Apr 252012

If you’re really perceptive (or you’re one of those people who have no real life outside the confines of the internet), you may have noticed that over the last 10 days or so, I haven’t contributed as much to NCS as I usually do. There are reasons for that, but describing them in detail would be boring. Let’s just say it involved unsuccessful transplant surgery, an inter-species paternity suit, and a rigged auction of antique trepanning implements, and leave it at that.

Anyway, I’m behind on all sorts of things, including current events in the world of metal. I was able to spend a little time today catching up, and I found lots of interesting stuff — a combination of news items and new music. Even after I filtered out items that every attentive metalhead already knows (because those items have already been covered on a dozen other metal sites), what’s left is still too much to cram into one post. So, I’m dividing them between at least two posts, and maybe a third. Here’s the first installment:


The first item is a news item. The news is that Arizona’s Landmine Marathon have recorded a new, self-titled 7″ EP. I like this news (a) because it involves Landmine Marathon, who are awesome, (b) because the cover art (above) is cool, and (c) because I’ve finally made the decision to buy a turntable, so I’ll actually be able to listen to this thing when it comes out. The EP will be released on May 14 and will consist of two songs that were recorded at the same time as the band’s last full-length (Gallows); reportedly, the songs won’t be available anywhere else. You can pre-order the EP at Deep Six Records. I am highly confident that it will be good.

Also, because I haven’t owned a turntable since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I have no idea what to buy, so please leave a comment if you have any recommendations, because that would make it easier on me than doing actual research.


The next item is a news item, too. The news is that Norway’s Enslaved have signed a worldwide deal with Nuclear Blast, after Nuclear Blast handled U.S. distribution for their last two albums (under license from Norway’s Indie Recordings. But even more exciting was the official report included in the same press release I received that Enslaved’s next album will be ready for release this fall!

Of course, there will be a wave of information about that surging our way in the months to come (or, more likely, a steady drip of tidbits, like the way water was used to torture people before waterboarding was invented). I’m sure I won’t be able to resist reporting every last drop.


Okay, now we have some music for our next item. Emptiness is a Belgian band that features members of Enthroned — another Belgian band I like a lot. Emptiness has a new album that was released on April 1 by Dark Descent called Error. I haven’t yet heard it, but autothrall has, and he described it like this on From the Dust Returned: “It plays out like a single, menacing symphony from some subterranean space, and it’s nearly as oppressive, jarring and unnerving as something from Australians Portal, or perhaps a death metal Neurosis.” Sounds good, huh?

Well, yeah, it does sound good, at least based on the two Error tracks that have surfaced so far. The second of those tracks (“It and I”) appeared today via an official music video. It’s black, brutal, and fascinating. Here it is:



I have to be up front here: I haven’t been a huge fan of Germany’s Kreator. It’s not exactly personal, I just haven’t particularly enjoyed this old-school style of thrash, regardless of who’s playing. However, I do really like the cover of Kreator’s new album, Phantom Antichrist, which will be released by the band’s new label, Nuclear Blast, on June 5 in North America. And surprisingly, I’ve also been digging the catchy title track to the new album — which is the subject of a lyric video that Kreator released today.



Today marked something of a turning point in my personal relationship with Arch Enemy’s music. In varying degrees, I’ve found something to like in every Arch Enemy album — I’m not one of those fans who think the band became a write-off when Angela Gossow replaced Johan Liiva as the vocalist. I even experienced a momentary rush of enthusiasm for the most recent album, Khaos Legions, though I confess that I haven’t gone back to it after the first few listens.

Today, Metal Hammer premiered an official video for a song from that album called “Under Black Flags We March”, and it finally hit me just how much the song (both musically and lyrically) sounds like a re-tread of other Gossow-era Arch Enemy songs. I experienced the one sensation I doubted I would ever experience listening to Arch Enemy: boredom.

I now grudgingly have to agree with Andy Synn’s comments when he named the album to his list of 2011’s Most Disappointing releases: “Generic, crowd-pleasing riffs and a vague anti-authoritarian lyrical content does not a revolutionary record make. Arch Enemy seem content to dwell in their familiar rut, producing a record with few surprises, which, barring some stand-out tracks, seems designed to get disaffected crowds of teens chanting along with aimless, almost mindless, dedication.” Are we being too harsh?



  1. There’s got to be a record player buried in your attic somewhere, probably between the pre-industrial era lady mags and the saber tooth tiger skull.

    And yeah, Arch Enemy sucks.

  2. I have an audio tehcnica. the lwo end one is only $99 and it’s NEVER let me down. you can get more chic vitnage-looking ones in any Urban outfitters but i’ve never tried one.

    Might I suggest getting Cobalt–Gin on double gatefold!?!?

    • Cobalt-Gin would be a very nice acquisition. I can tell I am really going to have to go slow with this or I’ll burn a hole in my pocket in no time.

      • You could go the route of buying records mostly at shows. That’s what I’ve been doing – keeps the pace more wallet-reasonable and eliminates shipping costs. “Mostly” because sometimes there are bands that will never tour your area or records that need ordering asamfp.

  3. I have a Rega P2, it seems they no longer make them, but Rega is a solid brand and I can highly recommend them.


    My brother recently got a new one, he went with Project Audio(www.project-audio.com), I have no experience with them, but he seems pleased, and it looks really nice.

    • Thanks for both of those tips. Looks like the Rega RP3 or RP6 models are the current options, and I found a US distributor — but they’re sure pricey. Do you know which Project Audio product your brother has?

      • I bought my P2 several years ago, and while it’s not el-cheapo I don’t remember it being unreasonably pricy either, but perhaps prices have gone up, or the P2 was a budget model or something …

        I believe he got the RPM 1.3

      • Also, if you compare any Rega to the Goldmun Reference II, they are all cheap. Ridiculously cheap even.


