May 292020
 


In the Company of Serpents

 

(Today Andy Synn completes his week-long foray into the realms of doom with another trio of reviews. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you’ll find them here and here.)

The one thing which unites the three bands featured in this article, the third and final edition of my week-long focus on all things slow, heavy, haunting, and atmospheric, is their sheer quality, as each one of them could be considered a highlight of this year’s bumper crop of doomy delicacies. Continue reading »

May 272020
 


Close the Hatch

 

(Andy Synn continues his week-long foray into the realms of doom with another trio of reviews today. If you missed Part 1, you’ll find it here.)

For the second part of this week long doom-odyssey we’re tacking into sludgier waters, tinged here and there with currents of Post-Metal melancholy, so if that’s not your sort of thing… well, the lifeboats are over that way.

Still, if you do choose to abandon ship at this point you’re going to be missing out on three absolutely killer albums, at least one of which is firmly in contention for a spot on my “Critical Top Ten” list at the end of the year. Continue reading »

May 222020
 

 

Time for me to resort to this format again in an effort to pack in as many new songs and videos as I can — a format that’s short on words (and cover art) and long on sounds. I’ve alphabetized the selections by band name and then divided this mega-roundup into two Parts. Part 2 isn’t quite finished, so you’ll have to tune in here tomorrow to catch the rest.

CONVOCATION (Finland)

We begin with frightening yet enthralling funeral doom that has the gravitational force of a black hole yet also levitates — monstrous groaning and pounding heaviness speared by gleaming shards and surrounded by shimmering effervescence and shuddering feverishness, with a haunting instrumental break and an atmosphere that becomes one of ominous majesty.  The variable vocals (both harsh and clean) are absolutely stunning in their intensity, to the point of being terrifying…. and presented through a video that’s also fascinating. Continue reading »

May 212020
 

 

Fellahin Fall‘s unusual musical formulation amalgamates earth-quaking heaviness and ethereal sounds of astral mystery, somber yet beguiling intonations and soaring vocal extravagance, futuristic electronic accents and vast, panoramic soundscapes that wondrously shimmer and shine. Their melodies are entrancing (both chilling and soulful), their rhythms viscerally powerful, and the atmosphere of the music seems to transport the listener across time and space into altered realms.

Fellahin Fall‘s debut album, Tar a-Kan, was just released on May 15th. As the band explain: “It’s narrated by a man in the near future who is ravaged by the change in time, technology, and himself. Tar a-Kan struggles to come to terms with his ever-changing state and the crushing urbana that surrounds him.”

The music has been described as “gothic-industrial” and as “dark-wave industrial”, and those descriptions refer to the band’s significant use of synths and keyboards, creating gleaming cascades of sound as well as darting vibrancy, and to the weight and potency of the body-moving percussive undercurrents, as well as the resonance of the singing. But those shorthand descriptions don’t fully encompass the range of sensations the music presents, or the ways in which it kindles the imagination to produce unearthly visions. Continue reading »

May 202020
 

 

Maybe it’s the mental discombobulation that comes from being basically stuck at home for two and a half months, but I’ve noticed that I’ve started inserting things into these round-ups that don’t fit in with our usual musical interests and that sometimes violate our general (yet historically porous) rule about singing. I don’t want anyone to worry too much about this drift, because extreme underground sounds are always going to be my lodestar, but in today’s collection I’m once again indulging some musical interests that diverge from main lines of NCS.

And yes, there will again be a lot of singing. But just so you don’t get too freaked-out, I’m bookending the collection with some harsher recommendations.

DKHARMAKHAOZ

I found out about this first song just this morning, thanks to a timely message from Rennie (starkweather), who wrote: “Guitar tone is almost like early Portal, but, the bass has far more clank and clatter and then there are chord choices that are more informed by conventional black metal and folk melodies… vocalist sounds like a deadite.” Which made me lament the fact that I haven’t been clever enough to compare vocalists to deadites before. Continue reading »

May 162020
 

 

I hope your weekend is treating you well. Because I didn’t over-do things during my usual Friday night virtual happy hours, I was able to spend some time catching up with new songs and videos this morning, and I picked these to share with you. It’s an eclectic mix, even by the standards that I usually apply to these round-ups in an effort to ensure variety (and to keep our visitors off-balance). Lots of videos in this particular collection, too.

