Dec 272012

And here we go again . . . a round-up of things I saw and heard by sifting through the effluent of the internet and my e-mail in-box in search of shiny nuggets.

TAAKE

I learned this: It turns out that 2013 will mark the 20th anniversary of metal musicianship for Hoest, the main man behind Norwegian black metal veterans Taake. The fact that Hoest is still alive and making music of any kind is worth celebrating all by itself. The fact that Taake continue to deliver superb metal is icing on the birthday cake.

Here’s one of the things that’s being done to celebrate the anniversary: On March 1 in Norway and March 4 everywhere else, Dark Essence Records will be releasing a 20-song, 2-CD collection of Taake music entitled Gravkamre, Kroner og Troner (“Burial Chambers, Crowns and Thrones”). The contents are primarily rare and previously unreleased songs, as well as alternative versions and recordings that have previously been available only on vinyl — but the album will also include exclusive new tracks.

Today I saw that Taake have begun streaming one of the tracks from this anniversary album named “Et Pust av Oeyne”. It’s a riff-heavy mosh-trigger of a song, marked by Hoest’s scathing vocal attack and some old-school, hard-rocking rhythms. It also includes a dose of blasting and thrashing, as well as a lengthy, spiraling melodic breakdown.

I’m really digging the variations in the song and hope you will, too.

Nov 152012

There are few things sweeter than a great riff, the kind that grabs you by the spine and shakes you hard, your head bobbing like the top of a rag doll. Yet, perplexingly, I’m not a big fan of most thrash, a genre where the riff is king. The “classic” thrash vocal style has something to do with that. But that’s not to say that I’m averse to all thrash. I’ve found from experience that I like it just fine when it’s caked with filth, when it’s raw, punked-out, and covered in crust.

An aura of the infernal helps, too, which is probably why I’ve become a fan of black thrash, though that’s a subject for another day. What I’ve got for this day is new music and a new video from three bands whose servings of thrash are so so jammed with filth they will stop up your toilets for a week — and the riffs may leave you convulsing, too: Hellbastard (UK), Toxic Holocaust (U.S.), and Eldritch Flamethrower (U.S.)

HELLBASTARD

Hellbastard came into being somewhere in late ’84 or early ’85. Some say they were the band who created the “crust” wave of the 1980s. Some say they coined the genre name “crust” with their 1986 demo release Ripper Crust. But by 1992 the band had fallen apart. They re-formed in 2008, and now they have a new five-song EP on the way, which will be released on vinyl by Patac Records on November 15. I’ve only just begun listening to it, and it’s damned good — so good that I wanted to say a few words about it right away.

Sep 062012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.

DAY 1

Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live.

May 112012

True story:  I tried to roller skate once.  It didn’t end well.  I kind of careened all over the place, totally out of control, veering in one direction and then another.  Eventually I came to rest — on my ass, with a severely sprained ankle.  It was a hell of an adrenaline rush, followed by a fuckton of pain.

The point of this post is to throw some music your way to help you skid into the weekend ahead, to get some adrenaline pumping, and to bring the pain.

YELLOWGOAT

We know Joel Grind can thrash. He’s the driving force behind Portland’s one-man wrecking machine, Toxic Holocaust, a “band” that quite effectively churns out a holocaust of punk/thrash mayhem. Now we can hear a slightly different side of Mr. Grind.

He has a one-man side project called Yellowgoat and has finished recording a 9-track album under that name. Yesterday he put up on the Tube of You an 8-minute preview of the album, with excerpts from the songs. Based on those previews, I’d describe the music as a nasty, fuzzed-out fusion of black thrash, d-beat, and punk — a throwback to the early days of black metal. It makes sense that he picked a name that pretty obviously came from the cover of Bathory’s first album.

The music is vicious, raw, and thoroughly energizing. So get this skate show on the road by rockin’ out to the Yellowgoat album preview right after the jump, and after that you’ll see some of Joel’s comments about this project.

Aug 262011

This post will be atypically short on words and long on audio-visual content. I saw three brand new videos this morning that I thought were worth sharing. I’m going to arrange these in ascending order of length, from shortest to longest.

