NCS reader SurgicalBrute has turned me on to many excellent bands, and I’ve come to trust his tips. Recently he sent me a new batch of recommendations, and so I decided to just pick three of them for this edition of MISCELLANY. I may do the other three another time.
The way MISCELLANY usually works: We keep a growing list of bands whose music we haven’t heard but who look interesting. The list includes all the bands who contact NCS asking for a review (as it happens, one of SurgicalBrute’s recommendations is also a band who contacted us). Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to get through that list, but when I can, I grab a few names off of it at random, listen to a song or two, write up my impressions, and then stream the same music for you.
This time, of course, I’m using SB’s list instead of the NCS list, and the bands I picked are: Bones (US-Chicago), Embers (US-Oakland), and Undead Creep (Italy). To begin:
Here’s what SurgicalBrute had to say about this first band: “Crusty death metal, and one of my favorite releases this year. They get a lot of comparison to Chicago’s Usurper.” The Usurper comparisons are inevitable: The band is composed of three ex-Usurper members. They released their self-titled debut (on Planet Metal) in July, recording the album live in the studio with production help from Sanford Parker (Nachtmystium). SurgicalBrute sent me a YouTube link to a track called “Bloodlust”, and that’s the song I listened to first.
But I didn’t stop there. I cheated a bit on the MISCELLANY rules (what else is new?) because after hearing “Bloodlust”, I got the whole album and then listened to “Bitch”, the next song after “Bloodlust”.
What I got out of that experience (in addition to sore-neck syndrome) was a bloody meat-packing plant full of malevolent riffs, staggering rhythms, and carnivorous roars. A flood of Dismember memories washed over me as Bone proceeded to take a blood-crusted meat cleaver to all my fleshy parts.
This band has got the sound down with authenticity — slavering death metal with punchy beats and diseased melodies, both raw and tight. I liked this a whole fuckin lot. Check out the two songs I heard before forcing myself to move on to the next pick for this post:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02-Bloodlust-Explicit.mp3|titles=Bone – Bloodlust] [audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/03-Bitch-Explicit.mp3|titles=Bones – Bitch]
Along with the last band featured today, Bones have insinuated themselves onto my list of the year’s best old-school death metal releases. The Bones Facebook page is here. The album is available as a download on Amazon mp3 (which is where I snagged it), among other places.
The next band I picked is an Oakland, California collective called Embers. They contacted us in June, and I added them to our list of bands to check out, though I hadn’t gotten around to doing it until I heard from SB. Coincidentally, another one of our faithful readers, ElvisShotJFK, e-mailed me the same day, also recommending Embers.
SB had this to say about the band: “Crusty blackened doom. They don’t really sound like anyone else so comparisons are hard, but it’s good stuff. Also, I’ve totally got dibs on singer/bass player Kelly Nelson.”
Embers released their third album, Shadows, in March 2011. SB recommended I listen to a song called “Eucharist”, and so I did. It’s a long one, topping 10 minutes in duration.
The first segment is mid-paced and stately, with a trem-picked guitar lead establishing the dark, appealing melody and keyboards shrouding the music like night mist. The vocals are a tandem of deep, bearlike roars and the piercing cries of a blackened raptor. Almost halfway through, the doom deepens as the pace falls and the guitars ring out a mournful, echoing lament, with the vocal tandem crying out in unison. It’s a bittersweet confection, and one I liked a lot.
So, of course, I didn’t stop there. I got the album and listened to two more tracks, “Forsaken” and “Shadows”, and now I’m totally sold on Shadows and on this band. The music is composed with skill and delivered with aplomb. The melancholy melodies are sweeping, delivered by guitars that shimmer and strike and keyboards that are thankfully subtle rather than bombastic. Thanks to the aggressive riffing and the scarifying vocals, the music, while emotionally powerful, is saved from prettiness, edged when it needs to be with razors. Here are two tracks, “Eucharist” and “Shadows”:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Embers-Shadows-02-eucharist.mp3|titles=Embers – Eucharist] [audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Embers-Shadows-04-shadows.mp3|titles=Embers – Shadows]
The band’s Facebook page is here, their MySpace is here, and you can download Shadows, along with Embers’ first two albums, from Bandcamp at this location. It’s offered there with a “name your price” option.
P.S. I shared “Eucharist” with Phro, and he provided this off-the-cuff description: “It’s like falling into a pit of black with obsidian walls of a shadowy dark hue of darkened darkness with a side of blue black 124.” I wish I’d written that.
