Feb 232014

(Andy Synn shares some thoughts about bands who change their sound over time, with two contrasting examples.)

Here’s something I’ve noticed, and I don’t doubt you will have, too. Pretty much anytime a reviewer (or a commenter) sees fit to question a band for changing their style – whether it’s a legitimate question or not is almost irrelevant – someone’s panties get in a bunch and they feel the need to hit back with an accusation that:

“You guys just want everything to sound the same! I applaud this band for changing and progressing! You just want everything to sound like Cannibal Corpse, etc, etc…”

What’s interesting about this is that – whether consciously or not – it’s reframing the terms of the argument, not addressing the original issue. It’s cleverly saying that anyone who questions a band’s decision to change its sound is clearly closed-minded and of limited intelligence. And while that’s probably true of a certain percentage of the metal community, it still doesn’t say anything about the band in question.

Sep 162013

I wet myself a little bit when I was informed of this tour, announced not long ago. Okay, to be honest, my bladder completely loosened and I’m now swimming in the processed fluids of last night’s beer. It’s such a good feeling, because seriously, look at that line-up.

Amon Amarth, Enslaved, and Skeletonwitch will be touring fortunate parts of the U.S. during January and February of 2014. Tickets are on sale now at this location.

My bladder-loosening enthusiasm is tempered only by the fact that neither Seattle nor any other city in the Pacific Northwest are on the schedule. Looks like San Francisco is as close as this bladder-loosening extravaganza will come. Fuck, there may be an SEA-SFO plane ticket in my future, though the airline would have to upholster my seat in plastic, or maybe I’ll finally have to splurge on some personal care products.

In case you have trouble seeing the dates in the tour flyer, you can find them listed after the jump.

Sep 062013

(Here’s the third and final part of Andy Synn’s review of 2013′s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival in Germany. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here. Once again, Andy provides video that he filmed at the performances.)

The third, and final, day of the festival was a funny one. It seemed (at the time) that this was going to be the day when I only saw a few bands – particularly as I had a long gap planned at one point to do some shopping and eating and such. But, now that I look back on it, I see that I actually watched a good seven full sets, most of them pretty long, five of them from bands I absolutely adore. So, all in all, actually a very, very good day.

 

Oddly enough the first band of the day was to be Portugese goth-metal masters Moonspell, a band I’m not really a fan of, per se, but whose stellar performance at Inferno earlier this year definitely made me want to check them out again.

Consummate showmen, with an enviable brace of infectious songs and killer riffs, the group managed to turn a brightly-lit early afternoon slot into something of a gothic mecca, their passionate performance crafting a clear and well-received connection with the crowd before them.

We were also treated to one of those wonderful “festival moments” when current Tristania singer singer Mariangela Demurtas came out to add her vocals to a fantastic run-through of “Raven Claws” (although her awkwardly sexy dancing and casual clothes felt oddly at odds with the song’s darkly seductive vibe).

Feb 132013

On February 11, 2013, the night before Enslaved received their seventh Norwegian Grammy nomination, I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in Seattle at a bar called The Highline, which is rapidly becoming my favorite place in town to hear live metal. Somehow, despite its very small size, it’s booking some really amazing tours. It’s a clean, cozy, comfortable place with cool people working there (Dylan Desmond from Bell Witch was behind the bar this night, and I’m pretty sure I saw his bandmate Arian Guerra helping out, too), and they make some good cocktails.

Enslaved weren’t the only draw for what turned out to be a jam-packed audience. Three bands who had breakout years in 2012 were also along for the ride: Arkansas’s Pallbearer was the direct support, preceded by Ancient VVisdom from my hometown of Austin and Atlanta’s Royal Thunder.

I was somewhat familiar with Ancient VVisdom’s music (having featured them in this post at the end of 2011), but I must be the only metal blogger in creation to have missed Pallbearer’s critically acclaimed 2012 album Sorrow and Extinction, and I think I’ve previously heard a grand total of one song by Royal Thunder. So yeah, I was pretty much there for Enslaved.

Nevertheless, I and my friends got to the Highline early enough to grab places to sit on a raised area that runs down the left side of the floor against the wall. We were so far forward that we were almost — but not quite — on the side of the stage, as you’ll see from the angle of the photos I took. And yes, I’m sorry to tell you that this review, as usual, will include a lot of my amateur concert pics.

Feb 122013

a photo of Enslaved that I took last night

A nice coincidence:  Last night I saw Enslaved perform at a bar in Seattle. This morning, Enslaved were nominated for Best Metal Album of 2012 in Norway’s version of the Grammy awards, which are called the Spellemann awards.

The other nominees in that category are Nekromantheon for Rise, Vulcan Spectre and El Caco for Hatred, Love and Diagrams. You gotta love a country where fuckin’ Enslaved and fuckin’ Nekromantheon get nominated for Grammy’s. Songs from each of their albums made our list of 2012′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Hell, last spring I even wrote about a song from El Caco’s album (here) — though the song is more hard rock than metal.

Contrast this with the American Grammy Awards: Although there were 81 award categories for 2012, there is no award for Best Metal Album. As close as we get is an award for Best Hard Rock / Metal Performance. And Halestorm won that award two nights ago. Uh huh.

Jan 242013

Welcome to Part 15 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

After a 10-day hiatus, I’m resuming the roll-out of this list. I’ve identified 29 songs so far, with X left to go — “X” standing for a number that will be revealed to me once I figure out what else to pick from my still-lengthy list of candidates.

