Sep 152014

 

About an hour ago, and almost exactly one year after the release of Surgical Steel, Carcass posted the image you see above on their Facebook page, with no further explanation other than the words “Sshhhhhh! Mum’s the word!” (as if). But it appears to be an announcement of a forthcoming vinyl EP to be released by Nuclear Blast on November 11, 2014, entitled Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel.

If I’m interpreting the flyer correctly, the release will include five tracks. “A Wraith In the Apparatus” appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Surgical Steel; “Intensive Battery Brooding” was the B-side on a 7″ vinyl single for “Captive Bolt Pistol” and also appeared as a Japanese bonus track on Surgical Steel; “Zochrot” was a single recorded during the Surgical Steel sessions that appeared as a Flexi-disc in the October 2013 issue of Decibel magazine; I’m pretty sure “Livestock Marketplace” was another song recorded during the Surgical Steel sessions but so far as I know it hasn’t been previously released; and “1985 (Reprise)” may be some sort of re-working of Surgical Steel’s first track.

That’s what I know or have discovered from my researches.

Aug 132014

 

(NCS writer Andy Synn attended part of the Bloodstock Festival in England last weekend and files this report, with his own photos.)

For various reasons I was only able to make it to the one day of Bloodstock Festival this year. Thankfully that one day happened to be headlined by the legendary Emperor, so I’m not massively complaining!

Due to some issues getting my new laptop (it’s lovely and shiny and I’m writing this column on it right now), I ended up running a little late that morning and so, after picking up my two companions, got to the festival site a little later than planned. As a result I missed out on both The King Is Blind and Shining (Nor), but was there in time to see Old Corpse Road bring their eloquent mix of dark folklore and blackened intensity to the Sophie Stage.

Aug 112014

Collected in this post you will find news of three U.S. or North American tours. News about the first two is still somewhat incomplete, and I’m a bit late reporting on the third one. All three are enticing.

“IN THE MINDS OF EVIL”

Last month news surfaced about a tour to be headlined by Deicide, named after their most recent album, In the Minds of Evil. Last night Inquisition posted an announcement on their Facebook page about the tour, which was interesting because when the tour was announced last month Marduk was named as one of the support bands, but now it appears that Marduk are out and Inquisition are in. In addition, Abysmal Dawn have been added to the line-up. Here’s the complete list of bands:

DEICIDE
SEPTICFLESH
INQUISITION
ABYSMAL DAWN
CARACH ANGREN

An updated official tour flyer hasn’t been released yet, so I decided to use a photo of an embryo of the short-tailed fruit bat (embryonic stage 19).

Inquisition also included an initial schedule of dates in their FB post, while noting that more dates will be added. Here’s the schedule so far:

May 142014

(In this post our man BadWolf reviews the performances of Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Gorguts at the Columbus, Ohio stop of the DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR, and the photos are his too!)

For the purposes of this review, let’s accept a false dichotomy: that there is a real and tangible difference between ‘mainstream’ extreme metal music, and ‘underground’ metal music. It’s a bullshit claim perpetuated by a self-important blogosphere and a sometimes-right-sometimes-wrong minority of metalheads with a serious penchant for nostalgia, but assume for a moment that it is true.

If so, then up until three years ago, the large package tour was exclusively in the domain of mainstream metal music. Mayhem, Summer Slaughter, and their progenitor, Ozzfest, are each the domain of the popular music industry. Even the Metal Alliance Tour falls into this trap to a lesser degree (mostly in its over-abundance of bands with too-short set lists).

The occultocrati’s sole entity in this realm has become the Decibel Magazine Tour, which year after year has presented solid and cohesive lineups that stand on the razor’s edge between critical acclaim and commercial viability. It was a bold move in 2012: when I caught that first Decibel tour (reviewed here), there was no guarantee it would happen again. Who could have predicted the way that the tour would break the careers of bands like In Solitude, or poise groups like Behemoth and Watain for the kind of massive album sales they’ve enjoyed since.

Jan 162014

Welcome to Part 6 of our list of the year’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. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

You can think of this latest group of songs as the “comeback” edition of the series. All three songs come from bands who made incredibly exciting returns to the metal scene during 2013 after extended absences, ranging from to 8 years to 17 years. Their 2013 albums surely must rank among the strongest comebacks in metal history, and they have also been widely recognized as three of the best albums of last year. They’re presented here in alphabetical order.

CARCASS

Did any metal album of 2013 draw more attention than Surgical Steel (reviewed by us here)?  It was so highly anticipated that if it had been merely good, massive disappointment would have been the inevitable result. Yet Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, and Dan Wilding pulled off a tour de force that left all but the most hide-bound doubters smiling.

Dec 162013

For various reasons, including a long vacation, a buttload of work and work-related travel that confronted me in my day job upon returning from said vacation, and the dedication of space to our ongoing year-end LISTMANIA series, I’ve not been doing a very good job of spreading the word about new music and videos. Much new music and videos of interest have been accumulating. I’m collecting five of the recent videos and one new song in this post. Many of them lean more toward hard rocking that the kind of extreme metaling I usually feature in these round-ups, but it’s all good stuff.

