Jan 232017

 

(As part of his continuing effort to make his NCS colleagues jealous, Andy Synn attended the performances of Insomnium, Barren Earth, and Wolfheart in Birmingham, England, on January 16, 2017, and files this tardy report.)

Last week I managed to snag myself a guestlist slot on the Birmingham date of the Insomnium/Barren Earth/Wolfheart tour. And a good time it was indeed.

But why has it taken so long for me to get this write-up together?

Laziness. Pure laziness. Or, you know, some other reason. Take your pick.

Either way, better late than never, right?

Oct 032016

insomnium-winters-gate

 

(DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Insomnium, which is out now.)

A few times over the course of my time here I’ve been able to function as an NCSstrodamus of sorts, and when it came to Insomnium’s recently released album Winter’s Gate, that time came once again. Winter’s Gate is Insomnium’s seventh full-length release and one of those albums where we could not possibly have been more prepared for it, almost like a couple of the reviews we’ve done this year were prescient glimpses into the future, so that when the band announced that Winter’s Gate would function as one strict over-forty-minute-long song, we were ready for it.

Jun 152016

Opeth 2016-photo by Stuart Wood
Photo by Stuart Wood

This is Part 2 of a round-up of newly discovered things that I began earlier today (here). As expected, between posting Part 1 and getting ready to post Part 2, I spied more developments that happened this morning and have added them (the first two items are in that category, as is the last).

I nearly didn’t add the first two news items because I thought that, by now, everyone who had any interest in the bands — Opeth and Insomnium — would have learned about the news already. Those names are so big that there was probably even a news flash in The Wall Street Journal. And then I thought that adding the announcements might help ease the day for those people who are afraid that metal will run out of things to argue about before the year ends. To them I say, don’t worry, Opeth and Insomnium are releasing new albums.

OPETH

Yes, Opeth will be releasing a new album late this year (named Sorceress) on a new label, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Actually, it seems to be a partnership between Nuclear Blast and Opeth’s own imprint, Moderbolaget Records, which I believe is Swedish for “your arguing sounds like a motorboat”.

The press release we received characterized Opeth as “always an unstoppable force for uniqueness amid a sea of generic swill”. Beyond that, it provided no real clues about the musical direction of the new album or how it will distinguish itself from all the generic swill with which the rest of us are forced to feed ourselves in between Opeth releases.

May 192016

Inquisition-Bloodshed Across

Here are a quartet of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought might peak your interest as they did mine.

INQUISITION

Yesterday Season of Mist revealed details about the new album by Seattle-based Inquisition as well as a new song. The name of the album is Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith, it includes 13 tracks, and it will be released on August 26. Here’s a statement about the album by guitarist/vocalist Dagon:

Mar 052015

 

I’ll just leave this here because it makes me so happy, since I missed these bands when they came through town with Dark Tranquillity not long ago:

Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum will be touring North America together later this summer. This is the schedule:

Jan 192015

 

I missed a day yesterday, but I’m resuming the rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

In this Part 22 of the list I’ve paired two songs by two bands on both sides of the Atlantic who, at least musically, have a few things in common. And so do these two songs — principally, beautiful guitar melodies that just will not let go.

INSOMNIUM

My NCS colleague and former friend DGR lobbied mightily for the inclusion of “Out To The Sea” on this list. Even though the song only appears on Shadows of the Dying Sun (reviewed here) as a limited edition bonus track, I still seriously considered it, but I think “While We Sleep” wins in the “infectious” category — but only barely. Actually, I’m pretty sure DGR won’t end our friendship over this decision. Pretty sure.

Jun 062014

NCS reader Joseph D just e-mailed me some breaking news, for which I’m most thankful. You can see the news above: Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity and Finland’s Insomnium will be touring North America in January 2015.

January 2015 is a long way off, but man, I’m already very excited about this announcement, especially because the tour will be stopping in Seattle. I’m sure you get sick of me focusing on myself first and everyone else secondarily, but you wouldn’t want me to be dishonest would you?

All the dates are after the jump.

