Oct 092013

(DGR took in the live performances of Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless, The Contortionist, and The Safety Fire in Sacramento on Oct. 1, 2013, and here’s his review of the show.)

I consider myself somewhat lucky in that I’ve gotten to see Between The Buried And Me three times, and each time has been during an era of the band that I enjoyed. I first saw them as part of the Ozzfest 2006 tour package, and then would later see them again after Parallax I came out, and they were playing that as a chunk of their set. I have an up and down history with the band and will fully own up to getting a bit tired of them during The Great Misdirect. However, I think the Parallax Hypersleep works have been some of the best material they’ve created by far, so hearing that they were doing the second one all the way through pretty much sold me on the show no matter who would be opening for them. Throwing The Contortionist and The Faceless into the mix made the deal ever so much sweeter, with the added bonus of of exposure to some new music through The Safety Fire – whom I had never heard prior to the show.

So it came to be that I returned to one of my favorite venues in Sacramento, Ace Of Spades, and stood out front on Tuesday, October 1st. The line grew pretty rapidly, and honestly, it was one of the most impressively attended shows I had seen in Sacramento, especially given that it was on a Tuesday. Even a quarter of the way through The Safety Fire’s set the place was starting to get packed. It would prove to be an exciting show too, as every band absolutely smashed their set and the crowd would feed right into it – and that was even prior to Between The Buried And Me’s massive light show and prog explorations, which would turn the whole place into a massive sweatbox.

I was excited when I spotted the folks from Rock Hard Live setting up because that meant that I would get the opportunity to link out to some of their live footage as soon as it was posted, which is something I haven’t gotten to do in a while. So be sure to check them out, as they do some great work for this city and really do show off that we actually have some good venues out here.

Aug 072012

(Here’s the second of TheMadIsraeli’s new reviews in as many days, the log jam having broken on his pent-up thoughts.  Today, the subject is the 2012 release by Indiana’s The Contortionist.)

Man, was there a fuck load of hype around this album.  I have to say, as much as I like this band and as good as I think their music is (I’m reviewing the album obviously), I didn’t know mixing djent, deathcore, and post-rock would be such a big deal.  Other bands have obviously attempted to bank off what The Contortionist have done since their stellar debut Exoplanet was released; probably most notably Substructure, whom I also love to death.

But now we’re here to talk about the band’s insanely hyped and eagerly anticipated sophomore release, Intrinsic.  The Contortionist have stepped up their game, expanded their sound, yet they have also refined it.  I will be frank and say the experiment here is not entirely successful, but rather that this should be viewed as an excellent, ambitious step forward in establishing an identity.  It could be argued, of course, that this band already stood out, but Intrinsic is definitely an album you couldn’t mistake for another.  It is for this reason, combined with Intrinsic’s solid ideas and concepts, that make it worthy of an NCS review in my mind.

The music has definitely changed quite a bit.  The trademark elements are still here:  Brutalizing death core grooves; mantic, technical, brain-hemorrhaging riffs; soothing ambience that makes one envision galaxies moving in space; and crescendos and drops in intensity that showcase extreme dynamic intelligence.

The prog level is definitely turned up on this album, though. The song structures are much more frantic, with little to no cohesiveness whatsoever.  A lot of the songs jump unexpectedly from part to part.  There may be a returning section at some point during the song, but even in those situations, the returning part is thrown in with the most unorthodox logic.

Jul 162012

Within certain circles, much eagerness seems to have been building for the new album from Indiana’s The Contortionist. Entitled Intrinsic, it will be released tomorrow via eOne/Good Fight Music.

To be brutally honest, I can’t say that I’ve been among the eager, because my own tastes tend to veer off in different directions. But I have at least been interested, and I suspect some of you are in the same camp. So, as a public service, I want to bring two pieces of information to your attention.

First, the entirety of Intrinsic is streaming at this location, at least for a little while.

