Mar 252013

This morning brought new goodies from two of our favorite folk metal bands, who enjoy capital letters so much that they refuse to stop at just one: Norway’s TrollfesT and Germany’s SuidAkrA.

SUIDAKRA

SuidAkrA will be releasing a new album via AFM Records on May 24. Its name is Eternal Defiance and it will include 10 tracks plus a bonus song (“Mrs McGrath”). This morning the band unveiled the album’s cover art by Kris Verwimp. It’s an eye-catcher, and one that makes me curious about the significance of the four faces superimposed on the red dragon. Time will tell . . . I’m hoping for good things from this album.

TROLLFEST

The world’s premier exponents of True Norwegian Balkan Metal also have something new on the way — a 12” picture vinyl entitled A Decade Of Drekkadence, which the band is releasing in celebration of their 10th Anniversary. The picture disc, created by Swedish cartoonist Jonas Darnell and designer Terje Johnsen, is also an eye-catcher, but in a different way — nutty instead of dramatic — but what did you expect from these guys? Here it is:

Jan 242013

I thought I’d provide a quick update of things I noticed while web-surfing and reading e-mails this afternoon. As always, I’m sharing mainly what interests me, while hoping it interests you as well.

PAGANFEST IV

We first reported about this tour on December 2 when its existence became public but before any schedule had been announced. Today, all the dates and places were finally announced. And as a reminder about why this matters, the tour features Finland’s Ensiferum as the headliner, as well as Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). Plenty of ass should be kicked by these pagan brethren.

The schedule consists of 21 shows, launching in Denver on March 30 and concluding in New York City on April 21, and it includes Canadian dates, too. Here’s the complete schedule:

Dec 032012

We’ve clearly been doing it all wrong.

NRK is the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company, and the largest media organization in Norway. Apparently, NRK reviewed Brumlebassen, the latest offering of Trve Norwegian Balkan Metal by our beloved TrollfesT. Apparently, it was a bad review. Apparently, NRK gave the album one point. Only one point!!

Now, your average metal band when confronted with a bad review and one point would either (a) ignore it and keep quiet about it, or (b) lash out in a vulgar display of hurt feelings and hostility, perhaps involving use of the word “motherfuckers”.

But TrollfesT are not your average metal band and they did neither of these things. Instead, they recorded a song about NRK’s bad review, entitled “NRK, vårt barndomshjem”, which apparently means “NRK, our childhood home”. It’s kind of a melancholy, soulful tune, not at all like TrollfesT’s usual carousing. But if you’ve listened to Brumlebassen, then you know TrollfesT is musically capable of doing just about anything they put their minds to.

I would like TrollfesT to write a song dedicated to NCS. I now think I know how to make this happen. We need to abandon our policy against writing bad reviews about music we don’t like. We need to stop devoting our space solely to music we want to recommend. We need to slag TrollfesT. And, at least for now, we need to jettison our policy against giving numerical ratings in our reviews.

Dec 022012

This post is about two foreign invasions of North America that are scheduled to occur next year, but these invaders will be welcomed with open arms. I initially thought I’d wait to feature these tours until the schedules were released, but I’m so excited about them that I’m goin’ with it now.

Both tours are being produced by Rock the Nation America, which is the booking agency partnership created about a year ago between Kataklysm/Ex Deo frontman Maurizio Iacono, his agent and Canadian metal promoter Stephan Mellul, and Century Media Records.

PAGANFEST AMERICA IV

The first tour — Paganfest America Part IV — will be headlined by Finland’s Ensiferum and also features Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). We’ve prominently featured all of those bands except Helsott, and it sounds like we need to find out more about them because the rest of the line-up kicks ass.

This tour was just announced on Friday and no dates or places have yet been revealed. All I know is that the tour is scheduled to kick off in late March 2013 and will cover both the United States and Canada. I guess I may finally have to break down and get a drinking horn. Maybe a battle ax. Possibly some animal skins. Because I don’t want to be the only person in the audience who doesn’t look awkward.

VOICES FROM THE DARK

News of this tour surfaced several weeks ago, and I’ve been waiting for release of the schedule . . . and am still waiting. The line-up is vicious. Marduk (Sweden) and Moonspell (Portugal) will be the co-headliners, and the tour will also include Inquisition (U.S.), The Foreshadowing (Italy), and Death Wolf (Sweden), which features members of Marduk.

Jul 292012

I have friends (and a wife) who do not understand my near-obsessive fascination with metal. I can’t explain it to them, but not because I have no explanation. It’s because the words would make no sense to someone who hasn’t personally exposed themselves to the magnificent diversity of the music. And even then, of course, the explanation would fail unless the listener really appreciated what they’re hearing.

And diversity is a real key to why I can barely leave the music alone long enough to keep a job and avoid losing all the friends I’ve got. There’s just never a dull moment. Something new is always right around the corner, and for someone like me who’s really not wedded exclusively to any micro-genre, it’s impossible to get stuck in a rut because there’s so much variety. The offerings in this post are an example of what I’m trying to say.

It’s a scrambled assortment of songs from forthcoming albums, but just a very small taste of how dynamically different metal is. The bands are Carthage (U.S.), Munruthel (Ukraine), and Trollfest (Norway).

