Jan 072014

At long last, we begin our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. This is the fourth year I’ve compiled such a thing. With each year, the list has grown longer — last year I made myself stop only after the list had mushroomed to 56 tracks. I don’t know how long the 2013 list will be, because I’m still working on it. But I know what the first 3 songs will be, and if you continue reading you will know, too.

I will continue posting a pair of songs more or less daily until reaching the unknown end. The songs are unranked and appear in no particular order, because ordering them would be too difficult. If you’re wondering what this list is all about, go HERE.

HEAVEN SHALL BURN

Heaven Shall Burn are what you get when you force Earth Crisis and Bolt Thrower to conceive a child, and then have that child raised by At The Gates and Carcass, while supplementing their intellectual development with a steady diet of Kant, Marx, and Baudrillard.” That’s what Andy Synn wrote when he reviewed this long-running German band’s 2013 album, Veto, and it does make a kind of demented sense.

Aug 212013

Not long ago we received this announcement: Beginning early next year  Dark Tranquillity will be mounting a North American tour in support of their new Construct album, and they will be joined by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum. Both of those bands turned in superior albums this year, with OG’s Beyond being a particular favorite of this site.

The third band on the tour is a California outfit named Exmortus. It appears we will have to investigate their music.

The tour begins on January 31 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before moving to the actual North American continent in Atlanta on February 1. It’s scheduled to conclude in Philadelphia on March 2. I know you will be thrilled to learn that, in between, it will stop in Seattle so that I may see it. These are very accommodating bands.

The entire slate of dates follows the jump. Tickets are already available for purchase at this site:

Aug 142013

After a night of debauchery and a half day of painfully early work, I’m finally able to start catching up on what I missed in the world of metal since yesterday afternoon. This post is devoted to two things that caught my eye right off the bat.

SKELETONWITCH

Is that album cover up there awesome or what? It’s recognizably the work of John Baizley, and I think this may be my favorite cover he’s ever done. The fact that it graces the new album by Skeletonwitch just makes it all the more killer. The complete artwork was unveiled yesterday, along with more info about the new album — Serpents Unleashed.

It’s now scheduled for release on October 29 in NorthAm (a day earlier in the UK and most of the EU, and October 25 in Germany). It was recorded earlier this year at GodCity Studio with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Trap Them, High on Fire), AND there’s a song from the album that’s being given away for free: “Burned From Bone”.

May 212013

Here are two new videos that appeared over the last 24 hours. Get your melodic death metal on.

DARKANE

The new album from Sweden’s Darkane is named The Sinister Supremacy. It’s their first album in five years and features the return of vocalist Lawrence Mackrory, who last appeared with Darkane 14 years ago on their debut album Rusted Angel. The album also includes eye-catching cover art courtesy of former Soilwork member Carlos Holmberg. It will be released by Prosthetic Records on June 28 in Europe and July 2 in the U.S., and it’s available for pre-order at this location.

Yesterday gave us the premiere of the album’s title track in the form of a lyric video. The words feature such loving phrases as “Violence is all I can see”, “I feed on your fear”, and “Murder is all that I crave”. But don’t worry, there are words of comfort as well, such as these:  ”In blood red ecstasy devoured by lunacy / This malicious demonocracy / Death resides in me”.

Okay, the words may not have much touchy-feely in them, but what about the music?

Apr 122013

(Occasional NCS contributor Mike Yost has kindly allowed us to re-publish this recent piece he wrote about the importance of metal on long road trips.)

Denver, Colorado to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  About 1,638 miles.   That’s 2,882,880 yards of asphalt.  Burning through almost 200 gallons of diesel fuel.  Passing what must have been over 1,000,000,000 fucking construction cones.  The vehicle:  A 22 foot-long Penske moving van with a dolly towing a car.  12 foot, 7 inch height clearance.  Ten tires on the road.  Total weight of about 30,000lbs.

Yes, this was (dare I say) an epic trip.  And an expedition of this magnitude required tunes.  Lots of tunes.   Lots of metal.  With almost 30 hours of drive time, silence for that long would have driven me into a bridge.   Or rather, I would have driven willfully into a bridge, laughing manically while beating my head against the steering wheel.

Combine the claustrophobia of a truck cab, the inability to sleep while occupying such a contraption, the stomach aches from eating shitty gas-station sandwiches made with meat shaved from the hind-end of a decaying maggot-infested human carcass laying out back, the traffic jams in the middle of fucking nowhere due to construction, the congested cities you must fight your way through, and just the general mind-numbing tedium of miles and miles of road rolling out in front of you—endless and without mercy or conscience—then you understand the function and importance of metal to sooth nerves and subdue the urge to suddenly veer into oncoming traffic.

Feb 152013

It’s only fair that we tell you Omnium Gatherum’s forthcoming album Beyond is now streaming in full.  Since we published three different glowing reviews of Beyond months before its scheduled release dates (Feb 25 in Europe and Mar 5 in the U.S.) when we had no music we could share with you, it’s the least we can do.

