Jun 212017

 

(DGR once again takes over round-up duty, compiling a selection of nine items for your listening and viewing pleasure, culled from the last week.)

 

Clearly nobody got the email that we sent out announcing that we would be incredibly busy late last week Northwest Terror Festing, and therefore decided that it would be a good time to flood the heavy metal world with news. You wouldn’t know that by visiting NCS, because we slowed to a crawl, with writers Gorger and Andy Synn coming through as the heroes keeping the fortress guarded whilst the rest of us rotated between drunk and exhausted.

Now, though, DGR has come to collect his dues, so I have compiled a round-up with every single thing that I kept notes on from Thursday of last week ’til now, and I guarantee you that I’ve still missed a handful of things. Still, though, this collection of music videos, lyric videos, and live performance(s) is gigantic in its own right and it is certified NCS “Fresh”, which means it should only mildly smell like rotting beef carcasses.

Abhorrent Decimation – Conspire

When I first saw the artwork by Karmazid for the upcoming Abhorrent Decimation album The Pardoner, I declared that if the music on that disc could be half as cool as the artwork it bore or the concept behind it, then I would be a happy camper. Well, with “Conspire“, Abhorrent Decimation have shown that they are in good standing on that front — releasing a monstrous six-minute brutalizer.

Jun 062017

 

(DGR reviews the new album by North Carolina’s Æther Realm., which will be released tomorrow.)

An almost four-year gap between albums isn’t too unheard of these days. Metal, when it wants to, moves at a glacial pace, and as much as we love to assume everyone runs on the two-year cycle, there are always going to be a bunch of outliers. Æther Realm are one such band, with the gap between their debut album One Chosen By The Gods and the group’s soon-to-be-released sophomore disc Tarot being close to four years — though the band themselves have alleviated that a bit with a very healthy bit of touring, show playing, and a slow drip of singles that has actually made the time seem to disappear faster than one would think.

A sophomore disc can represent a huge shift for a band, especially one like Æther Realm, who had a very succesful first disc — one that really did prove the concept behind the band in one go and contained a healthy grasp of really catchy songs. For a band that at one point jokingly had as part of their online bio “We are not from Finland”, it certainly wasn’t hard to draw conclusions as to which groups the Æther Realm crew really, really loved and drew a ton of inspiration from. A second album of the same style, though, no matter how good the band might do it, becomes a harder sell, and with Tarot it seems like even Æther Realm recognized that.

May 152017


Origin

 

(DGR steps in for round-up duty with a collection of deathly advance tracks from forthcoming albums that detonated late last week.)

2017 has been a year that has moved in fits and starts, with huge batches of releases and then a period of calm, then another huge batch and so on. It’s a different feeling from last year’s torrential flood, but it also means that promotional stuff moves in fits and starts as well — which is how we wound up with the back half of last week bringing one big release after another from some fairly recognizable names for those who love their death metal and high speed.

It was a pretty intense flood of death metal washing over the metal community, much of it coming from some fairly big names — a hefty collection of mainstays, old guard, and standard-bearers. We tried to collect some of them into our usual three-to-four part series of bands, but eventually it seemed like everyone wanted to get in on the game, and that’s why you have a SEEN AND HEARD headline with five recognizable names within it, all deploying material virtually at once.

May 022017

 

(DGR wrote this detailed review of the new album by the Polish band Hate.)

There are some groups who exist like heavy metal’s undercurrent, groups who seem like they have always been there and never seem to age, as if the band were immortal, with each release they put out slotting neatly right next to the others in their career. Hate are one of those groups. Their martial brand of Satan-inspired, Anti-religion death metal has seemingly existed as part of heavy metal’s subculture forever, one of a small handful of bands playing a particular style, a constant go-to for a specific fix.

The new Hate album Tremendum marks the group’s tenth release in a little over twenty years. The thing that has kept Hate around like this, like many bands who’ve enjoyed a twenty-plus-year career in the metal business, is that Hate found a sound, and since locking into it, for better or worse, they have put out albums with differing variations on that overall style, but have never gone for a massive genre-shift or anything blindingly different. Hate are going to consistently sound like Hate. That is one of the ways you wind up a pillar of a genre, as Hate have done.

Apr 282017

 

(DGR turns in this review of the new album by Bavarian grind merchants Genocide Generator.)

This one took a bit to review. Not because there was some conflict or confusion as to how Genocide Generator did things, but mostly because III is an album that does almost exactly what I was hoping the band would do after their debut album I — you’ll note, there’s no II yet — which was to double-down on all of the elements they had used to make their first disc.

I was hoping they would double-down on the speed, on the grind, on the usage of electronics, and on the heaping helping of just outright absurdity that they splattered over the top of everything. And that’s what they did on III. So if you can remember way back to the olden horse-cart days of the internets and our review of I, and if you enjoyed that, then III is perfect for you. What took a while with III, though, is that since the self-described “grindustrial madness” band doubled down on everything, it’s hard to pontificate about much with the disc. And it also raises a few interesting questions.

One question is that since the band have so much fun inserting dumb sound effects and cranking on random electronic noise to go along with the high-speed adrenaline rush that is their music, how does one possibly review grind like that? How does one talk about grind that takes on an almost carnival-like atmosphere with its big-top bombast and the joy of how anarchic some of the songs become? How do you review an album of grind that sounds like it was made for a funhouse?

