As you can see, I decided to give the “Seen and Heard” title a rest for today, but that’s still what this post really is — another selection of music I’ve come across in recent days that I thought you might enjoy as much as I have. Most of what’s in here is new, some of it only newly discovered by yours truly. As is usually the case, the featured music is stylistically diverse. And because this is a birthday weekend at NCS, I decided to really load up this post with a lot of listening.
We’ll start this collection of music with the debut EP from Norway’s Nachash, a four-track offering entitled Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse. Though it was released in February of this year (through Unborn Productions), I only discovered it recently, and what a discovery it has been.
The four long songs on the EP are rich and multifaceted. The final track “A Necromancer’s Lament”, which is set to play first on Bandcamp, is like a melding of stoner doom and black metal; the riffs are so goddamn delicious that I got pulled headfirst into the rest of the EP as if I’d been sucked into a whirlpool.
India’s Third Sovereign released their debut album Destined To Suffer eight years ago. In the intervening years, the band relocated to a remote state named Mizoram in the northeastern part of the country and have now recorded a new album named Perversion Swallowing Sanity that’s due for release by the Transcending Obscurity India label in January of the coming new year. Today we bring you the album’s opening track, a two-part manifesto named “Sakei Ai Hla / Grave of Humanity”.
The song’s exotic introductory section builds an atmosphere that’s sinister and brooding, while introducing a skull-pounding riff that then quickly accelerates into a thrashing charge of death metal ferocity. With the vocalist barking and snarling at high speed, the band inflict a sonic beating that jabs hard and fast and then rides right over the listeners’ prone bodies in a gallop. The rhythmic grooves in the song are damned infectious, and the band take the music through its dynamic paces without ever sacrificing the overarching aura of malevolence and morbidity.
I wasn’t listening to underground metal in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Years later, when I began to discover what I had missed, Entombed’s Left Hand Path and Dismember’s Like An Ever Flowing Stream were among the albums that first really hooked me and started me down my own musical left hand path. Once I realized that I was at the tip of an iceberg, I began reading to try to get better educated about the early Swedish death metal scene, and it wasn’t long before I came across the name Nirvana 2002.
The band’s original name was Prophet 2002, and the members then later changed the name to Nirvana. After discovering the existence of Seattle’s Nirvana upon the release of that band’s first single, they took the “2002” from the first name of the band and tacked it onto the new one.
Nirvana 2002 were only active from 1988 to 1991, releasing a quartet of demos and a 1990 split with Appendix, Authorize, and Fallen Angel. But the band had a lot to do with establishing the signature sound of what we would now call “old school Swedish death metal”, though the school was just getting started when Nirvana 2002 were alive. Daniel Ekeroth, the author of Swedish Death Metal, wrote that they were “one of the purest examples of that typical fat Swedish death metal, with crushing guitars and straightforward song structures.”
We have survived another year. And when you get right down to it, sheer survival is the reason any of us celebrate birthdays. We are six years old today, having made our first post on November 21, 2009.
Measured by the lifespan of your average Galápagos tortoise, six years isn’t so long. Measured by the lifespan of your average metal blog, a species that tends to fall victim to accelerated decrepitude, I guess we’re almost ready for a nursing home.
For something that has never been a business and to this day relies on purely volunteer effort, it would have been entirely understandable if the vagaries of life had moved all of us on to other things and left NCS behind as just a fond memory. The fact that we are not only still here, but somehow more widely read than ever, makes me shake my head in wonder. We surely have defied the odds, even if we now need help going to the bathroom.
Last weekend I came across an EP named Laws of Power that was digitally released in July by a band named Expander from Austin, Texas. It seized me by the throat so fast and so firmly that I spilled some words about it on Monday of this week (here), while noting that it would be released on tape by Caligari Records. Little did I know at the time that I would be ending the week as I began it — with more music from Expander.
It turns out that this past summer the editors at Metal Sucks selected Expander to be one of 10 unsigned bands who would be given the chance to record new music at Converse Rubber Tracks — Converse’s free recording studio — in either Brooklyn, NY, with producer Will Putney (The Acacia Strain, Suicide Silence, Exhumed), or in Boston, MA, with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Torche). Expander did their thing with Kurt Ballou, and while Metal Sucks earlier premiered one of the two songs they recorded with him, the band have just today released both tracks via Bandcamp.