Finally, we come to Undead Creep from Palermo, Sicily. SurgicalBrute’s pithy intro to this band reads as follows: “Really good early Entombed worship from Italy.” So, you can understand why I went for this one, can’t you?
Undead Creep released their debut album called The Ever-Burning Torch via Dark Descent Records (also home to killer bands such as Mitochondrion and Entrails) this past summer. The album also includes, as a bonus, the band’s 5-song 2009 demo.
SB sent me a link to a song called “Surrounded By Tombs”. Shades of Entombed, Dismember, Grave, and Carcass! Undead Creep sound like they jumped into a time machine and emerged in Stockholm’s Sunlight Studios with all guns blazing. Naturally, I cheated again and listened to half the songs on this album.
While Undead Creep are plainly paying homage to the Swedish forefathers of gore-drenched death and Asphyx-style doom, the music is more than mere cloning. The riffs are deliciously precise and dynamic, the guitar solos jump out of the sound like a viral surge of infection, the songs are distinctive, and the raging vocals are just awfully damned cool — they sound like a maddened beast roaring from within an echo chamber. I also found the completely unexpected, near-baroque acoustic interlude in track 6 (“On Blackened Mountains”) to be an inspired touch.
For those wondering whether it’s possible for old-school Swedish death metal to still strike a fresh chord, I give you Undead Creep:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/surrounded-by-tombs.mp3|titles=Undead Creep-Surrounded By Tombs] [audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/frozen-asphyxiation.mp3|titles=Undead Creep-Frozen Asphyxiation]
For more info about Undead Creep, you can find them on Facebook here or on MySpace via this link. The album is available for purchase as a CD here, and it’s scheduled to become available at Amazon mp 3 on October 24.
Needless to say, this MISCELLANY session was chock full of win. Many thanks to Surgical Brute and ElvisShotJFK for these tips. I’m sold on Embers, and as I noted earlier, Bones and Undead Creep have dragged their undead corpses onto my list of the year’s best old-school death metal releases that I’ve heard so far — a list that includes Disma, Puteraeon, Entrails, Funerus, Mordbrand, Acephalix, Decaying, Demonical, Destroying Divinity, Brutally Deceased, and Carcinogen.
Ahhh! So much good death metal today! Between this and browsing through the stuff on Death Metal Baboon, my head exploded all over my computer screen (the gore makes the experience even more death metal).
I liked what I heard from Bones, and I’m liking Ember, still haven’t checked out the third band, but don’t worry, I plan on it. Also, I’m doing some schoolwork where we have to post on a blog and the subject of my post reminds me of metal band logos, so I need to know is it legal to post a band’s logo on the blog without the band’s permission?
Sheesh, I hope so! I think if you’re doing that to represent or promote or discuss the band, it’s perfectly OK. That’s kind of what the logos are for. But if, for example, you were using a band’s logo to confuse people into thinking you were the band or speaking for the band, that wouldn’t be OK.
I’m actually comparing a tugra to band logos. I’ll post a link in a second so you can read if you want, or at least look at the pretty tugra if you’re not in a reading mood :P.
Sure, go ahead and give me the link. Since I have no idea what a tugra is, you’ve got me curious.
Lol. I forgot that I mentioned NCS in my first blog post. You can see the introductory post and my second blog post here:
Alternatively you could navigate to that webpage via the archive on the right side of the page that you access with the first link.
Well I quite enjoyed that piece about the tugra, including the nice transition to the Opeth and Xasthur logos at the end, and it was cool to see the NCS name in your inaugural post. Also, Par Olofsson ftw! One of my favorites, too.
Glad you liked it :D. Hopefully when I finally find something to talk about in the metal community (I don’t know how easy critiquing music is to you, but I find it to be slightly daunting, and some of the ideas I’ve already had are generally uninteresting to many metalheads, for example the plight of being Christian and liking black metal).
-I can contribute more to NCS… I forgot to finish my sentence lol.
“the plight of being Christian and liking black metal”
Read this post over on Full Metal Attorney…and then check out Undead Creep
Thanks guy. You know, I’m not even Christian and I worry about it. My biggest thing is that I don’t want to go to Hell, if it does in fact exist, and suffer for the rest of existence. I don’t dislike Jesus Christ, but I can’t say I love him either, however I do have a healthy respect for him. In that article FMA said that we should draw the line where we feel uncomfortable. That’s hard when you really like the sound of Deicide, and Rotting Christ are one of your favorite bands, but you don’t want to go to Hell. I suppose I’ll have to make my points on FMA.
Thanks again for the article, this could be a real turning point for me.
