Nov 132015

Damnation Festival 2015


(Andy Synn provides this report on the 2015 edition of Damnation Festival in the UK.)

It’s been a few years now since I last attended Damnation Festival, the annual celebration of all things dark and metallic hosted (as always) at Leeds University Student’s Union. But this year I knew I simply couldn’t miss it, as not only were a number of my favourite bands playing (hello Sólstafir, hi there Primordial) but also two bands I’ve been a fan of since their very first albums, but whom I’d never actually managed to see live before (The Ocean, Altar of Plagues).

Oh, and some band named At The Gates. Who are apparently pretty famous or something.

Oct 072015



Yesterday I compiled a massive round-up featuring new songs and/or videos by seven bands. But that still didn’t exhaust what I had found in the preceding days. And, metal being such an explosively metastasizing tumor, I’ve found still more things to get excited about since I wrote yesterday’s compilation. So, what the hell, I’ve decided to throw caution to the winds and prepare another even more jam-packed post, with good things from eight bands. Once again, I’m choking back my tendency to shower many words over the music… I’ll just scatter a few droplets instead.


I’m going to start by telling you about a full-album stream that came rushing up like a freight train at night with the lights off. Which is a way of saying that although we here at NCS are enormous fans of Vreid, we received no advance copy of their new album Sólverv, and just learned that all the songs have now been officially uploaded to YouTube for streaming.

Oct 012015



Last night and this morning I engaged in an extended bout of metal listening and found not only a lot of new music I’m anxious to share with you but also some fantastic visual art. By chance, much of what I found is in a blackened vein, and so once again I’ve collected these discoveries in an installment of this irregular Shades of Black series. I have a lot to throw your way, and so it will come in at least two parts, with the other(s) headed your way on our site tomorrow.


It’s not an understatement to say that my NCS comrades and I are huge, slobbering fans of this Norwegian band. Okay… I guess I’m probably the only one who actually slobbers… the others just sweat a lot.

Anyway, I’m excited to spread the news that Vreid have now divulged some additional details about their new album and have also today premiered a video for the album’s title track.

Jan 082014

Welcome to Part 2 of my list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day (more or less) until the list is finished, I’m posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.


Vreid’s 2013 album Welcome Farewell made Andy Synn’s list of the year’s Great Albums as well as his Personal Top 10. It was one of my favorites as well. In Andy’s words: “This is music that deserves to be conquering arenas around the world. Still black as pitch, but with song-writing that goes above and beyond the call of duty, it grooves with grim intent, soars with bleak majesty, and blasts away with freezing, fractured ferocity. Insidiously catchy and ruthlessly aggressive, it thunders away with perfectly focussed, primal force.”

“The Reap” is the catchiest song on Welcome Farewell, and one of the most infectious of the year in my humble opinion. And it was also the subject of one of the year’s best music videos, animated by the wonderful Kim Holm. Enjoy it all over again next, as we add “The Reap” to this list.

Feb 132013

(Here we have another installment in UK-based Andy Synn’s occasional series on favorites of his that come in five’s.  Music is included.)

Chance and coincidence are funny little things. One of the various ideas I had noted down for these “Favourite” columns was a short insight into my own collection of non-musical metal materials, specifically the various merch (shirts, etc) I’d picked up over the years.

So when David appeared on the scene with his series of posts on Metal Culture it seemed like the perfect time to actually put this piece together, and hopefully see what items of your ‘metal uniform’ you guys particularly cherish as well!

The funny thing is, I’m actually currently in the process of getting rid of a host of shirts, to various good homes and good people, because I feel like I’ve amassed a rather unnecessary collection, many of which I never/rarely ever wear. So I’ve been winnowing through my wardrobe, selecting the ones I don’t really have a need for, and simultaneously identifying my favourites, all of which plays nicely into this column.

Ok, so we’ll go in some sort of sartorial order, shall we?

Feb 112013

In our review of Vreid’s new album Welcome Farewell, Andy Synn compared the listening experience to sex. He said some other things, too, but that’s the part I remember. I remember the music, too. Welcome Farewell is dynamite, and destined to be on year-end lists of all right-thinking metalheads.

I think my favorite song on the album is “The Reap”. It’s massively infectious, with wonderful guitar melodies wrapped around a swinging rhythm, but still black at its core. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be on a certain year-end list I’ll be making 10 or 11 months from now. I’m so happy that the band chose this song for their first official video from Welcome Farewell.