        If that’s a bit pricy, you can always go for the Transrotor Artus, it’s half the price


        • Ok, now this is more like it. But I think both of these should have been called the Transrotor Artus because of the transrotoring those prices will do to your artus.

          Also, thank you for introducing me to a site called BornRich.com. How else would I have found out about the $37,000 USB key.

          • The Transrotor Artus looks amazing, and weighing in at a cool quarter of a metric ton it’s pretty damn metal.

            I’d never actually seen the bornrich site until I tried to find a good picture / article on the turntable, but yeah lots of fun stuff there …

        • I don’t really know much about turntables and such, but I’ve had doctors appointments and I’ve looked in his Stereophile magazine he sets out while waiting for him/for a ride… that magazine has showed me that there are needle-heads going for like seven thousand bucks a pop… JUST the needle-heads.

          • Yeah, I’m seeing that as I follow up on the tips in these comments and do some further exploring. Fortunately for my bank account, and unfortunately in every other way, my hearing is poor and I’m sure a lot of the high-end quality would be totally lost on me.

            But I’ve got a good experiment waiting for me when I do decide what to buy, because Noise Farm Studio sent me BOTH a 7″ vinyl version AND a CD version of a split release by Kult ov Azazel and Teratism, so I’m going to get the chance to compare while listening to something I’ve been eager to hear.

  4. You don’t like Kreator? Dude…

    • I know, I know . . . it’s heresy to say that. “Don’t like” is probably too strong. I just haven’t find myself drawn to their music in the past. But I’m definitely going to listen to this new album.

      • Take it from a long time thrash fan….I’ve always found Kreator kind of boring. I can see the appeal just never did anything for me. So don’t feel bad.

  5. Unless youre planning on buying nothing but vinyl from now on, go to the local Salvation Army and buy yourself a used one for $30.00. Do some basic maintenance like replacing the needle, etc, and you should be up and running.

    If you find yourself purchasing a lot of vinyl then you may want to upgrade to a better system.

    I’d also recommend getting a hold of a cheap tape deck as well. Tons of amazing bands still use tape for their demos and considering how cheap they are its well worth owning

  6. I only have two vinyl records and haven’t played either of them myself, (“Diary of a Madman” and a limited edition picture disc of Cattle Decap’s “Human Jerky” which I got on Saturday), but I am lucky enough to have my great grandmother’s stereo in our living room, I think it’s from the sixties maybe, although it’s possible that I’m wrong; it’s about as long as I am tall, and I think I’m 5 foot 8 inches tall.

    • I would leave tips for you Islander, only I have know clue what’s what when it comes to turntables/stereos… sorry.

  7. I second going to salvation army or goodwill and grabbing one cheap. Or some hole in the wall audio store. My dad gave me an old sony record player from the 80s and it’s great. Except I broke the stupid needle off the cartridge. And I have only one metal record and a smattering of classical records.

    But hooked up to a nice pre amp, and a nice receiver, the sound is so amazing. Analog trumps digital any day.

    I’m going to get a new cartridge eventually from http://www.lpgear.com/. If you do go the route of bargain hunting and need to fix it up, that’s the site to get parts.

  8. Is….Is the whole Idea of bands releasing cassette/ vinyl only releases foolish to anyone else?
    I mean its…cool, I guess, but…just give me the songs you want me to fuckin hear, yknow?
    I’m not sure where or how I fit into this format continuum; I have lived long enough to experience vinyl, the rise of cassettes and CDs, and into the digital age. Of course there are some aesthetic differences between analog and digital art that we can all hear (the “warm sound”, whatever the fuck that means), I just have a hard time seeing it’s relevance in this current age. I look forward to any works a band like Landmine Marathon puts out. But to be perfectly honest (as is the M.O. ’round my way), Im just going to wait for someone with a blogspot I follow to burn these tracks to his PC and post it up on a share file for me download. This whole endeavor confuses me greatly. my two cents.

    • Well, I’m in your camp. I’ve never really understood the attraction to vinyl over digital — but it’s also been so damned long since I’ve listened to vinyl, I certainly don’t feel competent to say anything about relative sound characteristics/quality. Honestly, I’ve just assumed it’s a collection fetish, and I have some of those myself, so I understand and sympathize, IF that’s what’s driving the whole current vinyl thing.

      The only reason I’m now finally getting a turntable (apart from curiosity) is that I’m starting to get promo’s (or offers of promo’s) in vinyl form, and I’d like to be able to hear the music to see if it’s worth spouting about at NCS.

      • For what it’s worth, I’ve gotten quite a few vinyls lately that come with a digital download card. This
        to me shows that there are some labels out there that get it. I love my vinyls but there is no way
        around the fact that they are impractical, and few cars (but I’m sure some of them on bornrich.com)
        come with vinyl players. If I’ve bought the vinyl version I have no moral qualms about going out and
        finding a digital version in the vast underbelly of the intertruck.

      • Vinyl is pretty much just a collection thing. I have a small amount of vinyl, and, even though I don’t listen to them that often, it’s nice to pull them out once in a while and spin a few. It’s a rush of nostalgia (which is weird to me, because I was born in 1992, much after vinyl became obsolete)

        • I did think of another reason for acquiring vinyl, just based on the few promo’s that I now have: the album art. Much bigger and nicer than on CDs, not to mention that the records themselves often have artwork on them. But again, that really seems more of a collection thing, but a definite plus.

          • Totally. Big bleeding skulls and dragons and stuff are way cooler and more satisfying than the little ones that pop up on itunes.

  9. New Enslaved! Squeeee!!

  10. Wow, I enjoyed reading about the latest releases from Landmine Marathon and Enslaved, it’s great to see these talented bands still delivering awesome music!

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