Sep 222018
 

 

(This week the Australian band Hadal Maw answers Andy Synn‘s questions about lyrics.)

How is everyone enjoying the “Waxing Lyrical” series so far? Hopefully you’re all finding it as interesting and enlightening as I am, and hopefully you’re all still curious as to which artists I might have lined up for future editions.

Today we’re lucky to be receiving a message all the way from Down Under, as Sam Dillon, vocalist/lyricist of Technical Groove titans Hadal Maw, joins us with some intriguing thoughts about his tenure with the band, and what their music, and lyrics, mean to him.. Continue reading »

Sep 212018
 

 

(Andy Synn provides these early and unfiltered impressions of the new album from Behemoth, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on October 5th.)

Over the years I’ve discovered that the term “too big to fail” is one that doesn’t just apply to the banking industry, it can also refer to certain bands who, for various reasons, have reached a certain level of fame and success which makes them essentially “immune” to criticism – no matter what they do, enough of their fans will buy whatever they put out, shout down any disapproving comments, and make excuses for their actions, to guarantee they stay on top.

This isn’t helped by the fact that certain publications, both physical and digital, tend to reserve their big scores for the big names, and lavish the most coverage on the bands with the most exposure.

Essentially, once you’ve reached this level, your success becomes something of a self-perpetuating cycle (as long as you don’t %$&! it up).

Now, like it or not, I’m sure very few people would disagree that Behemoth have long-since passed this point (most likely with the massive success of Evangelion, though I’m sure there are those who would argue that this happened even earlier), and that the release of the career-defining The Satanist simply helped cement their status as one of the Metal scene’s biggest names.

The main question which needs answering now, therefore, is… does their latest effort actually deserve to be praised entirely on its own merits, or is it likely to be one of those albums celebrated more for who it is, rather than what it actually sounds like? Continue reading »

Sep 212018
 

 

This has been another banner week for new metal, and fortunately I’ve had enough time to compile one more round-up to follow the one from two days ago. Of course, even the combination of the two doesn’t provide a comprehensive display of everything I’ve been enjoying this week. As usual, the choices I’ve made were impulsive, though I also made the usual effort to include variety in today’s post.

I also hope this late-week collection will make up for the fact that I won’t be writing anything for NCS this weekend because I’ll be traveling on a short vacation. However, we should still have a Waxing Lyrical column from Andy tomorrow, and our ally HGD has stepped up to do Sunday’s Shades of Black feature (I’ve seen his selections, and they’re good ones). I’ll be back in the NCS harness on Monday.

DEIPHAGO

Deiphago describe their music as “Experimental Hyper-speed Satanic Bestial Metal” — and every word of that is true, perhaps never more so than on the track I’ve chosen to begin today’s collection. It simply doesn’t sound like anything else you’re likely to find in the realms of black metal or black/death. It challenges convention, it viciously shoves us out of our musical comfort zones, it’s likely to leave you bewildered and bedazzled (or at least severely unbalanced). Continue reading »

Sep 212018
 

 

(Our constant ally Comrade Aleks today brings us this interview with Ramon Soeterbroek, the guitarist/vocalist of the Dutch death metal band Eternal Solstice, which still lives after almost 30 years — and has a new EP headed our way.)

Formed in 1989 in Bodegraven, South Holland, Eternal Solstice spent about eight years spreading down-tuned and sinister death metal. In sequence they released the albums The Wish Is Father To The Thought (1994), Horrible Within (1995), and Demonic Fertilizer (1997). Eternal Solstice was disbanded after the last of these releases, and who could predict that thirteen years later the outfit would be returning to life in order to continue their dark crusade?

I contacted Ramon Soeterbroek, the band’s original guitarist and vocalist, in order to clarify the facts concerning Eternal Solstice‘s career and suddenly found out that they have brand new EP, Inner Sadist, almost in their hands. Continue reading »

Sep 202018
 

 

Based on the music in the song you’re about to hear — “Crippling Despair” — its title could be thought to have a dual meaning. Most obviously, it connotes paralyzing emotional devastation. But the track itself is crippling in another way — relentlessly heavy, mercilessly punishing, and remorselessly cruel.

Not for naught does Redefining Darkness Records drop references to early Cryptopsy, Monstrosity, Dying Fetus, and Deicide in describing the sounds of Mutilated By Zombies, a three-piece juggernaut from Iowa whose new album Scripts of Anguish the label will be releasing on October 5th. The music is undeniably vicious, and rhythmically compelling, and a throwback to a certain distinctively American style of old school death metal. Continue reading »

Sep 202018
 

 

Genetically Engineered to Enslave is the new (fourth) album by New Hampshire’s Solium Fatalis, and it’s set for release on October 13th. It includes guest vocals by Matt McGachy (Cryptopsy) and Haydee Irizarry (Carnivora) on one track as well as a guest guitar solo by Phil Tougas (First Fragment, Chthe’ilist) on another. And it’s conceptually devoted to the subjects of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.

