May 172018
 

 

(Greek writer John Sleepwalker returns  to NCS with an in-depth interview of Deathmaster, frontman of Italy’s DoomSword, shortly before their appearance at Greece’s Up The Hammers Festival. Themes in the interview span the band’s entire epic metal career, as well as the status of DoomSword’s work on a new record. A Greek version of this interview originally appeared at Avopolis.gr.)

 

DoomSword haven’t released a new album since The Eternal Battle (2011). A wait that has been quite long, I must say. When should we expect the new opus? Have you been writing/rehearsing any new material?

Hi John, I hope you are well. To your first question I can answer that I do not have a precise timeline for the release of a new album, but works are underway. The guys in Italy are rehearsing and I am continuing with the songwriting. Therefore, I expect that completing the album is a matter of months. As for the long absence: I had in fact an album ready (and enough ideas for 2 albums, I would say), but if you let compositions sit for a while, then when you go back to them, you may feel dissatisfied with what you had. It may be because your mind has evolved, or because you are not in the same mood and want to express other emotions on your next album. Either way, what you have is unsuitable. Continue reading »

May 152018
 

 

This round-up is more musically diverse than what I typically select, ranging further afield from my usual extreme-metal stamping grounds. It’s also less littered with words. I got a late start on the posting day and am hurrying toward a couple of EP premieres on the schedule, but wanted to share these five tracks before getting there… because they made for quite an eclectic and enjoyable morning here at my metallic island home.

KHÔRADA

Finally, we have the first single from the debut album by Khôrada. It’s been a long and anxious wait since the news emerged last year that former Agalloch members Don Anderson (guitar), Jason Walton (bass), and Aesop Dekker (drums) would be forging ahead in this new group, alongside ex-Giant Squid guitarist/vocalist Aaron John Gregory. Continue reading »

May 082018
 

 

I had enough time last night to turn myself into a musical glutton. Just kept stuffing myself to the point of swelling up like a dirigible, hoping I’d come across something that wasn’t tasty before I exploded. That didn’t happen, so I had to summon the last vestiges of willpower and make myself stop.

So here’s a whole bunch of music, and only pithy impressions from me.

WAYFARER

Wayfarer’s third album, their first for the Profound Lore label, is described as “a reflection of the Rocky Mountains and high plains of their native Colorado”, “drawing influence as much from the dusty, dark Americana of the ‘Denver Sound’ and the scores of epic westerns as they do the fury and melody of black metal….” Continue reading »

Apr 252018
 


photo credit: Lars Johnson

 

For this mid-week round-up I was again up to my eye-brows in worthy new music to choose from. I decided to do something a little different from usual, combining the formats of these SEEN AND HEARD collections and the occasional OVERFLOWING STREAMS columns. In other words, I’ll begin with some new songs and videos that I’ve introduced with my own descriptive verbiage (beginning with a couple of “exceptions to the rule”), and then followed that with a few more music streams that will somehow have to represent themselves through sound alone, difficult as that may be to imagine. (I also intend to present a rare week-day edition of SHADES OF BLACK later today or tomorrow in order to foist some more recent music on you.)

By the way, did you see that on July 6 Nuclear Blast will be releasing the first new Immortal album (Northern Chaos Gods) since All Shall Fall? It’s just Demonaz and Horgh, of course, but with Peter Tägtgren as session bassist. Even without Abbath in the line-up, I’m kind of excited.

AMORPHIS

I was also kind of excited about the prospect of a new Amorphis album when I first learned of it. That band has been the source of many joyous moments for yours truly in the past, and they put on a hell of an exciting show the only time I’ve seen them live (at Maryland Deathfest). Of course they and I have evolved to the point where their music isn’t as “extreme” as most of what I listen to these days, but when they’re on their game, even in these later days they still produce a thrill. Continue reading »

Apr 202018
 

 

We’re about to make a couple of exceptions to our usual rules around here. As the site’s title proclaims, we usually steer clear of vocals that aren’t ugly and abrasive. And it’s a rarity when we pay attention to stoner and psychedelic rock. But it’s 4/20 today, and besides that, this song by Let It Breathe that we’re about to premiere through a video is so… damned… good!

These three dudes — guitarist/vocalist Randy, bassist Rob, and drummer Jason — make their home in Mankato, Minnesota, a town located along a large bend of the Minnesota River at its confluence with the Blue Earth River. Through those waters swim massed schools of bullhead catfish. Some people fish for them, some use them for bait. They’re an ancient oddity, spiny and be-whiskered, with a taste for dead and rotting sustenance, nearly blind but with a keen sense of smell and taste buds packed throughout the skin of its body. They live in the darkness; they’ll probably outlive our own species.

