Oct 062017


photo by Ester Segarra

 

The name De Profundis is one you will recognize if you’ve been a frequent visitor to our site (or have otherwise kept your antennae alert to the emergence of excellent metal), given that we have published positive reviews of their 2013 album The Emptiness Within, their 2014 EP Frequencies, and most recently (and most glowingly) their latest album, Kingdom of the Blind, released in 2015. Of that album, my comrade Andy Synn wrote:

“[T]his move towards a proggier outlook – more expressive and textured and, ultimately, more natural – has clear benefits for both the Prog and the Death aspects of the band’s sound. The heaviest moments benefit from a greater sense of focus and direction, while the band’s progressive side is given free rein to fully express itself, and, on a grander scale, the songs themselves feel simultaneously more streamlined and structured, yet also more complex and freeform, with a greater sense of fluidity and flow between moments of blast-fuelled fury and expansive, melodic creativity…. Kingdom of the Blind is by far the band’s finest hour, and every subsequent re-listen has only cemented this impression.”

Jul 092017


Amenra photo by Stephan Vanfleteren

 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Overflowing Streams round-up, my plan was to pull together another compilation of recent recommended music under the SEEN AND HEARD header. By the time I finished, I realized that almost everything I had picked came in the form of a video, and the one exception was close enough that I decided to change the heading for this post.

I arranged these videos to achieve a kind of flow, or an arc — not seamless, to be sure, but in a way that made sense to me. Things begin in very dark fashion with the first three videos, then we have some death metal necrophilia as a transition (necrophilia is always a good transition, right?), and then a trio of high-energy tracks that have ethnic musical elements mixed in with otherwise diverse sounds, and then we go out in an explosive bonfire. And with that, let’s begin…

(P.S. My usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK feature will be posted on Monday.)

AMENRA

The Belgian band Amenra are returning with a new mass, five years after the last one. Mass VI will be released on October 20 by Neurot Recordings, a date that seems very far away, but at least it’s on the calendar now. The video below isn’t a full song (sadly), but it’s a very effective teaser for the new album nonetheless.

Dec 212015

Gorgoroth show Sound Control

 

(Andy Synn wrote this report on the recent live performances of Gorgoroth, Kampfar, Gehenna, De Profundis, and The Negation in Manchester, UK.)

Precisely one week ago today (or just over one week ago, depending on when this get published) I was lucky enough to see the legendary Gorgoroth, Kampfar, and Gehenna play as part of a triple-header of True Norwegian Black Metal, supported by rising progressive extremists De Profundis, and up-and-coming French nihilists The Negation (whose new album, Memento Mori, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about).

To say this was a stacked line-up would be an understatement, particularly considering that both Kampfar and Gorgoroth are riding high on the back of a pair of killer new albums. The only downside to the evening was the early door time (5pm?!) to allow for sufficient time for all five bands to strut their metallic stuff.

But ultimately that was a small price to pay for an evening filled with such a smorgasbord of diabolical thrills!

Sep 172015

Flag of Great Britain

 

(Andy Synn puts the spotlight on new releases by a trio of British bands.)

As I’ve said a few times before, I’m occasionally called to task for a perceived lack of “support” for the British metal scene, either because I’ve said something to criticise whatever flavour of the month band is currently riding high on a wave of second-hand riffage and easily-digestible snack-sized song-bytes, or simply for having the sheer gall to write for an American website instead of a UK one (conveniently ignoring the fact that I also contribute regularly to London Metal Monthly and, somewhat less regularly, Terrorizer magazine).

The thing is, for purely selfish, self-promoting reasons, I probably SHOULD spend more time shucking and jiving for every bunch of jokers with even a little bit of scene-cred in the hope that those good vibes will rub off on either of my own bands… But I’m not going to. I like to pretend I have at least an iota of integrity after all.

Ultimately I just want to write about the music that I love, regardless of arbitrary issues of national pride or scene loyalty. It just so happens that despite being sent numerous links to different bands from all around the UK, a lot of what I hear simply doesn’t connect with me, or live up to what I consider my own critical standards. For better or worse, that’s just the way it is (though please don’t stop sending links my way).

But when I actually DO find a band I love from the UK, I am MORE than happy to throw my support behind them, for whatever good it may do. Hence why you’re about to read the first of two separate collections bringing together some of the very best metallic offerings that have come out of the British scene this year… with today’s entry erring strongly towards the Death Metal side of things.

So, let’s get started, shall we…?

May 062015


Photo by Ewan Cawood

 

A flood of new music and videos appeared yesterday. I found a dozen of them I’d like to recommend, but I’m squeezed for time at the moment, so I’ve made some hard choices and picked three for this post. Perhaps I’ll be able to collect a few more later today — though it’s likely that as this day wears on even more good new music will appear. Anyone who thinks there’s something wrong with the state of metal in 2015 is just WRONG.

PARADISE LOST

My Facebook news feed blew up with friends posting about the new Paradise Lost video yesterday. Most of the links were accompanied by exclamations of surprise and praise. To those I’ll now add my own.