Dude, you are not gong to hell for listening to Rotting Christ or Deicide, (a) because there is no hell, except the hells we make for ourselves, and (b) because if there were a creator of this world and the people in it, someone so wise and powerful as to be greater than the people that creator made, then the creator would not judge how one will spend eternity based on the kind of music they enjoy. Surely our worth as people depends on vastly more important things than that.
I’ve barely entertained the thought of point A, but point B I’ve thought of a lot over x number of weeks. Of course that would be common sense to us, but what if God, if he does exist, does not believe that, what if he thinks you should have faith to be saved from damnation, or both faith and good actions? Honestly the arguments for my fears would make the Atheists think I’m crazy, and the Christians… well quite honestly I don’t care what the Christians think of me. The Atheists however are pretty cruel when it comes to subjects such as faith and would probably flame me for even making such arguments.
“That’s hard when you really like the sound of Deicide, and Rotting Christ are one of your favorite bands, but you don’t want to go to Hell”
The key part of his argument is that its up to the viewer to make that decision. He said he wouldnt listen to Rotting Christ, but has no issue with Impaled Nazarene. At the end of the day if you believe in God you also believe that he knows everything. Hes not going to send a true believer to hell just because they rocked out to stupid music group
Ah yes, but I don’t necessarily believe in God. If I were forced to label myself it would be Agnostic. I’ve had Atheistic tendencies, but there is this one piece of information in the book “The Pessimist’s Guide to History” that does actually support the existence of God… or at least Jesus Christ’s divinity.
Which is why I have issues with anyone trying to tell other people what to believe (whether they’re Christian Atheist, etc) So much is open to interpretation and personal belief that I dont think anyone has the right to impose their thoughts on someone else
Islander- your point “b” is pretty much my entire religious philosophy summarized in two sentences.
Given the assumption that there does, in fact, exist an all-powerful and all-knowing being who can create or destroy an entire universe, I would never think so highly of myself as to believe that someone so great and powerful would ever give half a fuck what I spend my daily life doing.
And on the other hand, if such a being did not exist, then there’s no point worrying about it in that case, either.
Interesting, thought-provoking piece. I agree with about 50% of it. It’s giving me ideas for something here. And by sheer coincidence, tomorrow’s lead post will likely revive this discussion.
My reply to the article didn’t submit… I’m gonna guess that my response is too long… lol.
This is actually for Utmu, but it wouldnt let me reply to him
Dude…I was raised by Christians…believe me…if youre going to go down that road then understand that faith is what makes a Christian. It says very clearly in the Bible that you cant get to heaven through good works. Thats part of what FMA is saying..that no band ..no matter what theyre preaching is going to suddenly make him question what he believes
SB: Truth is that’s what scares me. If God does exist, I would much rather Him see good deeds/deeds that at least aren’t bad, as reasons why someone should go to Heaven and not Hell. I can say if God does exist, I would take his side in the fight, I have no reason not to (except for his aversion to gays… I don’t have a problem with them) but I can’t say that I believe that God does exist, I believe it’s possible he exists. If not believing in God resulted in my going to Purgatory… or the Vestibule or First Circle of Hell (I’m not sure which one it is, it’s the one in The Divine Comedy that has the rolling fields and all the philosophers) I don’t really have much of a problem with it, in fact philosophy is an interest of mine, but I don’t wanna end up in a lake of fire.
Sorry man..thats they way the Christian religion rolls. Thats what sets them apart from so many other religions…you cant earn salvation
SB: That’s depressing and EXTREMELY frustrating…
Maybe the Christians got it wrong and the followers of Asatru got it right…then the afterlife is all fighting and drinking until the end of days
I would enjoy the fighting! As I refrain from that when possible. I also generally refrain from drinking, not sure how that would go over in the afterlife. Also I listend to “Surrounded By Tombs” and it was pretty good, I’ll have to listen to more stuff by them (my internet isn’t the fastest out there lol) I especially enjoyed the drum beat, “tiny” cymbal crashes and riffs towards the beginning and the solo near the end was pretty good. I’ll definitely keep these guys in mind because yesterday, I think it was, I became more interested in the more underground old school death metal bands, the ones overshadowed by the frontrunners of Swedish, Floridian, and New York death metal like Entombed, Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation, respectively.
I probably shouldn’t be joining in this discussion since I don’t accept the premises, but I don’t think it’s universally accepted among Christians that good works count for nothing and that faith alone assures salvation. Catholics, for example, stress the importance of good works in addition to faith. And check out James 2:14-26 (“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also”) and Matthew 16:27 (“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.”)
Personally I believe each to there own
The idea is that you should live a good life, but thats not what gets you to heaven.
