Jan 132014

Here’s Part 4 of my list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. I promised that new installments of this list would appear each day (more or less) until it’s finished, but four days have passed since the last one. I’ll make no excuses, but simply make a new promise that from here on I’ll do better.

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 two I’m announcing today, click here.

CNOC AN TURSA

Cnoc An Tursa’s magnificent 2013 album The Giants of Auld made many of the year-end lists we’ve posted at NCS, including this one by Panopticon’s Austin Lunn. He wrote this about the album: “EPIC Scottish metal. This is the album I have been waiting for…” Speaking as someone with only the most remote Scottish ancestry but a strong affinity for almost all things Scottish, it’s the album I’ve been waiting for as well.

I first wrote about this band in October 2012 after seeing the news that they’d been signed by Candlelight Records. In that first post I included all of the music from them that I could then find, including a portion of a song called “The Lion of Scotland”. In all its full glory, it later became the first advance track to appear from the album. 

Feb 152013

Maybe meteorites need to pulverize Russia more often. Earlier this morning, we got a really impressive detonation from space that has injured 1,000 people so far in central Russia — and that proved to be simply the fanfare for a new free digital compilation from Metality.net, which we’re co-sponsoring (details here). And then I discovered that Candlelight Records has just released their own free digital comp that’s also really impressive.

This digital sampler features music from Candlelight USA’s “Cult Series” and includes songs from many bands we’ve praised here at NCS, including Cnoc An Tursa (Scotland), Khors (Ukraine), Wodensthrone (England), Voices (England), Reverence (France), Kontinuum (Iceland), Crown (France), and Zatokrev (Switzerland), as well as Nine Covens (England).

I want to say an extra word about the Cnoc An Tursa tracks. There are two of them on this sampler and they’re from The Giants of Auld, an album that hasn’t been released yet. I am very excited about this album based on the music I’ve heard so far (one of these songs was featured in a post I wrote earlier this month, where you can find more info about the band). All of the other songs on this comp are super-strong, too.

Feb 032013

Yesterday I featured four new releases that appeared on Bandcamp on February 1. In this post I’ve collected more kickass new music that I discovered yesterday, plus a news item that excited me when I saw it.

CNOC AN TURSA

I wrote about this Scottish band last October after seeing the news that they’d been signed by Candlelight Records. In that earlier post I included all of the music from the band that I could then find, including a portion of a track called “The Lion of Scotland”. Sometime between then and now, that fragment disappeared from Soundcloud, but in the last couple of days it has reappeared in all its complete glory — and it is indeed a glorious song — along with the cover art for their Candlelight debut, The Giants of Auld.

I could hardly be more stoked for this debut, and “The Lion of Scotland” is an example of why I’m so eager to hear the album. It’s a genuinely soul-stirring song, with a skirling tremolo melody, an epic keyboard overlay, hard-charging rhythms, and passionate harsh vocals. If this doesn’t get your blood racing and your fist pumping, I’ll be surprised. Listen:

Oct 032012

Put this album on your radar screen: The Giants of Auld by Cnoc An Tursa.

As announced today, this Scottish band from Falkirk are the latest signing by Candlelight Records. Their debut album was recorded at Foel Studios in Wales by noted producer Chris Fielding, who has also produced albums by Winterfylleth and Primordial, among many others.

After doing a bit of reading about the band and listening to all of their music I could find this morning, Winterfylleth and Primordial were the two bands I thought of even before learning about Chris Fielding’s participation in the Cnoc An Tursa recording. Both of those bands have drawn on the heritage of their respective nations (England and Ireland) in crafting music that draws on both black metal and folk traditions. Cnoc An Tursa seem to be following a similar path with respect to their native Scotland, though their music differs from those other two collectives.

Cnoc An Tursa have wrapped their music around old Scottish poetry. One song I found, for example, bears the title “Winter, A Dirge”, which also happens to be the name of a poem by Robert Burns. A second song is named “Bannockburn”, which is the title of yet another Burns poem, in addition to being the site of one of the decisive battles in the first war of Scottish independence from England in 1314. A third, “Hail Land of My Fathers”, is the name of a poem written in the 1800’s by John Stuart Blackie. And a fourth, “Ettrick Forest In November”, was the name of a poem by Sir Walter Scott.

From what I can hear in the YouTube clips I found, the songs do appear to take the poems’ verses for their lyrics.

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