Sep 182017

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Vancouver’s Archspire.)

If you’re even vaguely aware of the comings and goings of the modern Tech Death scene, then chances are you’ll have heard the names Archspire and The Lucid Collective (the band’s 2014 album) before now.

Famous (or perhaps infamous) for their shameless dedication to ludicrous speed, as well as their ability to change direction faster than a TRON light-cycle (ask your parents…), the band are (rightly) held up as an example of Technical Death Metal at its most outrageously and enjoyably OTT, with everything (and I do mean everything) turned up well past 11.

There are those, however, who believe that the Canadian quintet’s addiction to excessive velocity is a flagrant example of style over substance, and that the spitfire vocals of motormouth mic-slinger Oli Peters, impressive though they might be, are little more than a gimmick designed to disguise the group’s lack of finesse in the songwriting department.

Well, it appears that the band must have taken some of these criticisms under advisement when putting together their new album, as this is one area in particular where Relentless Mutation improves upon its predecessor in leaps and bounds.

Sep 052017


Dyscarnate

 

(DGR has again stepped forward for round-up duty and has pulled together 9 new songs and videos that caught his eye between last week and yesterday.)

Last week saw a tremendous on-rush of heavy metal news, and of course, since many people knew that we here in the States (or at least many of us) would get a long three-day weekend, a lot of it hit in the back half of the week. As the site’s resident hoover vacuum, I’ve compiled an itemized list of nine… items… that caught my interest over the course of the week that we didn’t get a chance to cover that I will now lovingly shove right into your faces.

If you’re a big fan of death metal and its chugging ilk, this roundup is mostly for you, as it seemed like a large chunk of what I found came from that sphere of influence. There’s definitely the requisite world-traveling element as well, as we go from England to Canada to Italy to the States to Greece to Sweden (twice), and you can see where this is going from here. So let’s quit goofing off and get to the fun stuff.

Jul 282017

 

Although I put together a round-up of news and new music yesterday, I still had a lot of new stuff I wanted to spread around today. As I began picking through a very long list of newly revealed tracks, it dawned on me that a big chunk of what I found attractive fell within the realms of death metal. And that’s what I’ve got for you below — new (or newly discovered) deathly music from 8 bands.

DYSCARNATE

Five years after their superb last album and with a new bassist/vocalist (Al Llewellyn) now in the three-person line-up, Dyscarnate are returning with their third full-length, With All Their Might. Yesterday DECIBEL premiered a new song and video from the album, and it’s  fittingly named “Iron Strengthens Iron“.

Feb 262015

 

I’ve been writing about Vancouver’s Archspire since December 2010, which is when I came across their All Shall Align EP. This morning I went back to that first post about the band and that EP, because even from the beginning, certain aspects of their sound really stood out — and one is particularly relevant in the context of the brand new video we’re about to show you:

“This is a truly eye-popping convulsion of tech-death, with schizophrenic rhythms, astounding technical riffing and drumwork, and tiny threads of reappearing melody that stitch the songs together into cohesive wholes. And I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a death-metal vocalist bark out the lyrics faster than Archspire’s, particularly on that second song; he’s like the vocal equivalent of those insane guitarists.”

I’ve seen Oli Rae Aleron’s vocal style referred to as “shotgun vocals”. “Death metal rap” would work, too. In this just-released video, he does a vocal playthrough of the Archspire song “Fathom Infinite Depth” from the band’s 2014 album The Lucid Collective. And it’s a lyric video. Which means you need to be prepared to read fast — I mean, really fast.

Oct 032014

 

(In this post we welcome metal interviewer Karina Noctum to NCS, and happily present her discussion with Spencer Prewett, the phenomenal drummer of a Vancouver band we’ve been following since early days — Archspire.)

Hello everyone! My name is Karina Cifuentes. I was born in Colombia, but I live in Norway and I’m here because of Black Metal basically. I had to live the BM dream with forests, darkness, and so on. I have been interviewing my favorite bands since 2008 and I do this because it really makes me do more research than I would otherwise and I get lots of knowledge that way. I’m also working with a Black Metal documentary called Blackhearts (https://www.facebook.com/blackheartsfilm) So here’s my first contribution, an interview with Spencer Prewett from my fav tech-death band Archspire.

********

When did you start playing drums and what appeals to you the most about drumming?

The first time I started playing was when I was a kid. I was 8 years old when I first got my drum kit, but I didn’t actually start practicing drums until I got into metal and that was when I was 17. Now I’m 32, so I’ve been playing for quite a while. I find extreme drumming really appealing. I respect rock and blues drumming, but it doesn’t excite me the same way as Cryptopsy or Nile did.

 

Which drummer has inspired you the most and why?

Flo from Cryptopsy when I was younger, because when I was 17 I had a fake I.D. and I could go to my first Cryptopsy show. My first real metal show ever, and I didn’t know much about Cryptopsy. I was so blown away how fast the band and the drumming were, and that was probably what really affected me. So Flo was my biggest influence originally, but every year that goes by I discover a new band or I discover a new drummer or a new style.

Aug 112014

 

(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)

Sometime last year, I had planned to showcase some of my favorite album covers. However, as you might imagine, that didn’t happen. So, a bit over halfway through 2014 already, I’ve decided to give it a go again so I don’t have to worry with trying to find everything last minute and become overwhelmed at year-end. I’ve been looking back at some of my favorite album covers, as well as looking at random covers here and there, and I must say, I’ve found a lot more than I expected- so many that I think it’s be best to break this up into a couple of posts.

