I have my own opinions about Christmas and the whole holiday season surrounding it, the kind of opinions that used to provoke an annual rant on this site (such as this one, which still receives new visits at this time of year despite its age). But there will be no rant this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t changed my opinions. However, it has dawned on me that spewing vitriol about the holiday is somewhat inconsistent with what we stand for at NCS. Life delivers more than enough frustration, aggravation, hurt feelings, pain, sorrow, loneliness, parking tickets, and bad food without us adding to the negativity. I like to think that what we’re about at NCS is delivering things that make life better, e.g., some daily metal and generally good-humored prose.
Despite its shortcomings, Christmas does make life better for some people (though certainly not all). Some people hold the holiday as a sacred occasion. It gives some people an occasion to enjoy the company of family and friends. For others, it evokes warm memories of years gone by. Some simply enjoy the pretty lights and the chance to stuff themselves with yummy eats. In general, I think it’s wrong to put down activities that make people happy, as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others in the process, even if such activities don’t do much for me. So, this year I won’t be complaining about Christmas.
In addition, there’s this: Over the last week, many people, some of whom I know well and some of whom were strangers, have wished me a merry Christmas or a happy holiday. Even though the holiday doesn’t mean much to me, it has dawned on me that there is something to be said for any occasion that causes one person to wish merriment and happiness to another person. In fact, life would be better if more people did that on more days of the year, especially if they were sincere in doing it. I’ve decided this is the true meaning of the Christmas season, other than more opportunities to eat pumpkin pie, which is the truest meaning.
So, although it would be kind of hypocritical of me to wish you a merry Christmas, I can say on behalf of all your
fiends friends at NCS, in the immortal words of Irving Berlin, “may your days [all of them] be merry and bright”.
And now, let’s all be merry, shall we? Here’s some metal to assist in the merriment.
HANDSHAKE INC / MUTANTS OF THE MONSTER / ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES: COMPILATION 2013/2014
The three labels whose names you see above released a free compilation yesterday via Invisible Oranges. It includes songs from many 2013 releases but also new cuts from forthcoming 2014 albums by Gridlink and Dephosphorus (a Greek band who we’ve praised before here at NCS), as well as previously unreleased tracks by Inhabitants — a grind band featuring Dorian Rainwater (Noisear, Phobia, Excruciating Terror) Adam from Winters in Osaka, and Molly from Bloody Phoenix) — and Diseased Reason. There’s also a live Rwake song plus music from Jucifer, Wake, Total Fucking Destruction, and a whole lot more.
To find out more about the comp and download it, go HERE. Now, have a listen to the new Dephosphorus and Gridlink songs, both of which kick a stockingfull of ass:
Dephosphorus: “There Is A Color”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2.-Dephosphorus-Ravenous-Solemnity-There-Is-A-Color.mp3|titles=Dephosphorus – There Is A Color]
Gridlink: “Ketsui”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1.-Gridlink-Longhena-Ketsui.mp3|titles=Gridlink – Ketsui]
Here’s something else that surfaced yesterday — a complete live set of the mighty Gorguts playing at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York City, on December 21, 2013. It was filmed by the incomparable (((unartig))). Here’s the set list: Le Toit du Monde > An Ocean of Wisdom > Forgotten Arrows > Colored Sands > Enemies of Compassion > Ember’s Voice > Absconders > Reduced to Silence > Orphans of Sickness > Inverted > Obscura
Not only has Seattle’s Sandrider put out an album (Godhead) with one of the finest pieces of cover art of 2013, last Friday they also premiered a video that just screams merry and happy. The song is “Gorgon”, and it’s a rifftastic romp. Maybe someone will give me silly string for Christmas.
And now, here’s a new song by Norway’s Nocturnal Breed, a band that includes current and former members of Satyricon, Aeternus, and Gehenna. They have a new album (their first in seven years) named Napalm Nights that’s due for release on March 11 in Europe and March 18 in North America via Agonia Records. The album also includes guest vocals by Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto.
The new song, which premiered late last week, is “The Devil Swept the Ruins”. It’s a rollicking, rolling riptide of nasty blackened thrash with more changes of pace than you’ll probably suspect will be coming. Feel free to sing along.