Second, today Noisecreep exclusively premiered the band’s official video for “Causality”, the album’s third track. The song combines djent-style pneumatics, prog-style instrumentals, a dreamy/spacy keyboard layer, and a combo of hardcore roaring and ethereal crooning. It becomes . . . beautiful. The well-made video is pretty to watch, too . . . the dreams of a middle-aged man, both a kind of discovery and a kind of emotionally wrenching journey.  Nice shots of the band performing, too.

Anyway, to check that out, follow this link.

May 312012

I saw this album cover. It’s for the next album by DysrhythmiaTest of Submission, which Profound Lore says they will be releasing on August 28. No test is needed . . . I am ready to submit.

I also saw that Be’lakor has just put HD versions of all the songs from their terrific new album Of Breath and Bone up on YouTube. Find those tracks here. Read Andy Synn’s review of the album here. (And thanks to NCS reader Daniel for the tip on this news.)

I also saw that Doris Yeh from Chthonic is on the cover of a fashion magazine called FHM.  I no longer have to wonder what she looks like naked.

May 072012

(DemiGodRaven checks in with this review of the Sacramento stop of the THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS tour, featuring All Shall Perish, Carnifex, Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Contortionist, and more.)

First off, before I really begin, I need to give a huge shout out to the folks at CapitalChaos and RockHardLive. Whilst at the moment they are both competing with each other at least in one sense, we’re all able to reap the rewards because they both had people out at this show recording it, and as a result we have some decent live videos on both ends. Check out both the Capital Chaos and Rock Hard Live youtube pages, because both of them have been doing more for Sacramento than anyone could imagine. Believe me, if a band has played here recently, there’s a pretty good chance the live footage you see pop up on youtube is because of one of those two groups. They deserve far more credit and love than what they get.

Now then. I arrived at the show late. I actually had it planned where I would get there around 6:30, believing that since the doors opened at 5:30, there would be about an hour delay (as has been standard fare at the other shows at Ace that I’ve been to) so I could get there right as things were kicking off. This provided me an opportunity to enjoy some fine 20-year old hooch that my friend’s Grandfather had made at his Dad’s birthday. Meanwhile, my friend is over in Japan teaching. I am nothing if not an appreciator of weird social situations.

I was looking forward to this show for a few reasons. I’d finally get to see The Contortionist. (Okay, I’ve actually seen them before, but it was at something like 1 am in The Boardwalk. I was so fucking tired I actually found myself dozing off in the corner of the venue. I couldn’t believe it, you could’ve been blasting grindcore in my face and I still would’ve dozed off.) I’d finally get to see All Shall Perish, and as part of a touring cycle for an album I enjoy the hell out of. I’d get to see Conducting From the Grave on a larger stage than The Boardwalk’s.

Oh, and Fleshgod. Did I mention Fleshgod? Because I’d finally get to see Fleshgod Afuckingpocalypse in a live setting. I could’ve listened to two hours of Hare Krishna bullshit as openers if it resulted in me getting the solid forty or so minutes I did of Fleshgod on stage.

Mar 022012

For a change, I actually remembered on the second day of the new month that that the preceding month had ended; usually takes longer than that. My creditors would be happy, except I think their bills need to age a while longer. But yes, February is history — and that means its time to post our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. Today’s list is a little more comprehensive than the half-assed job I did at the end of January, which means it’s about three-quarters assed. One of these days it will be fully assed.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (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, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If I found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, I probably wrote about it 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.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us (me and your fellow readers) what I missed when I put this list together, because I’m abso-fucking-lutely certain that I missed all sorts of shit. So let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here!

Jan 262012

(DemiGodRaven helps catch us up on metal news.)

Hey folks, I’ve planted my ass in the underworld for a brief period of time in order to round up all the smaller (and maybe not so small) news stories that may have fallen through the cracks in one way or another. Some of them are simple things like album streams, others are album teasers, there’s some tour news, and hey, occasionally you’ll even get a free song or two, ya hear? Also, if you aren’t reading this in a 50′s news reporters voice after seeing the picture of the hat above YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. First up is a pretty simple album stream, and then we’ll go on from there.

