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?