Feb 222019
 

 

Here are six songs and videos that stood out from the pack in my seeing-and-hearing session last night and this morning. Some other items also stood out, and perhaps I’ll get to those tomorrow (perhaps along with other things I’ll find today). Everything below is new, except for the second song and video, which is newly discovered.

DEVIN TOWNSEND

This first video is actually a last-minute addition. I had this round-up nearly ready to go when I noticed a message from my comrade DGR that read as follows: “New Devin Townsend video out in the wild. Does a good job highlighting how batshit the songwriting is. Still has its ‘Space Enya’ moments”. Continue reading »

Feb 142019
 

 

(Andy Synn prepared this trio of album reviews, catching up on recommended albums from last year.)

With a small (and rapidly closing) window in my schedule of upcoming reviews/releases, I’ve decided now is the perfect opportunity to cover three artists/albums from last year that, for various reasons, I didn’t get a chance to cover at the time.

So, without further ado… Continue reading »

Feb 112019
 

 

With the weekend now behind us we’re resuming the rollout of this list, beginning the 6th week of the trek, with a self-imposed stopping point looming closer (by the end of this month, and possibly earlier — not sure which, since I haven’t finished compiling the list).

Almost every year I’ve shoe-horned music into this annual escapade that doesn’t really fit the label of “extreme metal”, and I’m doing it again today (and might do it yet again before I’m finished this year). Among other things, these two songs have plenty of (very good) clean singing. But although they may not be as extreme as almost everything else, they’re heavy enough — and they’re also damned memorable

KHEMMIS

I’m very happy to say that we’ve been backing this Colorado band since long before they became household names — and if they’re not yet at household name status, they can’t be far away, after three such exceptional and broadly appealing albums — Absolution, Hunted, and now Desolation. Among the core group of NCS writers, Andy Synn was the last to tumble to how good Khemmis‘ music is, though he tumbled pretty hard once he gave it a chance following the band’s performance last year at Maryland Deathfest. Continue reading »

Feb 072019
 

 

This week has been ridiculous. With the exception of the year-end holiday season, when releases slow down a bit, every week now brings a flood of new music from metal bands and labels, but this week seems to be turning into a typhoon. With most of Thursday (as I write this) and all of Friday still to come, it’s only going to get worse/better. So once again, I’m resorting to a two-part round-up.

But even with a two-part collection I’m still not going to be able to comprehensively cover the (rising) waterfront. I’ve still had to make some choices, and so in Part 2, in addition to the usual write-ups, I’m just going to link you to additional streams of music that I’m not writing about in more detail. I’m doing that then instead of now, because I haven’t yet figured out where to draw that line.

MISERY INDEX

Two days ago, via Loudwire, Misery Index released a lyric video for another new track off their forthcoming album Rituals of Power. As the band explain: “‘The Choir Invisible‘ is a euphemism for the dead, or those who have passed on. In the context of this song, it is an anthem of the dispossessed and the hopeless. Many across the world exist in an ‘in-between’ state that is often ignored and/or washed over because they lack the power and voice to plead their case as human beings. The song takes up this theme and tells it from the somber view of those who risk their lives, board ships and cross oceans in order to find a better life.” Continue reading »

Feb 032019
 


Ellende

There’s quite a lot of new music I’m recommending in this Sunday’s column — three full EP streams (one of which is an EP-length single composition), plus advance tracks from three forthcoming albums. Coincidentally, four of the featured bands are essentially solo projects.

As usual, I picked these selections in part to provide some listening variety, though there’s certainly more than a fair share of melancholy and grandeur to be found herein, along with a fair share of ripping and tearing. I also positioned one selection to provide a bit of a diversionary interlude through its interweaving of Neo-Folk elements (and clean singing) among heavier sounds.