I’m also really fuckin’ happy with the video, especially because it includes animation by Kim Holm, a Norwegian cartoonist who (among other things) created the separate pieces of artwork for each song on  Sólstafir’s 2011 album Svartir Sandar (I collected all of those creations in this post). I’d also like to applaud the video’s director Einar Loftesnes for making something that visually captures the spirit of the music so well.

Check out the video next; the album is due for release by Indie Recordings on March 5.

Feb 062013

(Below, Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming sixth album by Norway’s Vreid.)

To me a new Vreid album is a very… sexual experience…

First we have the announcement that a new album is in the works, the enticing promise of something special to come, a reward for being good boys and girls…

Then comes the build of anticipation, the flirting glimpses of the artwork, the teasing interviews where the band stoke our ardour with their verbal prowess and come-hither eyes…

Then there’s the foreplay, the premiere of a song, the release date announcement, the booking of tours, all designed to get you all primed up and ready to go…

Then, finally, you get to the main event. The album is released and all that pent up frustration and energy finally reaches… climax.

Sorry everyone, I got a bit worked up there.

Anyway, Welcome Farewell is an awesome record, it really is.

Jan 252013

Thanks to tips from DGR, I learned about two attention-grabbing developments this morning — new details about the forthcoming albums by Sweden’s Hypocrisy and October Tide plus new songs from each of them. And then on my very own I found a new single from the next album by Norway’s Vreid. It is a good day to be alive.


Here’s how I progressed toward the new Hypocrisy song: First, I saw the cover art for the new album, End of Disclosure, which was created by Wes Benscoter (Slayer, Kreator, Nile, Vader, and more). I found it pleasing. Kind of a Zen demon. Also, many skulls. Second, I read, and was intrigued by, this quote by Hyporcisy’s main man Peter Tägtgren in the Nuclear Blast write-up on the album:

“This time I wanted to go back to basic, felt like we lost it for the last couple of albums , it’s straight to the point, it’s more Hypocrisy than ever, the fast, the heavy, the epic.. Enjoy!”

And then I listened to an edited version of the album’s title track, “End of Disclosure” — which you are about to hear, too, and which is available for free download.

Nov 282012

In my daily ramble through the interhole yesterday probably nothing made my eyes bug out quite as much as the sight of The Acacia Strain’s overturned van, which will force them to pull out of their tour with Veil of Maya but fortunately (and amazingly) left the band with only minor injuries. But a couple of other items were close seconds in the eye-popping competition. I’m including those in this post — new album art for the next releases by Vreid (Norway) and The Botanist (U.S.). I’ve also got for you a brand new song from Vreid and a new song by Maveth (Finland) from their forthcoming album.


Vreid’s last album, V, was extremely good. It made a number of the year-end lists we posted at the close of 2011, including our own Andy Synn’s list of “The Great Albums of 2011″. Summing up his thoughts, Andy called V “a stunningly dynamic series of songs that filter the thrashy energy and classical aspirations of Ride The Lightning-era Metallica through a blackened prism of primal fury.”

So my eyes went wide yesterday when I saw the album art for Vreid’s sixth album, Welcome Farewell, and the news that it will be released by Indie Recordings on February 26 in Europe, February 22 in Germany/Austria, and March 5 in North America. Yesterday Terrorizer also premiered a track from the new album named “The Reap”. I gotta be honest — it surprised me.

Dec 152011

This is the fourth and final part of a multi-part post about up-and-coming Norwegian bands. The first part is HERE, the second part is HERE, and Part 3 is HERE.  And below is an abbreviated version of the full explanation, which appears long-form in Part 1. But first, since I’m on the subject of Norwegian metal, here’s a bit of breaking news:

The Spellemann Awards are the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy’s here in the U.S. The first Spellemannprisen were awarded in 1973 for albums released in 1972, so if my math is correct, we’re approaching the 40th annual awards show, and today the Spellemann nominees were announced. In the category of Best Metal Album, the following bands and albums were nominated (and we’ve featured four of the five nominees here at NCS):


And now, onward to the explanation about the rest of this post: “Pyro” is the name of a radio program on one of the radio channels (P3) operated by NRK, the state-owned Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. The NRK P3 radio channel is mainly aimed at younger listeners, and Pyro is the program that focuses mainly on metal and hard rock.

© 2013 NO CLEAN SINGING Banner and background design by groverXIII. Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha