Islander

May 212018
 

 

The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. We asked Teddie to introduce herself first, to those of you who may not be familiar with her work:

“I am an Alabama transplant currently residing in the glorious swamp that is New Orleans. Growing up, I regularly went on adventures to photograph the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast and thought I’d eventually pursue nature photography. I’ve always been involved with the arts, whether it be attempting to dance or taking vocal lessons, and fell hard and fast into music photography during a college internship at the local rock radio station. A few years and seemingly hundreds of deafening nights in small bars later and I am an intern at Relapse Records and Earsplit PR and travel regularly to interview and take photos of musicians I adore. I apologize in advance if my tall, camera-hauling self blocks your view or whacks you with a camera during a show.”

And with that preamble, here are some of Teddie’s photos from the first day at Roadburn 2018: Continue reading »

May 212018
 

Visions of mushroom clouds seem to shroud the headlines about North and South Korea these days. We fervently hope that all the trans-Pacific “fire and fury” lunacy turns out to be just overblown but ultimately empty rhetoric, but we have absolutely nothing against irradiating detonations if they come from speakers blasting the music of Sahon.

This South Korean thrash metal band kick up a righteous fury on their new album, Chanting For the Fallen, which will be released by Transcending Obscurity Asia on July 15th. But as you’ll discover through the song we’re premiering today (and another one that debuted previously), this long-running power trio are doing that in a way that isn’t a formulaic re-treading of what a long line of other thrash bands have done before them. Continue reading »

May 212018
 

 

(Agonia Records will release a new album by The Konsortium on June 1st in Europe and June 8th in North America, but you can read Andy Synn’s review of it today.)

Cast your minds back, if you will, to the heady days of 2011, which is when Islander stumbled across (and reviewed) the debut album by the mysterious Norwegian collective known as The Konsortium, in what would prove to be this site’s first (though by no means last) encounter with this group of memorable metallic misfits.

In the years since then we’ve covered the band a handful of times, whether it be appearing at Inferno Festival in 2012, or being picked out as one of my “Most Anticipated Albums of 2018”, but the truth of the matter is that pickings have been remarkably slim over the last seven(ish) years or so, as the various members of the band have all been busy with other projects and priorities.

Thankfully, Rogaland quickly makes it clear that all this time spent waiting has not been in vain, as it’s one hellishly addictive, ruthlessly aggressive, slab of Black/Thrash brilliance. Continue reading »

May 212018
 

 

(The Finnish grindcrushers in Rotten Sound released a new EP via Season of Mist on May 18th, and DGR gives it a detailed review here.)

Rotten Sound’s 2016 album Abuse To Suffer is one of the better examples of a neatly packaged album of grind out there to date, with the band having seemingly found a near-perfect length for their latest vitriolic blast-beast to unleash upon the world. Like many of their songs, Abuse To Suffer ends almost as suddenly as it begins with an almost perfunctory pop of the snare to finally send things off, neatly tying off the near half-hour you get with the Finnish speaker destroyers. Which means that the group’s latest EP — Suffer To Abuse — makes for an interesting proposition, arriving nearly two years after its predecessor and picking up right where the band left off, as if the Rotten Sound crew just couldn’t let go of that disc just yet and so dished out another eleven minutes (spread across seven songs) of hyper-fast and ultra-precise grindcore, leaning heavily on the circle-pit aspect of the -core sound.

The limited edition EP, which saw a staggered release between Europe and North America (for whatever nightmarish reasons, and not the first group this has happened to this year — Centinex also had a month between continents with their disc Chaos Manifesto), can be neatly summed up as exactly what you want you from the group — another quick expulsion of sound that remains relentless throughout, with just enough sludge around the edges to add a little dirt to the group’s latest sweat-fest. Continue reading »

May 212018
 

 

(In Part II of his 2017 year-end list for NCS, our friend Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood) devoted attention to reissues of music from the realms of dungeon synth, but here that genre is the sole focus of the following recommendations.)

 

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the various synth subgenres that have popped up all around metal the last few years because they don’t have guitars or whatever excuse you give when confronted with something outside of metal. I know that kept me out of checking a lot of this shit out and gave me a lot of preconceived notions (mostly true when it comes to synthwave). I’ve been a longtime devotee of early (now Era 1) Mortiis but around the time he decided to try different genre pastures I was burned out by overly symphonic and honestly overly fucking melodramatic dark ambient and really only revisited the more ambient side of things when I put on old Mortiis records or if some black metal band had a good instrumental track (i.e., Lugubrum’s earlier stuff — totally underrated and mandatory band). That was until I listened to Old Tower out of curiosity, which caused a twelve-month binge on dungeon synth. I tend to obsess over these kinds of things and dungeon synth is a genre that’s constantly expanding so I always have something to check out. Like most genres, I don’t like 75% of it but what I do like, I really dig into.

