Apr 142014

This morning I saw a positive Facebook mention about this band by Patrick Bruss (Crypticus), who knows a thing or two about old school death metal. Sentience is a one-man death metal band from Woodland Park, New Jersey, formed only this year by guitarist/vocalist Matt Moliti (ex-Dark Empire). He has recorded a three-song demo entitled Beyond the Curse of Death — and here’s what really caught my attention: It was mastered by the legendary Dan Swanö, who had this to say about the music:

“One of the best SweDeath projects I have come across in the last 20 years. The perfect blend of all the highlights from the Swedish scene from 89 to 91. Truly awesome!”

I mean, shit, that’s some very high praise, given the source! And who am I to disagree with someone like Dan Swanö when it comes to old-school SweDeath? And in fact, I don’t disagree at all.

Apr 142014

(DGR reviews the new second album from Canada’s Unsacred Seed.)

Recently I’ve found myself playing with the idea of opening my reviews and articles with a description of how I found each band. Putting it politely, I’m probably a total idiot for doing so, yet I feel like I’m upholding some sort of noble cause by showing that sites like this one don’t entirely rely on whatever PR an agency leaves on our doorstep. Not to say that it doesn’t help to have such assistance, if not just to keep us from going out in public and looking like fools — but I do believe that by showing that there are other paths to getting noticed, perhaps it will demonstrate that putting a little faith in the universe and casting yourself out there can get you noticed. If not, at the very least it makes the process feel a little less “monied”. Maybe it’s just a sense that surfing the net to try and find music is a worthwhile and rewarding venture, one that doesn’t depend on just letting folks shovel stuff in front of you — although, come to think of it, that notion pretty much undermines the purpose of a site such as this.

In the case of Unsacred Seed, however, I cannot remember for the life of me how I found them. I think it may have been a random forum discovery, one of the many devoted to archiving much of what was released in 2013, where one of the band members was sharing his own work — their debut disc for “name your own price”. Thus, I wound up following the band, not only out of personal curiosity but also because I enjoyed that debut disc quite a bit. When I heard they had a followup in the works, that made things more exciting.

Before we really get to the meat of this meal, allow me to state that there are three things that I absolutely love about Canada’s Unsacred Seed:

Apr 142014

Belgium’s Aborted will be delivering their new monstrosity Necrotic Manifesto via Century Media on April 28 in Europe and April 29 in North America (available for pre-order here). Last month we featured the album’s title track, and today the band unveiled a lyric video for yet another song — “Coffin Upon Coffin”.

The song delivers flensing riff flurries and brutish hammering, machine-gun percussion and a blistering solo, multisyllabic linguistics and vocal excretions that will leave scars on tender skin. The video also makes Par Olofsson’s  grisly cover art come to life.

In other Aborted news, the band have been uploading the results of a horrific photoshoot to Facebook, and after you listen to the new song after the jump, you can gaze upon their modified visages, which strangely seem like fitting improvements upon the faces that nature gave them.

Apr 142014

Sólstafir – photo by Gediminas Bartuška

(In this post Andy Synn voices his opinion about the most important unifying factor in all great metal.)

Ok, so, hyperbolic title aside, this is an issue I’ve been thinking about for some time.

The question of why.

Why I love the sound and fury of metal. Why I love certain bands and not others. Why I love this genre, over any other. What it is, beneath all the noise and chaos and bloody-minded catharsis, that truly connects with me.

In many ways it’s something instinctive. Or at least it feels that way. Sometimes it seems like there’s no rhyme or reason behind it. Yet it’s also something that seems ripe for analysis and self-reflection. Something that says just as much about me as it does about metal.

So, in pseudo-analytical fashion, I’ve been attempting to identify some sort of underlying factor that contributes to my love of metal as a whole. Something that explains my love of the genre in its varying forms, from the live performance to the recorded art, and something which explains why it stimulates me not only to wax lyrical about the genre here at NCS but also to create lyrically in two bands of my own.

Something vital.

Something fundamental.

And that something is simple.

Passion.

Apr 132014

With a new album named Morning Wood, colorful cover art depicting nymphs bestowing their pastoral charms on a massive bull, and a description of themselves as Swiss farmers who “abandoned their shovels and harvesters to take on a different type of instruments, with the goal of becoming icons of sex, alcohol and rock’n’roll”, you might conclude that Voice of Ruin don’t take themselves too seriously. And you would be right. But their “horny farmer metal” kicks bushelfuls of ass, as you’re about to find out.

Today we have the pleasure of premiering the band’s official lyric video for the new album’s third track, “Through the Eyes of Machete”. Both the song and the video are an homage to the central figure of the Machete movies of Robert Rodriguez and a celebration of, well, killing and fucking. What could be more metal?

As for the music, it’s a high-voltage, jackhammering, heavy-grooved romp, with guitars that swarm like hornets when they’re not punching holes all over the landscape, and a vocalist who sounds like a timber wolf. Apparently, they harvest hops in Switzerland with chainsaws and heavy artillery, with occasional pauses for catchy melodic drinking songs.

