Aug 052013

Here’s my almost daily collection of news and new music that I’d like to recommend for your edification and enjoyment.

BLOOD AND THUNDER

The first item involves Blood and Thunder, a Seattle-area band who I’ve written about repeatedly, going all the way back to the first time I saw them perform live back in April 2010. They’re about to embark on their first Northwest regional tour. The sharp-eyed among you will see our name on the tour flyer at the top of this post, and yes indeed, we’re proud to help sponsor this adventure.

That’s not something we do very often, but I wanted to help spread the word in this instance not only because I like B&T’s music a lot, but also because I’ve gotten to know some of the guys in the band, and I’ve seen firsthand how hard (and how persistently) they’ve worked to get to this point. It has been a totally DIY effort, and it hasn’t been easy. But they now have quite a long and impressive list of national and international bands for whom they’ve opened in Seattle, in addition to their own headlining appearances, and it’s time for them to take their show on the road. 

Apr 072013

Blood and Thunder’s new album A Reality In Ruins is a blood-pumping romp from beginning to end. The killer album cover by Jorge Gutierrez could hardly be more fitting: Listening to the music is like vaulting onto the back of  red-eyed stallion in full gallop, with a battle ax in one hand and a fistful of mane in the other.

I’ve been following this Seattle-area band since catching their live show in April 2010 as the local opener for The Finnish Metal Tour.  Those were relatively early days for the band, but something about their energy and budding talent caught me up, and they turned out to be really nice people to boot.

I’ve seen many more of their live shows since then (most recently at their album release show last night at the Seattle stop of the Ensiferum-headlining Paganfest America tour) and I’ve spent hours talking with them after their sets. As a completely DIY band, they’ve had more than their fair share of hurdles to overcome in the last three years, including losing two of their original members last summer. But they’ve not only persevered, they’ve grown. Their story is one of steady progress despite pitfalls, and with this new album (their second) they’re really hitting their stride and solidifying their musical identity.

Sep 132012

On September 8, 2012, the current North American tour featuring Korpiklaani (Finland), Moonsorrow (Finland), Týr (Faroe Islands), and Metsatöll (Estonia) hit Seattle’s Studio Seven, with local support from Funeral Age and Blood and Thunder, and yours truly was there to bear witness. I again brought my camera, which both thinks for me and defeats my thinking because it speaks a language I don’t understand. I took pics, did the best I could to pretty them up on iPhoto, and have included the most tolerable ones in this post.

We got to the venue in broad daylight, at door-opening time because the guys from Blood and Thunder were starting off the night and we didn’t want to miss them. We headed for the venue’s balcony bar, hoping to grab a couple of the stools up against the balcony’s front railing so I could get an unobstructed view of the stage for pics and so I would have a place to park my lazy ass instead of standing for the next 5-6 hours.

No problem getting to the rail . . . but the stools were nowhere to be seen! I could already feel my ancient back beginning to stiffen up. But I put the anticipation of pain out of my head as soon as Blood and Thunder started to crank it up.

This was the first time I’d seen these dudes since a line-up change that brought on board a new bass player (not sure who he is) and new second guitarist and backing vocalist (Vance Bratcher). I had some question marks about what would happen, particularly because the band’s blackened form of melodic death metal gets intricate and relies in part on dual guitar solo’s and leads. But all was well.

Feb 182012

This was supposed to be the third part of yesterday’s Friday round-up of new music and videos. Unfortunately, your humble editor’s fucking day job decided to interfere with the vastly more important task of keeping the NSC railroad running, and I didn’t finish it. So instead of being Part 3 of the Friday Finish, it’s now the opening salvo of a Saturday Start.

If you haven’t already checked out the music in the first two parts of Friday’s series, here are the links: Part 1; Part 2. In this delayed part, we’ve got tunes from Torture Killer (Finland) and Blood and Thunder (Seattle).

TORTURE KILLER

To date, this band have released three full-length albums, the most recent of which was 2009’s Sewers, on Dynamic Arts Record. That one followed Metal Blade’s release of their second effort, Swarm! (2006). As seems to be common in Finnish metal, all the band members have spent time (or still spend time) in other projects, including Demigod, Hateform, and Archgoat. Nevertheless, the current line-up have been together since the band’s inception in 2002, with the exception of new vocalist Pessi Haltsonen (Retaliatory Measures).

