May 172011

August Burns Red has a mega-sized fan base. Let’s just take their Facebook “likes” as an indicator of that: 807,942 “likes” as of this writing. That’s a shitload. Now, I don’t mean to suggest we’re in awe or anything — we’re closing in on that number ourselves. With just 807,651 more likes, our NCS Facebook page will tie August Burns Red’s. So, we’re not in awe, we’re just stating the fact: For a metal band with a hardcore edge of extremity to their sound, they’ve built an unusually large empire of fandom.

The three of us who originally founded this site are among those fans, and we’ve posted about them a lot since we started NCS. They’re not as extreme as most bands we write about here, but they’re smart, creative songwriters, they play with passion, and their musical output shows they’re not standing still. Oh yeah, their songs are also distinctive and really memorable — so much so that we named ABR’s song “Meridian” (from the Constellations album) to our inaugural list of The Ten Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2009.

ABR has a follow-up to Constellations due for release on June 21, called Leveler. It features that interesting cover art above (by Jordan Crane) showing a house that’s been leveled (see what they did there?) by a tornado or hurricane or some kind of disaster, but with life going on anyway. Or at least chicken life. It’s not your typical metal cover, but we still thought it was eye-catching.

With the album release fast approaching, ABR has begun the process of fan titillation by uploading the first song from the album for streaming. It’s called, naturally enough, “Empire”, and it’s a metalcore bruiser. After the jump, we’ve got that song for you plus some additional details about the album.

May 022011


What the hell is that big yellow thing up in the sky? It looks vaguely familiar, but it’s appeared so rarely here in The Emerald City over the last six months that we’re having trouble placing the name. Well, maybe the name will come to us. The great wheel of the seasons surely must continue to turn someplace, but in Seattle it seems to have been stuck on Winter since, like, forever. In some parts of the world, April showers bring May flowers, but here, April showers will probably bring . . . May showers.

Okay, enough whining. At least we don’t get tornados dropping from the sky like atom bombs and wiping whole towns off the map. And even though the weather hasn’t been our friend, we have metal to make up for the cold shoulder — and there’s a bunch of new metal headed our way.

What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones.

Feb 112011

NCS is going to the dogs today. Within an hour of putting up our first post, which featured dog balls and Bury Your Dead, I saw this awesome video. It was like serendipity. Or synchronicity. I can never remember the difference between those words, though I like both of them. Anyway, I felt like someone was trying to tell me something. Someone was saying, “you shall make NCS all about dogs today”. And I am obeying.

The song on this video is by August Burns Red, a band that all three of your NCS co-founders like a bunch. It’s called “The Eleventh Hour” and it’s on the band’s 2007 album, Messengers. It’s a good song. It would be worth hearing again today even if the video image were just an unchanging black screen. But what goes on in this video is funny as shit to watch. The guy who’s operating the dog’s paws is clearly a drummer (though I don’t think it’s ABR’s Matt Greiner, despite a resemblance) and clearly knows the drum track on this song pretty damned well. And the changing expressions on the dog’s face are priceless (particularly the teeth-baring).

You know he’s a good dog, because although you can see that he’d like to bite the shit out of the dude’s hands, he’s holding back.

P.S. Someone out there is going to be offended by this. I’m pretty soft-hearted when it comes to animals and pretty sensitive when it comes to human abuse of animals, but there’s no real harm done here.

Sep 242010

Well, fuck it. This is clearly new-video Friday. Seems like about every hour of the day so far a new video has popped up on our radar screen. And there’s really no reason why we should stop with those Animals As Leaders videos we put up earlier today. We’ll just continue putting up videos for as long as we see new ones to put up. How ’bout that?

Just tell your boss or your teachers or whoever is attempting to control your lives today to just fuck right off, get yourself a big ol’ fucking bag of popcorn, and just veg out and watch metal videos all day. Because at this rate, we’ll find a dozen more new ones before we call it quits today.

So, here’s what we’ve got so far: A brand new video for the title track from the new album by The Absence (“Enemy Unbound”); a brand new performance video from August Burns Red off their forthcoming live CD/DVD (the song is “Barn Burner”); and a new video from a California black-metal band called Valdur (the song is called “Vicious Existence”). Get the popcorn and go see ’em after the jump . . . (and don’t get faked out by our screen capture up at the top — clicking on that arrow won’t start the video, which is after the jump).

May 012010

We’re now a full four months into 2010, and it’s time for our fourth update to the list of forthcoming new albums we posted on January 1. (See the original list here, the first update here, the second update here, and the third update here.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases that we didn’t know about on January 1 or at the time of our last three updates (or that we’ve found updated information about) — and the new sickness is still spreading in epidemic proportions.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re old school like us, just get em tattooed someplace you can see without a mirror (because reading stuff backwards is hard).

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS: “Abigail Williams have completed recording of individual performances for their still untitled second full-length. Captured at Conquistador Studios in Cleveland, Ohio, eight new songs were laid down with vocalist/guitarist Ken Sorceron and engineer Cole Martinez controlling the audio takes. The songs are currently being mixed by Peter Tagtgren (Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Celtic Frost) and are expected to be completed later this month.”

ABYSMAL DAWN: “Los Angeles-based metallers ABYSMAL DAWN will enter Trench Studio in Corona, California in May with producer John Haddad (PHOBIA, INTRONAUT, HIRAX) to begin recording their new album for a tentative fall release via Relapse Records. The follow-up to Programmed To Consume will be mixed by Erik Rutan (HATE ETERNAL, VITAL REMAINS, CANNIBAL CORPSE) at his Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida.”  (the list continues after the jump .  .)

