Sep 082017

 

(DGR wrote this extended review of the new album by the Greek band SepticFlesh, which was released on September 1 in North America by Prosthetic Records.)

It’s hard to believe that three years have already passed since yours truly was given the opportunity to review Greece’s symphonic death metal arbiters SepticFlesh and their album Titan. Since then, I’ve dedicated a fair share of words to the band, as their brand of orchestra mixed in with crushingly heavy death metal scratches just the right itch, but I always wind up musing about the same subject, which is how the band’s chosen genres combine in order to form the band as it is today.

It’s interesting to me because, pulled apart, the orchestral music genre and metal genre are two gigantic beasts in their own right, so the thought of combining them makes sense. It’s been done for years, of course, but the gentlemen in SepticFlesh have developed a unique mastery of it. Even in the hands of masters it can occasionally get a little unwieldy — because although the two combine well, in the world of SepticFlesh they are also treading a very thin line, and depending on what side of that line they land on is the version of SepticFlesh you’ll be getting at that point in time.

Sep 052017


Dyscarnate

 

(DGR has again stepped forward for round-up duty and has pulled together 9 new songs and videos that caught his eye between last week and yesterday.)

Last week saw a tremendous on-rush of heavy metal news, and of course, since many people knew that we here in the States (or at least many of us) would get a long three-day weekend, a lot of it hit in the back half of the week. As the site’s resident hoover vacuum, I’ve compiled an itemized list of nine… items… that caught my interest over the course of the week that we didn’t get a chance to cover that I will now lovingly shove right into your faces.

If you’re a big fan of death metal and its chugging ilk, this roundup is mostly for you, as it seemed like a large chunk of what I found came from that sphere of influence. There’s definitely the requisite world-traveling element as well, as we go from England to Canada to Italy to the States to Greece to Sweden (twice), and you can see where this is going from here. So let’s quit goofing off and get to the fun stuff.

Sep 022017

 

(Andy Synn is now lobbying the Oxford English Dictionary for recognition of a new word.)

In case you didn’t know, yesterday saw release of the brand new album by Symphonic Death Metal titans Septic Flesh (yes, I’m still spelling it as two words).

Now while I’m not planning on reviewing it here (that honour will, in all likelihood, fall to DGR), I will say that Codex Omega feels like a big step up from The Great Mass and Titan, the latter of which in particular suffered (in this author’s opinion at least) from a noticeable lack of balance between the “Symphonic” and the “Death Metal” aspects of the band’s sound, with the lion’s share of the effort put into the orchestration, while the drums and riffs (or lack thereof) were treated very much as an afterthought.

And as Codex Omega is such a big improvement on its predecessors in this regard, I felt it might be high time we all got together to discuss the costs/benefits inherent in “symphonisizing” (a word I’ve just invented) your sound.

Jul 172017

 

(DGR takes over round-up duties again, with this collection of new songs and videos from eight bands.)

The end-of-the-week news flood was insane, as we have settled well into summer now and a lot of bands are either gearing up to hit the road or are already out making numerous loops on the festival circuit. Of course, this also means that there are a lot of albums in the hopper, getting ready to come out within weeks, or you’ll start seeing a lot of press for albums set to hit when the first leaves of fall drop.

That’s how you wind up with posts like this SEEN AND HEARD that helped kick off the weekend — not even counting our own fuel that we added to the fire, and the one that you’re reading now, which is basically just a gigantic dragnet for bands that had premieres elsewhere throughout the tail end of last week, or just blasted that thing right out to the world to see.

This episode of SEEN AND HEARD is eight (!) bands deep and skews death-metal heavy, so prepare yourselves for a lot of gigantic grooves, growled vocals, enough blasts to reach gunfire status, and enough chainsaw guitar destruction to fuel the planet.

Jun 152017

 

(DGR takes over our round-up rodeo for this Thursday, with a mix of news and new music from 8 bands.)

By the time you are reading this, I will likely be hiding like a coward underneath a fan set on incredibly high as this region of California experiences its first legit summer heatwave of one hundred plus temperatures. Considering that I am a soft wuss who has somehow survived many of these prior, you’d think that attempting to lose weight so that I may one day fit in my freezer with the door closed wouldn’t be the go-to gameplan, but alas, here we are.

You may have noticed by our recent slowdown post that a good chunk of the NCS crew plans to spend the weekend cooped up in a handful of venues in Seattle for the Northwest Terror Fest, enjoying a smattering of different groups. So in order to offset that I’ve made a hefty collection of new music and some album artwork that has slowly been cropping up on the web in recent weeks that have floated by us recently, to be caught in the patented super-porous DGR news net. At the very end I’ll even toss in an album that I came across recently for all of you to enjoy.

So let us sunder forth so that I can quickly go back to attempting to stuff myself onto the second shelf of the freezer next to the frozen lasagna boxes.