John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
True — there are passages that unequivocally support the notion that salvation is purely a matter of grace. That’s one (of many) problems I have with the assertion that the Bible is the literal word of God: it’s full of contradictions. You can find something in there to support almost any point of view (except one that denies the existence of God, of course).
Nice to see all the discussion about my post here, and thanks for the mention. I just want to add a couple minor points. One, that the idea the Bible is all literal truth is a non-Biblical notion. Catholics don’t believe that, as I understand it. The only thing that suggests such a thing is 2 Timothy 3:16, which says that all scripture is God-breathed and useful for instruction. Which is saying that it was inspired by God and is useful, but it was still penned by man–who is ultimately fallible (the latter point being nearly half the message of the Bible).
Second, I just wanted to say how nice it is that people seemed to actually understand what I’m saying, whether they agree or not. A lot of people love to intentionally misrepresent and misinterpret me when I get into discussions involving religion.
So, in short, thanks.
Thank you for stopping by! I really did enjoy your piece, so much so that I’ve linked to it again in our second post today (Thursday):
And I’m glad you think our discussion has been a fair one.
Good to hear that you liked Embers. I still like their first release the best. Then again, I haven’t listened to Shadows as much. So much music to wade through, not as much time as I’d like.
I think we broke the reply feature
Nah, the reply button just disappears after so many replies. BTW I posted a reply up there ^. Nothing long just how I feel.
This is what my religion says: only your own vision of the Divine is true. No one may speak to the Divine for you; no one may speak to you for the Divine. The link between your spirit and the Divine is a sacred bond and may not be intruded upon by another. The Divine does not judge you; you must judge yourself. The Divine is not your lord and master; the Divine is your guide.
So, going by this gobbledygook…it doesn’t matter what kind of horrible shit you listen to as long as you know in your heart that you are not an evil person. Hope it helps 🙂
Amen to that.
Had a reply to your last comment up above, but it got buried.
I agree that the Bible (and religion in general) can be very contradictory.
Thats why I have issues with anyone trying to tell other people what to believe (whether they’re Christian Atheist, etc) So much is open to interpretation and personal belief that I dont think anyone has the right to impose their thoughts on someone else
Yeah reply button disappeared, so didn’t know where to click or place this (but this seems like a good spot). I’m too lazy to read everything that was posted above, but my rule of thumb is:
– whether you believe in heaven/hell/afterlife/whatever and regardless of what you choose to believe IN. If you lead your life in a positive way and are nice and kind to others because its the right thing to do, NOT because you are looking for a payoff at the end of the day THEN if there is some magical netherworld, those are the people who are going to be admitted.
I mean how crazy is it to believe that their God is so petty and juvenile and bitter and angry, that you will burn in hell if you don’t believe in him or you support homosexuals? That’s their idea of a paradise? Some higher being than themselves who a jealous paranoid idiot?!?!?! If that’s the standard, then count me out, I want no part of that loser club.
Obviously I’m fairly certain the only thing that happens when you die is that you decay, end of story, like every other living creature on the planet.
You can believe in what you want to, who am I to judge, but I do find it very hard to understand how someone with a brain and education can think there is a magic man in the sky who is all knowingly and powerful. Makes me head hurt.
“If you lead your life in a positive way and are nice and kind to others because its the right thing to do, NOT because you are looking for a payoff”
Man..I could totally turn this comment into a debate on whether there is such a thing as altruism or is everything done for some type of reward
Valid point as it could be done subconsciously even when you think its done just to be nice. Maybe deep down your mind tells you to be nice out of some deep seeded neurosis in hopes of positive karma coming your way.
So much stuff that unless it grabs me immediately it likely won’t get any repeated listens from me.
Bones – sounds okay, but nothing that gets me all wet & giggley.
Embers – not bad, but unless I plan to see them on an upcoming show, won’t be on my radar
Undead Creep – always down for early Swedish death(worship) but even I have my limits these days. Perfectly acceptable, yet unremarkable.
You got any current favorites in the early-Swedish-death-worship camp? As a worshipper myself, I’m always looking for more of it.
Besides the obvious ones, let me think. Hmmm.
Bastard Priest: https://www.facebook.com/bastardpriestsweden?sk=app_19507961798
Any of Rogga’s 5 thousand bands he’s in. LOL
You posted a link to Morbus Chron the other day which I liked.
Definitely with you on Entrails. We reviewed The Tomb Awaits recently and premiered a song from it here:
Also with you on Rogga — Ribspreader and Bone Gnawer in particular.
Bastard Priest is new to me and I’ll check em out.
