(Guest writer Ben raises an interesting question about the effect of seasonal change on listening habits. Read . . . and comment!)
Hello NCS readers, my name is Ben, and as Winter comes into it’s fullness (at least where I’m living in Wisconsin) I’ve noticed something interesting this year.
As the temperature decreases down to the teens or lower, the volume increases and the aggression in the music increases considerably. It’s probably obvious I listen to “heavy” music, seeing as I’m a regular visitor of NCS, but my taste is quite varied. I can, on a daily basis, be listening to bands like Death, At The Gates, and Godflesh, as well as classical compositions, jazz, drum and bass, etc. But the right choice for the winter days and nights, just seems to be unrelenting Metal.
As you may have noticed, the title of this post is a nod to the frostbite-loving Norwegians we all know as Immortal. Now I’m not the biggest Immortal fan, or Black Metal for that matter. I appreciate it, but I get sick of hearing about how “evil” a band supposedly is. For the reasons I described earlier, though, over the past few weeks Immortal has more often than usual been a nice choice of music for the working hours.
Here’s an interesting discovery (via a Facebook post by a record label that I saw this morning). It’s a feature on StumbleUpon.com. I don’t know how long it’s been available because I don’t frequent StumbleUpon, so maybe this is really old news. It’s called “Neverending Playlist”. You type in the name of a band and it creates a playlist of songs by that band.
I typed in the name “Immortal”. I don’t know why, but that’s the first name that popped into my head. I got a playlist of 50 songs. The songs play automatically, from one to another, so you can start it going and then do something else. You can pause and skip songs, too, if you want.
It looks like all the songs are retrieved from YouTube, so StumbleUpon hasn’t compiled its own library of music. But there’s obviously a lot available on YouTube. For example, 50 songs by Immortal. It’s not really “neverending”, though. I was interested to see if StumbleUpon would make new Immortal music once it had exhausted Immortal’s entire existing discography and continue playing from now until the end of forever.
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 Immortal — Diabolical 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).
(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed. We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)
So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…
Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.
Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!
The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live.
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Rev. Will wrote this report. The price of the vehicle may be your soul, so think twice before calling that number.)
We are consumed, body and mind, in a never-ending search for ways of improving the NCS experience for you, our beloved readers, who thankfully have way too much time on your hands.
Actually, to be brutally honest, which is the only kind of honest we know how to be at this site, we don’t think much about improving anything around here because that would involve . . . well . . . it would involve thinking. Which is why almost nothing has changed since we started NCS, except on those rare occasions when someone else has basically done all the thinking for us, like when groverXIII (TNOTB) just up and re-designed our site banner out of the goodness of his black heart.
Well, recently we found out that some of you have been experiencing delays in streaming or downloading song files when we include a song-link in our posts instead of an embedded audio player. This could be explained by network congestion or your own bandwidth limitations, but I suppose it could have something to do with our file-hosting service.
So, we decided to experiment and see what happens when we use a different service. We randomly picked two songs as the guinea pigs. Can you guess which album one of them came from? (more after the jump . . .)
WORLD PREMIERE VIDEO
Fifteen years have passed since Immortal last released a music video. But they’ve just released a new one, for the title track of their most recent album, All Shall Fall.
It’s a great song — we’ve thought so since the first listen last year. But as much as we want to like this video, it just doesn’t match the intensity or grandure of the song — the dramatic setting notwithstanding. It’s the fucking design of their corpsepaint that’s at fault — that, and the unintentionally comical posturing. We’re sorry, but these guys just don’t look ominous or evil. They look more like Kiss with frowny faces.
Further details about the video are available at the Immortal web site.
And in other news, we have a new tour to report. Yesterday, we got all hot and bothered over the release (for free download) of the first song from Enslaved‘s forthcoming album. Now, we’ve seen the news that Enslaved will be touring North American in November and December as support for Dimmu Borgir. The other bands on the tour will be Blood Red Throne and Dawn of Ashes.
Online ticket sales will begin September 15. The dates and places are after the jump . . .
My, how time flies. Another month is in the history books. However much time you have on earth, you now have 31 days less of it since since the last installment of this post. Drink up!
But have no fear. You’re headed for a better place. That’s right, basically the same existence you had a month ago, but with more new metal ahead of you. Drink up!
And all those physical processes that are inexorably decaying your bodies on the rocky road to your demise, they’re still there and they’re still working on you like termites that have found a rotting log. But hey, you can still bang your head, so . . . Drink up!
Yes, we’re now a full seven months into 2010, and so it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.
Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.
So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted items from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy.
We’re now five months into 2010, and it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.
Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site.
So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re old school like us, just get ‘em tattooed someplace you can see without a mirror (because reading stuff backwards is hard).
THE ACACIA STRAIN: “Western Massachusetts’ chuggernauts The Acacia Strain, have completed work on their new album, which will be released July 20th in North American and August 2nd in Europe via Prosthetic Records.”
ATHEIST: “Reactivated seminal technical metal pioneers ATHEIST will enter LedBelly studios in Atlanta, Georgia on July 5 to begin recording their long-awaited, as-yet-untitled fourth album. Engineering the session will be Matt Washburn. Additionally, the band has secured the services of one of metal’s most significant talents of the past decade, Jason Suecof (TRIVIUM, CHIMAIRA, DEVILDRIVER), to handle the mixing of what promises to be a modern classic from the pioneers of technical metal. . . . ATHEIST‘s forthcoming album is tentatively scheduled for a late 2010 release and will be followed by a world tour in 2011.” (more after the jump . . .)
Last week we received the following e-mail:
We definitely have a whole lot of no clean singing on Flaming Tusk’s new album Old, Blackened Century. For that and many other reasons I think you’re going to love it. The album is available as a pay-what-you-will download (yes, even $0) at http://music.flamingtusk.com.
Enjoy. In a horrifying kind of enjoyment.
Keith [aka Zosimus]
Well, we thought that was one of the most intriguing e-mails from a band we’d received in a while. So, we hopped right over to the linked page, downloaded Old, Blackened Century, made a monetary contribution, and started listening. And then listened again. And again. And it turns out that Flaming Tusk’s stylistic flair doesn’t stop at e-mail messaging and cool album titles.
The music is indeed immensely enjoyable, in a horrifying kind of unclassifiable metal enjoyment. If you like blackened post-hardcore proggy doom sludge noise metal, well you’ve come to the right place. (read on after the jump, and we’ll give you a track to stream, too, plus some musings about band names that Flaming Tusk may have narrowly averted . . .)