Jan 242021
 

 

We had a rare day with no posts yesterday. I spent most of my free time clawing through the hundreds of mostly un-read e-mails that had piled up in our in-box last week, and made a gigantic list of new music to check out, and then attempted to do the checking. I didn’t finish listening to everything because the list was so long. But of the new stuff I heard, the following collection kind of assembled itself.

I don’t think any of these bands require an introduction. All of their names are prominent. And all the songs until the last one have a pronounced old school death metal flavor. They’re also all heavy on the chugs, and the death metal tracks include uniformly ferocious vocals. Melvins obviously aren’t a death metal band, but their new song is also heavy on the chugs, and there’s also another reason why it fits in an “old school” round-up.

P.S. If you came here today expecting to find a SHADES OF BLACK column, be patient. It’s coming.

ASPHYX

As mentioned above, there are a lot of powerhouse vocalists in this collection I’ve assembled, beginning with the inimitable Martin van Drunen (a lot of people do try to imitate him, and to be honest, some do so with some success, but there still ain’t nothing like the original). Continue reading »

Jan 222021
 

 

It’s been another one of those weeks when a smorgasbord of distractions (did you hear we inaugurated a new President?) prevented me from doing much more at NCS than write up the premieres I’d agreed to do. As the days rolled on I noticed dozens of new songs and videos that I’m anxious to check out. I haven’t gotten to most of them; I guess I know how I’ll be spending this weekend. But I did seize on a few of them, and from those I picked the three included in this quick Friday round-up.

BEYOND GRACE (UK)

Yes, I suppose you could accuse me of nepotism with this first pick, given that our own Andy Synn fronts the band in question. But I’m just so thrilled for him and his band that I honestly haven’t given a second thought to my decision to lead off with this new song and video. And it’s not just that the song and video are so good, it’s also that the video premiered on the day of an announcement that Beyond Grace had signed to Prosthetic Records for the release of their next album. Continue reading »

Jan 182021
 


Redemptor

 

(As the title suggests, Andy Synn prepared the following list of some of the albums (though certainly not all of them) he’s eagerly awaiting in the coming year.)

Well, it happened, it’s now the third week of January and I’ve already fallen behind when it comes to reviewing new albums.

Honestly, I can think of at least five records from the last week or two that I really want to write about and that a big proportion of our readers would probably get a real kick out of… but instead of doing that I’m going to publish a list of some of my most anticipated new releases of the year still to come… because logical consistency and common sense were never my strong points.

Now, as it so happens the final version of the article you’re reading is slightly different from the first draft, as I managed to get a hold of new albums from Stortregn, Autarkh, and Suffering Hour while I was writing it, and since I’m definitely going to be writing about each of them in full at some point soon I decided to switch them out for three other selections instead.

Obviously this list is in no way comprehensive. There’s a lot more than ten artists/albums I’m really looking forward to hearing over the next twelve months But I’ve tried to purposefully avoid many of the bigger names in order to focus in on a bunch of bands who I personally love but whom many of our readers may not have been aware were going to be bringing something out this year. Continue reading »

Jan 042021
 


photo by Tør

 

Decibel magazine and other media outlets have reported a statement released by Napalm Records, which we then found in our own in-box this morning, that the veteran Finnish musician and vocalist Alexi Laiho passed away at home in Heklsinki sometime last week. No cause of death has been reported. Laiho was 41 years old.

For me, as for many others, this is very sad news. In my case, Laiho and Children of Bodom were one of the important gateways that led me into extreme metal. I came to the genre much later in life than many of the people who visit our site, and have spent the last 15 years or so catching up and riding the tide forward. COB were one of a handful of bands that made the music finally click in my head. Continue reading »

Jan 022021
 

 

Last night I decided not to post anything today and instead spend the time trying to figure out how to begin rolling out my 2020 Most Infectious Songs list next week, and to get my shit together for when my day job starts whomping me in the head again on Monday. I have spent some time on both of those projects but my NCS obsession got the better of me, and I took a break to listen to some things on my ever-burgeoning list of music to check out. From that listening session, I picked what you’ll find in this round-up.

I have made a few compromises, compared to what I usually do in these posts, so I can get back to the other projects a bit faster. The main compromises were to dispense with tracking down, re-sizing, and uploading album art, and to write less.