On a totally unrelated non Swedish note, if you are looking for old school death metal:
DISMA from NJ (Craig, original vocalist from Incantation’s band): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Disma/137903672940606?ref=ts&sk=app_178091127385
Disma Kills. Love their album. Love it.
Yeah gonna be cool to see them live at MDF next year.
Funebrarum did barely 30 minutes last year and absolutley crushed. Im gonna be pissed if they dont give Disma more time and a better slot than mid-day
I missed Funebrarum, as I didn’t go on Thursday or early Friday. I kinda helped Artillery get booked, so I’m mad excited about seeing them for the first time ever. Soren does a good enough job, but my wet dream would be Fleming on vocals.
Thursday sucked hard…Witchaven and Miasmal were the only bands I wanted to see. I stayed for Cathedral because it was their last tour and I wanted to catch that, but epic doom isnt really my thing….especially at midnight.
This year looks like its spaced a bit better over the 4 days with not everyone playing on Saturday
Demigod is the band I want to see this year..so Im really pumped for that.
This site needs a FORUM. It would be much easier to keep track of things.
Anyways, yeah I would have been hapy if they packed all the bands into 2 days again like last year. Saves me time and more importantly $$$ on a hotel, food, etc.
I only went Saturday/Sunday. This year there are bands I want to see each day, especially Autopsy on Thursday. So that automatically means I’m going all 4 days.
You two are making me insanely jealous. I really wish Maryland weren’t so far away from Seattle, but I’m really going to see if I can swing a trip to MDF next year. The line-up of bands is amazing.
Its still a little too Grindcore/Hardcore heavy for my liking (The people behind it are real big grind fans…dear god I saw Blood Duster, I’ll never forget that), but they make up for it by getting really good bands to balance out the lineup. This year wil probably be the strongest years for black metal theyve ever had
I am no grind freak by any means. More Death Metal = More Better is my mantra.
Even the black metal does next to nothing for me. But I like the fact that they are offering a greater variety of bands like The Devil’s Blood and Anvil, so it appeals to more types of people. I like variety at my festivals as well.
Islander, you can do MDF cheaper than you think. I won’t say it’s dirt cheap, but with a mortgage and kid, I’m not made of money, and know some corners to cut that may help you decide that you can do it. Email me if interested.
Thanks. My main problem is timing. My job has unpredictable hours and it’s hard for me to do much advance planning except for vacation. I usually have to wait til the last minute if I’m going to attempt something like this, and the time away that’s added by the long travel makes it tougher. But I’m going to stay optimistic!
You’d probably know better than I would, but Ive heard that at least one of the organizers is a big grind fan…hence the overabundance of those types of bands
I like black metal, but its not my favorite..I have a friend whose a big fan though so hes happy..Im very much into old school death metal (Incantation, Entombed, Convulse) and the thrash hybrids (Aura Noir and Deceased). I am glad that they try and get a bit of everything…stuff like Buzz*ven and Jucifer were bands Id never paid attention to and actually liked quite a bit when I saw them there.
Did you stay for Ghost and rioting last year…I jetted after Coroner so I didnt get caught up in that shit
Islander..except for thursday its mostly open air so you dont have to get tickets ahead of time if you dont want. Makes last minute planning a bit easier
Didn’t know that — that sounds perfect.
Yeah I stayed for Ghost, was right of front and people were pushing like the Skeleton Priest was gonna give out free blowjobs to whoever was closest.
They did hussle everyone our rather quickly, and we left as had no reason to stay around, so we thankfully missed all the shenanigans.
People were acting like that all weekend…both Marduk and Inquisition were fucking warzones
I’ll second Bastard Priest…thats some sweet crusty death metal. Invisable Oranges is streaming their new album right now
While the music has little or no resemblance, seeing Embers made me think of Ember (US-Chicago), and to tie this in with the religion discussion they used to have shirts that just said “at least I’m not a christian”. always made me chuckle.
That’s a helluva song. It’s like rabid black grind.
Embers is a fantastic band, I’m a huge fan (and covered them here http://metalbandcamp.com/2011/09/embers-tshirts-and-lyrics.html). Kelly Nelson also does all the Embers album artwork and tshirt designs (I got the snake tshirt). She is one talented woman.
Incidentally Full Metal Attorney wrote the best description of their music I’ve seen: Picture the last smoldering remnants of a great fire, a destructive force depleted by exhaustion. At times, it crackles, threatening resurgence, and new fires ignite in the distance, burning and killing with the capriciousness of nature. Now imagine the soundtrack to that scene.
I love that description!