ELLENDE

I discovered this Austrian atmospheric/post-black metal band through a 2016 video of the title track from their 2014 EP, Weltennacht. I couldn’t get the song out of my head, and the video was hard to forget, too, since it included film of the 1987 public suicide of a Pennsylvania politician (Budd Dwyer) at a press conference he conducted the day before he was to be sentenced to prison following a conviction for bribery. Continue reading »

Jan 302019
 

 

One consequence of agreeing to present so many premieres (four of them yesterday alone!) and persisting with my Infectious Song list (even though it’s already 40 tracks long) is that I have much less time to round up new songs and videos. As a consequence, my list of new things to listen to and write about has become so vast that it resembles a paper version of this scene from a beloved movie.

With more premieres to write for today and another installment of “Most Infectious” as well, I don’t really have time to catch up today, but I did want to quickly mention the music below before turning back to those other labors.

INTEGRAL RIGOR

Because of the conditions described above, I’ve barely scratched the surface of Alast, the just-released new album by the Iranian band Integral Rigor, but have had a very warm reaction to what’s gotten under my fingernails so far. Continue reading »

Jan 232019
 

 

(Wil Cifer reviews the 14th album by Arizona’s Flotsam and Jetsam, which was released on January 18 by AFM Records.)

When it comes to bands I grew up on there is a tightrope balancing act they must brave. One part chasing the dragon to recapture the sound I fell in love with, versus becoming a tired parade of nostalgia.

Even though Flotsam and Jetsam‘s new album sounds like they are picking up where they left off on 1988’s No Place For Disgrac., the production gives this a heavy enough density for jaded eardrums that have grown calloused by higher tolerance for heavy over the years.

As a teen I liked When the Storm Comes Down (1990), but something about the album was a bit off. Looking back, it’s more evident that the production was steering their sound in more of an And Justice For All… direction. Continue reading »

Jan 022019
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Swedish group A Swarm of the Sun, which will be released by Version Studio Recodings on January 11th.)

After debating with myself for a while I’ve decided that the best way to kick off my 2019 at NCS is by… covering some minimalist, melancholy, and mostly instrumental Post-Rock where the vocals, sparingly used yet sublime, are delivered in a plaintive, cleanly-sung croon.

Who, me, contrarian?

In all seriousness though, A Swarm of the Sun’s previous album, The Rifts, was easily one of the richest, most rewarding musical experiences of 2015, so much so that I was compelled to include it in my Critical Top Ten of the year alongside other such impressive entries from bands like Sulphur Aeon, Bell Witch, and Alkaloid.

Hence you can probably imagine just how eagerly (and impatiently) I’ve been waiting for the band to produce this follow-up, which is scheduled to hit the streets (and the internet) next Friday. Continue reading »

Dec 052018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by In the Woods…, which was released on November 23rd by Debemur Morti Productions.)

While this will most likely be my last review before I unveil my annual end-of-year onslaught of lists and lurid opinions, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be my last review of the year, as I already have several items earmarked for further coverage during the post-Listmania come-down.

I didn’t want to sit on this article any longer though, as this particular collection of words has been burning a hole in my brain for several weeks now, and I was starting to worry that I was risking permanent damage if I waited much longer.

So here’s a few thoughts, and maybe even a “hot take” or two, about the magical new album from In The Woods… Continue reading »

Nov 292018
 

 

Last Sunday when I wrote about my imminent two-week vacation I though it was unlikely that I would be able to assemble any new-music round-ups. But for my traveling companions, yesterday was an especially lazy day, and so I found a bit of guilt-free time to explore new music.

Not a lot of time, mind you, and so I didn’t cast a very wide net over everything of interest that had surfaced since the last of these round-ups, nor was I able to choose as many songs as I usually do. But these three struck a strong chord, and I’m happy with the choices.

ROTTING CHRIST

Season of Mist uses the term “anthemic” to describe the new Rotting Christ song it released yesterday, and so it is — in a way that’s distinctively Rotting Christ. If you’re familiar with their music, you would know it’s them even if no one told you. Continue reading »