May 112014

(DGR brings you this collection of bonuses, because he loves you. Well, maybe not you in particular, but the idea of you.)

Don’t worry, I know ninety percent of the time whenever my name pops up it’s because I’ve got another long review written up, and believe me, I’ve got three of those in the works. I’ve found myself stricken with a bit of writer’s block at the moment, though, so I began to distract myself by starting this article that you see here, and since then have found myself expanding upon it more and more. Now I am generally interested in potentially digging up rarer tracks and doing a series on them.

One of the things that has always aggravated the completionist side of my mind has been the release of limited editions and the inclusion of bonus tracks. I know I’m not the only one, but when it comes to content I tend to be one of those people who absolutely devours it and I need every single piece of it when it comes to albums that I have enjoyed and loved over the years. Of course, this often means there are always one or two songs that I discover later, recorded around the same time and included on some odd Japanese or rare edition, and oftentimes those songs are also great. But a lot of people may not even be aware that those tunes exist.

So what I found myself doing recently was starting to record my thoughts on bonus tracks in my regular reviews of albums here. However, there have been occasions when I really wish I had gotten the chance to go more in depth with those songs, or wound up neglecting them for many a reason — the review copy didn’t have them, general forgetfulness, or just no way to add another paragraph to the already ridiculously long tome of a review I had written. However, I still had those thoughts half-recorded or germinating, and I figured I’d finally take the time to expand upon them and let people know about some of the recent extra songs they may have missed and whether they’re worth hunting down.

Apr 302014

Your humble editor has fallen down on the job. Due to a variety of personal and work-related interferences I haven’t been as diligent as I would like in spotting and writing about new developments in the wide world of metal over the last couple of days. With luck, I can do some catching up today, beginning with this collection of items that I thought were worth your attention.

INCANTATION

How many times have you seen Incantation’s name as a reference point for releases by new death metal bands? Dozens of times? Hundreds? I know I’ve used them many times myself in attempting to capture a certain kind of sound in writing about the music of more recent groups. And now we have new music from Incantation themselves.

But before getting to that, is that album artwork cool or what? It’s by the phenomenally talented Eliran Kantor, whose work we’ve praised frequently at this site. We’ve obtained a hi-res version of the cover, which you can see in all its glory by clicking on the image above.

The album’s name is Dirges of Elysium and it’s due for North American release by Listenable Records on June 24. The song that premiered yesterday is named “Carrion Prophecy”, and man, it’s a monster — monstrous pounding riffs that ooze radioactive sickness, monstrous abyssal growls, and an atmosphere of monstrous menace. When the song begins to gallop and race, heads will bang hard, and when it descends again into a pit of decay and depravity, you may feel tumors begin to thicken your organs.

Apr 282014

 

(NCS writer DGR recently had the chance to pose some questions by e-mail to Ville Friman, guitarist, song-writer, and co-vocalist for Finland’s Insomnium, whose new album Shadows of the Dying Sun was reviewed by the same DGR here.)

 

Thank you so much for sitting down for this interview. How are you feeling as the official release dates of Shadows Of The Dying Sun move closer?

Ville Friman: No worries Dave, our pleasure really. It’s exciting times. Album seems to be doing well in the press, and we just found out that it made album of the month in German Metal Hammer, which is pretty big. Just hoping that people will like it and enjoy it as much as we do.

 

Shadows Of The Dying Sun is still recognizably Insomnium but there are a couple of shifts in sound. For example, I noticed a pretty big increase in tempo on a lot of the songs and the inclusion of some serious blastbeat work on the part of Markus. Insomnium have done fast tunes and more “traditionally” (if you could forgive a reductive phrase) melo-death songs before, but this album really sees the speed increase on multiple songs. Were you guys feeling in a faster mood than usual?

Ville Friman: Yes, I guess the blastbeats are bit of a new thing with us. We have fast songs on the album, but also a couple of slower pieces. So it’s a mix of things. We weren’t trying to be fast intentionally. I guess we just brought the tempo up a notch in general. And we were thinking about finding the best tempo for each song, and when we wanted to sound fast, we went pretty much as fast as we could.

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