Apr 252012

If you’re really perceptive (or you’re one of those people who have no real life outside the confines of the internet), you may have noticed that over the last 10 days or so, I haven’t contributed as much to NCS as I usually do. There are reasons for that, but describing them in detail would be boring. Let’s just say it involved unsuccessful transplant surgery, an inter-species paternity suit, and a rigged auction of antique trepanning implements, and leave it at that.

Anyway, I’m behind on all sorts of things, including current events in the world of metal. I was able to spend a little time today catching up, and I found lots of interesting stuff — a combination of news items and new music. Even after I filtered out items that every attentive metalhead already knows (because those items have already been covered on a dozen other metal sites), what’s left is still too much to cram into one post. So, I’m dividing them between at least two posts, and maybe a third. Here’s the first installment:

LANDMINE MARATHON

The first item is a news item. The news is that Arizona’s Landmine Marathon have recorded a new, self-titled 7″ EP. I like this news (a) because it involves Landmine Marathon, who are awesome, (b) because the cover art (above) is cool, and (c) because I’ve finally made the decision to buy a turntable, so I’ll actually be able to listen to this thing when it comes out. The EP will be released on May 14 and will consist of two songs that were recorded at the same time as the band’s last full-length (Gallows); reportedly, the songs won’t be available anywhere else. You can pre-order the EP at Deep Six Records. I am highly confident that it will be good.

Also, because I haven’t owned a turntable since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I have no idea what to buy, so please leave a comment if you have any recommendations, because that would make it easier on me than doing actual research.

Feb 082012

Let’s be honest: women vocalists in extreme metal are still a curiosity. I’m referring to women whose vocals range from bestial growls to blood-curdling shrieks, not the ones who sing pretty in folk metal bands or outfits like Nightwish and Epica. Of course, as soon as you step outside the extreme-metal-loving world, dudes who sing harsh are curiosities, too. Fuck, in that outside world, so are all of us. But within our world, it’s the female growlers who are the novelties.

What makes them a curiosity isn’t that they can do it well, it’s that they can do it at all. And so some fans get overly excited about women vocalists whose vocals really aren’t all that great. On the other hand, because metal is a male-dominated culture, good female vocalists are also the victims of prejudice — the kind of judgmental pomposity that proclaims there’s no place for a woman in the front of an extreme metal band. Consider those two phenomena together and you reach the conclusion that it’s damned tough for a woman’s vocals to be considered for what they are, on the merits, divorced from who’s delivering them.

Maybe the day will arrive when everyone becomes gender-blind in judging metal vocalists, but human biology and male-female relationships being what they are, I doubt it. Fuck, I’m as susceptible to the curiosity effect as anyone else. Why else do you think I’m writing this post?

What I’ve collected here are four new songs or videos by female-fronted extreme metal bands: Landmine Marathon (U.S.), Wykked Wytch (U.S.), and Izegrim (The Netherlands).

Aug 192011

(Andy Synn reviews Gallows, the forthcoming album by Landmine Marathon.)

To start with, let me confess that Landmine Marathon’s last album, Sovereign Descent didn’t thrill me as much as I expected it to. It was a good record, no doubt, possessing some particularly great songs with which to bludgeon the listener into submission. Yet the production seemed too… cold… lifeless even, robbing the songs of the fire and vibrancy the band display live. It was neither one thing nor the other, neither larger than life nor clinically precise, leaving the band adrift in a void of directionless sound and fury – through no fault of their own!

In truth, it remains their debut album Wounded that I love best out of Landmine Marathon’s discography, thanks partially to its massive guitar tone and chaotic, cacophonous drum sound, accented by some incisive, scalpel-sharp melodies, whose presence makes the devastating display of focussed violence all the more effective by contrast. However Gallows may be the album to change all that.