CARTHAGE

For friends of NCS, Carthage won’t be a new name. We reviewed their first EP last October (here), and then in February we featured the initial song to emerge from their debut album (here). The album still seems to be a work in progress, but at least we now have a second track to consume — “Years and Darkness”. I’ve been listening to the song off and on since it premiered earlier this month, meaning to write about it, and finally decided I ought to get off my lazy ass and get that done.

Sep 292011

Long story short, but I haven’t had much time for blogging over the last week. Fortunately, Phro, TheMadIsraeli, and Andy Synn have stepped up with lots of reviews and . . . a box o’poops? The truncation of my blogging time will continue through the weekend, but I’m still hoping to find time for a few odds and ends — such as this post.

These four videos randomly came my way from different sources. The first two are new, the second two are older, but all four feature music capable of inflicting head trauma, which is the kind of metal I prefer. The perpetrators are Truth Corroded (Australia), Trollfest (Norway), Vomitory (Sweden), and Lecherous Nocturne (U.S.). Let’s get to it:

TRUTH CORRODED

Truth Corroded is a band whose music I hadn’t heard before seeing the video featured in this post. Their new album Worship the Bled was released on September 16 in Europe and Japan by a Belgian label called Ultimhate Records. It features the hard-working Kevin Talley (Daath, Misery Index, Six Feet Under, Chimaira) on session drums as well as a guest appearance by Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry, who also mixed and mastered the album. The pretty artwork you see above was designed by Killustrations, whose work has also graced the covers of albums by bands such as Aborted and Dew Scented. (more after the jump . . .)

Jul 112011

I have to begin a week-long stretch of travel for my fucking day job beginning today, with longer work hours ahead than I usually endure. That probably means fewer and shorter posts from me over the next 10 days or so, though I do have a couple of reviews already finished.

Fortunately, I also have a number of worthy posts already in hand from both our regular contributors and, unexpectedly, from some guests, and I’ve got those lined up for the days ahead. We treated you to one of the guest posts yesterday — Surgical Brute’s feature on 5 don’t-miss bands lined up for this year’s RITES OF DARKNESS festival in Texas. More goodies are on the way . . .

My one contribution for today is this hodgepodge of things that made me smile when I saw them. Maybe they’ll make you smile, too. If they don’t, it means you’re either in a cranky mood or you’re not as retarded as I am. Those are the only possible explanations.

So, after the jump, we have video evidence of what video games are doing to the well-fed youth of America, and what Norwegian trolls do on tour, plus a news report about a well-rounded patron of the musical arts.

Apr 222011

What do you get when you give metal-playing trolls a shitload of beer, an accordion, a saxophone, some folk-ish melodies, a drummer who spits blasts like an automatic weapon, a mix of shrieking and clean vocals, and then ramp their delivery up to the speed of balls-to-the-wall grindcore? Well, I’m so glad you asked. What you get is Norway’s TrollfesT playing “Die Verdammte Hungersnot”.

We’ve written about TrollfesT a bunch in the past (most recently, here). They’ve got a new album coming out (En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral) on Noiseart Records on April 29. To help promote the album’s debut, they’re releasing weekly videos, and today’s installment is a live performance of that song  ”Die Verdammte Hungersnot”. Since almost every NCS post today has involved videos, we thought, why not toss in a little TrollfesT mayhem to round off the day and get us in a proper swilling mood for the weekend? Indeed, why the fuck not?

Everything about these dudes screams, “Party now because tomorrow you die!” As further evidence, watch this hell-raising video. I like the way the lead singer manages to work in gulps of beer in between bouts of screaming like a banshee, and how the rest of the guys, who have their hands full with instruments, look longingly at the imbibing in between banging their heads and blasting away on their instruments. So, check the rocking video after the jump. I feel like chugging a six-pack and sailing on into the good night ahead . . .

Mar 272011

It’s a well-known fact that trolls live under bridges, and in caves, and in your basement if you’re not careful. But we now have actual video evidence that trolls come out to play every now and then.

These are Norwegian trolls and they play metal, too. They call themselves Trollfest. We wrote about them last July (see this post) when they released a single from an album they were then starting to shop around to labels. The song is called “Die Verdammte Hungersnot”. The official NCS translation of the song title is “Hungersnot, Dammit!” However, it actually seems to mean “the damned craving” or “the damned hunger”. Kick-ass song, whatever the title means.

Because we’re lazy, we’ll use the description of the music we concocted for that previous post: “speed metal plus oompa music plus Balkan folk tunes plus middle eastern melodies plus Converge-style hardcore shrieking plus more speed metal plus beer and vodka plus more speed metal.”

That was then, this is now. And in the here and now, Trollfest has found a label (NoiseArt Records), and that album (En Kvest For Den Hellige Gral) will finally be released on April 29. To help promote the release, the band are uploading weekly videos between now and the release date. The first one just went up. It’s a “tour diary” of a German tour that Trollfest did last December with fellow Norwegians Pantheon I and Germany’s Finterforst.

The video is shocking, I tell you, simply shocking: It appears that there is snow in Germany during the winter! And European airlines don’t work any better than U.S. ones. And it appears that Norwegian bands never stop drinking, ever. It also appears that they know how to fucken party, both on and off-stage. Check out the video after the jump, plus music, plus other shit, including a picture of a snot otter . . .

Feb 012011


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 . . .)

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