Sep 112013

Here are a some things I’d like to recommend from my reading and listening last night.


On Monday night of this week, a new song from Ihsahn premiered on BBC Radio 1’s “Rock Show” with Daniel P. Carter. The song is “Hilber” and it will appear on Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, Das Seelenbrechen, which will be released on October 21 in North America via Candlelight Records. Fortunately, the program will remain available for streaming for the next seven days at, and you can use that link to hear it (just skip to the 21:45 mark on the player you’ll find there).

Also, for now at least, it’s been uploaded to YouTube (I’m shocked, I tell you, simply shocked!) and so you can also listen right here, after the jump.

Man, I do like this song. It swirls and it stomps, it echoes and it pounds, the guitar spirals around complex rhythms, a string section takes wing, and Ihsahn claws with his voice (no clean singing on this one, thank you very much). It’s dark, disconcerting, and occasionally dissonant, but it will also stick with you. Imaginative music. You should hear it.



The last time we checked in with Costa Rica’s Sight of Emptiness, DECIBEL had just premiered a song called “Paradox” from their new album Instincts. Yesterday brought another new song and a music video to go along with it. The name of this one is “Essence”, and it includes guest vocals by Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe in the chorus.

Though the song does have an enticing melodic thread woven through it, what it does most effectively is deliver jackhammer rhythms straight to the base of your spine — and if it’s possible to supercharge a jackhammer, that’s what I’m talking about. “Essence” is a mosh trigger and a ticket to Headbang City, and with the mix of vocal styles it’s also reminiscent of Soilwork (but with higher pneumatic values).

Very nice video production, too, especially the part that includes excellent artwork flashing on a white screen behind the band members. Check it out below.

(There’s no release date for the album yet . . . the band’s hunt for label support continues.)



I pause here in the delivery of music in order to deliver some news about a band that’s a gen-u-ine NCS favorite: Byzantine. You know how you can tell they’re a favorite? Because part of the news involves a tour that isn’t coming within 1,000 miles of me.

Two things. First, there’s been a line-up change. Whiz-bang guitarist Tony Rohrbaugh is gone and Brian Henderson is back, in his second stint with the band following a round of live performances in 2010. Bassist Skip Cromer and the band have also parted ways, and the new man on the low end is Sean Sydnor.

Second, there’s that tour, which is regional in scope instead of national, which means I’ll be wishing I was there instead of actually being there. If you’re within range of one of these venues, you should go and then tell me what I missed. I’ll try not to hold it against you.

Sept 20th – Akron, OH @ Ripper’s Rock House
Sept 21st – Indianapolis, IN @ Old National Centre (Indianapolis Metal Festival)
Oct 12th – Charleston, WV @ The Blue Parrot
Oct 16th – Brooklyn, NY @ Club Europa (CMJ Metal Insider Showcase)
Nov 7th – Richmond, VA @ The Canal Club
Nov 8th – Chesapeake, VA @ Roger’s Pub



Now we’ll go back to music before closing this round-up. The final band are from Italy and their name is Urna. I discovered their existence quite recently, though I now know they released three full-length albums between 2004 and 2009. A fourth one named Mors Principium Est has been recorded and will become available in October.

From what I’ve read, Urna began life as a black metal band, but moved down the pathway to doom, without completely shedding the scales of black metal. The new song I heard last night, which comes in the form of a music video, is named “Fui Sum Ero”. It will appear on the new album. It’s more than 12 minutes long. I thought it was worth every minute of time.

The song is low, slow, and enthralling. It’s deeply melodic, sometimes verging on the ethereally beautiful, but mostly very heavy. Trilling tremolo chords and shimmering synthesizer effects float airlessly while groaning/grinding distorted riffs bathe the music in darkness and huge drum beats pound like giant hammers. The residual black metal trappings come through mainly in cracked, croaking vocals and anguished howls.

The kaleidoscopic images in the video flicker and strobe much more rapidly than the music’s rhythms, some of them like a rapidly changing Rorschach test, some of them dimly recognizable as people and places. The combined effect of the powerful music and the strange imagery is trance-inducing. I’ve listened to the song three times so far and have gotten lost in it every time.


  1. Aww snap! everything in this post is fucking awesome:

    Ihsahn – interesting track, sounds heavier than his previous release.

    Sight of Emptiness – Costa Rica, can’t say I’ve got anything in my music collection from that corner of the world, but will definitely consider adding this one if the whole album is like this track.

    Byzantine – well, being in the wrong country I won’t make this but cool they’ve found some replacement players and keeping on. S/T album definitely on my list of favs for the year.

    Urna – fucking count me in for the full release, that song is brilliant!

  2. This year’s Byzantine record is a definite favorite. I will be remembering it come year-end, best-of list time. And “Soul Eraser” is a “Catchiest Extreme Metal Song of the Year” nominee for sure, even if it’s not that extreme.

    I would love to see them play live, but alas this mini-tour is over a thousand miles from me, too. I guess I should be happy they’re touring at all, since I believe OJ had said they didn’t have any plans to tour the album or play that many shows around time of its release.

    Although they’ve given no indication of this, for some reason I felt like the 2012 reuniting and the new S/T record were kind of a one-off thing. That this band will always be on the edge on of calling it a day. But if Byzantine continues to make more music, that will be awesome.

  3. the Sight of Emptiness is pretty cool, nice little cameo by Crane

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