Oct 272018
 

 

(Andy Synn provides the following preview of Damnation Fest 2018.)

Exactly one week from today I’ll be back traversing the hallowed halls of Leeds University Union, which is once again playing host to another edition of Damnation Festival.

It’s a little-known fact that Leeds was actually one of my preferred choices when applying to university, but probably more widely-known that Damnation is one of my favourite festival experiences of the year (alongside Inferno and MDF, which suggests that I’m much more of an indoor festival guy) and one which I would recommend to any fan of the heavier side of music, in all its glory and variety.

Once again this year’s festival features a wide array of hand-picked bands drawn from across the Extreme/Alternative spectrum, running the gamut from legendary artists to up-and-coming contenders, so I’d like to use this column to highlight a few of the ones I’m most anticipating. Continue reading »

Oct 252018
 

 

“It’s death metal” doesn’t really tell you very much, which is why fans of extreme music long ago began inventing an ever-expanding, increasingly-hyphenated roster of sub-genres. I suppose one of those is “ritualistic death metal”, a kind of phrase that’s difficult to define but you sort of know it when you hear it… sort of. However, my use of the label “Death Rituals” for occasional posts like this one isn’t really intended to describe the style of music, it’s just a short-hand preview of the fact that I’ve decided to devote a round-up of new music to different styles of death metal, and that’s what you’ll find below.

SULPHUR AEON

I’ll go out on a limb and assert that Sulphur Aeon’s Swallowed By the Ocean’s Tide was one of the most explosive death metal debuts of the last 10 years. It didn’t hurt that the cover art by Ola Larsson was equally attention-grabbing. Together, the art and the music vaulted this German band onto the radar screens of fans and critics across the metal-listening parts of the globe in strikingly impressive fashion, and they cemented their reputation with 2015’s Gateway to the Antisphere. Now Sulphur Aeon and Ola Larsson have joined forces again for the band’s third album, The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos. Continue reading »

Oct 202018
 

The subject of this little Saturday round-up of new videos is… happiness

ACCEPT

Happiness… happiness is being Accept and performing “Symphony No. 40″ before a bazillion people at Wacken Open Air with your own backing orchestra and conductor, stadium-sized video screens, abundant pyrotechnics, a couple dozen cameras filming the event, and a damned good editor splicing all the footage together. It doesn’t hurt that your lead guitarist (Wolf Hoffmann) looks like Bruce Willis. Continue reading »

Oct 182018
 

 

I think this must be a first — for five days in a row I’ve had enough time to compile a round-up of new songs. Doesn’t mean I’m anywhere close to catching up with everything I’d like to recommend, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Today, I chose the first four good songs I found when I began scrolling through the morass of e-mails that had arrived at NCS overnight and this morning. Not exactly the most thorough method of making a selection, but it had the coincidental benefit of presenting some pleasing variety, as you’ll see….

BLOODBATH

Chainsaw Lullaby” is a clever and amusing title, and of course it makes no secret about the meat of the sound. But before we get to this new song off Bloodbath’s forthcoming album, The Arrow of Satan is Drawn, let’s here from Anders ‘Blakkheim’ Nyström about the track: Continue reading »

Oct 172018
 

 

I can guarantee you this won’t last, but for the fourth day in a row I’ve had enough time to compile a round-up of new songs, two of which are presented through extremely cool videos.

I can also guarantee you that you won’t see where this collection is going. No two songs sound remotely alike. Sometimes there’s a flow or a connection between the songs I pick for these posts that just feels right as I hear the music, even if I’m not always able to explain it. This time I just fuckin’ liked all the songs and videos, and the only other thing that feels right is imagining how the movement from one to the next will throw you off balance.

AGRYPNIE

Way back in January of this year my comrade Andy Synn identified Agrypnie’s fifth album as one of his “most anticipated” releases for 2018, relishing the prospect of “some seriously intense blastery, brilliantly moody melody, and artfully applied aggression… along with a heaping helping of brooding atmosphere… and a bevy of unpredictable twists and turns designed to expand the band’s already expansive ‘Post’ Black Metal sound”. At last, that album is upon us. Actually, two of them are upon us. Continue reading »

Oct 162018
 

 

Happy Tuesday to one and all. This makes the third day in a row when I’ve found time to round up new songs, and the third day in a row when I’ve focused on underground bands as opposed to bigger names. It’s not that I have any kind of reflexive distaste for the music of economically successful bands whose names are a known quantity world-wide (which, like the music of bands who toil in relative obscurity, is simply a familiar mix of excellence and mediocrity). It’s more that they really don’t need one more metal blog giving them a boost. And sometimes (but not always), that feeling steers me toward bands such as those discussed below.