And with those intriguing details out of the way, let’s turn to the explosive new song we’re presenting today — which is a non-stop ticket straight to headbang city. But for such a relentlessly ferocious, neck-wrecking song, “Servile” also succeeds in generating a multi-textured atmosphere that’s terroristic, arcane, and haunting. Continue reading »

Sep 202018
 

 

(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the third album by the multinational group Burning Flesh, which was released in March of this year.)

I spent a recent Sunday afternoon, while recovering from an illness, catching up with some music I had missed earlier. I recalled that at the beginning of the year a friend of mine suggested the band Burning Flesh in a FB convo, and I turned to their third album Human Flesh Fertilizer. I went back and found the play-through video for an album track he had sent me and revisited it. Shame on me that I did not pay more attention back then.

This band has members from Switzerland and France and they have been an entity since 2005, releasing a demo in 2007, a debut called Unconscious Deformity in 2010, and a sophomore album in 2013, New Chaos Order. I decided to listen to those previous albums and then re-listened to the new one. Despite the constant change in members, it’s apparent that guitarists Diego and Anthony have been able to maintain a permanent vision of what the band should be, and therefore they obviously form the core of this project. Continue reading »

Sep 202018
 

 

(Our friend Conchobar has prepared the following guest review of the new album by the French project Esoctrilihum, which will be released by I, Voidhanger Records on October 19th with cover art by Jef Whitehead — and we are also presenting the premiere of a track from the album named “Exhortathyon Od Saths Scriptum“.)

There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which, nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful—a certainty of which it is proud holds on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an elsewhere as tempting as it is condemned. Unflaggingly, like an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself.

Kristeva, Powers of Horror

Abjection is an appropriate sign under which this reaction to Esoctrilihum’s album, Inhüma, should be convened. The work represents a threat — a breakdown of the apparently clear strapping and structures of a consensus reality. The violence of the occult-agrarian, the protohistory of sacrifice, of bloodied fields, serve as auspex: this is a harrowing; a threshing through which preconceived meaning is grist for the machinations of the ritualist — it is taken apart, buried in the soil, and grown into things that horrify and make reality itself alien and other. Continue reading »

Sep 192018
 

 

Here’s a mid-week collection of new songs that have struck a chord in my listening over the last day or two, and have the added benefit of presenting a range of styles and moods, increasing the odds that you’ll find something to like as well.

1914

1914 are based in Lviv, Ukraine. Their debut album Eschatology of War was released at the end of 2015 by Archaic Sound. As the band’s name suggests, they have devoted themselves to exploring the horrors of World War I in their music. That’s rare subject matter in metal, and for that reason alone I decided to explore that first album, and came away mightily impressed by its blending of samples from period songs and punishing hellfire, and by its agile balancing of musical elements from black, death, doom, and even progressive metal. I wrote at the time: Continue reading »

Sep 192018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Minnesota’s Blodwar, released on September 7th and now available through Bandcamp.)

I’d like to begin this review by taking a little trip all the way back to the heady days of… the early 1990s.

It might seem odd to think about it now, but “back in the day” a hungry young band called Machine Head were hotly tipped to be the sound of the underground in the lead-up to the release of their debut album, Burn My Eyes.

Not only would this record prove to be one uncompromisingly aggressive (not to mention bastard-heavy) amalgam of Thrash, Hardcore, and Death Metal, quite unlike anything else being put out at the time, but it would also go on to become (arguably) the band’s crowning achievement and remains to this day their defining statement in the eyes of many of their fans (and even some of their detractors).

Of course we all know what happened next, with Flynn and co. jumping on the Nu-Metal bandwagon, only to fall off (and fall hard) come the turn of the new millennium, followed by an unexpected return to form in the shape of their “comeback” album, Through the Ashes of Empires… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now whether you love or loathe the band’s increasingly barefaced attempts to court the mainstream and become “the next Metallica” in recent years, you can’t deny that it’s been a remarkably successful strategy, and paid off handsomely for them in terms of increased exposure and ever-increasing record and ticket sales.

But there will always be those left wondering what might have happened had they stuck to their guns (and their heavier roots) after the release of The More Things Change…, and it looks like Minnesota metallers Blodwar might just have the answer. Continue reading »