So yeah, they’re weird creatures, but they’re also very much a part of the culture where Let It Breathe make their home, and maybe both aspects played a role in the band’s choice of the bullhead for the cover of their self-titled debut album and for the name of the song we’re premiering: “Bucket of Bullheads“. Continue reading »

Mar 262018
 

 

Space is still the final frontier. We gaze with our own eyes into the sparkled black vault of the night sky or peer more closely through telescopes, and there we see the undiscovered immensity of our past and the harbingers of our future looking back at us, producing a sense of wonder, awe, and perhaps fear.

Metal bands across a wide range of genres have taken the cosmos as their subject matter, and tried to express in different ways through their music the different perspectives and emotions spawned by consideration of the universe and our own tiny, fleeting place within it. Within that spectrum of sounds, Italy’s Deadly Carnage have take their own place with Through the Void, Above the Stars, a new album that will be released through A Sad Sadness Song on March 30. We present a full stream today, preceded by these thoughts about what they’ve created: Continue reading »

Mar 152018
 

 

(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Judas Priest.)

I have now given this album time to sit with me. My first concern about a Priest album at this point in their career is how is Rob’s voice going to hold up? We might be able to live without KK, but as the Ripper Owens years proved, Rob’s  voice is one of the defining traits of this band.

The first two songs are pretty much dialed-in versions of their former arena-rock classics. Think closer to Defenders of the Faith, which found  the band trying to replicate the massive success of Screaming For Vengeance. While the ghost of Priest past might haunt some of the songs, it is without a doubt a better album than Redeemer of Souls. It has the up-tempo aggression that influenced the thrash bands that would follow. “Lightning Strike” has more of a gallop than the opener. The over-dubbed vocal layers that show Halford’s upper range are pretty convincing. Continue reading »

Mar 132018
 

 

I returned to Seattle last night after more than a week in Iceland, which was glorious in all sorts of ways, from the music at Oration Fest to our day trip on Sunday around the Golden Circle (which included stops at the Þingvellir National Park, the geothermal area in Haukadalur, the Kerið volcanic lake, and the stunning Gullfoss waterfall pictured above).

I’m trying to get back into the usual swing of things at NCS, but it hasn’t been an easy transition. I catch myself just staring into space and day-dreaming about the trip. The fact that metal didn’t obligingly stand still while I was gone makes the transition even tougher. I think it’s hardly even worth trying to catch up with all the new music that emerged since I left Seattle roughly 10 days ago. I decided it would be less stressful just to focus on some of the music I discovered this morning.

ZOMBIEFICATION

I’m leading off this collection with the song I heard most recently this morning out of all of these — a new track by the Mexican death metal band Zombiefication, who have been favorites of ours around here for many years. The new track is “Blood Falls“, and it comes from a new album entitled Below the Grief, which will be released later this year by Doomentia. Continue reading »

Mar 032018
 

 

If the two songs on this new split aren’t a perfect match, I don’t know what is. It’s not that they’re twins, not even fraternal twins. It’s that they complement each other so beautifully. I don’t know to what extent the artists shared their ideas before completing the compositions, but the experience of listening to the two songs together is so enthralling that you might think they were working together through a Vulcan mind meld.

Entitled Alone Among Mirrors, the split consists of one song by Black Mare, the solo project of L.A. musician Sera Timms (Ides of Gemini, Black Math Horseman), and one song by Offret, the solo project of Russian musician Andrey Prokofiev. It was released just yesterday on 7″ vinyl and digitally by Dark Operative. Continue reading »

Feb 212018
 

 

I don’t know if I’ll manage to follow through, but my plan for today is to post two round-ups of new music, this one being the first. As the post title suggests, I carved these songs away from the others and pulled them in here because the vocals in each of them aren’t solely of the kind that would suit the (demonstrably porous) rule in our site’s title. That’s right (gasp), there are some clean-sung melodies in these tracks… combined in each song with harsh ones.

Of course, to my ears the tracks have many other things to recommend them or I wouldn’t have asked you to listen. But the varied voices in these tracks are part of what made them stand out to me.

AILS

In April of last year I came across and wrote about a song from a two-track demo by a Bay-area band named Ails, whose line-up included two former members of the sorely missed Ludicra — vocalist Laurie Sue Shanaman and guitarist/vocalist Christy Cather — as well as guitarist Sam Abend (Desolation, Abrubt, Scurvy Dogs), drummer Colby Byrn (One In The Chamber, 2084, Aequorea), and bassist Jason Miller (Apocryphon, Cretaceous, Phantom Limbs). At the time, Ails was in the process of mastering their full-length debut and were seeking label support — and they got it, to no surprise of mine or anyone else who heard that demo. Continue reading »