Jan 162021
 

 

CLEAN SINGING ALERT!

This past week I missed two days in the rollout of this list, for reasons explained when I was able to resume it. I also mentioned that I might try to catch up this weekend, et voila!

As the alert warns you, or maybe entices you, all three of today’s selections involve singing, and thus run counter to the rule in our site’s title. But as regular NCS visitors know, that’s never been an iron-clad rule. We have always made exceptions where exceptions are well-earned, and they are in the case of these songs. Plus, I found these songs highly infectious, so much so that I could not in good conscience omit from this list. (And these won’t be the last partially or wholly clean-sung songs to make the list.)

CIRITH UNGOL

Reunions and come-backs are a whole lot more miss than hit, but holy shit, have Cirith Ungol been hitting it out of the park since they came back together after almost 20 years of inactivity. Along with some great live shows, their 2018 single “Witch’s Game” was a sign that the band still had it. And last year brought further proof with the release of Forever Black, their first studio album since 1991’s Paradise Lost. Continue reading »

Dec 182020
 


Ecclesia

 

(Andy Synn follows yesterday’s installment of “Unsung Heroes” with another one, this time presenting reviews and streams of new albums by two French bands and one Italian group, all of which provide well-deserved exceptions to our “Rule” about singing.)

As I’ve tried to stress several times – not just this year, but every year – it is literally impossible for any “Best of…” list to be totally comprehensive and/or definitive.

There’s only so much listening time available, and so many, many albums released each year, that the most you can ever really hope for is a representative sample of the year’s “best” releases.

It’s in acknowledgement of this unfortunate, but incontrovertible, fact of life that I first started writing these “Unsung Heroes” articles in the hope of providing some well-deserved, albeit retroactive, coverage for a bunch of artists and albums which I/we didn’t get chance to cover in proper detail before now, and which you, our readers, may well have missed out on too.

Today’s article has a particularly doomy focus although, as you’re about to find out, each of the three bands featured here has a distinctly different take on the genre.

Of the three artists I’m about to (possibly) introduce you too, one of them is a very recent discovery that I didn’t stumble across until my week-long list-a-thon was almost finished, while the other two I was hoping to be able to write a paragraph or two (or five) about prior to “List Season” commencing, but just never found the time. Continue reading »

Dec 042020
 

 

(NCS writer Gonzo turns in a glorious review of a pretty fuckin’ glorious album by Texas-based Eternal Champion, which was released in late November by No Remorse Records.)

I know, I know – we’re all busy making our best-of-2020 lists and doing our best to not lose our collective shit as a result of staying inside all day. But, before the year’s end, I wanted to squeeze another review in, and it’s one that we somehow missed mentioning up to this point.

Sharpen your fucking swords, kids, because if you haven’t heard the marauding onslaught of old-school metallic warfare that Eternal Champion cooked up on Ravening Iron, gather ‘round.

One of the things I love about metal is its unending propensity to not take itself too seriously. To quote a friend from long ago who’s also the vocalist for Orange County outfit Bleed the Sky, “what most people don’t understand about metal is that it’s basically goofy dudes drinking beer and making stupid faces a lot.”

“You know, he’s right,” I remember thinking to myself while sitting in his garage at 3 a.m. drunk off my face on the vile combination of Jager and Rockstar. Oh, to be 23 again.

Those words from my friend echoed in my head when I first saw the artwork for Ravening Iron and read a little about the band in a Decibel interview. I concluded that the band was probably a latter-day incarnation of Manowar. Probably a good listen for a nostalgic chuckle or two, but nothing I’d take seriously. The over-the-top artwork and the fact that vocalist Jason Tarpey forges his own swords (while inherently badass) told me that maybe this is a pet project that was more glam than hammer.

By the might of Thor, was I wrong. Continue reading »

Oct 232020
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Pallbearer, which is being released today by Nuclear Blast.)

“This is going to be our heaviest album yet” or “We just wanted to strip things down and get back to our roots” are stock answers for many metal bands when asked about their next records. So much so they have become tropes. Yet that is what has happened on Pallbearer’s fourth album, which is their first for Nuclear Blast.

The title track that opens the album is even more Sabbathy than anything from Sorrow and Extinction, which of the three previous albums has the most in common with this one. Some of this is due to the rawer production. The vocals are mixed to sit back more in the guitars, bringing out the heft of the guitars. Continue reading »

Sep 052020
 

 

For me, this past work-week was much like the one before (and the one before that, and the one before that), i.e., I had to devote so much time to the fucking day job that I couldn’t keep up with the usual flood of new metal, much less pull together any new-music round-ups. This morning I spent some time trying to catch up, at least a little, and from that exercise I picked the following nine new songs and videos.