I’ve actually happened upon some really cool bands this way, too, which isn’t out of the ordinary but worth noting nonetheless. Had it not been for their album art, I might never have found some of the following bands, one of which I simply can’t get enough of. However, to be clear, I’ve done this exercise for the sole purpose of rounding up the nicest looking album art, according to my own tastes. There are a couple of bands in here whose music I can’t stand, and a couple more I’d never heard of before. So to avoid any confusion, I am not necessarily recommending all of the albums featured below. They all just chose wisely for their album art.

Since I began working on this article, I noticed something peculiar: A good number of the album covers correlated in one sense or another with the music on the album. To make sure that I wasn’t just imagining this, I asked my wife (who’s not very big on metal music as a whole) and a friend of mine (who is) to look at the album art and give me their impressions. Some of them were spot-on, others not so much. Here’s what we came up with for the first nine. (Another note, these are in no particular order. They are just listed as I came upon them.)

BelphegorConjuring the Dead

This might be one of the best “photo realistic” album covers I’ve seen so far this year. It’s got the dark, gritty feel washing over it in shoals. The symbolism on the cover speaks of blasphemy, a great deal of death, and more than a smidge of Satanic interplay. When my wife Heather saw it, she immediately guessed that it was death metal, which is a good part of the album, so I’ll give it to her. My friend Adam said the same thing: “This had better be death metal.” Heather also hit the nail on the head about the dark/demonic themes that run throughout many of the songs. That’s a point for the correlation theory, although an easy one.

Jun 182014

Here are some arch-ie things I spotted this morning.

ARCHSPIRE

Spencer Prewett is the drummer for Canada’s Archspire, whose new album The Lucid Collective we reviewed here in April. On a superficial level, he appears to be human — two arms, two legs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, realistic looking skin and hair. But appearances can be deceiving, because based on the video I’m about to show you he is clearly a Cyberdyne Systems model T-1000 cyborg. Fortunately, John Connor can rest easy because Spencer Prewett was sent from the future only to destroy drum kits.

In this drum play through, the song you’ll hear is the new album’s first track, “Lucid Collective Somnambulation”. I dropped my jaw and the damned thing bounced somewhere I didn’t see because my eyes were glued to this video. You watch it while I go look for my damned jaw.

(thanks to DGR for linking me to this. He prefaced the link in his message with this:

“WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”

Apr 162014

(Austin Weber reviews the new album by a band we’ve been following for a long time — Canada’s Archspire.)

When Archspire burst out of nowhere with All Shall Align in 2012, it set a new benchmark for blazing extreme death metal, following in the footsteps of previous speed-, technicality-, and songwriting-pushers such as Cryptopsy and stretching the boundaries of death metal to a place that seemed to make a surprising number of people uncomfortable. Regardless, they impressed a lot of people, and their follow-up, The Lucid Collective, has been greatly anticipated. It certainly delivers, acting as a dream of death mirroring our often collective sleepwalking through existence.

Archspire have always flashed glimpses of a love for Origin and Spawn Of Possession, but they have also made the style their own, giving it brutal legs with which to stand and stomp angrily, and managing to give each track its own unique flow and structure. If Brain Drill was Origin-influenced death metal done to excess (in the opinion of some people), then arguably Archspire are a band who have learned all the things that Origin did right, while not being a rip-off of them at all.

An album like The Lucid Collective is not merely music, but a testament to the human will and ability to achieve incredible and nearly inhuman things through hard work, determination, and focus. Every member of the band performs at an astounding level, not in an effort to impress the listeners with vapid showboating, but with a purpose. Collectively, Archspire form an interlocking mass of arresting malevolence that looms large over the shredscapes and techdreams of noodlers everywhere.

Mar 272014

I’ll spare you the why’s and wherefore’s, but your humble editor has fallen behind in monitoring developments in the world of metal.  As a result, the collection of new songs is even more random than usual. Nevertheless, I think all the music is very good, and it’s diverse enough that it should please a range of tastes.

AUTOPSY

Tourniquets, Hacksaws And Graves is the name of the seventh studio excrescence by the mighty Autopsy. Ever since the Wes Benscoter album art and April 21 release date were disclosed by the Peaceville label back in February, I’ve been waiting for a taste of the music, and we finally got it yesterday, with the premiere of “The Howling Dead” at Noisey.

I’m not surprised at how good this song is, but I’m surprised at how wretchedly good it is. That driving beat at the beginning, shrouded in dense distortion, is just killer. So is the thoroughly horrific doom slow-down that follows it. So is the lurching, rocking stomp that comes next. And so on… Chris Reifert’s vocals have never sounded more horrific, the riffs are as putrescent and grisly as they’ve ever been, and the closing guitar solo oozes decay. Fantastic!

Feb 192014

I’m still in alliteration mode, though I’m not completely happy with today’s title. Given the bands’ names, I probably should have gone with “The ABCs of Metal”. In alphabetical order, here are six new songs from five forthcoming albums that I discovered over the last 24 hours, all of which come highly recommended.

ANCIENT ASCENDANT

We’ve been closely following the progression of UK-based Ancient Ascendant, with very positive reviews (by Andy Synn) of both their 2011 debut album The Grim Awakening and their 2012 EP Into the Dark. Last month we reported the very nice news that the band had signed with Candlelight Records for the release of a new album (with Dan Swanö again handling the production). Now we’ve got the album title — Echoes and Cinder — and the album art (above), plus a new song that premiered yesterday.

The song’s name is “Riders”, and you can hear it next. It will give you a hell of a blistering, black-thrashing ride, something like being snagged by a giant red-eyed bat horde flying from their cave for a night on the hunt. Damned infectious, too — you’ll want to limber up your neck muscles before listening because heads will bang.

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