Apr 132014

John Martin: “The Deluge” (1834)

As I mentioned yesterday, the past week brought good song and video premieres in a flood, which was unfortunate only in the sense that I didn’t have time to write about all those discoveries day-by-day as they happened. So this weekend I decided to just flood you with them, leaving behind all but some short snippets of my own sparkling prose and mainly delivering the streams, along with release info.

Yesterday I collected 11 (!) new songs and videos, plus a couple of tantalizing news items, and today I’ve got 12 more, plus a few more news items. Once again, I present them in alphabetical order:

AMBIENT DEATH

The Song: “Apotheosis of the Hangman”
From: Dismembering the Image of God
Release info: self-released by the band on April 7; below is a new video for the opening track
www.ambientdeath.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/ambientdeath

Vicious melodic death metal with flying fretwork that gets more interesting and seductive as the song progresses. Punches pretty damned hard, too.

Apr 132014

Sadhak is a Norwegian band (from Trondheim) about whom I’ve found very little information. I learned of the band through a message from Shadow Kingdom Records, which released Sadhak’s self-titled demo on cassette tape last month (Sadhak originally released the demo on tape and digitally last fall). According to the message, the band is a side project of Andreas Hagen, who is a member of High Priest of Saturn. I’m not familiar with them, but Shadow Kingdom’s message compared Sadhak to Warning and 40 Watt Sun, and that was enough to lure me in.

The demo consists of two long songs, “On the Arrival of Man” and “The Perfection of Wisdom”, and I found them both immensely appealing. They very effectively draw you away from the world around you and into a place where the light is failing and the void beckons.

In both songs, Sadhak employs slow, distorted guitars, gut-rumbling bass notes, and the powerful whump of drums and vibration of cymbals — everything drenched in reverb. Of the two, “On the Arrival of Man” is the more desolate and fatalistic, though the bleak melody proves to be thoroughly entrancing as it loops through the song. With two minutes left, the otherworldly quality of the music is underscored by a mesmerizing guitar solo — ethereal, psychoactive, and rapidly shimmering — and then leviathan-sized riffs will hammer you back to the edge of oblivion.

Apr 122014

I did say that I intended to post three editions of MISCELLANY on three successive days, but yesterday kind of got away from me. So, with an unplanned hiatus day, here’s the third installment.

Once again, here’s how the MISCELLANY game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups whose names I’ve never heard before either. The selection process is random; for these three editions of the series, I tended to focus on bands who’ve written us recently. I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad). For this listening session I once again investigated the music of three bands.

DIM AURA

Dim Aura are based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Earlier this year they self-released a debut album entitled The Negation of Existence (though they’re searching for a label to facilitate wider distribution). The band have put four of the album’s eight tracks on Bandcamp. I started with the first one, “Scarred Flesh Supremacy”, but I’ll just tell you up-front that I really cheated on the MISCELLANY rules and wound up running right through all four songs. They’re all good and they don’t all sound the same.

Apr 122014

This has been one of those weeks where my blog time was severely constricted by both personal and job-related demands. You might have guessed that, based on the complete absence of any “seen and heard” posts since Monday. I didn’t have time to do much more than quickly scan through the interhole each day looking for new song and video premieres and make lists of what I’d like to hear and see when time would permit. This morning, I finally crawled through that list, and found a shitload of new things I really liked.

Because I’m behind, and because I don’t want to fall further behind, I’m taking the wimp’s way out in this post. I’m just going to stitch together a bunch of recommended song and video streams (11 of them) with almost no commentary. It’s a stream dump, and I will bet money you’ll find something to like, almost regardless of your tastes. It’s spring, and metal is in bloom.

Salted within this list are a couple of news items that perked my interest, even though there’s nothing available to hear… yet.

I present this box of chocolates in alphabetical order. There will be another similar collection either later today or tomorrow. Tell me what you like. Leave comments!

Apr 112014

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by Benevolent from Dubai.)

Islander recommended I check out this album some time ago.  I have to admit, I made an ass out of myself by prematurely judging the album before I gave it its just due with a fair listening.  What I listened to, at first, sounded like generic djent-infused groove metal.  Those are definitely big components of the sound of Dubai’s Benevolent.  But the music boasts a large array of modern melodic death metal elements as well — and after giving their debut The Covenant a solid listen, I can now safely say this may be one of the best modern metal bands out there.

I get vibes of Scar Symmetry, Textures, Cynic, Chimaira, and Fear Factory from this record, and even some aspects that remind me a bit of Byzantine.  It’s all about low-tuned riffage, lush walls of sound, fusion shred, dimension-opening gutturals, and airy cleans.  It’s kind of funny — they embody both things you guys would generally like, and also things most of us have grown tired of (mostly pertaining to djent elements).  Benevolent make those undesirable elements work in their favor, though, mostly through an immaculate perception of how to use all their elements in a push/pull dynamic.

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