Mar 062010

The three of us who collaborate on this site don’t always agree in our estimation of metal bands, but all of us are big fans of August Burns Red. They’re not as heavy as most bands we write about here, but they’re smart, creative songwriters, they play with passion, and their musical output shows they’re not standing still. Oh yeah, their songs are also distinctive and really memorable — so much so that we named ABR’s song “Meridian” (from the Constellations album) to our list of The Ten Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2009.

On Friday of last week, ABR posted a six-and-a-half minute video look-back of their 2009 year on the road — mostly behind-the-scenes footage, with some slo-mo performance shots. I didn’t see anything from their September show in Seattle (with The Acacia Strain, My Children My Bride, and Impending Doom), but we don’t need a video reminder. That was one epic set that will stick in our memories for a while. They’re coming back to Seattle in late April, and you can bet your ass we’ll be there — even though we’ll have to pay the price of enduring some other, much less talented, barely metal bands on the bill (who shall remain nameless).

The video is kind of random in its selection of subject matter, and certainly won’t change your life, but these are likable guys and it shows.  And the video is worth watching if for no reason other than the fact that ABR chose “Meridian” as the musical accompaniment for about the last five minutes of the clip (not sure what song is rolling at the start, but it’s not metal).

Dec 282009

This past weekend we finished dribbling out our list of the Ten Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2010. Here’s the final line-up:

1.  Asphyx: Scorbutics

2.  Mastodon: Crack the Skye

3.  Amorphis: Silver Bride

4. Goatwhore: Apocalyptic Havoc

5.  August Burns Red: Meridian

6.  Pelican: Ephemeral

7.  Scale the Summit: Age of the Tide

8.  Daath: Wilting On the Vine

9.  Molotov Solution: The Harbinger

10. Revocation: Dismantling the Dictator

Yes, the list is finished — and for your listening pleasure, we’ve added a playlist of the listed songs to our MySpace page — with one slight alteration:  we couldn’t find Scale the Summit‘s “Age of the Tide” on MySpace, so our playlist includes another of our favorites tracks off Carving Desert Canyons.

Even though we finished the list, your NCS Co-Authors had some infectious favorites that didn’t survive our final negotiations — but they just missed by a nose. So we’re going to roll those out later this week. It’s the next best thing to just reneging on our commitment to make this a list of the Top Ten and instead renaming it the Top Fourteen.

Dec 202009

AugustBurnsRed5

Here at NCS, we’re putting a different spin on year-end listmania. Ours isn’t a list of the best metal full-lengths of the year. It’s not even necessarily our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year. Ours is a list of the most infectious extreme metal songs we’ve heard this year. We’re talking about songs that produce involuntary physical movement and worm their way into your brain to such an extent you can’t get ’em out (and wouldn’t want to).

We’re not ranking our list from #10 to #1 because that would be too much fucking work (and your co-Authors would still be arguing about it this time next year). So, our list is in no particular order. We’re also dribbling the songs out one at a time because your lazy Authors are still debating what belongs in the remaining slots. Our list heretofore:

1.  Asphyx:  Sorbutics

2.  Mastodon:  Crack the Skye

3.  Amorphis:  Silver Bride

4.  Goatwhore: Apocalyptic Havoc

And for our fifth entry on the list, continue reading after the jump.

Dec 082009

Texas+in+July+texas

My co-Author IntoTheDarkness turned me on to Texas in July this past summer not long after they released their full-length CD I Am. I liked it immediately and have found myself going back to it periodically since then (and I’ll eventually explain why). When I first started listening to I Am, I knew nothing about the band and there wasn’t a lot to learn on the netz, though I did discover that despite their band name the guys were from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (As a native Texan, I was a little disappointed by that discovery, but managed to get over it.)

Recently, after one of my periodic returns to I Am, I decided to hunt the web again for more info and found a lot more than when I looked the first time 6 months ago. For one thing, the band’s MySpace page now shows more than 1 million song plays, which is a shit-load. And I found that the band had released an EP called Salt of the Earth in October 2008 (both releases are now available on iTunes).  I also found all sorts of on-the-surface reasons why the odds would be against me liking this band.

First, they’re really young (ages 16-18, and two of them still in high school) and I’m really not.  I’ve found very few metal bands that young who have enough song-writing sophistication and playing chops to be worth more than a brisk once-over. Second, look at that photo above: kind of screams “Emo!” doesn’t it? Third, their label (CI Records) bills them  as a Christian metalcore band. Now don’t get me wrong — they’re some bands stuck in that same genre pigeon-hole that I really like (e.g., August Burns Red) — but it’s not a long list. My tastes these days tend to run toward the more brutal end of the extreme metal spectrum.

But against all these odds, I’m still addicted to Texas in July. Call it a guilty pleasure. And the source of the appeal, as it should be, is the music. To explain . . .

Nov 242009

[Editor’s Note: NO CLEAN SINGING was originally founded by three metalheads who go by the names of Islander, Alexis, and IntoTheDarkness. In this post, IntoTheDarkness tells you a little bit about himself, and below that, Alexis introduces herself. Islander hasn’t yet written anything about himself, other than what you can read into what he writes on this site — and this photo.]

Why is there such a separation within the metal scene? Why is it that if someone likes more than one distinct type of metal, he or she gets ridiculed? For example, if you’re someone who likes both death metal and deathcore, you are suddenly no longer a true metal fan.

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