Anyway thanks for sticking around for that needless exposition. The cliff notes version for anyone wanting to skip ahead is here’s another list I’ve submitted, this time with some dungeon synth you might not be too aware of and might be interested in checking out. Unlike most times I make these lists I’d actually love for readers to post suggestions for me to check out.

The best resource I’ve found for the genre is The Dungeon Synth Archives on YouTube, which seems to update every day. I’ve also noticed that Tour De Garde, Hollow Myths, and Out of Season generally knock it out of the park with their releases in the genre, plus Tour De Garde constantly releases black metal of high quality, which is a bonus if you have money to burn on something you won’t hate. Continue reading »

May 202018
 

 

Black metal isn’t a two-sided coin — it’s more like a tetraplex. Yet I’m still thinking of the music in Part 2 of today’s SOB column as the other side of the coin from what was in Part 1. The music there was more cerebral, more emotionally complex, often more spiritual and atmospheric… and what’s here is more visceral, more violent, more inclined to take no prisoners. Or at least that’s how I think of the distinctions at a very high level.

I happen to like both “sides” of this “coin”; some may prefer one side to the other. Some, in fact, may recoil as the following selections apply a blowtorch to your eardrums.

BLASPHAMAGOATCHRIST

If you were members of Blasphemy, Goatpenis, and Antichrist, and you decided to join forces, what would you call your collective endeavor? Well, duh, you’d call it Blasphamagoatachrist! I mean, Phemypenisanti was probably already taken. Continue reading »

May 202018
 

 

If you haven’t listened to the new songs by Uada (here) and Gaerea (here), you should go do that. That’s all the attention I’ll give them here, because those tracks got plenty of attention when they debuted last week, and we’ll have some more things to say about the albums soon-ish. Today I’m going to focus on some music that could use more attention.

As you can see, I have enough music (and had enough time) to make two parts of SHADES OF BLACK this Sunday. Most of the music in the next part rips and tears, often at roughly 1000 mph (or 1609.34 kph). The music in this part is harder to sum up. Of course I’ll try, one by one, but not in a single introductory sentence.

PHTHISIS

The first item I’ve chosen is a four-song demo that has been buried a long time. The band no longer exists. It’s an example of music that in retrospect sounds ahead of its time, and sounds damned fine here in 2018, too. For reasons unknown to me, one of the members finally decided to share it after roughly 7 years. You never know, maybe some seeds are being watered, maybe something new will bloom. Maybe this post will add a few nutrients to aid the growth. But if not, this demo should still bring pleasure to more than a few ears. Continue reading »

May 192018
 

 

(In this week’s edition of Waxing Lyrical, Andy Synn posed questions about lyrics to Simon Barr, vocalist of one of our own favorite bands, Dawn Ray’d.)

We’ve been fans of UK Black Metal three-piece Dawn Ray’d for a long time now, ever since we stumbled across their debut EP, A Thorn, A Blight (which I reviewed, eventually, a little under a year after it came out).

Mixing politics and passion, searing social activism and savage blackened invective, the band’s follow-up full-length, The Unlawful Assembly, quickly became one of the best-received and best-reviewed albums of last year (including here at NCS), which is why I’m pleased to have been able to corral the band’s vocalist (and occasional violinist) Simon Barr for this latest edition of Waxing Lyrical. Continue reading »

May 182018
 

 

Within the more heartless and slaughtering corners of the extreme metal underground there has been a decades-long competition to reach the deepest, coldest caverns of devastation and despair, and to weaponize the horrors found within the crushing pressures of those abyssal chasms. The Belgian one-man death/doom band Gateway has been one of the more dedicated and successful combatants in that race to the bottom. Boundless Torture is Gateway’s latest offering, an EP that’s being digitally released today.

This is terrifying titanism, of the kind that spawns a reflexive cascade of metaphors from the more emotional and less analytical reviewers out there, such as yours truly. The sound is immense, dense, abrasive, blood-congealing, and (perhaps perversely) electrifying. Continue reading »

May 182018
 

 

Contact with the Entity is the debut EP by the Italian progressive death metal band Coexistence, and it’s an enormously impressive first foot forward, displaying the kind of song-writing assurance, creative exuberance, and striking performance skill that one would expect from a band much further into their career. We’re very happy to be the bearer of a full stream of the music today, in advance of its release on May 21st.

The EP consists of four tracks, including a brief but disturbing interlude after the head-spinning rush of the first two songs. And those first two tracks, as well as the last one, really are the kind of kaleidoscopic experiences that open eyes wide. All the performers are technically adept; the music is atmospherically rich and wonderfully dynamic; it’s compulsively physical; and it’s loaded with wide-ranging progressive flourishes that include ventures into jazz-fusion-like mind-bending. Continue reading »