I came across a ton of new music yesterday that lit me up, too much to cram into a single post. So I made some hard choices, and selected this grouping from six artists with an eye toward creating a diverse listening experience. The last item, of course, isn’t metal — except it kind of is. You’ll see. If I have time I might be able stitch together some more new songs for later today, and if not, tomorrow (because tomorrow is the glorious sixth anniversary of our site’s birth).
January 15 is the date set by Relapse Records for the release of the new album Chasm by Oakland’s Lycus. As you can see, it features cover art by Paolo Girardi. The band’s last album, 2013’s Tempest, was fantastic, and I’ve been curious to see what Lycus would do next.
The new record consists of four long songs, and one of them, “Solar Chamber”, debuted yesterday. Drummer Trevor DeSchryver described its concept this way:
(Andy Synn reviews the debut album by Australia’s Sanzu.)
Stepping out of the shadow of your influences can be a tricky thing. Particularly when one of your major influences happens to have a fairly distinct and instantly recognisable sound of their own. Trying to put a fresh spin on things, to stamp it with your own identity whilst also maintaining a sense of continuity with your own vision of how you want things to sound… that’s hard.
One option, of course, is to simply say “fuck it” and just leave it all behind. You can see this in the host of ex-Deathcore and ex-Djent bands who, some by accident but many by design, quickly ended up straying pretty far from their roots, with their development and attempt to establish their own particular idiom pushing them outside the boundaries of their home-genre and leading them further and further away from their initial influences.
Of course… there’s another way. One that, like the method I’ve just described, comes with its own fair share of risks, but also offers up some tantalising rewards. And that’s to seize the sound of your influences with both hands, to grip it, and hold it, and crush it in your grasp and bellow “this is mine now”.
I’ll let you guess which one Sanzu have gone for on Heavy Over The Home.
It’s that time of year again, when we start preparing for the frenzy of year-end Listmania. For those of you new to the frenzy, our Listmania extravaganza comes in four parts. First, we re-print assorted lists of the year’s best albums, leeched from other big web sites and magazines. Second, we will collect our readers’ lists of the 2015 albums and shorter releases they enjoyed the most. Third, we post the year-end lists of our own staff and assorted guest writers. And fourth, I’ll roll out my list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.
And that last list is the subject of this request for help (we’ll be inviting you to give us your lists of the year’s best albums as we get closer to the actual end of the year — so start thinking about that).
In case you’ve become an NCS reader since this time last year, here’s what this Most Infectious Song list is about:
(Comrade Aleks brings us another interview, this time with Simon O. of the Argentinian funeral doom band Fungoid Stream.)
So what do we have here today? Another Italian doom outfit? Wrong answer! Fungoid Stream is a funeral doom duo from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Joseph C. and Simon O. are dedicated researchers of Howard Phillip Lovecraft nightmares and each of their three albums are based on his writings. Also it’s known that Simon O. has his solo project Qhwertt – an experimental funeral thing with a conception built around Clark Ashton Smith stories.
Indeed, the third Fungoid Stream work Prehuman Shapes was released a year ago (once more with the help of Furias Records), but something scratching and whispering in my dreams has made me think about Fungoid Stream more often than I’d like to. It seems that Simon O. was waiting for my answers because he answered even faster than I could expect. It is strange… Well, probably just a coincidence… Anyway, I need to thank Eduardo of Furias Records for organizing this interview.
(Grant Skelton steps forward for round-up duty with this collection of mostly new music from five bands.)
Mammoth Storm are a three-piece from Saffle, Sweden. They released a demo in 2013. Less than a year later, Mammoth Storm followed that demo with a self-released EP called Rite Of Ascension. Their debut album Fornjot (named for an ancient Norse giant) was released earlier this month on Napalm Records.
Mammoths and Norse giants are fitting imagery for the kind of riffs this band writes. Enormous, loud, and destructive. They recently completed a tour with their labelmates Ahab and High Fighter. If you’re into either of those bands, then Mammoth Storm definitely have something for you. Below are the lyric video to the title track “Fornjot,” as well as a Soundcloud stream of “Augurs Echo.” Find Fornjot on Amazon and iTunes. The album also includes “Ancient Apocalypse,” a bonus track re-recorded from their 2013 demo.