And lastly, we bring you this bit of very merry and bright news from those gifted French maniacs in Gorod. Thanks to a tip from Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, I saw this Christmas Day post by Gorod on their Facebook page:
“Merry Xmas !!
Hope you received lots of nice presents !!
Our present for you will be in 2014 !
Ho ho ho….”
Could this be referring to a new album? Oh, let it be so…
That Sandrider track is killer. I keep meaning to get that album on bandcamp, and now I might finally have tight do that.
I had the same reaction. I managed to go through the last month without listening to anything from this album. The video convinced me to check it out, and… downloading now.
Not bad. Looks like the crowd had a good time. The beer might have helped.
You’re getting soft dude, pretty soon your “bah’s” will be “merry” and your “humbugs” will be “Christmas”.
Also “Godhead” is fucking sick album. SO MUCH RIFF
It’s true — I’ve become a softie. Actually, I always have been, now I’m just more of a softie. Though next year at this time I may be feeling pissed off again.
Just think of when (if) you have kids! Dem Christmas mornings!
here’s my own little xmas story to show that you can find something to smile about even the worst of times. as i mentioned in a show review i contributed recently, my wife of 15 years has been suffering from a condition called gastroparesis for the past year and a half. this causes her to have indescribable stomach pain, vomiting and regurgitation, weakness and fatigue. she’s unable to eat most foods, and can only have small servings. most days she doesn’t eat at all. in addition to this she began to suffer from daily panic attacks, starting after we had a fire in our kitchen over the summer. she has had dozens of hospital stays and even more ER visits, plus weekly visits to a host of doctors and specialists. because of this she has missed weeks and weeks of work, and so have i since her condition requires me to be with her at all times taking care of her. we’ve depleted our savings and now live paycheck to paycheck. we’ve had to pawn/sell many items in our house to make mortgage payments and keep food on the table. we often end up eating toast or cereal for dinner.
this is the first year ever that we had to basically cancel christmas. we were unable to afford even small gifts for our children or granddaughter or even each other. we informed our son and daughter, both 20 and living on their own, that we would not be celebrating christmas and just spending the day at home relaxing before we have to go back to work.
but today my son showed up on our doorstep, gifts in hand. he works in a cafeteria on the college campus here, and makes only minimum wage. he gives blood weekly to make extra money so he can pay his bills, so he does not have extra money to blow. but here he was today, with a beautiful little antique hand mirror and ear rings for my wife (his stepmom) and a used copy of Grand Theft Auto 5 for me (i’m a video game nut but haven’t been able to afford any new games since last year). he stayed a couple hours and made us laugh and smile.
that’s the boy i raised. he’s my hero in every way, and i couldn’t be more proud.
so instead of sitting here feeling sorry for ourselves, we are happy and feeling very loved. things will get better, we know they will.
i hope everybody else finds something to smile about, today. happy holidays 🙂
Hell yeah man that’s beautiful. I’ve been pretty down this holiday season too missing my brother who killed himself this July but the kindness of a few people has really made everything feel all right today/this past week.
i’m sorry to hear about your brother, but glad you’re doing ok. my dad committed suicide in 2011 and i’m still angry at him for it, and sad to think of all the things he’s missed. but it’s amazing how even one small act of kindness can pull you out of the dark.
I had no idea you were dealing with this heavy a load — you are alway so upbeat and kind-hearted in everything you post here. I have no doubt you’re a hero to your family as much as they are to you.
thanks, i’m just doing the best i can. and i can’t even began to count how many times this site has helped me relax and escape from my troubles for a short while, it’s just another reason why i check in every single day.
Nice to know you have family you can count on! Good luck!
thanks 🙂 hope you’re having a great holiday!
Oh man that’s tragic. My partner had stomach cancer and along with all the difficulty with the initial trreatment for about a year after she could hardly eat – even a simple piece of toast or something would take an hour, or if she went faster she’d get serious abdomenal pains. It was only during a follow-up with her surgeon he discovered her esophagus had clamped down and constricted, and put her under to push it open again (the details are a bit vague to me). That was like all her Christmases came at once and changed her life back to more or less normal overnight. So yeah, seeing someone you love go through problems with something as fundamental as being able to eat really sucks, it makes you realize how much we take it for granted, and how difficult life can be if you can’t do it properly.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard this from everyone so sorry if it’s all condenscending repetition – as I’m sure you would’ve tried all options available already – but I’d seriously suggest trying to get a second or even third opinion on what’s wrong and treatment options, that seriously doesn’t sound normal.
