Feb 032023
 

It’s another Bandcamp Friday today. From my perspective, that’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s good for bands and labels because Bandcamp doesn’t take their usual cut from sales. On the other hand, my e-mail in-box (which is also the main address for NCS) gets deluged with Bandcamp-related messages and notifications, and that’s on top of the usual traffic of 200-300 e-mails to NCS per day. Trying to thoroughly crawl through all that takes more time than I have.

Still, because it’s a Bandcamp Friday I thought I ought to make at least a feeble head-start on the usual Saturday round-up. So here’s what I picked. Mind you, the songs definitely are not feeble.

ATHANATHEOS (France)

This French band is returning with a concept album named Cross. Deny. Glorify. It’s described as one “that follows the paths of three generations of Roman soldiers as they watch their empire decay from within in the wake of Emperor Constantine’s adoption of Christanity as its official religion”. All the songs are described as distinct and different in character, befitting this generation-spanning narrative. Continue reading »

Feb 032023
 

It’s time for a rude ‘n’ crude celebration of filth, fury, and fun! Plus sickness, sleaze, and slaughter!

We stole some of those words, but we endorse them because they well-suit the music on Demonic Assassination, the hell-raising second album by the infernal Italian deviants in Hellcrash which is racing toward a lavish March 24 release by Dying Victims Productions.

Those who’ve indulged in the band’s first album Krvcifix Invertör know that they followed in the cloven-hooved footsteps of such groups as Bulldozer, Slayer, and Venom, whipping up a gnashing and pulse-pounding convulsion of blackened thrash and speed metal. Those ingredients still make the fuel for the new album, but with even more variety and an even tighter execution in the sound. As proof, we’re premiering a song from the album named “Graveripper“. Continue reading »

Feb 032023
 

The Angolan heavy metal band Kishi first came together in October 2017 and eventually released a pair of singles and a 2018 debut album named Depois da Meia Noite, as well as performing live in Angola, Namibia, and Botswana. And then, of course, the pandemic struck in 2020 and forced the band into a hiatus.

Yet, as happened with many other bands around the world, the songwriting didn’t stop, and in fact took inspiration from the disruptive and disturbing impact of covid’s spread. The result was a new Kishi EP fittingly entitled KHAOS, which is set for release on February 17th by the South African label Mongrel Records and the Portuguese label Nightfear Productions. As the band have explained:

“The Khaos EP reflects the band’s experience and feelings in the face of the social chaos in which the world plunged during and after the pandemic. It talks about wars and personal struggles against demons, without leaving aside Angolan mythology in the theme “’69 Feiticeiros e 14 Fruxas’”.

Speaking of personal demons, what we have for you today is an excellent video for a head-hooking bruiser of a song from the EP called “Dead Lost Rumbled“, which was inspired by vocalist ManKav‘s experience with sleep paralysis. Continue reading »

Feb 022023
 

On March 3rd of this year Personal Records will release Pale Existence, the second album by the Greek band Ocean of Grief. For those who have become immersed in the band’s debut EP My Dark Self and their debut album Nightfall’s Lament, it is an eagerly anticipated return by a band whose evolving amalgams of melodic doom and death metal have proved to be increasingly captivating.

The world has already been given a preview of what Pale Existence holds in store, thanks to the album’s first single, “Dale Of Haunted Shades“. That song, presented through an official video, was a richly multi-faceted experience — towering and vast, mysterious and mesmerizing, jolting and serpentine, sinister and seductive. Embellished by elaborate, progressive-minded variations and head-spinning guitar solos, it also delivered gargantuan vocals, visceral rhythmic power, and episodes of crushing heaviness.

Now we’ve got a further attraction to this new album through our premiere of its second single, “Unspoken Actions“, and this one features a guest solo by Jari Lindholm, whose work in such bands as Slumber and Enshine was, as the band have stated, “a major influence on their sound and one of the main reasons that Ocean of Grief were created in the first place”. Continue reading »

Feb 022023
 

Track lengths on albums and EPs can vary significantly, but the most common seem to be in the 4-5-minute range. Even when some song lengths creep up into the 10-minute range, most releases still include enough individual tracks that interested listeners can do some “sampling”, i.e., listening to a song or two in order to decide whether to take the plunge into the entire record.

Scáth Na Déithe‘s new album Virulent Providence does not allow this. It includes only two tracks, each of them in the vicinity of 20 minutes long, and those two are also conceptually connected, so even listening to just one of them diminishes the impact of the album as a whole.

Obviously, this is a risky approach, especially in an age filled to overflowing with distractions, where minds constantly flit from thing to thing and patience is in short supply. The demands for immediate gratification and tendencies toward quick impulsive decisions can make the prospect of investing 20 minutes in a single composition, or two of them that demand that much time, a daunting one. The desire for sampling won’t go away either, and so there’s also the risk that people might just spend a few minutes listening to the start of one of these two long tracks, and make a snap decision based on that alone.