WHOREDOM RIFE

This Norwegian duo from Trondheim (multi-instrumentalist V. Einride and vocalist K.R.) have made a big and favorable impression on discerning consumers of metal extremity in a relatively short time, through their self-titled debut EP in 2016 and their first album last year, the fantastic Dommedagskvad, both of which were released by Terratur Possessions. Now they return with a new album, NID – Hymner Av Hat. Continue reading »

Oct 152018
 

 

I’m in catch-up mode on songs that debuted last week. At first I thought I would include the new Soilwork and Gorod songs in this collection, along with a few others from what I’d call similarly higher-profile bands, but then last night I hit this stretch of four songs in a row that seemed to hang together so damned well that I jettisoned those earlier plans. All four have slaughtering death metal at the core, hence the title of this post, but you’ll notice significant differences among them as well.

And then, the first thing I saw this morning were messages from multiple friends on Facebook pointing me to a new Svartidauði song, which was such a welcome surprise that I hurriedly inserted it at the top before getting to the four I chose last night. No need to change the post title.

SVARTIDAUÐI

Yes indeed, the Icelandic band Svartidauði, whom I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing live both in Reykjavík and here in the U.S., have a new album coming our way. Entitled Revelations of the Red Sword, it will be released by Ván Records on December 3rd, six years to the day after the advent of their debut album Flesh Cathedral. This morning, along with that announcement, the band provided a stream of a new song called “Burning Worlds of Excrement” — which could double as a headline for the daily news. Continue reading »

Oct 142018
 

 

Four months ago Fallen Empire Records announced that it would be shutting down, marching blissfully to its demise at some point before the end of this year. For those of us who had greatly respected the musical choices of this Portland, Oregon label and enjoyed so many of its releases over the last seven years of its existence, this was sad news indeed. But Fallen Empire isn’t moving toward self-extinction with a whimper, but in something akin to a blaze of glory.

Based on a Fallen Empire announcement two days ago, I count 6 albums and one EP scheduled for release later this month (plus a Triumvir Foul release by Vrasubatlat that FE will be distributing), another seven releases in November, and six more in December. Most of these will be physical releases made-to-order based on however many copies are pre-ordered. Some will be digital releases by Fallen Empire, with physical editions provided by Amor Fati Productions, and some will also be released on cassette tape.

Along with that announcement, Fallen Empire launched a sampler of music from eight of these forthcoming releases on Bandcamp — the ones that FE will be handling exclusively — and the music is fantastic. Along with those eight song streams, the label also revealed the artwork for all but one of them, and the cover art is also quite good. In fact, let’s start with the artwork, which I’ve annotated with the name of the band whose album it will accompany: Continue reading »

Oct 092018
 

 

I’ve chosen so much new music to feature in this stylistically eclectic round-up that I’m going to dispense with any further preface and just get right to it.

MAJESTIC DOWNFALL

Veins” is the first track released (just yesterday) from Majestic Downfall‘s new album, Waters Of Fate, which will be released on December 7th by Solitude Productions and Weird Truth Productions in Europe and Asia and by Chaos Records in the Americas. If you couldn’t guess based on how much praise we’ve heaped on this Mexican death/doom band over the years, this album is one we’ve been eagerly looking forward to. If possible, I’m even more eager now that I’ve opened those Veins. Continue reading »

Sep 262018
 

 

This was hard. I spent more than an hour yesterday just going through all the e-mails that had landed in the NCS e-mail septic tank in-box since I left on vacation last Friday and, from what I found there, adding to the endless list of new music and videos I thought might be worth checking out. And then I started going through what I’d added to the list, listening and watching until I had to make myself stop.

I found a great many dramatically different things I thought would be worth sharing, so many that I picked 10 of them for this post. And that’s not counting such things as Revolver’s exclusive song premiere for Devouring Star, the just-released split by Ragana and Thou, Terror’s new track, or the new track by Minsk that premiered at DECIBEL, among others. (You see what I did there?)

We’ve got three premiere features of our own today that I need to finish, so I’ve got to keep my own commentary in this post a bit briefer than usual.

ZEALOTRY

First up is the title track from At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds, the new album by the Boston death metal band Zealotry. It will be released on December 7th through Unspeakable Axe Records. Continue reading »