I didn’t do a very good job this past week posting about new songs that I liked as they were coming out, and as a result I have a big collection of them gazing up at me with sorrowful eyes. I’ve picked four of them to recommend in this post, with the goal of keeping you off-balance. I’ve collected a few others for a “Shades of Black” post that I’m planning for tomorrow.
A couple of days ago Germany’s Ahab premiered a music video for the first complete track off their new album The Boats of Glen Carrig, coming from Napalm Records on August 28. The name of the song is “Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)”, and I’m thoroughly hooked on it. The riffs are enormous, and they drive the song’s bleak, somewhat dissonant melodic refrain into your head like railroad spikes. I’m more a fan of the enraged roars than the clean vocals in the song (what a shock!), but it’s a minor quibble.
Did you see what I did there? I actually do have a small round-up of new songs coming a bit later today, but this collection of new discoveries mainly consists of interesting announcements — though there is one new live Soilwork video embedded below.
Nile are finishing up the mixing work on a new album entitled What Should Not Be Unearthed, which Nuclear Blast plans to release in the late summer of this year. Along with that announcement the label revealed the cover art, which I think is quite good and which was created by Michal “Xaay” Loranc. It includes hieroglyphs taken from The Book of the Dead as well as the protective sign of the winged scarab in the center. The concept seems to posit the existence of an ancient elder civilization that pre-dated and gave rise to the old Egyptian civilization.
Along with the announcement and the artwork came this quote from Karl Sanders, which I found particularly enticing (I bold-faced the words of interest):
I’m still on vacation, and probably should be vacationing instead of spending time on the internet catching up on what’s been happening in the world of metal. Honestly, I expected that nothing would be happening without me there to notice it. You can imagine my shock and dismay in discovering that the world continues to turn even when I don’t pay attention to it. Something is seriously wrong.
Honestly, I didn’t try to dig too deeply into what I’ve been missing, but I did manage to fight through my depression and found a batch of recent things worth mentioning before returning to fucking off.
The last time a band’s merchandising ploy pulled me up short was when Ghost B.C. started selling dildos and butt plugs. But it happened again yesterday when, thanks to a link sent my way by The Autistic Metalhead, I discovered that Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse had started selling their own brand of pasta. It’s true. They’ve got four varieties and they’re shipping worldwide. In my case, it would cost 28 Euro, plus 20 Euro for shipping and handling.
Happy Tryptophan Coma Day to one and all. I’ve been sitting here at my computer all morning with my gut rumbling and my mouth salivating as my wife and assorted other female culinary magicians perform wondrous works in our kitchen. Eventually, a horde of gluttons will descend on the feast and the gorging will begin. I hope this happens soon, before the flood of gastric juices triggered by all the aromas eats a hole through my esophagus.
While resisting the urge to barge through the kitchen like a rabid wolverine and start stuffing my gullet with both hands, I’ve been listening to a few random selections of new metal that I thought I’d share with you. The offerings come from Author & Punisher, Nile, and Church of Disgust.
AUTHOR & PUNISHER
If you don’t know about Author & Punisher (the nom de guerre of one Tristan Shone), I suggest you read this post by BadWolf, which was my introduction to this dude’s amazing music. Wholly apart from the way the hellish music sounds, it’s noteworthy because much of it is made on machines that Shone designs himself and then performs. One of the devices he created is something called the Mute Mask, and he employs it in a new song called “Magnetik” that debuted about a week ago.
Here are some quick notes about a couple of noteworthy tours announced over the last 24 hours.
Nile has announced that it will tour the U.S. next March and April with 28 dates around the country. There are two interesting aspects to this tour. First, the band will be playing two full sets with only a brief intermission, which means fans are going to get a lethal dose of Nile, with time for the band to provide a thorough selection from their discography.
Second, Nile aren’t taking any supporting bands along for this ride. Instead, they’re asking promoters to pick the three best local bands from each locale the tour will visit. As Karl Sanders explained in a press statement:
Supporting local bands in each city is a way for us to give something back to younger bands and the metal scene. We’ve asked promoters to keep ticket prices low, so that fans of all ages can come and join us for an evening of metal. In these difficult times of our recessionary economy, an evening of killer metal shouldn’t have to break the bank
This is a cool idea, and of course it provides an opportunity for local bands to get some great exposure. Exclusive pre-sale tickets are available now at EnterTheVault.com. I checked the prices, and they range from $10 to $20, depending on the city. The price in Seattle is $18. The schedule is right after the jump.
(Our man BadWolf interviewed Karl Sanders of Nile by phone earlier this summer, and they discussed . . . well, I’ll let BadWolf give you the preview. I’ll just say that I had so much fun reading this that I wish it had gone on a whole lot longer. We reviewed the band’s latest album, At the Gates of Sethu, here.)
What hasn’t been said about Karl Sanders? The man plays some of the best guitar in all of technical death metal, and in a scene ripe with imitators and mindless noodling, Nile stands out. In other hands an Egyptian motif would be a mere gimmick, but Sanders turns Nile’s aesthetic and musical choices into an original and compelling statement. Most death metal sounds like muck, Nile sounds like a grand adventure.
