Jan 112018

 

And so it begins. Just as we’re approaching the end of our 2017 LISTMANIA series, we’re beginning another list — and it’s the only one for which your humble editor is personally responsible. I don’t have the mental ability or emotional maturity to make my own list of best albums, but I do force myself to make the list that begins today, though as you’ll discover, it’s not an easy process for me (though it does make for a lot of fun listening).

In fact, as in every year when I’ve done this, I’m starting the rollout of this Most Infectious Song list without having finished it — which means I don’t know how long it will be or when it will end. As in past years, I’m making it up as I go along. I’ll do my best to post 2 – 4 songs every day until I arbitrarily decide to stop, though I might miss a day here and there. My goal is to finish by the end of January, but no promises.

If you think this is a ridiculously inept way to make a list, you might consider that between the list of candidates I sporadically made for myself as 2017 rolled on, plus the lists provided by our readers (here) and by my NCS colleagues, I have a master list that includes almost 700 songs. It’s a mix of big names and very obscure ones from across virtually every metal sub-genre you can think of.

Nov 032017

 

Anyone who has studied the fascinating annals of Hellenic black metal will recognize the name Kawir. Their roots are deep and old in the underground, their music has always been distinctive, and the lyrical themes of their songs have consistently drawn from the wellsprings of ancient Greek mythology. They were the subject of a Rearview Mirror post that I wrote (here) to celebrate one of their older works, and yet they also released a fantastic album more than 20 years after that one in the form of 2016’s Father Sun Mother Moon.

Even though that album included more than an hour of new music, Kawir have returned with a new 42-minute opus named Exilasmos, which is being released today by Iron Bonehead Productions. It is a rare piece of art, one that follows a fascinating conceptual narrative extracted from Greek myth and provides powerful music that’s a match for that enduring narrative’s larger-than-life scale and the horrors and tragedies it describes. Today we have a full stream of the album, along with the following review of its remarkable accomplishments.

Aug 182017

 

And so we come to the end of another work week. Three days have passed since the last round-up of new music I pulled together, and those have been eventful days for the release of new metal, not even counting the many excellent premieres we introduced ourselves. I’ve had to resist the temptation to cram a big mountain of them into this post (instead of a small mountain), in part because I’m off to the airport again for a long weekend in the Rocky Mountains, capped by the coming of a black sun on Monday.

I hope you’ll enjoy the picks I’ve made for this truncated round-up, and that you’ll enjoy the two more premieres we’ll be bringing you later today. I think I’ll have time to pull together some more new music this weekend despite being away from the forested NCS fortress near the Puget Sound.

ASTRAL BLOOD

I’m beginning this collection with a new single by Minnesota’s Astral Blood, in part because it gives me the opportunity to post not one but two pieces of artwork by Luciana Nedelea that will cover the front and back of the album from which it comes. The album is named SYZYGY, and the front piece is above. This is the piece for the back cover:

Apr 082016

Rotting-Christ-band

 

I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon sifting through that massive spew known as the NCS e-mail in-box and then wading through the hip-deep effluent of the interhole, searching for things worth hearing and seeing, so that you don’t have to dirty yourselves doing it. It was filthy work, as it always is, but as always happens I found some chunks of gold gleaming amidst the vast rivers of mediocrity. I actually have a pretty long list of discoveries that I think are worth sharing, but here are a few of them. Perhaps I will have time to include more later today, or this weekend.

ROTTING CHRIST

Rotting Christ delivered a new lyric video yesterday for the song “Les Litanies de Satan“, which includes guest vocals from Vorph’s frontman Samael dramatically reciting (in French) excerpts from Charles Baudelaire’s poem of the same name (from the volume of poetry entitled Les Fleurs du Mal), which inspired the song. The track, which appears on the band’s latest album Rituals (reviewed here), is a majestic, surging hymn to the fallen angel, and the video is interesting to watch as well.

Feb 282016

Rearview Mirror

 

Welcome to another Sunday edition of this continuing feature, in which we recall metal from the past. The band I’ve chosen for today — Kawir — is a Greek black metal institution, with a long string of splits, EPs, and albums dating back to 1993. The last full-length was 2012’s Ισόθεος (Isotheos) — though a new one will soon be upon us.

Though widely respected and influential, Kawir don’t have quite the same name recognition as other Greek black metal bands of a similar vintage, such as Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh, or Varathron, though perhaps to a greater extent than any of those bands, Kawir has embraced ancient Hellenic culture in their music, with lyrics sung in ancient Greek and songs built upon the rich traditions of Greek myth and legend.

Sep 162015

Otargos-Xeno Kaos

 

This is the somewhat delayed second part of a round-up I began this morning. The earlier edition featured new videos and songs from some of metal’s bigger names. The music in this one comes from more underground sources, and not all of it is brand new, though all of it is newly discovered by your humble editor. And of course all of it is recommended for your ears.

OTARGOS

In his review, Andy Synn summed up the last album by the French band Otargos (2013’s Apex Terror) as music “both utterly devastating and virulently infectious, a truly unique and lethal strain of post-human black metal” — “a visceral, gut-wrenching experience, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality”.

Otargos have now completed a new album named Xeno Kaos that will be released by Kaotoxin Records on November 13. The label recently unveiled a song from the album named “Dominatrix”, and it’s a potent concoction of reptilian melodic grace and unrestrained ferocity. I’m still trying to close my mouth after hearing the drumwork on this song, and I also need to look for a couple of teeth that got knocked out. Probably need a tourniquet too.

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