Jun 302013

In terms of headline-making news in the global world of metal, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything with more ooomph than the news that the legendary CARCASS will be releasing a new album this year, their first in 17 years. The album, Surgical Steel, will be released by Nuclear Blast this fall.

Today, the first track from the album leaked. It surely won’t be up on YouTube for very long, so you might want to catch it ASAP. The name is “Captive Bolt Pistol”. I doubt I can completely separate my reaction from the fact that this is a new Carcass song, but it sounds sweet to me. It’s more on the Heartwork end of the band’s musical trajectory, which is to say melodic death metal, and that might disappoint some really old-school Carcass worshippers, but it’s still got a cutting edge and I do like that guitar solo.

Listen fast . . . after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 302013

All yall muthafukkers can shoot me later, but I’m playing these songs first. The trigger-finger impulse may come from the fact that not all these songs are metal.

About 10 days ago I found myself in mixed company, getting fucked up in an apartment late at night with some friends and everyone taking turns playing music from YouTube on a big-screen TV. And by mixed company I mean that I and one other person were metalheads and the other two weren’t. But I liked some of the not-metal songs I heard, and they’re in this post. Every other song in here is a metal song I’ve heard recently that I really liked, songs I hadn’t heard before.

Hey, this is what people do when they have a blog. It’s better than telling you what I had for breakfast or about my last bowel movement.

That photo up there has got nothing to do with any of the music. It’s a photo of Canada’s WEAPON. It’s up there because my NCS comrade Andy Synn notified me this morning of the extremely sad, breaking news that Weapon is disbanding. According to a statement on their Facebook page, “There is no drama surrounding this decision: it is time for us collectively, and more importantly, as individuals, to move onwards and upwards towards other paradigms.” Thanks for the metal, dudes.

Let’s start with some metal. The song is “Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare” from the 2011 album of the same name by a German band called NARGAROTH. First song I’d ever heard by them, but I thought it was downright beautiful, and it includes throat singing, which is a rarity and a big plus in my book. Continue reading »

Jun 302013

It’s Sunday, and therefore it must be time for another THAT’S METAL! post. Except I don’t manage to put these things together every Sunday, because following a regular schedule isn’t one of my strong suits. Except I’ve done it for today, and I hope you’ll like what I’ve got. In this collection you’ll find eight items, all of which seem metal to me, even though they’re not music.


As usual, we’ll start with the photo that appears at the top. This is part of the Atlantic Road in Norway (“Atlanterhavsveien” in Norwegian). It’s a 5.2 mile segment of County Road 64 that links together a string of islands in the Norwegian Sea and it includes several causeways, seven bridges, and four viewpoints to take in the scenic views.

It was hit by 12 hurricanes during construction, and as you can see, the storms in the area can be pretty fuckin’ brutal. The swooping twists and turns of the road almost make it seem as if it was constructed to dodge the waves.

I have a feeling that if I ever make it to Norway, I won’t make it up and out to the Atlantic Road, but it’s awfully tempting . . . at least it would be if the sun were shining. A few more pics are after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 292013

I like to think I do a decent job of keeping my eyes open for new releases by bands I like, including bands and labels who don’t send out lots of press releases or advance promo copies to NCS. But I completely fell down on the job in the case of Canada’s Antediluvian, despite the fact that I was powerfully impressed by both their 2011 debut album Through the Cervix of Hawaah (reviewed here) and their 2012 split with Adversarial (reviewed here). Just how badly did I fall down? Well, for starters, until yesterday I completely missed the fact that Nuclear War Now! released Antediluvian’s second full-length album — Logos — in April.

And to top that off I also failed to notice that two previously unreleased tracks recorded at the same time were released in May as a 7″ vinyl EP (entitled Septentrional Theophany) accompanying the premiere issue of a zine called Haruspex. The zine, written by Jason Campbell with artwork by  Tim Grieco (Haasiophis of Antediluvian) was originally intended for release in support of NWN! Fest III, but apparently will be an ongoing thing. It’s being sold, along with the Antediluvian release, by Nuclear War Now! at this location.