And his secret, as divulged to the BadWolf, is unstoppable work ethic. We chatted on the merits of hard work, ancient wisdom, and the Arab Spring. Oh, and codeine cough syrup. Tech death goes Crunk after the jump.
(Our UK correspondent Andy Synn, who is a lucky devil, attended the mammoth BLOODSTOCK festival earlier this month and delivered a report on the performances. You can find his review of the festival’s Friday and Saturday shows at this location, and today we’ve got his write-up about what he saw and heard on BLOODSTOCK’s final day — plus a collection of videos (some of which are full sets) at the end.)
Unfortunately, the first band to assault my ears on the last day of Bloodstock were the generally uninspired Kobra & The Lotus, a band who the metal media have been trying desperately to ram down our throats for some time now, but who don’t have the songs or presence to justify it. Not the worst band in the world by a long shot, but memorable only for how forgettable they were, and for the singer’s often flat, often forced, vocals.
So it’s a good thing we had Nile! After some admittedly hilarious sound problems (where you could hear the sound guy shouting and swearing at everyone to ‘Fuck off! We’re not ready!” after Nile tried to start their intro a tad early), the quartet finally kicked into a sterling set of challenging death metal mechanics. The new songs are definitely finding their place in the complex algorithm of Nile’s set, while a run-in by members of The Black Dahlia Murder for the climactic chant-along of “Black Seeds of Vengeance” helped add to that special “festival-feeling”.
Speaking of The Black Dahlia Murder, they were up next and also faced the unappealing task of presenting their razor-sharp melodic death metal to a crowd that had seemingly greeted their announcement with either measured ambivalence or outright hostility. But with good natured aplomb, and some hilarious stage banter, the quintet were definitely up to the challenge, packing an impressive number of songs into a short time slot in an effort to win over as many with their music as possible. Kudos for the handling of the naked guy (“Raise him up, I want to see his penis… no wait, keep him away from security… oh no, they got him. Enjoy jail dude!”), and well done on ending the set with more people in the field than they started with.
(Here we have yet another review by TheMadIsraeli, catching up on 2012 releases that have impressed him. Today, it’s the new one from Nile, which is out now on the Nuclear Blast label.)
As much as it may have sucked total ass in the mainstream, underground metal in the 90’s was one of the absolute definitive highpoints of the music’s evolution to me. A huge component of this was the surge of brutal tech-death giants, most of whom (though not all) somehow have managed not to stagnate one bit, still putting out consistently killer albums while retaining the defining qualities that make these bands who they are. I’m speaking of Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Immolation, Cryptopsy, and obviously in today’s case, Nile.
Nile, like almost all the bands listed above, have a virtually flawless discography. I think the only guilty party in that list who turned out to be an exception needn’t be named, but Nile is definitely a band who’ve never committed such a gaff. Their new album, At The Gates of Sethu, is a monolithic assault of Nile’s esoteric brutality that’s just as good as any of their other work (which is to say fucking excellent), though it seems to be drawing criticism via the tropes and trivialities of the modern metal crowd.
I digress briefly with a rant: I hate most modern metal. I may find a modern metal band worth checking out here and there, and even more rarely, one that I deem fucking excellent. However, I hate modern metal as a whole. I hate the sentiments it comes with, what the crowd expects from the music, and the general idea that if something is not groovy, if it doesn’t have slick, pristine production that’s sterile and as stale as an open three-week-old bag of chips (even though it might very well capture the full spectrum of sound), if it doesn’t have lame, half-assed attempts at syncopation, and if it lacks clean vocals, then it’s bad. Even more obnoxious and condescending is the notion that music which fails these criteria is not relevant, not “with the times”, or some cockamamie horse shit like that.
Just a quick news flash here for consumers of maniacally active death metal: Nuclear Blast has premiered another song from Nile’s new album, At the Gates of Sethu, which will be released on July 3 (with pre-orders shipping on June 26).
The song is called “The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh”. It’s brootal. And maniacally active. To hear it, you have to visit the Nuclear Blast pre-order page (HERE) and click on one of the pre-order options. That will take you to another page where the song is streaming on a SoundCloud player. You don’t have to buy anything, though I’m sure all concerned would be happy if you did.
Did I mention that the song is brootal? It is that, and worth hearing.
Last week we reported on the premiere of the first song from Nile’s new album, At the Gates of Sethu, which will be released via Nuclear Blast Records on June 29 (Europe) and July 3 (North America). The song is called “The Fiends Who Come To Steal the Magick of the Deceased”. At that point, it was exclusively streaming at Noisecreep.
But now, you don’t have to stream it any more, because Nuclear Blast is making the song available as a free download, in return for your e-mail address. GO HERE to get the track for your very own. And in case you haven’t yet heard the song — which may not be exactly what you’re expecting from Nile, check it out on the player below: