Jun 042016

Alewife brunch1
Friday beer/brunch at Alewife with friends.

For those of you just now joining this series about Maryland Deathfest XIV, I’m in the process of highlighting the bands whose performances were the best of the ones I saw and heard in Baltimore beginning on Wednesday of last week.

Rather than doing a day-by-day recap, I’ve organized the bands into four somewhat loosely defined categories. Yesterday’s feature was a “Shades of Black” collection of black metal bands, and before that was one under the heading “Swedish (and Dutch) Death Metal Supremacy”. I’m calling today’s celebration “The Black Death“, not only because that describes the general style of music performed by the following six bands, but also because they all spread a lethal kind of auditory plague.

Presented in the order in which I witnessed the performances over 5 nights and 4 days, and I’ve again included my photos of each band (most of which are gathered at the end of this post).

May 312016

MDF-Edison Lot

photo by Alexis

When I left Seattle early last Wednesday morning bound for Baltimore and the 14th edition of Maryland Deathfest, I was thinking I might not take any photos or write anything about the event and simply soak it up. But the whole thing was so damned exciting and so much fun that I couldn’t resist trying to document the experience.

I took more than 800 photos with my new iPhone 6S (what? you didn’t think I was a real photographer, did you?) and I made lots of mental notes (what? you didn’t think I’d actually bother typing, did you?). And as people who know me on Facebook are painfully aware, I discharged some contemporaneous impressions about most of the bands I saw. As you can now see, I couldn’t resist writing even more about the experience.

But unlike past years, I’m not going to attempt a day-by-day recap. This year, I’m going to preserve my memories in a different way. And who knows, maybe some of my NCS comrades will throw in some thoughts of their own. Because the NCS crew turned out in force this year.

Nov 302015

Awe artwork

 

(Here’s KevinP’s list of favorite releases during the month of November.)

Last month this column was posted on October 28th, three days before the end of the month. I had a reader and then a friend of mine on Facebook ask me how I could create my list when the month didn’t even ended yet (since there were a plethora of releases due on October 30th).  So I realized maybe what I thought was common knowledge (advance promos) wasn’t as common as I thought?  For instance, as I type this now, I already have four albums on my iPhone that are due in February.

One of the perks for this labor of love we do here is getting to hear albums from a few weeks to many months prior to release. Record labels and PR companies know websites/magazines need lead time to prepare stuff. As flattering as it may be for some to think so, I would not be able to hear an album on the release date (say October 30th), make an accurate assessment of it, write a column, send it off to Islander, and get it posted the same day.

And now for a few housekeeping items before we get to this month’s releases.  This is the first year I’ve done a monthly column. I will still be doing a Best of 2015 list, but will have that ready in early January as to give it some separation from December’s releases.  You’re the Best Around, Nothing’s Gonna Keep You Down will be ready next week (where I go over all the OTHER best stuff of the year).

Oct 162015

Panopticon-Autumn Eternal
As I explained in a previous round-up today, I managed to find some time to catch up on new things yesterday. The previous round-up focused on album announcements with artwork (and one very good new song), and in this one I’ve collected some new music streams plus one older one that has really gotten under my skin. Lots of music in here, but I hope you’ll give all of it at least a test drive.

PANOPTICON

I was one of the fortunate few who got an advance listen to Panopticon’s new album Autumn Eternal, and therefore I had my say about it in July (here). I won’t repeat or attempt to summarize that review, except to say that this is one of my favorite albums of the year. And today, everyone else gets to hear it, too — because it’s now available for streaming (and purchase) on Bandcamp.

Sep 082015

Dragged Into Sunlight-Gnaw Their Tongues-NV

 

I’ve been quite eager for the new collaboration by Dragged Into Sunlight (UK) and Gnaw Their Tongues (The Netherlands) ever since catching word long ago that it would be happening. Just moments ago, some additional info popped up in our in-box, along with a link to a trailer for the new album. For now, I’m just going to excerpt some of what appeared in the press release and embed the trailer after that. Hell yes.

First, the name of the album is N.V. and it will be released by Prosthetic Records on November 13.

Second, as you can see, the artwork by Seldon Hunt (Khanate, etc.) has now been revealed.

Third, from the press release we have the following insights into the approach to the album, which will be a re-imagined rendering of Streetcleaner by Godflesh:, produced by Justin Broadrick himself along with Tom Dring:

May 272015

 

Did you see what I did there? I actually do have a small round-up of new songs coming a bit later today, but this collection of new discoveries mainly consists of interesting announcements — though there is one new live Soilwork video embedded below.

