Sep 132017

We’ve arrived at the middle of the work week and I find myself in the mood to round up and share with you a couple of news items and six new songs, two of which are accompanied by videos that are well above average. I’ll cut this introduction short and just dive right in…

AT THE GATES

Three years ago At the Gates returned with their first new studio album in 19 years. The reception seems to have stoked the fires even further, because they’ve written 11 new songs that they plan to begin recording soon. And according to their announcement from earlier this week, they are feeling “more inspired than perhaps ever before”. They also allege that the new record will be “by far the most comprehensive album of the band to date, and will span all the way across the different elements of the band’s sound”.

May 312016

Riket-Avarter

 

Riket (a Swedish word for “The Kingdom”) is the name of a new band, but its three members are metal veterans. The band was founded by vocalist Johan Nephente Fridell and guitarist/bassist Tobias Jakobsson, both of whom are members of the band Netherbird (whose last album we reviewed here), and they were joined in this enterprise by drummer Adrian Erlandsson (At the Gates, The Haunted), who was himself also a member of Netherbird at one time. Riket’s debut EP, Avarter, is being released today in digital form, and we bring you a first listen for all four songs.

There is a story behind the EP, as told by Nephente, that’s worth reading if you want to understand what inspired this project and how the songs were recorded, and so I’m including it here before spilling a few words of my own about the music. Of course, no one would blame you if you decided to start listening to the songs while you read — because they’re damned good.

Nov 192015

At the Gates-photo by Ester Segarra
photo by Ester Segarra

Today we have a two-part round-up of (mostly) new music for you. I put together this selection of new things I spotted over the last 24 hours. A bit later today we’ll bring you another compilation, assembled by Grant Skelton. Here we go:

AT THE GATES

“The Night Eternal” is one of my favorite tracks on At the Gates’ latest album At War With Reality. Honestly, it’s probably my favorite track on the album. So I was excited that the band released an official video for the song a couple of days ago, and even more excited when I realized that the video consisted of an animation by Romanian graphic artist and musician Costin Chioreanu. And it truly is a wonderful creation. Costin wrote this about the video:

Nov 132015

Damnation Festival 2015

 

(Andy Synn provides this report on the 2015 edition of Damnation Festival in the UK.)

It’s been a few years now since I last attended Damnation Festival, the annual celebration of all things dark and metallic hosted (as always) at Leeds University Student’s Union. But this year I knew I simply couldn’t miss it, as not only were a number of my favourite bands playing (hello Sólstafir, hi there Primordial) but also two bands I’ve been a fan of since their very first albums, but whom I’d never actually managed to see live before (The Ocean, Altar of Plagues).

Oh, and some band named At The Gates. Who are apparently pretty famous or something.

May 042015

 

(BadWolf reviews the Seattle date of the Decibel Magazine 2015 Tour, accompanied by exclusive photos taken by Madison Leiren, except where noted.)

This is the third of four annual Decibel Magazine tours that I’ve reviewed for No Clean Singing (I missed the third installment, featuring Napalm Death headlining, due to Maryland Deathfest. I’m not sorry). At this point in time, the mechanics of the tour itself — the way it interacts with coverage in the magazine, the way that the lineup is formed over time, and the way it is presented artistically — are becoming apparent to me.

Rather than simply assess the show I saw itself, it’s important to discuss these deeper factors, because Decibel Magazine wields a lot of market power in the United States, and the US remains the biggest music market in the world even though metal remains relatively unpopular here. In that respect, however, the tour is operating in an easy middle ground between what I would call respect for profits and respect for the metal zeitgeist. They do that by locking in headliners that already have clout and draw, but aren’t going to pursue metal as a full-time activity, and slotting openers who intend to make a career out of music. At least that’s how it’s worked for the past two years.

It seems as though 2014 was a prototype and 2015 was the first successful rollout of a set Decibel Tour formula. The recipe is as follows:

Jan 022015

 

Today we resume the rollout of our continuing list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

The songs I’m adding to our list today come from the two most high-profile “comeback” albums of 2014. Both generated a lot of overheated discussion everywhere metalheads congregated to opine and pontificate. Both generated controversy, and in both cases the controversy stemmed from the inevitable comparisons with each band’s own previous landmark works. By now, everyone has chosen up sides. I’m on the side that thinks both albums are very good, and worthy additions to each band’s storied discography. And they both include some of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs.