Lamb of God’s latest album Resolution saw release recently, and so they decided to run a full album stream over at AOL Music to give people a chance to get in a good listen before they decide whether to buy or not. I’ve enjoyed this release much more than Wrath, but it is still largely iterative on the sound that they started building in Sacrament.

It’s a good listen all the way through, but I can imagine it would be pretty dull if you picked a random song instead of the five or six really great ones. In other words, this is not an album built for Ipod shuffle like Amon Amarth’s stuff usually is (for example), so you’ll have to be in a really Lamb of God mood in order to really get into this one.

Also, they used the shotgun blast sample again. The same one they used on Sacrament. I was just waiting for the GOD-DAMN before it. Full review incoming soon. In the meantime, while you wait for me to validate your opinion and tell you how awesome of a metal listener you are, you can stream that fucker over here.

Jan 062012

December and 2011 are both over, and with the end of the last month, it’s time to round up what we saw over the last 30 days about forthcoming albums.

We usually try to post these updates on the first of the month, but the first of this month was New year’s Day, and I was moving kinda slowly that day. Plus, I’ve been focusing on year-end lists from a variety of sources, and, well, I’m late with this. I have more excuses, if you’d like to hear them.  No?  Okay, I understand.  I’ll just shut up and get going with this list.

So, here’s the deal:  In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (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 forthcoming album before December, we wrote about it 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. It includes some real eye-openers. In fact, it’s not too soon to say that 2012 is already looking like yet another royally skull-fucking year for metal. But as usual, this list is half-assed rather than comprehensive. I confess that in December I was even more half-assed than usual in keeping my eyes open for news about new albums. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here!

Jul 012010

Another month has ended, and like a drug-resistant strain of sexually transmitted disease, we’re still here.

And because we’re now a full six months into 2010, it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy.

BURDEN OF GRIEF: “German melodic death/thrash metallers BURDEN OF GRIEF will release their new album, Follow The Flames, on July 2 in Europe via Massacre Records. The follow-up to 2007′s Death End Road will contain 10 new songs. The limited-edition version of the CD will include a bonus disc featuring cover versions of eight metal classics.”

CEPHALIC CARNAGE: “Denver, Colorado-based technical death/grind metallers CEPHALIC CARNAGE have set Misled By Certainty as the title of their new album, due on August 31 via Relapse Records. The follow-up to 2007′s Xenosapien was recorded at the band’s own studio with longtime engineer/producer Dave Otero. The CD is described in a press release as a ’50-plus-minute journey into metal’s most extreme realms’ which ‘see[s] these veterans takes it to edge before pulling it back with ‘Repangea’, perhaps their most sprawling and epic work to date.’”

(lots more after the jump . . .)

Jun 092010

If you’re a baseball fan, you’re familiar with the term “stuff.”  And if you’re not? Well, inarticulate baseball players, managers, and fans (like us) use that term to refer both to what pitchers are capable of throwing and how they actually perform in games. It can refer to the speed of the ball, the location of the pitch as it crosses the plate, the guile of the pitcher in varying the pitches from batter to batter — basically, everything that goes into keeping hitters off balance and generating outs.

When a pitcher is on his game, keeping batters off the bases and cruising through a low pitch count, the manager or some teammate will be quoted as saying, “he had good stuff tonight.”  And when a pitcher gets shelled and removed without going at least five innings, you can bet someone will say, “he didn’t have good stuff.” Hey, they don’t pay those dudes for their public speaking skills.

So, you might ask, what the fuck does that have to do with metal? And we would answer: If you’re a metal band and you pick the name “Legend,” you better have the “stuff” to back it up. And in the case of this metalicized hardcore band from Michigan and their recently released debut album Valediction, they abso-fucking-lutely do.

We’ve written before about our disappointment in Bury Your Dead‘s change in musical direction since the departure of vocalist Mat Bruso and his replacement by Myke Terry. We were further chagrined to learn that BYD bassist Aaron “Bubble” Patrick left the band last fall. And we were equally disappointed by the defection of band members from another repeat-play favorite of ours, For the Fallen Dreams.  (more after the jump, including a song and tour dates . . . )

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