NILE

Nile are finishing up the mixing work on a new album entitled What Should Not Be Unearthed, which Nuclear Blast plans to release in the late summer of this year. Along with that announcement the label revealed the cover art, which I think is quite good and which was created by Michal “Xaay” Loranc. It includes hieroglyphs taken from The Book of the Dead as well as the protective sign of the winged scarab in the center. The concept seems to posit the existence of an ancient elder civilization that pre-dated and gave rise to the old Egyptian civilization.

Along with the announcement and the artwork came this quote from Karl Sanders, which I found particularly enticing (I bold-faced the words of interest):

Feb 122013

Yeah, I’m going back to the “Seen and Heard” caption for these round-up posts. But probably just for today. Here are items of interest I spied over the last 24 hours, including new music, that I thought were worth sharing.

NE OBLIVISCARIS

We’ve talked about this Australian band a lot at NCS. Their 2012 album Portal of I made several “Best of 2012” lists we posted in our Listmania series. And so it was sweet indeed to see this morning’s announcement that NeO have been signed by Season of Mist. The press release I received also included this delicious piece of news: “The band is currently in the middle of writing their Season of Mist debut with plans to record late 2013.”

Congrats to Ne Obliviscaris!

DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT

This news will disappear shortly. Yesterday, the UK’s Dragged Into Sunlight, about whom we have also posted endlessly, announced that they have now begun work on a follow-up to their 2009 album Hatred For Mankind (last year’s Widowmaker was less a follow-up than something written and recorded more or less in parallel with the first album). In addition, DIS began streaming what they described as “a collaboration with our fellow wrongdoers in Gnaw Their Tongues.” But the stream is going to end any minute now . . . 

Dec 262012

Understandably, the last couple of days haven’t brought the usual flood of music debuts and metal news. However, I did spy some items of interest that I thought were worth sharing with you as you recover from all that fuckin’ holiday cheer.

VALDUR

We’ve been tracking the doings of this Mammoth Lakes, California collective quite closely this fall and winter. I first came across (and wrote about) them more than two years ago following release of their excellent second album, Raven God Amongst Us. In September I found out that Valdur had finished writing their new album and were set to begin recording it in November, and I also found out about an excellent two-song EP entitled The Hammer Pit that they self-released this past summer, consisting of “rough version” of two new songs. We featured those songs here and here, and both tracks are now streaming at Bandcamp.

Today I saw that Valdur have released a new single entitled “Blast Beast”, which DECIBEL premiered today. The artwork for the single (which you can see above) is fantastic. The single is available for free (pay-what-you-want) download on Bandcamp, and it’s really good.

Oct 292012

This is just a quick note about three full-album streams, two of which began today and one that started last Friday. In my humble opinion, these are albums worth hearing. They provide, after all, a better vehicle than any review for deciding whether the music is worth getting.

DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT

I’m very high on Widowmaker, the new album by UK’s Dragged Into Sunlight. I explained why in this review. I also pointed out that the album is really best considered as one long song divided into three parts. At the time of my review, the only thing available for public streaming was a preview clip. That was better than nothing, but for an album conceived and executed as a single work, there’s really no substitute for hearing it in that way. You can (and should) do that at the Terrorizer site: HERE

A BAND OF ORCS

We’ve written quite often about California’s A Band of Orcs. Because we are no fools. Because when the Domination comes, only select humans will be spared. By sucking up relentlessly, I figure we’re improving our odds of survival. Orcs are mercurial and prone to unpredictable behavior when their blood is up, so there are no guarantees. So I’m performing a further act of obeisance by telling you that the Orcs’ debut album is now streaming in full.

Oct 182012

Even after my first listen to Widowmaker all the way through — and it must be heard in that way — I began giving it my own subtitle: “The Descent of Man”. Charles Darwin may have claimed the title as his own 131 years ago, but the new concept album by Dragged Into Sunlight isn’t about the evolution of human mental faculties to a higher state. It’s more the reverse — an inexorable degradation into misery, and ultimately savagery.

For those of you who are familiar with the band’s debut album Hatred for Mankind (reviewed here), listening to Widowmaker is in most ways a very different experience. Though its release follows Hatred, it was recorded in three separate sessions between 2010 and 2012, with the band consciously creating a different kind of soundscape than the cataclysmic, corrosive, chaotic cacophony that suffused the debut release.

Though there are three long tracks on Widowmaker, they are numbered and nameless. Think of them as three sections of a single song, or perhaps as three movements in a symphony of doom. No one will jail you for listening to these tracks separately, but it’s clear that this gradual descent into the abyss was meant to be experienced as a unified whole, lasting more than 40 minutes.

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