Beautiful story about your son too. Maybe I’m getting old too, but I agree with your sentiment Islander – if people wished each other well and meant it more often, maybe this little planet of ours would be better (but I also agree with your 2010 post – fuck all the commercialism!)
that’s really great news about your partner, nothing is worse than watching someone you love get sick and stay sick with seemingly no end in sight.
we’ve gone to many different doctors and specialists in several cities trying to help my wife and it’s caused a lot of tears and frustration. but last week we finally found a GI specialist who has given us some hope, he was very shocked at how little has been done and at the reluctance of other doctors to try what he feels are obviously beneficial treatments. he’s promised that he is going to stick with us and get the testing my wife needs and facilitate some procedures that we were aware of but couldn’t get any other doctors to help us with.
we’re not celebrating yet, we’ve been let down many times already, but this is the most promising it’s looked in a long time. and my wife is long overdue for a little good luck.
Great news! All the best, hope things start looking up.
Not overly fond of Christmas myself. I don’t celebrate, but I will at least put up decorations; three trees, lights, garland and some other shit. Though I had yesterday and today “off”, here I am at work anyway, catching up and taking care of the latest thing that just happened. I even passed on a couple offers to go over for Christmas dinner. Not my thing, and I don’t mind terribly that I’m having to work on Christmas (and I’m sure my boss will have something to say about that when she comes in to work tomorrow morning).
I don’t mind if people say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, or whatever else may come to mind. Ultimately, they’re all the same kind of message if you put away the Bible and the credit cards and look to the other kind of Christmas, the one that’s really not all that bad. I’ve had better, I’ve had worse. But I’m still here and though I don’t care for the holidays, I hope things go well for everyone I know.
So yeah, Happy Fucking Whatever!
Christmas hasnt meant too much to me since I was a kid. Having lived overseas for nearly a decade now, not being with my family hasnt beeen too much of an issue for me. Mostly just another day with some good food.
I just got into Afghanistan recently. Seeing the faces and experiencing the moods of guys Im replacing though, you can tell its a serious pain crushing alot of them to be away from their loved ones. In truth, even though Im feeling fine since im used to this (fourth deployment now), my wife couldnt help but burst into tears when I called her this Christmas Day.
I dont really like saying Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving or any kind of special holiday greeting, but more and more Im inclined to at least say “same to you” or take the greetings sincerely. Just because I may not feel the same, who am I to not have some common courtesy or human decency to at least emphathise with their feelings and try to lift spirits? Like our man Djneibarger has shown with his example, lots of us out there aint really having a lot to be merry about. But as you guys indicate, what fucking good is dwelling on that negative? If we can at least show that we care with at least an exchange of platitudes, its worth it in the end if it helps someone get through the day.
i’ve never served, so i can only imagine how stressful it must be for you and your family. i hope you stay safe and get home to your wife soon. and Merry Christmas to you too!
Ditto ^^that. I know you know what you’re doing, but I’m telling you to be careful anyway!
Actually this reminds of a post I saw at the Guardian the other week:
I’d be keen on bringing that tradition back to life \m/. Or maybe even getting some classical Greece-style Saturnalia going again, which supposedly was the festival Christmas replaced, just to mix it up.
In amongst my pre-Christmas loathing of all the throngs of people contributing to mass consumerism I did wonder about just creating my own festivities. I kind of got to thinking that in some ways it would be more authentic if I created some celebration or time for reflection on some aspect of life solely because I wanted to, rather than just following some vague socially-imbued ideas.
My friend threw a little Xmas party this year and in the middle of it, she ducked into her room, and ran back out in a Krampus costume. None of us were ready – least of all the cat. It was pretty awesome.
I’ve been wanting to mix up the festivities, too. My husband and I pretty much cancelled Xmas this year. We worked in retail for a long time, and we haven’t really recovered from that yet, haha. So this Xmas was solely focused on spending time, rather than money, with people we love, and I felt more festive than I have in years.