Feb 292016

October Tide - Winged Waltz


It looks like it’s going to be yet another one of those crazy weeks where if we snooze for about 5 minutes we’ll miss the debut of at least 5 new things worth getting excited about. For example, everything in this post appeared in just the last few hours of this Monday morning, except the penultimate one, which erupted like a volcano of dementia last night.

These are all videos. Because I really hadn’t planned on trying to inject a round-up into an already full schedule of posts at our site this morning, I don’t have time to write much about them. Of course, I do recommend you give them your time.


Winged Waltz is the name of the fifth album by these beautifully gloomy Swedes, and it will be released by Agonia Records on April 22. Here is the brand new lyric video for the first advance track from the album — “Sleepless Sun”:

Feb 122016

Amorphis-Under the Red Cloud


Welcome to the 24th Part of our roll-out of 2015’s Most Infectious Songs, as chosen by me and me alone. I have a constricting feeling around my throat as I bear down on my self-imposed Sunday deadline for finishing this list, when in fact I’m not really close to exhausting all the songs I want to write about. I have some terrible decisions to make this weekend.

The rest of the songs on the list can be inspected via this link.


I don’t suppose Amorphis really needed to make a “comeback” album. They haven’t really gone away, and the massive core of their fan base has never left them. But I still think of Under the Red Cloud as a comeback album.

Aug 112015

Insomnium-Omnium Gatherum split


In preparing these round-ups of new songs I usually try to include music from more obscure underground bands in addition to names most of us would recognize. But I didn’t have much time yesterday to wade through the interhole in search of new things, and by chance two of the new songs I heard come from some of the bigger names; the third one has been out for a month, but there’s a reason I’m including it now. And by chance, catchy melody is the common theme for these songs (which is a big reason these three bands are so well-known).


It’s been over two years since Finland’s Omnium Gatherum released their last album, Beyond. On August 9 they began a North America tour headlined by fellow Finnish melodeath stalwarts Insomnium — who are mounting the tour without growler/bassist Niilo Sevanen, replacing him for this tour with Mike Bear (Artisan, ex-Prototype) from the U.S. And to coincide with the tour, Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium are releasing a 7″ vinyl split, featuring artwork by Olli-Pekka Lappalainen.

Jun 162015


Still in Texas, still working my ass off (but not on NCS), still not able to listen to much metal — but I did have time for a quick swim through the effluent of the interhole, and these things caught my eye (and ears).


Thanks to my NCS comrade Andy Synn, I saw the striking cover art above, by Valnoir Mortasonge, which Finland’s Amorphis posted on their Facebook wall, along with this announcement:

May 262015

None of these people is me.

I’m seriously considering a legal change of my name to include the words “Ass Backwards” in it. I mean, I’m not fooling anyone anyway, so I might as well be up-front about it.

Case-in-point: Instead of writing a chronologically oriented and comprehensive review of the recently concluded Maryland Deathfest XIII, I just started tossing out random collections of photos over the last three days, mainly as a way of explaining why I wasn’t doing much of anything else for the site. And now, rather than starting over with something that actually looks like a thoughtful report on an amazing event, I’m going to continue with what I started and fill in the gaps I left, working my way backward to the pre-fest show last Wednesday.

Once again, there will be more of my photos in the continuation of this series than my words, which may come as a continuing relief to many.

Aug 192014


Editor’s Note:  Have you heard the news? Have you heard that Amorphis will be playing Tales From the Thousand Lakes (1994) in its entirety at Maryland Deathfest XIII next year? Our old pal Trollfiend heard the news and seemed pretty excited about it, especially since, if memory serves, it was the last Amorphis album he liked (or at least part of it).

I couldn’t leave him in a state of unmitigated excitement, what with his high blood pressure and all, so I reminded him that he had never finished his no-holds-barred cage match with the discography of Amorphis, the one he started (here) way back in December 2011. Apparently, Trollfiend is vulnerable to guilt-tripping, and so here — more than two years after he engaged in “no rules” combat with Tuonela — we bring you Round 5. This promises to be gory…


It has been more than two years since I set foot in the arena.

I have forgotten many things, but the brutal reality of my last battle against the hordes of Amorphis still cuts deep into my soul. I wander the sands, once watered with fresh blood. I am Alone.

I stand at the spot where the assassin Tuonela fell, her neck broken by my own hands. I remember then, as I do now, the horror that I felt; that I could be so callous, cold, unfeeling. That I could discard my oath so readily. I had sworn to serve, and had felt betrayed, but her words haunted me still.

“It is you who are the betrayer.”

Nothing makes sense to me anymore. The harsh cries of circling vultures sound like wails through a bent metal tube, perhaps an alto sax. They grate on my nerves like her accusal. I was the victor then, but now? She has become the Goddess at whose feet I weep, and I am but a Sad Man.

Apr 182014

(Andy Synn delivers another installment of his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music.)



Hellish. Heroic.

Riffs that prowl like wolves. Blood red.

Pure as driven snow.

Apr 022013

I didn’t have time to compile a daily round-up yesterday, so there’s a lot of shit to cram into this one. I’ll try to keep words to a minimum and let the music, the videos, and the imagery speak for themselves.


2011’s Takasago Army marked the time when I finally got into Taiwan’s Chthonic. It was interesting and multi-textured, in addition to kicking large amounts of ass. So I’m now quite interested in their next album, Bú-Tik, which will be released by Spinefarm this summer. Today, the sexy cover art was revealed. Apparently, nearly 100 people volunteered to be the model for it.

The album cover is eye-catching for sure, though it doesn’t exactly suggest that the new album will be devoted to history and tradition. Yet in this new interview the band’s eye-catching bassist Doris Yeh suggests that it will. I’m up for it.

Mar 022013

Nothing has changed, my blog time is still restricted by paying work, but I still have a few discoveries from the last 24 hours to spread around.


These Finnish icons have a new album named Circles that’s coming from Nuclear Blast on April 19 (EU), April 22 (UK), and April 30 (US). Yesterday they premiered a lyric video for a new single that’s being sold right now. The song’s name is “Hopeless Days”. It will be welcomed by die-hard Amorphis fans.

What the song has: Morose lyrics, a captivating melody, a memorable chorus, heavy chugging, a climactic guitar-led finish, and Tomi Joutsen hitting the clean notes cleanly with his distinctive delivery. What the song doesn’t have: Bite.

Jan 242013

I thought I’d provide a quick update of things I noticed while web-surfing and reading e-mails this afternoon. As always, I’m sharing mainly what interests me, while hoping it interests you as well.


We first reported about this tour on December 2 when its existence became public but before any schedule had been announced. Today, all the dates and places were finally announced. And as a reminder about why this matters, the tour features Finland’s Ensiferum as the headliner, as well as Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). Plenty of ass should be kicked by these pagan brethren.

The schedule consists of 21 shows, launching in Denver on March 30 and concluding in New York City on April 21, and it includes Canadian dates, too. Here’s the complete schedule:

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