(March nears its last gasps, and Andy Synn slips in under the expiration wire with the 83rd edition of THE SYNN REPORT. The spotlight this month falls on the discography of California’s Dreaming Dead, which includes their just-released third album.)
Recommended for fans of: Death, Arsis, Horrendous
There are some bands who just never get their due. And, in my humble opinion, Californian quartet Dreaming Dead are one of them, as their proficiency in the metallic arts is absolutely second to none, and yet their status as underground underdogs has led them to fly under most people’s radar.
Often tagged, erroneously, as “Melodeath”, it would be more accurate to characterize the band as a furious hybrid of Death and Thrash Metal, with a penchant for brash, technically demanding riffage and a knack for incorporating multiple threads of moody melody without lessening the heaviness or impact of their sound one iota.
Formed in 2006 on the mean streets of LA (note: said streets may not have been as mean as portrayed on TV), the band have undergone a few line-up changes in the intervening years since then, although the core duo of Elizabeth Schall (also of NCS-beloved grindsters Cretin) on vocals/guitar and Mike Caffell on drums has remained constant throughout.
The band having just released their third album, Funeral Twilight, last month, now seemed like the perfect time to wax lyrical about them, and hopefully introduce some new listeners to their signature brand of audio extremity.
Well, here we are at the mid-point of an odd week, a week that falls between two big holiday weekends in a year when both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Saturday nights, enhancing the opportunity for revelry. Lots of people are having to work this week, but it feels like no one really has their heart in it. Others are on vacation. The usual flood of PR e-mails has slowed to a trickle; most of metal blogdoom is snoozing. As the new year rapidly approaches, people are beginning to fantasize about 2017 being better than 2016 and wondering what other well-loved celebrities will be cut down by the Grim Reaper in the few days before it arrives.
Obviously, we’re still forging ahead during this limbo week, and I thought I’d provide a forecast of what lies ahead at our site.
LISTMANIA will continue into the new year. This week we’ll finish rolling out the year-end lists by NCS contributors Grant Skelton and Wil Cifer and we’ll post year-end lists from our old friend SurgicalBrute and from three more invited guests — Johan Huldtgren (Obitus), Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams), and Seb Painchaud (Tumbleweed Dealer).
And then LISTMANIA will continue next week with some big brutal lists compiled by our old friend Vonlughlio from the Dominican Republic, as well as lists from a few other invited guests that I’m anxious to see. I trust that I’ll also receive the annual Not-Metal List from ex-NCS slave BadWolf (aka Invisible Orange’s editor Joseph Schafer) along with Andy Synn’s list of favorite 2016 songs. And undoubtedly there will be a few other LISTMANIA surprises before next week ends.
(Andy Synn delivers another installment of his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music.)
DEVILDRIVER – WINTER KILLS
More brawn than Beast. More
vigour than Villains. Hamstrung
By some weaker tracks.
In celebration of yesterday’s fifth annual Record Store Day, various people have made metal available for free download. For example, the organizer of the Death Metal Decapitation 2 festival in Toronto (scheduled to explode on May 4), Blacktooth Entertainment, has put together a free compilation of music from extreme bands who will be playing at the fest. The line-up includes Toronto’s Nephelium, an excellent band who we’ve previously featured at NCS. The comp includes two songs from Nephelium’s new album, Coils of Entropy.
Also on the comp are two tracks from a Montreal band named Derelict, who are also excellent (and we’ll be reviewing their new release, Perpetuation, shortly). We haven’t yet explored the music of the other bands on the comp — Deamon (Ottawa), The Unborn Dead (Toronto), and Blastmycosis (Toronto) — but this comp will make it easy to do that. To stream the music and download it for free, use this link: http://blacktoothmay4.bandcamp.com/
Money don’t grow on trees. If you’re not born with it, you have to work for it . . . or wait for an African widow to drop it in your lap before she dies of cancer or her dead husband’s greedy relatives steal it. And when you’ve got a bit of money, you need to save it for life’s essentials, like buying CDs, vinyl, and band merch. So when a band asks for financial help, we know that’s a tough thing for most metalheads to honor. But when the donation is really just a down-payment on killer music, the decision becomes a little easier.
Lots of bands without label backing are now using Kickstarter to help finance their activities. Here are two who deserve your support: Dreaming Dead and Gizmachi.
This story just blows my feeble mind. In February I decided to catch up with LA’s Dreaming Dead in a post called “Lapse”, whining about the loooong wait for their Midnightmares album, which the band had been keeping to themselves for almost a year and a half while searching for a label. Three days later, they announced that the album would be released on April 20, apparently without label support. And then about 10 days ago, thanks to an e-mail from NCS reader Talvalin, I found out that the band had started begging for money on Kickstarter.