Apr 082015

 

(Andy Synn reports on the first day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos.  For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here.)

The first day of the festival proper began (for me at least) promptly at 6:15 when Spellemann Award-winning Death Metallers Execration took the stage.

Down and dirty, with a hint of something creepy just beneath the surface, the band’s blending of rolling, Vader/Autopsy–style death-grooves, Behemoth/Watain-esque stomp and swagger, and touches of eerie, Morbid Angel-ish atmosphere – accentuated here and there by unexpected progressive touches, flashes of surprising technicality, and an undercurrent of lurching sludge – should, by all rights, be an awkward mix. Yet somehow they make it work, taking this amalgam of sounds and using it to whip up an absolute cacophony of ugly, unrepentant nastiness that’s also as infectious as sonic syphilis.

Aug 112014

Collected in this post you will find news of three U.S. or North American tours. News about the first two is still somewhat incomplete, and I’m a bit late reporting on the third one. All three are enticing.

“IN THE MINDS OF EVIL”

Last month news surfaced about a tour to be headlined by Deicide, named after their most recent album, In the Minds of Evil. Last night Inquisition posted an announcement on their Facebook page about the tour, which was interesting because when the tour was announced last month Marduk was named as one of the support bands, but now it appears that Marduk are out and Inquisition are in. In addition, Abysmal Dawn have been added to the line-up. Here’s the complete list of bands:

DEICIDE
SEPTICFLESH
INQUISITION
ABYSMAL DAWN
CARACH ANGREN

An updated official tour flyer hasn’t been released yet, so I decided to use a photo of an embryo of the short-tailed fruit bat (embryonic stage 19).

Inquisition also included an initial schedule of dates in their FB post, while noting that more dates will be added. Here’s the schedule so far:

Jul 162014

(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Septicflesh from Greece.)

Greek mythology tends to lend itself pretty well to the idea of the massive. You don’t get to call your album Titan and have it be something other than an attempt at sounding absolutely huge. When SepticFlesh announced that as the title of their new album, you had to have a pretty good idea of what you were signing up for. Truth be told, SepticFlesh have the sort of sound that lends itself to such a title.

They’ve had years to hone their craft, and the basic elements of their sound — the symphonic and orchestral and the death metal — can shoot from being reserved and foreboding to sounding absolutely gigantic within the space of a second. Over the span of several albums, SepticFlesh have found a really good balance of just how much of each to drop into a song, while walking a very fine line and tinkering with a very delicate formula. Rarely have they ever gone the “crank everything up to eleven” route and reached for entire bombast on all fronts — though that approach has been proven to work, and when SepticFlesh choose to do it, they do just as well.

With The Great Mass, the band really captured lightning in a bottle, letting the symphonic and the death metal sides of the band war with each other and meld into an equilibrium, and it resulted in a great disc — as both a collection of songs and, if you were lucky enough to find one of the bonus editions with just the orchestral pieces, as a symphonic movement as well. If SepticFlesh had decided to make Titan into The Great Mass 2: Mass Harder, then I imagine people would’ve lined up front and center to lavish praise upon the band, because hell, that album again would’ve absolutely been acceptable. That’s why Titan is an interesting album — because for half the disc, they didn’t do that. Instead, they toyed with the foundations of the band and messed with the formula that had been crafted to its breaking point. The result is an album that does live up to its name — Titan is absolutely massive sounding, but not necessarily as death metal as the band have been before.

Jun 112014

The following are some of the best things I saw and heard in my ramblings through the interhole today.

TOMBS

I have idiotically failed to write anything about Savage Gold, the new album by Brooklyn’s Tombs which is out today. But because it’s out today, the entire album is also now streaming on Bandcamp, where it can also be ordered. It defies simple classification, with a mix of elements drawn from black metal, hardcore, death metal, and post-metal, among others. It’s a powerful album as a whole, and one in which each song also has its own potent identity. There is no joy in the music, but there is a lot to enjoy.

I go back and forth as to which song is my favorite, but today it’s “Edge of Darkness” (yesterday it was “Seance”), so if you’ve only got time to sample the music, you might start there. The whole album is after the jump.

http://tombsbklyn.bandcamp.com/album/savage-gold
https://www.facebook.com/TombsBklyn

May 072014

As we’ve been faithfully reporting for months, the Greek symphonic death metal titans Septicflesh have a new album fittingly named Titan that’s coming our way in North America via Prosthetic Records (June 24). We’ve previously featured the first advance track from the album (“Order of Dracul”), and today we have the pleasure of helping premiere a second song named “Burn”.

The name is well-chosen, because the song does indeed burn. Blazing tremolo riffs blacken the music and turn it into a ripping assault. But that’s just for starters. The song also includes a massively headbangable stomping riff — as well as a beautiful soaring melody spun out like glistening gossamer by lead guitar and symphony. It’s a hell of a song.

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