The group’s latest album sees a return to the more monolithic tone of Wounded, resulting in a thicker and more muscular sound married to a sleek and supple series of sinuous song structures, all claws and teeth and broken bones. Capturing a more propulsive form of energy, much of the album recalls Maryland natives Misery Index, albeit with a dirtier overall vibe, expressing urban blight and sprawl in all its decadent, decaying glory. Eschewing the overtly politicised polemic of their Baltimore brethren, the sandpapered vocal chords of Ms Grace Perry vomit forth a virulent stream of putrid bile and hateful invective over a plethora of gut-wrenching, street-level death metal riffs and sharpened knife-fight guitar melodies, which flicker and stab without warning. (more after the jump . . .)

Aug 092011

Well, that’s what people say. In my experience, they usually say it when they’re trying to calm you down after you’ve been exposed to something you really aren’t interested in or maybe dislike intensely. But, taken literally, it’s true. Variety IS the spice of life, or at least one of them. Along with oregano.

That saying popped into my head when I took a short break from my fucking day job, which is currently wearing me down to a stump, and found the following three pieces of music, two of which are brand new releases by Nightrage and Dirge Within and the third of which is a recent live video of Landmine Marathon kickin sumasss.

NIGHTRAGE

Nightrage will be releasing their fifth album, Insidious, via Lifeforce Records on September 27 (one day earlier internationally). To whet appetites for that release, the band have made the title track available for streaming on their facebook page. It features the band’s former vocalist Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, The Crown, Lock Up). That was enough to make me listen, though the interesting album art by Gustavo Sazes helped, too.

The song is quite nice, too, with an unexpected acoustic outro. Lindberg is in good voice on this headbanging thrasher, which is to say naaaasty. I’m all in favor of your visiting the Nightrage facebook page, but it happens you’ll also find the song stream after the jump.

Jul 012011


June is behind us, July lies ahead. Here in the U.S., we’re about to start the long weekend leading up to Independence Day, when Americans celebrate the birth of the nation by buying explosive ordinance wherever fine explosive ordinance is sold and lighting up the night sky (in addition to blowing the shit out of objects and sometimes themselves). People will also be exposing unsightly parts of their bodies wherever sun can be found and eating large quantities of health food prepared on outdoor grills. Our Founding Fathers would be proud of what they wrought!

Because the last month has ended, that means it’s time for another installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which 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 album during May or preceding months, we wrote about them 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. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that we overlooked.

Nov 292010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we have another contribution from our Midwestern correspondent BadWolf — this time, an awesome interview with Grace Perry and Matt Martinez following a recent live performance . . .]

The following interview with Arizona Death Metal masterminds Landmine Marathon was conducted on November 20, 2010 at Frankie’s Inner City in Toledo, Ohio by BadWolf.

Landmine Marathon killed it that evening, by the way.

G– My name is Grace Perry and I’m the singer for Landmine Marathon.

M– My name is Matt Martinez and I play bass.

BW– You guys, the whole tour [Skeletonwitch, Landmine Marathon, Withered (who did not play on this date)] is on Prosthetic Records. What is your relationship with Prosthetic Records?

G– A really great relationship. We’ve only been with them for a year now I think. We released Sovereign Descent with them, and they re-released Rusted Eyes Awake as well as Wounded. It’s a very easygoing relationship—not very demanding. I’m happy.

M– The really cool thing is that their roster isn’t huge. It isn’t ten releases a month; they really focus on their bands. That’s been the awesome thing.  (more after the jump .. including a video)

Dec 262009

Female death metal vocalists are few and far between. Frankly, I don’t understand how dudes can produce those sounds on a regular basis without destroying their voices. I know there’s a secret, I just don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because I haven’t yet watched Melissa Cook’s The Zen of Screaming instructional video.

But what I really don’t understand is how any woman can produce those harsh, deep, gutteral, death growls — at all. I could tick off on the fingers of one hand the women who are currently carrying it off reasonably well (if I had a six-fingered hand): Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, Grace Perry of Landmine Marathon, Elizabeth Elliott of Dreaming Dead, Mel Mongeon of Fuck the Facts, Krysta Cameron of iwrestledabearonce, and occasionally Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist.

As of this morning I need to add a seventh name: Jessica Desjardins of Canadian deathcore band Bloodshoteye.   (More after the jump, including some video)

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