Dynamic Arts is now planning to release a new three-song Torture Killer EP titled I Chose Death. It will include two new tracks plus a cover of Demigod’s “Succumb To Dark” from the Unholy Domain demo tape. The distinctive cover art was created by Mark Riddick. What I’ve heard so far is the title track, which went up for streaming two days ago.

Oct 152011

Last night NCS co-founder Alexis and I went out to Seattle’s Studio Seven and met up there with our friend Travis for a bit of vigorous headbanging. There were massive attractions on the bill, starting with one of our favorite combines of local dudes, Blood and Thunder (whose new album we’ll be reviewing shortly). In talking with them after their set, we learned they’re recording a new song and we got a look at a new piece of artwork that will likely appear on future merch — it’s a huge eye-catcher, and I hope to splash it all over NCS soon.

And then we got the chance to see another Seattle band who I’ve heard good things about — black metallists Funeral Age. Their set was killer and I’ve now got their latest album, which I’m looking forward to ingesting. More likely, it will ingest me.

After that was a surprise — Rings of Saturn from California’s Bay Area. I didn’t know these maniacs were part of this show (they weren’t listed on the Studio Seven web site), but man, I’m glad they were. They’ve now got a new 7-string bass player and a new man-mountain of a drummer, and they delivered a high-energy blast of technical death metal. The calculatingly dead-pan stage banter of their frontman Peter Pawlak was also funny as shit.

And then came the band Alexis and I really were there to see — Fleshgod Apocalypse, who were making their second Seattle appearance of the year, after their all-too-brief set on the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour stop. We moved up close to the stage for this one and just got completely mind-blown. We weren’t the only ones. The floor crowd was clearly eager for this set and exploded at the same time as the band’s first song exploded. So, in addition to getting mind-blown, we got treated to non-stop body slamming until the set ended. It was fucking spectacular. I didn’t think it was possible for me to become any more enthusiastic about FA than I already was, but yeah, it happened.

And then, we sort of lost the rest of the night’s music, missing out on Decrepit Birth and Decapitated, because we got engrossed in conversation at the tour bus with FA guitarist Cristiano Trionfera, later joined by Francesco Ferrini (keyboards), frontman Tommaso Riccardi, and drummer extraordinaire Francesco Paoli. More about that after the jump, plus another jaw-dropping Francesco Paoli drum-cam video that SickDrummer released yesterday from FA’s performance on October 11 in San Francisco.

May 282011

The local metal scene in the Seattle area is really hopping with talent these days. One of the bands whose fortunes we’ve been following for a while is Blood and Thunder. We’ve written about them several times in the past (for example, here and here). In addition to being very talented young musicians, they’re also a group of really nice people — James Furrow (keys), Billy Keller (guitar and backing vox), Ryan Yancey (lead vox and drums), Jeff Weaver (guitar), and Nick Hughes (bass). And they’ve been supporters of our humble site, which we appreciate.

After a fair share of ups and downs in the production process, Blood and Thunder have finally completed work on their debut album — Dawning of the Ancients. To celebrate the occasion, the band headlined a CD release show at Seattle’s Studio Seven last night, and my NCS collaborator Alexis and I were there.

We arrived too late to catch some of the early acts, but had a head-banging good time listening to Deathmocracy, After the Fallout, and Unhailoed — all of whom performed very strong sets.  The music was quite diverse and a good showcase for the strength of Seattle’s metal scene.

And, as we knew they would, Blood and Thunder killed it at the close of the night. Their stage presence and musicianship just gets stronger and stronger every time we see them. We snagged a copy of the CD, and you can expect a review of Dawning of the Ancients in the not-too-distant future. For now, congratulations dudes!

(Follow Blood and Thunder on Facebook here.)

May 312010

On the night of May 28, Dark Tranquillity‘s 2010 WE ARE THE VOID TOUR made its scheduled stop at Studio Seven in Seattle, and two of your NCS collaborators were present to take in all the awesomeness this show had to offer.

This was a must-see event for us, because Dark Tranquillity was one of the bands that first hooked us on extreme metal. And apart from the significance of that, we catch their live act whenever possible because they dependably deliver outstanding performances. Of course, they weren’t alone — Threat Signal, Mutiny Within, and local band Blood and Thunder were also on the bill.

So, here’s our report on the concert, plus we’ve got an unusually large batch of performance photos to show you after the all the verbiage.  (And if you think these photos are amateurish, you should see the hundreds we took that didn’t make the cut!)

