wind storm where I live that knocked out the power while I was asleep AND I can’t get my generator to start AND even if I could, there would be no internet access.
SO, I’m on a ferry boat headed for Seattle, where I presume I can find power, and more importantly, coffee. I have three premieres I need to write and I want to finish a round up, but everything is going to be delayed because someone out there displeased Thor. Shame on you, whoever you are.
In the meantime, enjoy that painting (“The Castle”) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich (that name is a motherfucker to type on a phone).
We missed out on a Rearview Mirror post last Sunday, so I thought I’d double-up for this Sunday’s edition. As usual, we’re looking back at metal from past years, and in this case providing a bit of music from two bands that no longer exist (though one of them still officially seems to be “on hold”). The careers of both bands overlapped, and both were favorites of mine while they lasted.
Himsa were founded in Seattle in 1998, taking as their name a Sanskrit word that means “harm” or “violence”. In June 2008 they announced their demise, and in August 2008 they played their last show. In between the beginning and the end, the band released four albums and two EPs on such labels as Revelation Records, Prosthetic Records, and Century Media.
Although we’re getting deep into our site’s own year-end lists, there are still a few more “big platform” sites whose year-end lists I’ve been waiting for, and this is one of them.
Vice Media, Inc. traces its origins back to a punk magazine called Vice Montreal that was started in 1994. Since then, Vice has grown into a multimedia network that includes not only Vice.com but also nine other digital channels. One of those is Noisey, which was launched in 2011 and focuses on music across a range of genres, including rock, rap, metal, and punk. Noisey proclaims that it “reaches millions and millions of readers and subscribers a month, a must-stop source for new music, investigative journalism, and artist-sourced content.”
This year, Noisey brought metal journalist Kim Kelly on board as a writer and member of its editorial staff, and yesterday the site published her ranked list of “Top 10 (Mostly) Metal Albums of 2015”, followed by an additional un-ranked list of “40 Favorite (And Occasionally Not Metal) Albums of 2015”. Here they are (and to read Kim’s comments about all the albums and listen to music streams, go HERE).
It seems that almost every day brings news of metal bands or other artists associated with metal attempting to raise money for their projects (or their own survival) through crowd-funding campaigns. If we attempted to provide news of such things on a consistent basis, we’d probably never get anything else done around here. But the three items I’ve collected in this post caught my eye for differing reasons, and so I’m making an exception.
VALE OF PNATH
(Austin Weber graciously volunteered to write this first blurb, and these are his words.)
Back in 2011, a little-known band from Colorado called Vale Of Pnath dropped a monster of a debut full-length through Willowtip Records named The Prodigal Empire. With the passage of time, The Prodigal Empire has been rightly lauded as top-tier technical death metal music that fans of the genre hold dear. In the years following its release the band has lost and gained various members, which has unfortunately delayed the release of a follow-up from the group.
(Here are some musings written by Andy Synn.)
Despite what you might have seen and read elsewhere, I still think there’s a certain art to writing reviews. Not Picasso-level art, certainly, or Muhammed Ali-level art… but art all the same.
Of course this proposition isn’t helped by the umpteen badly written, badly researched, and grammatically suspect publications you can find out there in the wilds of the interweb, nor by the plethora of click-bait, troll-magnet reviews seemingly designed just to stoke controversy and discontent… sorry, I’ll get off my soap-box and get back to the point…
Anyway, I for one count myself very lucky to have a voice, however small, in the Metal community at large, that people actually listen to and respect. And it’s not something I take lightly. I don’t think of myself as particularly special or important as a result of it, but I do acknowledge that – as a wise, two-dimensional man once sort-of-said – “with a modicum of power comes a modicum of responsibility”.
Or something along those lines.