GATEWAY (Belgium)

Been anxiously awaiting the first preview of music from this death/doom band’s new EP, Flesh Reborn, and it finally arrived today. The ferocity of “Slumbering Crevasses” will maul and mangle you, and the cavernous monstrosity of the vocals and quivering eeriness of the leads may put the hair up on the back of your neck too. When the song slows, it’s still punishing, and even more apocalyptically frightening. Continue reading »

Dec 292020
 

 

Just a few days left in this year that has been so miserable in so many ways, but so great when it comes to heavy music. Speaking of which, my plan is to finish rolling out our year-end lists by January 1st. At this point, I have five more slated to post. Soon after the beginning of the new year I’ll begin the last stage of NCS LISTMANIA, which is my list of 2020’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I have a lot of thinking to do about that between now and then.

In the meantime I’m still trying to keep up with newly arriving metal. My fucking day job has been relatively calm over the holidays, which makes this task a bit easier, though I expect it to heat up again after New Year’s Day. Here’s some of what I discovered over the last 24 hours that lit me up.

VOID (UK)

The London-based avant-garde black metal band Void, who have been active since 1999, don’t hurry their releases. If you’ve heard either of their first two albums — 2003’s Posthuman and 2011’s Void, you’ll understand why. This isn’t the kind of music that can be thrown together quickly, but it has been so unusually good that it rewards the patience of fans. And now, a decade after their last album, Void will be releasing a new one through Duplicate Records near the end of January 2021. Continue reading »

Dec 252020
 

 

Childhood memories tend to be fuzzy, at least around the edges. I have some vivid ones, but can’t always place them in chronological order. For example, I have some very clear memories of opening Christmas presents with my brother, and the rest of my family happily watching our glee. Some of those happened on Christmas Eve, and some upon waking on Christmas Day. Having been infected by the Santa Claus myth, I assume the memories from the daybreak celebrations were the earlier ones, and the nighttime ones happened after our family figured out (rightly or wrongly) that we had wised up about the myth, but I can’t be sure.

What I do know is that the nighttime gift-openings were more magical, even if they didn’t square with the notion of deliveries by Santa and the reindeer while my brother and I were off in the Land of Nod. Maybe it’s because the lights and ornaments on the Yule trees shown more brightly (our family wisely turned off all other lights in the room). Maybe there are other reasons why those memories are more scintillating, but if so, those reasons are… fuzzy… kind of like the gauzy light that shrouds these recollections in my mind. Continue reading »

Dec 052020
 

 

For me, Friday nights always create severe risk for Saturday mornings. I know this, yet am doomed to have to re-learn the lesson. So it was that my latest lesson began last night, mixing all sorts of intoxicants over the course of two Zoom get-togethers with different groups of friends, and today the lesson has been completed in hangover hell.

Strangely, listening to raucous music seemed to help rather than hurt, though trying to write remains… challenging. Hope you get some good out of the music I picked, along with whatever guidance comes through my meager words.

BLACK HOLE DEITY (U.S.)

To begin, I’ve chosen “Railgun Combat“, the first single off the forthcoming debut EP of Black Hole Deity, whose line-up includes members Chaos Inception and Malignancy (the full line-up is Chris White, Alec Cordero, Cam Pinkerton, and Mike Heller). Continue reading »

Dec 032020
 

 

We only made one NCS post yesterday, a consequence of some of our writers working on their year-end lists and myself getting ridden off the road by highwaymen from my day job. I managed to pick some things for a new-music round-up, but getting chased through the woods put an end to the actual writing. But now it’s done, a day later than anticipated. I picked more songs for a Part 2 of this SEEN AND HEARD column, but I have a feeling I’ll be chased again, so I’m making no promises.

I put these particular three songs together for several reasons, but probably the most prominent one is that all three feature powerhouse vocals.

LOCISTELLAR

Eighteen months have passed since I spent time talking with Lance Netherlin at the 2019 edition of Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle, before knowing that Locistellar existed or that Neatherlin was the band’s vocalist. I later learned that the band had been founded in London by drummer Didier Almouzni (Razor of Occam, Dragonforce) and guitarist Alexandre Lenormand (Loudblast), who then relocated to Seattle where they brought in other members, including Lance Neatherlin and guitarist Eric Snyder (Second Coming, The Crying Spell). Continue reading »

Nov 282020
 

 

I don’t have any words of wisdom to offer today, other than the usual: Wear your damn masks, stay away from other people as much as possible, and stop bathing and wiping after you take a shit so that other people will stay away from you. If you must go out, play the following tracks on a boom-box so people will run away.

FORTÍР(Iceland)

To begin, here’s a video for a song called “Pandemic” because, as you can tell, the virus is on my mind (as it is on most days) — but also because the hooks in this song are potent, from the rocking and rumbling drum rhythms to the darting, gleaming, and roiling riffs. The vibrancy of the song is as contagious as the subject matter, and so is the menace that surfaces in its more frenzied episodes. Meanwhile the vocals are utterly scorching. Continue reading »