Dec 032022
 

Unlike Friday from a week ago, which I erroneously proclaimed was a Bandcamp Friday, yesterday really was one, which meant that more of the the money you might spend there would go to the bands and labels. But of course I couldn’t manage to get a round-up of recommendations finished. We had a lot of other time-sensitive things to post, and my day job also interfered.

But it’s not like we hadn’t already provided a lot of recommendations over the month since the last Bandcamp Friday, so many pf them that the wheezing sound I heard might have been your wallets gasping for mercy. But there is no mercy today, just more choices, maybe to be squirreled away for the first Bandcamp Friday of 2023. At the end of this I’ll also pitch you a curveball.

OBITUARY (U.S.)

For three reasons I decided to begin today’s collection with another new track off Obituary‘s next album. One, it’s Obituary. Two, it’s a good song. Three, it gives me an excuse to point you to a very entertaining article. Continue reading »

Nov 292022
 

Lo and behold, even though we’re two days past the Thanksgiving break my fucking day job is still mostly leaving me alone, so I’ve got time for a quick round-up of new songs and videos this Tuesday. Given the song I picked as the opener, it’s an outlier from my usual proclivities, but don’t worry, it gets a lot more subterranean after that, and then ends with a rebellious song that qualifies as a well-earned exception to our rule about singing.

METALLICA (U.S.)

A good argument could be made that Metallica is the biggest name in metal, and therefore a name very unlikely to appear at this site, where we tend to focus our attention on bands who need (and deserve) more exposure. Even just listening to their new song “Lux Æterna” wasn’t high on my list of things to do. It felt like I’d just be joining a surging crowd of lemmings and wondering just how big a cliff I’d be falling off of.

And then I began to see comments from assorted friends on social media who aren’t given to mindless fawning, even though, unlike me, they spent their formative years listening to Metallica during the band’s best years. One of them thought Metallica were channeling Motörhead. Another wrote that it sounded like a lost Diamond Head cover from Garage Inc. But everyone seemed to be liking it, even if maybe it was pushing slightly different buttons from person to person. So, I gave in and gave the song a shot. Continue reading »

Nov 262022
 


Skarntyde

Since yesterday was a Bandcamp Friday [actually, it wasn’t, as Nic pointed out in a comment below] I wish I could have spent more time recommending more music than I did, but at least I got a full handful of choices out there. Now my hands are full again, and when I open them these things will fly like moths to your flame, or I hope they will.

This new collection was the result of lots of surfing the effluent that continually floods the interhole, searching for nuggets that aren’t the kind you’d find in a septic tank. I found them, an octet of them (including three complete EPs), but I must confess that in the course of the sifting I fell into a strange trip. Dark moods descended, and occasionally lifted, but not entirely. I encountered nostalgia too, and found a pair of curveballs to throw at you for the finale, which is always fun, especially for those of you who have no idea about baseball.

But of course, although these trips are mainly about what pleases me, I always hope (fervently) that some or all of it will please you too. Continue reading »

Nov 252022
 


Host

When you combine a Black Friday with a Bandcamp Friday the result is a goddamned typhoon of new music and videos, with bands and labels not only launching sales but trying to take further advantage of the situation with new releases, some of them out today and some now up for pre-order.

Correction: As Nic pointed out in a comment on the post following this one, Black Friday was NOT in fact a Bandcamp Friday, and now I’ve forgotten why I thought it was. On the plus side, I get to do something like this again on December 2nd!

I can’t say I’ve waded through all of it to make your shopping experience easier (I’m only one bedraggled human and speed-cloning is a generation or two away), but I did make my way through some of it, and have these recommendations for you.

I also did try to provide some genre scatter in the choices, knowing that not everyone loves everything, and to provide a range of radar elevations among the bands. As vivid proof of that, I’m leading off with… Continue reading »

Nov 222022
 

Surely there’s some software plugin floating around out there that would let us put a ticking clock on the site, counting down to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today. But hell, who has the time to hunt for that thing? Not us. You’ll have to set your own timer.

Why is 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today worth paying attention to? Because that’s when Northwest Terror Fest will put a limited number of early-bird tickets on sale for the 2023 edition of the fest, which will take place at the Neumos and Barboza music venues in Seattle next Memorial Day Weekend (May 25 – 27).

And why should that matter? Because look at this line-up, which NWTF announced yesterday: Continue reading »

Nov 212022
 


artwork by necrosadist

On November 21, 2009, I made the first post at this blog. On the 21st day of every November since then (except last year, when I forgot to do it until a few days later) I’ve made a post celebrating our birthday. And here I am doing it again, because we’ve survived another year.