Obviously, having just discovered these two oversights yesterday, I don’t have either release in my grubby claws yet. But I did listen to the two songs from Septentrional Theophany on Bandcamp. If it’s possible for music to be both primitive and avant garde, that’s what these two songs are. Continue reading »

Jun 282013

We’re about to slide right on into the weekend, and I’d like to help grease the skids with a couple of new things from two bands I’ve praised in the past. They are “Exceptions to the Rule” around here, because both include clean singing, but it’s the kind of singing that doesn’t offend me in the least. And “clean” is kind of a relative term anyway.


I fuckin’ love Venomous Maximus. I fuckin’ loved their 2012 album Beg Upon the Light. I really fuckin’ loved the song “Moonchild” from that album, so much so that I included it on my list of 2012’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. This spring the band signed with Napalm Records, who are giving Beg a proper label release in North America on July 2 (as well as in Europe). And to help promote the album to a new audience, Napalm has released an official music video for . . . “Moonchild”! Hell yes.

Rather than work myself up into a new linguistic lather over the song, I’ll just quote again what I’ve previously written about it: “I mean to tell you, the central riff in this song (which slams right out of the gate) is an absolute headbanging killer. Seriously, you’d need a neck brace to keep your skull from bouncing like a basketball. And the surprise (for me) is how much I like the (mostly) clean vocals. They conjure up visions of old-school Ozzy but with some sandpapery grit emerging here and there.” Continue reading »

Jun 282013

“Came Back Haunted” is the name of the new video from Nine Inch Nails, which debuted not long ago. It’s noteworthy for two reasons. First, it was directed by filmmaker David Lynch. Second, the song is from Hesitation Marks, which is the first album from NIN album since 2008’s The Slip. Hesitation Marks is scheduled for release on September 3.

Trent Reznor has described “Came Back Haunted” (which is now available on iTunes) as “familiar, it’s very self-referential and purposely. I think that’s the most like that there is on that record.” And when you hear the song, you can see the sense in that quote.

I won’t spoil the video for you, other than to say that it’s not exactly straight-forward, but it’s David Lynch, so what did you expect? The video comes with this warning: “This video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised” Watch it next… Continue reading »

Jun 282013

Earlier this week, I posted an article listing five albums that changed my life, the ones that led me down the path into heavy music, and invited readers to share their own lists. I can’t claim credit for the idea — it was inspired by a similar article written by Topon Das of Fuck the Facts. But it has turned out to be the most-read piece at NCS this week and it led to a lengthy and fascinating group of comments — 100 of them so far — in essence a collection of short memoirs about personal musical journeys. It has spawned more posts along the same lines at NCS (with more to come), and now the idea has spread to another blog.

This morning, fellow blogger Full Metal Attorney posted his own list of five albums that changed his life. In the preamble, he explains why the idea for this kind of list has proven to be so interesting:

“This isn’t, ‘What are your five favorite albums?’ That’s pertinent information, yes. But it only tells of current taste. It doesn’t tell you anything deeper. But this question asks for your history, your personality, your memories. It invites you to tell a story.”

Full Metal Attorney’s list, and the explanations for the five albums that appear there, is yet another personal story. I won’t spoil the discovery of what’s on there, but I’ll say it includes two albums that I didn’t see coming. Continue reading »

Jun 282013

This news item isn’t the kind of thing you see every day. In March, the company that makes the Firefox web browser (Mozilla) rolled out in test mode a significant new module for the browser called OdinMonkey — and gave credit to Amon Amarth as the musical inspiration for the name. And as of this week that module is now included in the latest Firefox release.