I really do not get it. This band’s 2009 debut album (on Ibex Moon records), Within One, was excellent. The songs from Midnightmares that they premiered over the course of that long label hunt were even better. And they have a photogenic frontwoman (Elizabeth Schall) who can both kick out nasty harsh vocals and shred the guitar like nobody’s business. This is NOT a band who should find themselves in this position.
But here they are . . . trying to raise $5,000 so they can put Midnightmares on CDs and vinyl and sell it themselves. I don’t understand how this could be, but then again, I don’t understand how penguins can fly either.
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!
What a coincidence: Three days ago I decided to catch up with LA’s Dreaming Dead in a post called “Lapse”, mildly whining about the loooong wait for their Midnightmares album, which the band have been keeping to themselves for almost a year and a half while searching for a label. Really, my whining wasn’t intended as criticism of the band, but instead as a reflection of my own greediness/neediness, because the songs from the album that have surfaced over time have been so impressive.
Well, guess what? Today the NCS carrier pigeon squadron delivered a press release with this announcement:
“Los Angeles-based progressive/melodic death metal act DREAMING DEAD has set April 20th as the release date for their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Midnightmares. The follow up to 2009’s Within One, Midnightmares showcases DREAMING DEAD’s ability to meld elements of black, death, thrash and Schuldiner-inspired progressive metal into one thought-provoking and intense sonic assault. . . DREAMING DEAD are working with director Thomas Mignone and Peter Leininger (known for their work with Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Megadeth and many more) on a video for the track “Corpse Mtn.” Details on the video shoot are forthcoming.”
Given the absence of a label mention, I assume this will be a self-release. I’m bamboozled over the fact that no label has pounced on this band like lions on lambs, but I’m also happy that the wait is nearly over. Nice to see that a new vid is on the way, too. Stay tuned . . .
UPDATE: For more insight into the Midnightmare release delays and other interesting DD tidbits, check out the Jason Roche interview of Liz Schall published today (Mar. 2) at LA Weekly.
Midnightmares is certainly not the most delayed album on my mental “most eagerly awaiting” list. No one can take that honor away from Necrophagist. But still . . .
In October 2010, I wrote a post about Dreaming Dead’s video for a song called “Overlord” from that Midnightmares album. I referred to the fact that the album had been recorded as a three-piece, while the band continued to hunt for a second guitarist (who frontwoman Elizabeth Schall wanted to be female). I noted: “We haven’t seen any definitive release date, and the band may be holding that up in an effort to find a label who would distribute it.”
Over the next year I wrote about the band a couple more times, including a piece about Elizabeth Schall shredding with a potential second guitarist (Stephanie Pickard) at the NAMM trade show (that partnership apparently didn’t work out) and another one about a second song from the album (the title track) being streamed temporarily last September.
And then last October I got a press release stating that the band were “readying to unleash their long-awaited new full-length Midnightmares“. It included the Travis Smith album cover you see above and a track list. Well, here we are near the end of February . . . and still no album. But in the meantime, we’ve gotten another new song and a video that reminds us why it’s still worth waiting, plus a bit of updated news.
October is over, except for Halloween, which continues to go on and on here at the metallic island that NCS calls home. Your humble editor spent the end of the month and the beginning of this new one grinding away at his fucking day job, which explains why this installment of METAL IN THE FORGE is late. It also explains why it’s more than typically incomplete, but more on that later.
Here’s the deal: In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (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, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.
Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album before September, we 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.
This month’s list begins right after the jump. I fell down on the job of monitoring the interhole and press releases to catch news about new albums that looked potentially cool to me, so I know I missed announcements of new releases that should be included here. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed. Let us know about albums on the way that you’re stoked about!
Yesterday my fucking day job actually demanded that I work instead of blog. Amazingly harsh that they actually expected me to do something I’m being paid to do. How fucking medieval! The result is that this round-up of news and new music is appearing a day later than it should have. Like hemorroids and lung cancer, these things happen.
Despite a waning of some of the excitement that comes with being first and fast out of the shute, and instead being late and resigning yourself to watching the buttholes of all the other horses that got the jump on you, I’m forging ahead anyway, waiting for that massive kick around the last turn that will leave the buttholes in the dust.
Yeah, the black fucking tusk, with the John Dyer Baizley cover (above) for their new album, Set the Dial. This Savannah band’s 2010 album, Taste the Sin, was one we liked and wrote about last year (here), so we’ve been waiting for a taste of the newness, which we got yesterday. It’s a new song called “Bring Me Darkness”, which coincidentally is my order of choice at the bars I frequent. (more after the jump . . .)