But we’re here to tell you that Virulent Providence is well worth all the attention it demands, because the album is a remarkable one. It’s also difficult to fathom how it could have been broken up into shorter pieces without severely sacrificing what makes it so remarkable. It’s simply one of those albums that, to be fully appreciated, requires immersion in the whole saga. Fortunately, it turns out that becoming immersed in it isn’t difficult at all, and as long as there isn’t some external event that forces you to stop, you probably won’t have any sense of a clock ticking and time passing. Continue reading »

Feb 012023
 


Venomous Concept

 

I have just enough time for a quick mid-week round-up of recommended new songs and videos. There have been a lot of new things this week so far, but that’s par for the course. These four happened to be among the ones I impulsively checkws out this morning. Hope you dig ’em all!

VENOMOUS CONCEPT (UK/U.S.)

I have a soft spot in my head heart for Venomous Concept, so I’m beginning with the new video for “Fractured“, the third one released in the run-up to their new album The Good Ship Lollipop.

The song was inspired by some troubles Shane went through during the upheavals of the pandemic and his efforts to pull the pieces back together. He wrote this, which will explain the imagery in the video:

“Music was always my comfort, but during this time my family needed me to be strong and I really wasn’t. I was breaking apart and trying to figure out how to put myself back together, and hopefully leave some of the bad bits behind. “Memories came—my childhood, my parents, my family, my children, my friends. Then the words to ‘Fractured’ came… I am still piecing myself back together, trying to be just good enough.”

Continue reading »

Feb 012023
 

This article makes the third time we’ve paid attention to Ossadas, the forthcoming second album by the Portuguese band Carma. The first occasion was a commentary on the album’s first single, “Memória“. The second was an unusual review of the album written by Axel Stormbreaker, which integrated the music with the viewing of a movie about Edgar Allan Poe named The Pale Blue Eye. And now we present another single from the album named “Monumento“.

The album is an emotional powerhouse, one that deeply immerses the listener in its concept, which was inspired by the Conchada Cemetery located in Coimbra, Portugal. As described by the Monumental Rex label that will be releasing it next month, Ossadas is an exploration of “various cemeterial aspects, such as the architecture, the burials and the atmosphere, and the related feelings – fatalism, futility, loss, mourning, longing, among others.”

The titles of the record’s nine tracks are the most common words that appear on tombs and tombstones throughout the cemetery, and even the lyrics (in Portuguese) contain certain verses engraved on the cemetery’s tombstones. But it’s the music, which integrates funeral doom, black metal, and ambient, that most deeply involves the listener in the ever-present daunting realm of death and all the feelings that it brings. Continue reading »

Feb 012023
 


Katatonia

(Gonzo has delivered to us another monthly round-up of his favorite releases for the month that just ended.)

And we’re back.

January has already found its way into our rearview mirror, and not a moment too soon. It’s been 6 degrees Fahrenheit in Denver for the past few days and I can’t feel my nuts. No respite seems to be on the way. It’s the land of the ice and snow over here, to be sure, but it also gives me a good reason to sneak a larger-than-usual portion of whiskey into my coffee. Is it coping with being a daytime corporate asshole, or is it a problem?

No one knows.

Moving on!

January is a notoriously shit time for new music, but if the first month of ’23 is any indicator, that trend may very well be on its way out. Whether it’s something in the water or labels just deciding to not take January off for a change, I’m already impressed with some gems I discovered this month – here’s the best of the bunch.

Continue reading »

Feb 012023
 

In compiling my list of 2022’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs I cut back significantly from last year, when I pushed the 2021 list through 25 parts and 99 songs. This year I limited the rollout to weekdays during January, with three songs per day (except only two songs the first day, which I made up for with four yesterday). And the result is a list that includes 66 songs.

As I explained yesterday, and as I explain every year when I halt this list, I’m still not really finished. I began this exercise with a list of candidates that stretched to 564 songs, assembled from recommendations by readers and some of our other writers, as well as a list of my own that I compiled as the weeks and months of 2022 rolled along. Even subtracting 66 tracks from all those recommendations, the balance is still enormous. Inevitably, I had to draw the line somewhere. Continue reading »

Jan 312023
 


Ashenspire

I began rolling out this list day-by-day on January 2nd, promising that I’d force myself to stop at the end of the month. The end of the month has now arrived, and sadly for me, today is the final installment. I mean, it would seem odd to continue a year-end list into the second month of the next year, but I easily could have kept the list going for another month.

That’s because many worthy songs still remain on my list of candidates, and in fact many are just as worthy as the 66 I’ve included through today. I readily admit that, and I only regret that I couldn’t name more before running out of time. So please hold your fire because a bunch of your own favorite tracks didn’t make it.

Tomorrow I’ll have a “wrap up” post that lists all the songs in one place, with links to each of the 22 installments. Here are the final four: Continue reading »