In these annual posts I usually explain how I had no ambitions or expectations when I started the blog, nor any training or experience as a music writer, and that the sum total of my motivation was to create an enjoyable diversion for myself from the grind of daily life, and to indulge my burgeoning interest in heavy music. And there, I just did it again, albeit in fewer words than usual.

In these annual observances I also tend to reminisce about how many things about NCS have changed from the early days, and about how surprising it is to me that we’re still here. Some of you remember the early days, because you were here with us then and haven’t left. Others who have begun checking in here more recently might yawn if I indulged in that kind of nostalgia, so let’s just skip that, as I did last year too, and get right into expressions of gratitude and the annual tradition of mind-numbing statistics. Continue reading »

Nov 192022
 


Enslaved

It’s lamentable how little music I’ve written about today. Last night I engaged in an old tradition I’ve rarely observed since covid began marauding in March 2020, i.e., drinking in person with co-workers I usually see only on computer screens. I’m out of practice, and so forgot where the off-switch was, leading to… too damned much drinking.

On my ferry ride home I was thinking about how I would begin today’s column, knowing that I had about three-dozen links to new songs and videos I’d selected out of what I noticed over the last week, and knowing I’d never make it through all that. Fueled by whisky, I wrote this:

Imagine yourself seated across a table from a wizard, or rather what seems like a wavering mirage of a table, alternately expansive and as narrow as a rat’s tail. He buries his hands in a bowl of spiky glittering baubles and throws them at your face. Pleased with your wide eyes and the rivulets of blood coursing down your face, he chortles and beams. The pain and the exhilaration, now you feel alive!, he proclaims. And then black tentacles begin to sprout from his robes and writhe in your direction.

Reading that this morning through eyes almost pasted shut by the goo of sleep, I wonder how the hell that metaphor sprung to mind. The spiky baubles represented all the new songs and videos, I know that much, but the rest of it? The ways of whisky can be mysterious….

Anyway, I don’t feel so great this morning, and the day is rapidly flying by, so what follows is all I’ve been able to accomplish. Maybe these songs will leave you wide-eyed and bloodied. One can only hope. Continue reading »

Nov 122022
 

I devoted Friday’s round-up to new songs and videos from some of the bigger names in metal. As promised, today we’re digging deeper underground (tunneling is our preferred activity around here). But man, there were so many possible choices it may have made me cross-eyed.

To get un-crossed I fell back on four old favorites. I usually skimp a bit on the black metal in these Saturday collections because I’ve got tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column reserved for that, but the fate of this Sunday’s column is a bit uncertain because a certain local NFL team is playing in Germany with a start time of 6:30 a.m. where I live. So I’ve made adjustments.

AENAON (Greece)

I would have checked out Aenaon‘s noirish new video even if the video’s thumbnail hadn’t shown a gorgeous pair of legs and some fetching high heels, but that sure didn’t hurt. There’s also the fact that I’ve shamefully neglected writing anything about the band’s recently released album Mnemosyne, and it’s time to make modest amends for that. Continue reading »

Nov 112022
 

At this site we spend much more of our time trying to unearth underground gems and to push rising stars whose music deserves a push than we do acclaiming bands who are already household names, with big labels and robust PR machineries behind them. That’s not “virtue signaling”, it’s just a fact.

Does this mean we’re elitists who turn up our noses at the music of “big names”? Not at all. Though we pride ourselves on not fawning over those names even when they trip and release music that’s more likely to provoke yawns than excitement, we’re not immune to their allure — after all, most of them got big for a reason, and some are capable of reminding us why, at least until the well of inspiration runs dry.

It so happens that this week produced new songs and videos from a lot of big names, some of whom are returning after long absences. I’ve collected five of them in this round-up. It kind of clears the way for me to spend tomorrow focusing exclusively on names more obscure. Be forewarned: there’s lots of singing here today.

OBITUARY (U.S.)

Six years after the release of their last (self-titled) album Obituary will be releasing a new one in January named Dying of Everything. Founders John and Donald Tardy and Trevor Peres are still in harness, and bassist Terry Butler and lead guitarist Kenny Andrews are back for another round too. Continue reading »

Nov 072022
 

Every year when we approach the middle of November I always seem to have the same thought: “Man, this year really flew by!” Of course at other times of the year I think, “Man time is really crawling like an old crippled man who lost his crutches, can’t this fresh hell go away faster?”

Well, the blurred-time feeling always comes this time of year because I’m staring at the calendar and realizing how much is about to happen this month at our putrid site. We have lots to do, and people seem to look forward to it. But this month we also ask readers to do a lot, to help us out. It’s the beginning of probably the most “interactive” time of year at NCS.

And so I thought now might be a good time to provide reminders for those of you who inexplicably don’t organize your own calendars around happenings at NCS. Here are some key dates coming up: Continue reading »