Jul 162013

(Andy Synn delivers another installment of his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music.)

DEVILDRIVERWINTER KILLS

More brawn than Beast. More

vigour than Villains. Hamstrung

By some weaker tracks.

https://www.facebook.com/DevilDriverOfficial1

Apr 222012

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/

But wait, there’s more! Free music from The Neologist and Dreaming Dead . . . after the jump.

Apr 062012

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.

DREAMING DEAD

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.

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!

Feb 282012

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 OneMidnightmares 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.

Feb 252012

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.

Nov 032011

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!

Sep 102011

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.

BLACK TUSK

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 . . .)

Jan 182011

I go through stretches when I fall behind in reading other metal blogs because I get too distracted by other things, like this blog — which I know all of you read every day, without fail, even if it means skipping a meal or a shower or letting your cat/dog fend for itself. Yeah, right. But I do always read Steff Metal‘s regular feature called Linking Horn because there’s always something interesting in there that I’d otherwise miss.

Her current Linking Horn feature linked to a Metal Insider piece I hadn’t seen which summarized a recent Nielsen Music and Midem report about music consumption habits. Some of what’s in that report wasn’t surprising — like the data showing that almost 50% of online users obtain their music from the internet without paying; the report found that neither digitally downloading a full album nor a single track reached 20%. What a shock.

But one item did surprise me: The survey showed that 58% of online users consume music by watching music videos through the computer and 20% watch music videos on their mobile phones. Granted, the survey wasn’t limited to any particular musical genre, and the numbers could be entirely different if you were to conduct a survey limited to metalheads. I know I don’t watch metal music videos that often because, mainly, they suck.

Usually, the videos are so bad that they detract from good songs and do nothing to make mediocre songs better. Instead, they seem to function more as bait than actual entertainment — a way of luring you into listening to a song or  a band for the first time out of curiosity (because it’s faster than downloading), though sometimes I’ll watch one for a song I already know just to see what the band looks like. But I don’t claim to be like most people, and the study seems to verify that most people like to consume music (and probably print) when they can see pictures at the same time — which is why moving pictures make such attractive bait.

All of which is a windy lead-in to the real point of this post. Over the last couple of days I took the bait and watched some new just-released music videos, and for different reasons, I thought they were worth sharing.  They feature music from Vreid (Norway), Stigma (Italy), Semargl (Ukraine), and members of Dreaming Dead (U.S.).   (after the jump . . .)

Oct 192010

Dreaming Dead is a death metal band from Los Angeles that incorporates a multitude of styles into their music. They also have the distinction, whether they want this kind of attention or not, of being one of those few, good extreme metal bands with a female vocalist (Elizabeth Schall) — who is also an inventively killer guitarist.

We really enjoyed the band’s 2009 debut, Within One, and we’ve been looking forward to the release of their follow-on album, Midnightmares, which it appears the band has recorded as a three-piece, while continuing to hunt for a second guitarist (who Schall wants to be a woman). 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.

However, yestrday, Dreaming Dead released an official video for a song called ”Overlord” from that forthcoming album. The video itself is fairly no frills — just the band playing in a dark club setting, with lights intermittently revealing the band members as they hammer out the song, and rapid cutting from one shot to the next.

And then there’s the song itself — it’s fucking great: a fascinating piece of modern death metal with driving rhythms, technical musicianship, catchy hooks, and an unexpected instrumental diversion near the end. And Schall is a magnetic presence even on video, with a blend of Nordic rasps and bestial growls to accompany her creative guitar leads.  Check out the video after the jump. We’re pretty sure you’ll like it  . . .

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