Now I know a few things about computer hardware and software, but the knowledge doesn’t go especially deep, so there will be a limit on how well I can explain what OdinMonkey does. But here goes (and I hope readers who know this stuff better than I do will correct me if I fuck it up):

Every web browser includes a JavaScript engine, which is software that interprets and executes JavaScript (a type of programming code) delivered by web servers, and that allows users to see and interact with web pages on their computers and other personal devices. OdinMonkey is a module for the JavaScript engine embedded in Firefox that will dramatically speed up the execution of JavaScript, boosting performance by 1000% or more, improving the ability to play games online and to use web-based applications. According to an article I found on the ExtremeTech web site:

“With OdinMonkey optimizing this process, code executed this way is only two times slower than native execution (as if the code was executed locally, outside the browser, without the JS-to-assembly transcompiling). While this might not sound particularly fast, normal JavaScript (such as when you load the ExtremeTech website) is maybe 20 or 30 times slower than native code. For comparison, Chrome executes asm.js code at around 10 times slower than native speed, and Firefox (without OdinMonkey) is around 12 times slower than native.

…Not only does it boost performance by a huge margin, but it could also act as a cornerstone for web apps that actually perform like their installed, native cousins. In short, OdinMonkey could finally allow for a web-based Adobe Photoshop or Crysis.”

And now here’s the metal part of this story. According to Luke Wagner, a software engineer at Mozilla who announced OdinMonkey on his blog, this was “the musical inspiration for OdinMonkey”: Continue reading »

Jun 272013

(Here’s another in Andy Synn’s irregular series of things that come in five’s.)

This edition of the “Five of my favourite…” column should be pretty self-explanatory. For those of you unaware, I’m currently in two bands here in the UK, a high-velocity technical/melodic death metal band called Bloodguard, and a slower, doomier melancholic death metal band called Twilight’s Embrace. So, stemming somewhat from the recent clamor over “Five albums that changed your life”, I thought it might be interesting to list five of the frontmen who inspired me to pick up the microphone myself.

Now, to be clear, these aren’t necessarily the frontmen/singers I count as my current influences as a vocalist (there’s little to no correlation between some of their vocal styles and the way I sing today), but they are the ones who I looked up to and who made me want to be like them.


One of my early loves, I actually only got to see V.O.D. live for the first time earlier this year. Thank god it lived up to my long-gestating expectations. Tim Williams (above) is an absolute ball of barely contained fury onstage, a mix of frustrated repression and calculated rage, with a voice that simply bleeds passion. You can tell he means every word that passes from his tortured throat. Continue reading »

Jun 272013

(Following up on an NCS post earlier this week in which I invited readers to name five albums that changed their lives, focusing on the albums that led them into heavy music, DGR compiled the following list of his own.)

After Islander saw the success of his “Five Albums That Changed Your Life” post, he brought up the idea of having each of the site’s writers do a list. That way, folks could really get to know the other guys here. I had originally written this as a comment, but since it will likely be amended into the O.G. post (or posted separately, depending on how brave we’re feeling after seeing the albums I wrote about), I figured why not get the album art in there and really blow this thing out. [Editor’s Note: I am feeling brave, though the feeling will probably pass quickly.]

Most folks who have participated in the comments to the “Five Albums” post have stuck with the heavy metal discs that changed their lives – and to be honest with you, it’s a great approach. I wanted to try something a little different since I don’t know if there have been any discs that have really changed my life in the ways that others have been changed, but I do have some albums that were landmarks in my music-listening career – including the ones that set about leading me into other genres of music or turning me on a darker path toward more brutal stuff. Picking five albums of heavy metal may have been easier for me, but this has been a pretty fun challenge. You’ll likely figure out the theme of the music that changed my life pretty quickly.

Stevie WonderTalking Book

I lived in the Bay Area when I was really young, and being the typical really young person (at least of that era), there was really no music in the world outside of what I saw on TV and what my parents listened to. Since I was a child of divorced parents, it basically played out that whatever my mother listened to is what I listened to. Continue reading »