On the short end of this stick, we’ve got the new video from Toxic Holocaust for a song called “Judgment Awaits You”. It’s from their new Relapse records release, Conjure and Command. Short, brutish, punk-thrash from a PNW band who have grown on me more and more as time passes.  Thanks to BlankTV for premiering this baby.

In the middle of this line-up is a new live video from Arch Enemy for the song “Bloodstained Cross”. The song is from their 2011 Century Media release, Khaos Legions. Yes, I confess: I have always had a crush on Angela Gossow. Does that make me weak? The video intersperses cuts of live shows from all over, with the audio from the album track. It was premiered by Revolver earlier today at this location.

The last and longest piece of vid is an August 24 live performance by Krallice of the song “Telluric Rings” from the band’s 2011 Profound Lore album Diotima, which our bro BadWolf eloquently reviewed for us here. If after all of our harping about Krallice here at NCS you still haven’t taken the plunge, now’s a good time to get wet. One of the best American black metal albums of the year, in my halfwitted opinion. The vocals are sort of drowned out on this vid, but otherwise the audio quality is decent, and the video is pro-shot.

So, that’s it for the words. All three videos are lined up for you after the jump. Enjoy the rest of your fucking day.

May 032011

By and large, the so-called “re-thrash” movement has left us cold here at NCS. To be brutally honest, we’re not that much into most of the old gods of thrash who are still cranking out albums and touring (though we can still get it up for Exodus and Death Angel), and that may explain why the many bands in the last few years who’ve just re-tread the style without bringing something new to the old chassis aren’t that interesting to us.

But — there are exceptions, one of which is Toxic Holocaust. Maybe it’s our regional prejudice (Toxic Holocaust is from the Pacific Northwest), maybe it’s because we’ve had some fun at one of their smokin’ live shows in Seattle, or maybe it’s because their stripped-down, punkish approach to thrash appeals to our affinity for the raw and raucous — whatever the reason, Toxic Holocaust has been growing on us.

And so it is that we’re actually looking forward to the next release by the band — Conjure and Command, which Relapse Records will begin distributing on July 19. Man, July 19 is a long way off, isn’t it? But the teasers are starting, and the first one is a song from the new album which went up for streaming a few hours ago. It’s called “Nowhere To Run” and it got my head to moving up and down and side to side. There’s nothing fancy going on, but if you like thrash straight-ahead, unvarnished, sneering, and slightly evil, you probably ought to stay with us past the jump and check out that song.

Isn’t that a cool album cover?

Jan 012011


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Did you see what we did?  We had to change the logo for this edition of SICKNESS.  Because 2010 is behind us, and the new year lies ahead.

We spent the last 30 days, as we’ve been doing for the last year, collecting news blurbs and press releases 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.

All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment when November ended, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. And be forewarned: This is a really long list. There’s a massive slag of new metal coming our way, and man, does it look hot.

So, without further ado, let’s get started. See if there’s anything on the list that makes you moist, or tumescent, or just generally slobbery.

ABORTED: “Good news is that we are starting pre-productions for our upcoming record on January 4th. This means we will demo all the songs for the record, make sure everything sounds good and make the necessary adjustments to make sure they are all more lethal than a chainsaw in Mr. Leatherface’s hands. We’re all very excited about the material thus far and can’t wait to get this over with and proceed to the actual recordings later this year. Expect a fall 2011 release through our culprates in mayhem Century Media.”

AGNOSTIC FRONT: “The Godfathers of New York Hardcore, Agnostic Front, have just finished recording their highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 release, Warriors. The yet to be titled album features 13 new powerful and anthemic songs laid down by Erik Rutan (Madball, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse) at his Mana Recording Studio in Tampa, FL under the watchful guide of producer Freddy Cricien of Madball. The record was mastered by Alan Douches (Nile, Mastodon) and will be released in Europe of March 4, 2011 and in North America on March 22, 2011.”

(the list continues after the jump . . .)

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