I’ve grouped together today’s three songs because they represent the use of black metal musical elements in songs that have only a distant kinship to the music of the first and second waves. They represent a branching out of black metal that has enriched the traditions and given them new life, even if these new blooms have opened far from the roots.

ENSLAVED

Andy Synn reviewed this iconic band’s 2012 album RIITIIR for us here, showering it with praise, and it has appeared on many of our 2012 year-end lists. Guest writer Fredrik Huldtgren of the Swedish band Canopy summed it up as follows in naming it to his list

Jan 112013

(A post in which Andy Synn presents five of his favorite mondegreens . . .)

This edition comes with a warning. If you want to continue hearing these songs in the ‘Correct’ way, don’t click the jump to the main article, because what I’m covering here today are the sort of misheard lyrics that essentially ruin a song for you forever. Ok, maybe not ruin, but they definitely stick with you. Once you’ve heard them, you can’t un-hear them.

And I’m not talking about the youtube-style ‘Boat Rudder’ or ‘Fishmaster’ parodies where someone’s posited ludicrous alternative lyrics. I’m talking about just a tiny line here or there that I accidentally misheard the first time round, and have never really been able to shake. Thankfully each of these also gives rise to some unintentional hilarity, as they definitely add a new interpretation to each of the tracks!

Some of them are literally only a one-word change, but that’s enough to completely alter the meaning of the surrounding lines, mostly in a rather ludicrous way!

Again – don’t go any further unless you want some songs ruined for you forever!

Nov 142012

It was all of two days ago that we splashed the news across our site that two of metal’s genuine landmark labels — Earache Records and Osmose Productions — had established beachheads on Bandcamp for the first time. As of two days ago, Earache had uploaded high-quality digital files for albums from their catalogue by At the Gates, Napalm Death, Evile, and Rival Sons, while Osmose had delivered three classic albums by Norway’s Enslaved. But what they’ve each done since then has been equally mind-blowing.

We had gotten word that Earache was interested in suggestions about what albums they should prioritize for upload to Bandcamp, and I included my own short list in that previous post — a list that included Bolt Thrower’s legendary 1991 album War Master. And guess what! As of today, Earache has put War Master on Bandcamp HERE. Allow me to figuratively bow down in humble thanks. Actually, I think I’ll literally bow down, too. So stoked to see what they upload next . . . .

Not to be outdone, wait ’til you hear what Osmose has done: In just the last two days since we published that earlier post, Osmose has added to Bandcamp nine more albums — including the first six albums by the immortal ImmortalDiabolical Fullmoon Mysticism (1992), Pure Holocaust (1993), Battles In the North (1995), Blizzard Beasts (1997), At the Heart of Winter (1999), and Damned In Black (2003).

In addition, Osmose has added three more Enslaved albums: Blodhemn (1998), Mardraum-Beyond the Within (2000), and Below the Lights (2003).

Nov 132012

Here’s a collection of items that came my way over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing — in addition to all of the awesome posts that already graced the site yesterday.  (I can use the words “awesome” and “graced” without tarnishing my well-known reputation for humility because I’m not directly responsible for any of ysterday’s posts, even though this post will also be awesome.)

TOURISM: MESHUGGAH AND ENSLAVED

I saw via Heavy Blog Is Heavy the rumor that Meshuggah will be touring the U.S. along with Animals As Leaders and Intronaut early next year. The rumor is based on a flyer for a date in Minneapolis that you can see above.Yes please.

That same photo up there also provides evidence of another tour that I read about previously. This one is official: Norway’s Enslaved will be returning to the U.S. and Canada in early 2013 for a headlining, 20-show “Winter Rite” tour joined by U.S. doom metallers Pallbearer and occult rockers Ancient VVisdom (and both of those bands are killers).

The tour begins January 30 in Philadelphia and ends February 22 in New York City. The full schedule can be seen after the jump. And in case you missed our earlier post yesterday, Osmose Productions has just uploaded three older Enslaved albums for streaming and download on Bandcamp for the first time.

Nov 122012

We’ve been singing the praises of Bandcamp since the early days of that platform. In a relatively short time, it has become a vital source for the streaming and distribution of metal, recently expanding its service to become a vehicle for the distribution of merch as well as digital music in a variety of high-quality formats. One sign of Bandcamp’s success is the increasing use of the site by metal labels to stream and distribute albums in their catalogues.

Thanks to MaxR at Metal Bandcamp — which remains THE best way to keep up with the appearance of new metal releases on Bandcamp — we’ve learned that two more labels have recently established Bandcamp beachheads: Earache Records and Osmose Productions.

EARACHE

As far as we’re concerned, this is really big news. Earache Records was founded in the late 80s and was one of the true pioneers in releasing extreme music. Of course, they’re still going strong today, but their back catalogue is like a museum for the history of hardcore and metal.

So far, Earache has added five albums from their catalogue to Bandcamp: Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates (1995); Five Serpent’s Teeth by Evile (2011); Pressure and Time (Redux) by Rival Sons (2012); Scum (1987) [Full Dynamic Range 2012 Edition] by Napalm Death; and From Enslavement To Obliteration (1988) [Full Dynamic Range 2012 Edition], also by Napalm Death.

© 2013 NO CLEAN SINGING Banner and background design by groverXIII. Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha