Here are things I saw and heard today.
I saw a temperature gauge at high noon here in The Emerald City: 63°F. And the sun is shining. All of you poor fuckers who are broiling like burgers on a charcoal grill everywhere east of the Pacific Coast can hate me now, and along about January you can remind me that I made this obnoxious crack at your expense.
I saw that awesomely phantasmagoric piece of artwork up above. It’s by Ken Sarafin of Sarafin Concepts. It’s for a death metal project called Bunch, of which Sarafin seems to be a member — one of many. Here’s this description from the Bunch FB page: “Bunch is a band formed from 28 different members, each playing one note a song. Occasionally during recording, a member might repeat a note several times. If that happens, a break with cookies is required afterwards. Bunch likes cookies.”
There are a bunch of Bunch demo tracks at this location. I picked one to stream after the jump.
(Earlier this week, Metal Injection published a discourse on The 10 Most Lethal Weapons In Black Metal. In the introduction to the article, the author alluded to the reasons why certain kinds of weaponry have been associated with the genre. Now we get the author’s full explanation — a Part 1, if you will, to the Part 2 piece that appeared at Metal Injection. At NCS, you know the prolific author as Rev. Will. In the course of his research, he consulted members of Noctem, Sigh, and Edge of Paradise, as well as the Vegan Black Metal Chef.)
Funnily enough, whenever black metal weaponry floats to the surface of the perpetually random sea of thoughts slushing about in my head, the next thing that invariably comes to mind is the “bling-bling” of hip-hop culture. Before the elitists out there start coming down on me with the wrath of Satan’s cheeseburger, consider for a moment the following comparison.
Now, I am not insinuating that there is a musical similarity between both genres. What I would like to point out is that just as bling-bling is the Statue of Liberty of hip-hop, black metal weaponry is very much an iconic part of black metal that serves as the first graphic reference for most people’s memory banks when they try to recollect what they can of the grim metal sub-genre (someone ought to give it a catchy name too, maybe “cling-clang”). Just as many hip-hop artistes are famous within the mainstream music circle for their overly-flashy jewelry, black metal musicians are infamous within the underground music community for their ostentatious weapons as well.
Over time, both sets of accessories have evolved from merely being elements of sub-genre attire into cultural movements of their own. Bling-bling and cling-clang are both usually made of metal, but that’s where the similarity between both cultural movements stops. Unsurprisingly, for a sub-genre and cultural movement as pessimistic and misanthropic as black metal, its proliferation in the early ‘90s even had the occasional political motive—something much of hip-hop has left far behind since its early days.
(As we continue to barrel ahead toward the end of 2011, we continue our Listmania series, looking back on the year’s best metal. In this post, we have two lists of favorite albums from members of Spain’s Noctem — lead guitarist Exo and vocalist Beleth. Noctem is one of our favorites here at NCS — check out Andy Synn’s review of their fantastic 2011 album here and his interview of Beleth here, and you can watch their new music video for “The Arrival of the False Gods” in this post.)
1-Obscura - Omnivium
Really liked their previous album, but this one blew my mind, really complex and original at the same time.
2-Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever
These Polish guys still impress me. This album sounds more modern and includes some kind of hardcore influences. The result of a brutal procreation between old Decapitated and Meshuggah.
Just so that last post featuring me tooting my own horn about myself doesn’t linger at the top of the NCS site for the next 8 1/2 hours until tomorrow’s first scheduled post, I have this official video, just released, from the most excellent Noctem, whose new album Oblivion our most excellent Andy Synn reviewed here and who Andy also interviewed here.
The featured song is called “The Arrival of the False Gods”, which Andy described as “all piledriving rhythms and violent vocal catharsis whose brooding guitar adds a palpable sense of menace to the proceedings”. If you’re an epileptic off your meds or have a moral problem with bands who play with pig heads on stage and eat pig organs during the performance, don’t watch this.
P.S. My interview by The Number of the Blog can be found via THIS LINK.
(NCS writer Andy Synn follows his review of the new album by Spain’s Noctem with an interview.)
After my recent review of the rather excellent Oblivion (HERE) by Spanish extremists Noctem, I have been emailing back and forth with the band’s guitarist (and general mastermind) Exo, garnering some background information on the group’s formation, transformation and the creative process which informed both their debut release and their latest album.
A thoroughly pleasant and clearly passionate individual, Exo passed my questions on to his dedicated partner-in-crime, lead singer Beleth, who has been with Exo since the band’s inception. After the jump you can read the responses Beleth provided to my email interrogation, offering his own distinct perspective on the group’s past, present and future . . .
(Andy Synn returns to NCS after a short hiatus with his review of the Oblivion, the new album by a Spanish band called Noctem. Given my own tastes, this review left me slobbering with hunger for this album. Positively slobbering. Just sayin’.)
There is a difference between an easy comparison and a lazy comparison. Just because a comparison is easy to make does not mean it is necessarily a lazy one, nor indeed a negative one. Listening to Oblivion, the second album from these sun-scorched, blackened death metallers (or deathly black metallers – take your pick) immediately brings to mind the monstrous, imperial grandeur of Behemoth, all potent death-metal pummeling and scathing, blackened speed. Perhaps just as strongly, there are elements here of the lumbering, goliath grooves of Kataklysm and the frenzied, melodic assault of The Black Dahlia Murder.
Yet these comparisons should not be seen as an accusation that Noctem are in any way derivative of these acts; rather, the similarities come from the band pursuing a congruent path to their metallic peers, where elements and themes are recognisable yet never plagiarised, not following the path of another but exploring similar territory on their own terms and in their own particular way. (more after the jump . . .)
What the hell is that big yellow thing up in the sky? It looks vaguely familiar, but it’s appeared so rarely here in The Emerald City over the last six months that we’re having trouble placing the name. Well, maybe the name will come to us. The great wheel of the seasons surely must continue to turn someplace, but in Seattle it seems to have been stuck on Winter since, like, forever. In some parts of the world, April showers bring May flowers, but here, April showers will probably bring . . . May showers.
Okay, enough whining. At least we don’t get tornados dropping from the sky like atom bombs and wiping whole towns off the map. And even though the weather hasn’t been our friend, we have metal to make up for the cold shoulder — and there’s a bunch of new metal headed our way.
What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.
This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones.
The first month of the year has come and gone. January brought those of us in Seattle some typically ass-sucking winter weather, though it wasn’t nearly as bad as the brutality dished out by the weather gods on our metal brothers and sisters in the Midwest and Northeast of the U.S. And of course, our readers ins places like Russia, and Finland, and Sweden are probably laughing their asses off reading our complaints about our winter weather. So, we’ll just shut up about that.
Besides, January brought all sorts of great new metal to our tender ears, so who gives a shit about the weather anyway? And you know what else January brought? It brought news of still more metal goodness on the way — great bursts of audio sunshine in our collective futures that will part these winter clouds and leave them whimpering in cloudy tatters.
Okay, maybe we should leave poetry to the poets and just get on with this next monthly installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, where we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last 30 days about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like, or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we’ve cut and pasted the announcements and compiled them in alphabetical order. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones:
AJATARRA: “AJATTARA — the Finnish band featuring former AMORPHIS frontman Pasi Koskinen (a.k.a. Itse Ruoja Suruntuoj) — will release its seventh album, Murhat (“Murders”) on February 2 via Osasto-A Records. Murhat is available for streaming in its entirety on the AJATTARA Facebook page.” (much more after the jump . . .)