I arranged things in a particular way — beginning with something that’s rousing, then going down into sadness (verging on despair) with a block of songs that happen to include clean singing, then beginning to pull out of that mood with reminders that not not everything is horrible (and with music that’s more extreme), and then concluding with something that ought to perk you up again.

GAVRANOVI (Serbia)

Six months ago my Serbian friend Miloš pointed me to “Pjevanija prva” (“Cry of Yore”), the fantastic first song released by the Serbian band Gavranovi (a word that means “ravens”). I still know very little about the band, though now I know a bit more than I did then.

Gavranovi’s frontman is Nefas, who was the vocalist for the great black metal band The Stone for almost 20 years. A second member, Janković, who seems to be the principal instrumentalist, plays the gusle, a traditional horsehair-string instrument that dates back to the 9th century. And there are three more members, all of whom also perform vocals — Matković (who’s also credited as a guitarist), Sokolović, and Rančić. Continue reading »

Aug 292020
 


Fates Warning

 

(Because your humble NCS editor has done a shit job compiling new-music round-ups in recent weeks, our contributor Gonzo stepped up and offered to begin doing that himself on Fridays, and this is the first edition. It actually would have been posted yesterday, on Friday, except your humble editor fucked that up too.)

Suffice to say, it’s been a fucking weird year.

Weirder, perhaps, is the fact that so much new music keeps rolling out from all corners of the earth; weirder still is that most of it is quality material instead of half-assed live albums, comps, EPs, singles and cover albums.

Most of it.

(I’m looking at you, In Flames.)

Before I start spiraling into a tirade about my odious thoughts on the Clayman reboot, allow me to get right to it: Yesterday, August 28, marked another Friday in this endlessly bizarre, dystopian and occasionally terrifying timeline we all just call “2020,” and it marked another day of new metal coming to assault our eardrums.

This one’s a glorious mix of old and new, and some stuff I’ve been anxiously awaiting for a while. Continue reading »

Jul 292020
 

 

Happy hump-day. To help get you over the hump I compiled this short collection of new songs and videos from among others I checked out last night and this morning. Apart from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed all of these, they give you a lot of variety. Surely you will enjoy at least one, if not all of them. If you don’t, we’re not offering refunds.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX

The opening drum pattern in this first song and video reminded me of Kate Bush‘s hit from the mid-’80s, “Running Up That Hill”. Even if I hadn’t already been a fan of Crippled Black Phoenix and curious to see what they’d be doing on their new album, that alone would have rooted me in place for the rest of this ride — and what a wonderful ride it is. Continue reading »

Jul 232020
 

 

(On July 24th — tomorrow — Nuclear Blast will release Metal Commando, the new 13th album by the German power metal band Primal Fear, and in anticipation of the release DJ Jet interviewed the band’s co-founder and frontman Ralf Scheepers — which we now present.)

 

Hi Ralf this is Jet of No Clean Singing how are you doing today?

-I’m good, thanks how are you? Thanks for having me here.

 

So Ralf you started Primal Fear back in 1997 — what were the early days like for the band?

-Feeling very fresh haha. So the early days were somehow like being very excited about doing something new, and as we came from different bands, like Sinner existed of course and I came from Gamma Ray, so for me it was just an initial start point to somehow continue my career with a new band. That was just amazing for me. So yeah it felt really good to write music again, to write heavy metal again the way we love it, it’s just great. Continue reading »

Jul 112020
 

 

If you’re a fan of Enslaved, Pallbearer, Kataklysm, Black Crown Initiate, Oceans of Slumber, surely you know about the new singles they released over the last few days from their next albums (most with videos), and if you didn’t know, now you do (just follow those hyperlinks to listen and watch). You probably also saw the announcement of a new Napalm Death album and Decibel’s “Get Behind the Mask” feature with photos of 140 masked-up artists.

But rather than provide commentary about those widely touted events I decided to turn my piggish snout toward the sniffing out of truffles your own snouts might not have detected yet, which is mainly how we use our olfactory organs at NCS.

REBEL WIZARD

Rebel Wizard‘s new album Magickal Mystical Indifference was just released yesterday by Prosthetic Records, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve also just released a colorful, metal AF new video (made by Exotic Corpse) for an album track named “raiseth up all those that be bowed down“. Continue reading »

Jul 102020
 

 

Here’s another short round-up of songs and videos as a way of wrapping up our posts for this week. I have in mind another one for Saturday.

THEOTOXIN

This first video has it all — flashing images of swarming maggots, snakes, death in the insect kingdom, human and goat skulls, stone tombs, abundant torches and candles, skies ripped by lightning, and a masked and corpse-painted band ripping through their song in a cavern. It’s missing a human sacrifice, but we shouldn’t be greedy. Continue reading »