Before today, Omnium Gatherum did begin streaming one of the album’s numerous stand-out tracks, “New Dynamic” (which you can hear at this location), and then they later premiered a wonderful official video for a second one — “The Unknowing” — which, for the hell of it, I’m including after the jump again.

But now you can hear the entire album. Thanks to a tip from DGR, I learned that it was premiered today by the Finnish Inferno site, and the SoundCloud player is embedded after the jump. But Inferno also has a track-by-track commentary by the band, and you don’t even need to process it through the hilarity of Google Translate because there’s an English translation of the track commentary at that site. Go HERE to read it.

Now, music . . .

Feb 062013

Sadistic bastards that we are, we published three different glowing reviews of Beyond, the forthcoming album by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, months before the album’s scheduled release dates (Feb 25 in Europe and Mar 5 in the U.S.). We had no music we could share with you then, but Omnium Gatherum eventually started streaming one of the album’s numerous stand-out tracks, “New Dynamic” (which you can hear at this location). And as of this morning Metal Hammer premiered an official video for a second one — “The Unknowing”.

In addition, the same song is now available on iTunes.

The imagery in this new video was an inspired choice as accompaniment for the music. Along with close-up film of the band performing the song, it depicts the majesty, power, and sublime beauty of a sunlit coastal sea from dawn until dusk. And that pretty much captures the spirit of the song — majestic, powerful, beautiful. It’s one of many tracks from the album that I’ve already put on our list of candidates for our list of 2013′s most infectious extreme metal songs.

Check out the video after the jump, and give thanks to Olli-Pekka Lappalainen, who directed and edited the video, and to director of photography, Tapio Aulu.

Jan 092013

I’ve again gotten tired of “Seen and Heard” as the title for these round-up posts. I thought about using “Scene and Herd”, but decided that would give the wrong impression about the news and new music included in these posts, since the subjects are items that get me interested and often excited. So, for now at least, “Witnessed”. This round-up includes not only some things I’d like to share but also a blurb from DGR. Here we go:

OMNIUM GATHERUM

Sadistic bastards that we are, in December we published three different glowing reviews of Beyond, the forthcoming album by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, despite the fact that the album won’t be released until late February in Europe and March 5 in the U.S. and we had no music we were authorized to stream from the album. Well, now we have music.

This morning Omnium Gatherum put up the song “New Dynamic” on YouTube.  Good choice: along with “The Sonic Sign”, it’s my favorite track on Beyond. Give it a listen and then let us know if you think we were being overly enthusiastic about what Omnium Gatherum has accomplished or if you agree that this shit is fantastic.

Dec 312012

(Our sadistic streak continues with the third early review of Omnium Gatherum’s new album.  This one comes from TheMadIsraeli.  The first two can be found here and here.)

It isn’t even 2013 yet and already we at NCS are getting pimp-slapped by the hand of Zeus himself in the form of Omnium Gatherum’s new album Beyond.  As Islander said in his review, melodic death metal of the darker sort had an absolutely fucking killer year in 2012, and to get hit with something of the same ilk already for 2013 gives me have very high hopes for the new year.

I will admit, this is one of those bands who I loved whenever I ran across them but never dove into out of sheer laziness or occupation with other things.  I can say, however, that I’ve dived into this album, drowned, been brought back to life, and have repeated this cycle over ten times in the last twenty-four hours.  Beyond is a dense, layered, passionate, and macabre work that could very well already seal my first favorite for 2013.

Like all melodic death metal that’s been killing it lately, Omnium prefer to immerse you in layers of interwoven melody lines as opposed to hard-hitting riffs, arming themselves with depressing yet infectious-as-plague melodies, ever-driven drum work, and a keyboard with a very Blade Runner-esque feel to it.

Dec 302012

If there were a Hell, a special room would be reserved in it for the kind of sadists like us who publish enthusiastic reviews of new albums months before their release. But in our defense, Omnium Gatherum’s new album is one of those that, once heard, must be trumpeted to the skies without delay. Keeping quiet about it is simply too much to ask.

We’ve already posted Andy Synn’s detailed review, and we have at least one more coming in the near future, so I will be brief, especially because I’m still trying to finish compiling our list of 2012′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Speaking of which, with 2013 just around the corner, it’s time to start making a list of  candidates for the most infectious songs of next year. I have no trouble deciding which songs from Beyond belong on that list:  all of them.

Good lord, there ought to be some kind of law against stuffing a single album with so many undeniable melodic hooks and neck-snapping rhythms, or at least some requirement that they be shared with bands who slave away for years and never come up with anything as good as any song picked randomly from this album. Hell, the ballad “Who Could Say” would be a radio hit even in our metal-challenged nation if the vocals were exclusively clean instead of being mixed with Jukka Pelkonen’s monstrous roars.

But don’t get the wrong idea: despite the tremendous melodies, this is still very heavy, very powerful music, as often doom-shrouded and melancholy as it is furiously hard-charging. And despite the alluring simplicity of all the viral riffs, the music is multi-layered, with depths left to plumb after the first listen.

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