BLOOD AND THUNDER

We’re not gonna say too much about this band’s performance here  — because we devoted a whole post to them yesterday. In a nutshell, they kicked massive amounts of ass: A great stage presence; technically excellent playing; and one catchy, headbangable song after another. This band churns out modern melodic death metal that deserves a wider audience.  (We do have some photos of the band’s performance that we didn’t put in yesterday’s post — so we’re putting those up at the end of this one.)

(stay with us after the jump for the rest of this review, plus all those photos we promised . . .)

May 302010

Two nights ago, one of my NCS collaborators (Alexis) and I hit Studio Seven in Seattle for Dark Tranquillity‘s headlining We Are the Void Tour. Along with Threat Signal and Mutiny Within, the night also featured an opening performance by a Seattle band called Blood and Thunder. We’ll be posting our review of the entire show tomorrow, but we decided it was time to focus on Blood and Thunder in a way that the typical format of our concert reviews doesn’t really allow.

The two main draws for us at this show were, of course, Dark Tranquillity (who were cosmically awesome) — and the band we’re writing about today. We’d seen them for the first time a month ago when they opened for The Finnish Metal Tour on its Seattle stop (reviewed by us here), and we were super-impressed. Now that we’ve had the chance to see and hear them a second time, we’re even more blown away.

The local Seattle metal scene has a growing number of talented bands that we predict you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the near future, but Blood and Thunder may just be the best un-signed extreme metal band in Seattle.

We spent time talking with some of the guys after their set at Studio Seven. In addition to being superb songwriters and musicians, they’re as nice a bunch of metalheads as you could want to meet, and they were patient enough to pose for some photos outside the venue (like the one above and a few more after the jump). But they’re also dead serious and very intelligent in the way they’re going about trying to make a name for themselves in this overcrowded niche of music. It was an eye-opening conversation for us.

(Continue reading after the jump for our report on that conversation, our review of Blood and Thunder’s set, and a big batch of our barely tolerable concert photos of this band in action . . .)

Apr 232010

On the night of April 21, The Finnish Metal Tour 2010 played Seattle’s El Corazon, and two of your NCS Co-Authors were there to bear witness and file this report — along with a big batch of our amateurish photos.

With the likes of Finntroll, Moonsorrow, and Swallow the Sun on the bill, we expected nothing less than excellence on stage, and that’s what we got. Which brings to mind a question we’ve had before:

How does a country with only 5.4 million people produce so many awesome metal bands? We still don’t know the answer. But whatever the explanation, here’s hoping it doesn’t stop. Judging by the reaction of the full house at El Corazon, we’re not alone in feeling that way.

Before the procession of Finns took the stage, two local bands got the growing crowd nice and warmed up.

BLOOD AND THUNDER

This five-piece Seattle band plays Gothenburg-flavored, melodic death metal, driven at a galloping pace by some flashy keyboard and guitar work. They’ve got some good song-writing chops, too. The songs were memorable, and we’ve been drawn to the band’s MySpace page to listen again.

They’re one of those rare bands whose lead vocalist is the guy behind the drum kit, and his evil, death-metal vocals make a nice contrast with the memorable melodies. We were told that the band has finished tracking a debut album, to follow an EP released last year. We definitely want to hear it. A strong start to the night!  (our concert notes continue after the jump, plus lots of photos at the end . . .)

Apr 222010

We got caught in a temporal vise. On one side was The Finnish Metal Tour 2010 at El Corazon in Seattle last night. Two of your NCS Co-Authors hit that up, and man, was it awesome! Finntroll (pictured above in one of our photos from last night), Moonsorrow, Swallow the Sun, and two very good local bands (7 Horns 7 Eyes and Blood and Thunder).

Those Finns don’t do half-measures. They all played long and late. We’re not complaining — but let’s just say it was the wee hours of the morning before we hit the rack. That’s one side of the temporal vise. And on the other side? The fucking day job. And the time in between the two just got squeezed down into a wafer-thin layer of almost nothingness. Certainly not enough time to finish messing with all the photos we took or to write our reactions to what we saw and heard.

So, to tide you over until tomorrow, when we can post our review and a batch of photos, we’re doing this: After the jump, we’ll post one photo from each of the Finnish band’s sets last night plus one album track to stream of a song from each of those sets. So, you’ll get songs from Swallow the Sun, Moonsorrow, and Finntroll to hear as you gaze at the photos — and imagine just how ridiculously good this concert was.  (all that, after the jump . . .)

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