AT THE GATES

Few bands have ever made as indelible a mark on the history of metal as this one. In four straight years they produced The Red In the Sky Is Ours, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, Terminal Spirit Disease, and of course Slaughter of the Soul. And then almost 20 years passed before At the Gates delivered their fifth album, At War With Reality (reviewed here). Many bands who have resurrected their careers after a long hiatus would have been better off leaving us only with memories. In this case, we are lucky that At the Gates have come back.

Nov 202014


Photo credit: Dustin Rabin

 

I need to whine for a couple of minutes. Yes, even I, with my usually sunny disposition, need to whine every now and then.

First, I’ve been getting so little sleep lately that my eyes are as red as a baboon’s ass. Second, I inflamed a muscle in my arm from curling massive amounts of weight at the gym, the kind of crushing weight that’s comparable to a grocery bag loaded with a single loaf of bread. Third, and most egregious of all, my fucking day job has been making me run the gauntlet the last two days, with no end in sight, leaving me no time for my usual self-appointed NCS duty of scouring the web for news and new music.

I do know about a bunch of song and album premieres that appeared over the last 24 hours, but only because of messages received from my co-writers and some sharp-eyed readers. I’ve collected streams or links to them in this post, but don’t have time to write about them or even provide album art or helpful links. Shit, I haven’t even listened to all of them. How embarrassing.

Oct 202014

According to reports here and here, the 2015 edition of THE DECIBEL TOUR will include At the Gates, Converge, and Vallenfyre, plus one more band yet to be announced. This news was apparently divulged by Richard Christy on Saturday night on stage during the “Decibel Takes Manhattan” show, which featured Amon Amarth, Sabaton, and Vallenfyre.

I haven’t seen any more information than what is reported above, but this is exciting news. I’ll now have my fingers crossed, except for those rare occasions when I need those fingers for something else, that this thing will stop in Seattle.

That is all.

UPDATE: The tour schedule has now been announced. Here it is (I can un-cross my fingers):

Oct 172014

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Sweden’s At the Gates.)

Seriously… how am I supposed to even begin to review this album?

After all, the war between the forces of Hype and Anti-Hype began in earnest pretty much the moment At War With Reality was announced, and the back and forth antagonism has since churned the waters into an almost impenetrable mass of muck-raking and mud-slinging, making any attempt at clarity and objectivity a difficult prospect at best.

Think about it. How many people have you seen/heard claiming, with full confidence, that this is going to be “the best album of the year”, with little more than hope or blind faith as their main source of evidence? Probably quite a few. In fact, probably about as many people as you’ve seen stating, with arrogant superiority, that At The Gatesare shit”, and that this album “…is going to suck”, without even hearing a single note of music.

I mean, let’s face it, a lot of people will have made up their minds about At War With Reality long before they heard anything from it. The fanatics are preconditioned to love it even if it’s awful, and the elitists are predisposed to hate it even if it’s phenomenal. So really there’s not much I can say to either of those groups.

But maybe, just maybe, I can reassure some of you out there who don’t fall into either camp, and who might have their own (fully understandable) doubts about the return of At The Gates after all this time.

Oct 172014

 

I’d dashing off for my (fucking) day job, so I’ll make this brief:  At the Gates have just debuted a video for the song “Death And The Labyrinth” off their forthcoming album At War With Reality. It was directed by Patric Ullaeus , and here’s what vocalist Tompa Lindberg has to say about it:

“We had a very special idea about the kind of approach we wanted for the first video from ‘At War With Reality’. What we needed was someone gifted enough to throw himself artistically into the project full on. The lyrics to the song are very multi-layered and surreal, so we wanted someone to create a fevered dreamworld that went with the melancholic frustration and dramatic desperation that we feel comes across in the song. This is exactly what Patric has created for us. It’s his vision of the music and lyrics, which compliments the track perfectly in my opinion. I couldn’t be happier!”

Without further ado, watch and listen to “Death and the Labyrinth”. Please leave any reactions you may have in the Comments.

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