RED FANG

Red Fang have consistently produced videos that are sure-fire chuckle fests. Their new one is no exception. Directed by Whitey McConnaughy, it’s for “Blood Like Cream”, one of the songs on the band’s latest album Whales and Leeches. It’s a twist on the zombie theme. These undead monsters want PBR instead of brains — but it is fuckin’ Portland, so that’s not a total shock.

Yeah, there’s clean singing in the song, but it’s crunchy, it rocks out, and it gets its hooks in your brain meat. Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug.

Sep 282013

Happy Saturday motherfuckers (and of course I mean that in the nicest possible way). You haven’t asked what I’ve been listening to this morning, but I’m going to share that with you anyway, because sometimes people want things that they don’t know they want, and I feel sure this is such a time.

PHANTOM

In listening to the kind of albums I, Voidhanger releases, I’m used to getting my brain pureed in a blender or torn apart by black hurricanes of harrowing noise. But this morning I listened to the first song on a forthcoming I, Voidhanger album that takes a different turn. The album is Incendiary Serum by a Danish band named Phantom, and it’s scheduled for release before the end of this year. The opening track is “Ghostly”, and it is ghostly (and ghastly).

The aura of the music is still very black and bleak, still filled by vocal vomit, but it’s slow, crushing, and melodic. Powerful degraded riffs stomp and moan, twisted tremolo trills flit through the murk, minor-key piano melodies sing the songs of dead, homeless souls. You can headbang, and you can sink into a state of melancholy bereavement. This is an excellent melding of doom, death, and black metal. I, Voidhanger does not disappoint. Here’s “Ghostly”:

Sep 252013

We’ve been way light on the content today. I don’t mean to imply any misgivings about Andy Synn’s Otargos review, but we’re way past mid-morning here on the West Coast of these United States, and on a typical day we would have three or four posts up on the site by now. However, I was out listening to live metal last night (a review is coming), didn’t get home and to bed until nearly 3 a.m., and am only now dragging myself into the world of the living (hail satan that I didn’t have to go to work at the usual hour this morning).

I do have a new post in the works, but it will take me a while longer to finish it. In the meantime, enjoy “Zochrot”. That’s not the name of a foot fungus. It’s the name of a “B-side” track recorded by Carcass that isn’t on their new album Surgical Steel but instead was included as part of DECIBEL magazine’s Flexi-Disc series. Subscribers to the magazine got a copy with the August issue. Everyone else is shit out of luck because, at least for now, it isn’t being released in any other format.

However, today DECIBEL did start making the song available for listening on Soundcloud. It’s got a bouncy groove (definitely not the deathgrind side of Carcass’ personality) and a couple of nice solos. Not a bad way to pass the time while I get my shit together. You can hear “Zochrot” by visiting this page (DECIBEL didn’t make the song embeddable):

Sep 102013

Painstakingly selected from among the detritus that litters the interhole and the NCS in-box, here are items of interest that appeared over the last 24 hours.

ULCERATE

If you need more darkness in your life — and who doesn’t? — then you should listen to Vermis, the new death metal monstrosity by New Zealand’s Ulcerate. The album won’t be released in North America until September 17 (a day earlier in the UK and September 13 in certain European countries), but yesterday Metal Sucks began hosting an exclusive stream of the album. Ulcerate are one of those rare death metal bands who are pushing (or dragging) the genre in new directions. The music of Vermis is harrowing and inhuman, but it exerts a powerful attraction. You should hear it.

THIS is the link for the stream.

CARCASS

The new Carcass album, which we reviewed here, is due for release on September 16. I have a feeling that anyone interested in hearing the new Carcass album has already heard it, but just in case, it’s now streaming in full, too. Nuclear Blast has uploaded the entire album to YouTube. Obviously, it’s one of the biggest releases of 2013, and it also happens to be a fine album. You can hear it next.  (thanks Daniel for the tip)

Aug 192013

(BadWolf reviews the new album by Carcass.) 

My age was in single digits the last time Carcass released new material, but Surgical Steel does not feel like a comeback album. Carcass never exited the zeitgeist. Their first four albums have remained fresh and relevant since their release, and remain touchstones to which all other extreme metal releases are compared. 1988’s Reek of Putrifaction may still be the best overall grind album on the market. 1991’s Necroticism is one of the only technical death metal albums I can name that boasts actually memorable songs. 1995’s Heartwork—praise it—is one of only a handful of melodic death metal records that still sounds good after puberty’s end.

Carcass will never leave the market—since I’ve been interested in extreme metal, their work has been rereleased and re-rereleased in increasingly indulgent and deluxe packages. The most mainstream of extreme metal acts—The Black Dahlia Murder, for example—routinely sing Carcass’s praises in the pages of glossy print ‘zines.

Keeping that in mind, calling Surgical Steel a comeback album rings false. It’s just an entree I ordered at a popular and crowded restaurant that took a long time—17 years long—to cook. So long I forgot ordering it. Well, I’ve eaten my long-delayed entree. It came to my table still piping hot. The waiter is getting a 50% gratuity. I’m going to walk into the kitchen and congratulate the chef—The Master Butcher—personally. It’s fucking delicious.

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