Apr 252017

 

(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Germany’s Torturized.)

Here at NCS, we’re proud of the spelunking we do to find underground metal, in between our fawning over the genre as a whole. We also enjoy helping get folks’ names out there — in my case, especially when it comes to some machine-precise death metal.

The idea of musicians as machinery is one that still proves exciting, and hearing a band execute on that idea to crank out some crushing death metal still impresses. Which is how I wound up at the doorstep of Torturized‘s disc Omnivore.

Apr 202017

 

(DGR delivers this big review of the new album by Germany’s Profanity.)

If one were to play the numbers game with German three-piece death metal band Profanity and their album releases, one could say that it has been quite some time since the group’s last full-length album — and basically have it qualify as one of the understatements of the year.

The band, having sprung back into life after a decade-plus of on/off activity since their last release, put out an EP in late 2014 known as Hatred Hell Within, an EP that consisted of three songs but could’ve easily passed as an album, given the denseness of the material contained within.

Profanity like writing big brutal death metal songs. Not big in terms of bombast, but in terms of how much they can pack within the six-plus minutes many of their songs tend to take. This mentality has continued onward with the group’s newest release, The Art Of Sickness, coming in a little under three years since that Hatred Hell Within EP.

Containing a deceptive six songs within its tracklist, The Art Of Sickness leaves its listeners looking like one of those idiot TV show hosts right after ordering a gigantic meal, as the realization finally hits them that there is actually a lot on that plate, despite the overwhelming confidence with which they approached it and the initially deceptive appearance.

Apr 062017

 

(DGR reviews the new EP by Author & Punisher.)

Half the fun of reviewing the handful of Author & Punisher releases that I’ve been able to cover the years has been in finding descriptors for the music. It is a project that lends itself to creative prose, in part because the Author & Punisher project doesn’t use traditional instrumentation; the artist himself constructs the instruments and plays them solely by himself, so the usual go-to’s are immediately flung into traffic to become someone’s new hood ornament. Describing the slow, percussive, atmospheric, drone and doom that Author & Punisher has made its bread and butter has been fun, but two of the words that never would’ve come to mind are “detached” and “dispassionate”.

Author & Punisher albums have differed immensely from each other over the years, with a collective of various influences each worming their way into the recordings of project mainman Tristan Shone drowning within his machinery that we’ve taken to calling music. Up until Author & Punisher’s previous release Melk En Honing, the music felt partially like an exorcism, a form of expression for someone who was burying himself in layers of percussive machinery, occasionally screaming at the top of his lungs and engaging in the occasional minor Godflesh worship. Women & Children, especially, had a lot of fun with being as fierce as the song within it that bore the same name, albeit at a very slow pace. Melk En Honing had some roots in a blues-and-sludge twist on the regular formula, and also included some of the heaviest moments that Author & Punisher has created to date — including the blinding violence of the opening few minutes of “Callous And Hoof”.

A new Author & Punisher release is kind of an event because it often comes coupled with new machinery that Tristan has built, and the newest Author & Punisher release Pressure Mine is no different in that aspect, but it is a very, very different event than previous experiences.

Mar 282017

 

(DGR turns in one of his typically detailed reviews, this time focusing on the new album by Italy’s Hideous Divinity.)

I tried something different with my first few listens of the new Hideous Divinity album Adveniens. I put the whole thing into a shuffled order, so that the first few times Adveniens breathed life into my speakers, it was done in a random order each time. I did so because I wanted to really see what songs captured my attention, which ones really reached out into the ether and punched me hard enough to make me check what song I was on.

I say this, in part, because the branches of the hyperblasting brutal-death metal tree that Hideous Divinity hail from are many, and at times it can be difficult for bands to stick out. Now three albums deep, Hideous Divinity have never had too much of an issue with it — having written their music like lyrical mad scientists unleashed upon the brutal death world — but the line between a solid hunk of speedy and caveman-level groove-heavy death metal and the monotonous whirring of a truck engine can be a little thin, and even the best of bands have failed the wire-walking act and fallen into that crevasse before. Adveniens does not.

Mar 272017

 

(DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Wolfheart.)

Tyhjyys, the new album by Finland’s Wolfheart, is a moody album, shrouded in fog, happy to stew in cold and detached misery. It has actually shown itself to be an excellent soundtrack for the rain-drenched and fog-shrouded drives home from work in the month since its release, the perfect encapsulation for grey skies and dense mist rolling in off the water.

Tyhjyys also marks the third album for founder Tuomas Saukkonen’s Wolfheart project — his name should be at least somewhat familiar as the founder of many an NCS-covered band: Before The Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, to name two — itself having since evolved into a full group as of 2015’s Shadow World album.

It is also a disc of transformation — one that sees Wolfheart traversing from one genre to another, finally giving into their gloomier leanings and going for the melodeath/doom hybrid that the region traffics in so well. And it does so organically across eight songs, starting out with music that feels like it is picking up right where Shadow World left off and slowly getting colder and colder from there before finally landing on its title song and overall theme of the album. Fitting for a release whose title translates to the word ‘Emptiness’.

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