TRIPTYKON (Switzerland)

To lead off, here’s a video of a live performance by Triptykon of “Rex Irae” from Celtic Frost’s Into the Pandemonium. The song is the first movement in the “Requiem” trilogy, which also includes “Grave” (performed for the first time at the same concert where this video was filmed) and “Winter” (which first appeared on Monotheist).

The performance of all three movements of “Requiem” took place at Roadburn 2019, and Triptykon was accompanied by the Metropole Orkest, by Hannes Grossmann on drums, and by vocalist Safa Heraghi. The orchestration was composed by Alkaloid and Dark Fortress frontman Florian “Morean” Maier, working with Tom G. Warrior. Continue reading »

Apr 272020
 

 

Few episodes in French history, or indeed of world history, have captured the imagination of so many people, or proved as inspiring, as the short life of Jeanne d’Arc (or Joan of Arc, for us English speakers). Born to peasant parents in roughly 1412, she claimed to have received visions in her teenage years of the archangel Michael and various female saints commanding her to lend her support to the unanointed king Charles VII in an ultimately successful effort to rescue France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War.

As part of a relief army, the king sent her to the Siege of Orléans, which was lifted only nine days later. But in May 1430, after further military triumphs, she was captured by a faction of French nobles allied with the English, who turned her over to the English. They tried her on a variety of charges, declared her guilty, and burned her at the stake on May 30, 1431. She was about 19 years old when the flames took her.

We’ve provided this truncated reminder because the new album we’re premiering today by the French black metal band Abduction is a concept album based on the life of Joan. Entitled Jehanne, it will be released by Finisterian Dead End Metal Label on April 29th, as a remembrance of the day on which Joan entered the besieged city of Orléans in 1429. Continue reading »

Apr 222020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Sweden’s Katatonia, which is set for release on April 24th by Peaceville Records.)

It’s probably worth pointing out, right at the start, that City Burials is not – despite what you might read elsewhere – the best album of Katatonia’s career.

Neither, however, is it their worst, as some others, angry that the band haven’t produced exactly what they wanted, would have you to believe.

What it is, is an intriguing, emotive, yet oddly uneven, collection of songs which vary in tone and texture – some erring more towards the band’s classic brand of metallic melancholy, others leaning more towards gleaming, gloomy goth-pop – but which are all, ultimately, tied together by the sublime vocals of Jonas Renske, who gives what could very well be a career-best performance. Continue reading »

Apr 212020
 

 

We have a lot of things planned for today at our site, including an album review, a couple of premieres, and a gigantic round-up of new music, but I’m getting a slow start on readying any of those posts for publication. But then I saw that Hail Spirit Noir had revealed the first excerpt from their new album, and that solved the problem of how to begin the day without further delay.

We don’t usually feature only one new song in a post unless it’s a premiere, but our affection for this Greek band runs deep, as does curiosity about what this new album will sound like, given the fascinating shifts in style that have already occurred over the course of Pneuma (2012), Oi Magoi (2014), and Mayhem In Blue (2016). Of course, as the band’s first three albums have already proven, one song drawn in isolation from the rest of an HSN release doesn’t completely represent what the rest of the record will sound like, because the band have an adventurous streak in them.

But beyond what can be gleaned from the new song that debuted today (“The First Ape On New Earth“), we do have this accompanying statement by the band about the album, the title of which is Eden In Reverse: Continue reading »

Apr 152020
 

 

We’ve all now seen examples of songs that were written and recorded long before the pandemic reared its ugly head and took our throats in its teeth, but which now seem as if they had been written yesterday. “Hypochondriac” by the British band Burden Limbs is one of those songs. Now must be a particularly miserable time to be a hypochondriac, but the music also captures the tension, the terror, and the sense of unreality that now pervades everyone’s existence, while the words convey meaning that goes beyond the afflictions of mere hypochondria.

What we’re presenting today is a disorienting and disturbing lyric video for this song, one that is well-suited to the disorienting and disturbing sensations in the music. The band’s vocalist Chad Murray explained it to us this way: Continue reading »