The song is “Beneath Broken Earth” and it appears on the band’s forthcoming album The Plague Within, due for release on June 1 by Century Media. The video was directed by Ash Pears. Here’s a quote about the song and video by the band’s guitarist Greg Mackintosh (who we hope has recovered from his recent mishap on stage in Seattle with Vallenfyre):

Jun 022014

(Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming EP by the UK’s De Profundis.)

De Profundis have always been one of the more… unique… bands on the UK metal scene. And that’s something that’s been both a blessing and a curse for the band, as their diverse and distinctive style of Progressive Extreme Metal has long been both instantly recognisable and yet frustratingly hard to pin down.

Over the years the band’s sound – doomy, progressive, blackened, deathly – has changed and mutated in a number of ways, yet their artful amalgamation of disparate influences – coupled to an always impressive, intricate instrumental flair – has always remained constant. Despite this, though, many people, myself included, have struggled to define or describe the band in any useful way, without simply resorting to an array of vague references to a multitude of other bands.

And trying to fully elaborate and elucidate precisely what it is that makes the band so special, without falling back on the crutch of these predictable, often ill-defined, comparisons, has been a problem for a while now.

But I can confidently say that Frequencies solves this problem with aplomb, and it does so without sacrificing any of the band’s carefully crafted identity or hard-won credibility.

May 092014

I’m in a tug of war with my fucking day job, but I pulled it into the slop long enough to throw together this small collection of nasty new songs and a video. Now it’s my turn to get pulled into the slop — see you on Saturday when we will have… something… probably something covered in slop.

AUROCH

As previously reported, Vancouver’s Auroch have a new album named Taman Shud that will be released on June 24 by Profound Lore, with vinyl coming via Dark Descent. I’ve been very high on this band based on their past efforts, and the new song that debuted yesterday is a strong sign that Taman Shud will be a worthy successor. “Noxious Plume” is the name of this ode to all things poisonous and wantonly destructive.

Sep 062012

Here we are, still rounding up new music (and a new video) that debuted yesterday or early this morning. If you missed the last post because you were doing something unimportant by comparison, like performing open heart surgery, there are killer new songs from other bands in that one, too. In this one we have new music from Eyehategod (New Orleans), Klone (Poitiers), and Slash Dementia (Äänekoski), plus a new video from De Profundis (London).

EYEHATEGOD

NOLA sludge legends Eyehategod have released a new 7″ single via A389 Recordings, who will sell it to you here on laser-etched green vinyl. Its title is “New Orleans Is the New Vietnam”, and it’s apparently the first new track the band have released since the demo tracks on 2005’s Preaching The End Time Message.

The song is now streaming on the A389 Bandcamp page. It’s a cool song, and by “cool” I mean it will punch you in the spleen. Fat stoner riffs duke it out with pachydermal stomps and Mike Williams somehow rises up in the middle of all that heaving weight spewing pure pissed-off punk invective. Give it a listen after the jump, and begin preparing yourselves for the band’s next album, which is in the works.

Jul 022012

(In this post, Andy Synn reviews the new album by London’s De Profundis.)

Despite two previous impressive albums, with this latest taking them to a total of three, along with a host of European festival appearances under their belts, De Profundis remain something of an unknown quantity to many in the metal scene. In quiet solitude the UK quintet have spent years honing their craft, both as individuals and as a group, mastering both their instruments and their progressive muse, emerging periodically with a new release or a series of startling live appearances.

With a manic, melting-pot approach to song-writing that reminds me of Canada’s Into Eternity, in frenetic style if not in sound, it takes a steady hand and a keen eye to keep a complex machine such as this from spinning off the rails. Thankfully, this sort of attention to detail and knack for clear composition is something the band have in spades, accenting their material with hints of Emperor’s promethean grandeur, Death’s inhuman technical flow, and Opeth’s blackwater dynamics.

 

Though a consciously complex band, the quintet aren’t afraid to go hell-for-leather when the occasion calls for it, as the opening to “Delirium” can attest, moving from a grand metal riff in the oldest tradition through a blizzard of blast-beats and weaving tremolo guitars, before settling into a twisted arrangement of catchy riffs and spiralling solos. The track matches its ferocity with a mid-song break into calm acoustics and warping, bass-led melody lines. Cleanly spoken vocals add to the melancholic atmosphere, while a simple yet precise solo plays a mournful refrain, before the track climaxes in a blackened storm of fiery notes and snare beats.

Mar 022012

For a change, I actually remembered on the second day of the new month that that the preceding month had ended; usually takes longer than that. My creditors would be happy, except I think their bills need to age a while longer. But yes, February is history — and that means its time to post our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. Today’s list is a little more comprehensive than the half-assed job I did at the end of January, which means it’s about three-quarters assed. One of these days it will be fully assed.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If I found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, I probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us (me and your fellow readers) what I missed when I put this list together, because I’m abso-fucking-lutely certain that I missed all sorts of shit. So let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here!

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