Aug 202019
 

 

It’s an eclectic mix of sounds that I’ve chosen for today’s round-up; an authoritative but not infallible source doesn’t consider any of them metal. As on other occasions, I’ve benefited from recommendations received from Rennie (starkweather), which are the first two bands in this selection. The first of those, Wells Valley, was already a known quantity to me, though I didn’t know they had a new album set for release. The second one (Indus) was a new discovery, as were the next two, which I learned about in other ways.

Hektik‘s new EP seemed to pair up very well with the recent Indus EP, which is why I’ve put them back-to-back in the middle. The music of Burden Limbs is a different breed of cat altogether, but I’ve found myself hooked on the song I’ve included here, and by the forthcoming EP from which it comes.

WELLS VALLEY

In June of this year Black Lion Records released a compilation CD (also available as a name-your-price Bandcamp download here) named Afterlife In Darkness I. It includes songs by 29 bands taken from past and future releases by Black Lion. I should have paid closer attention to it, because one of the five tracks from forthcoming albums on that comp is the new song (“Paragon“) by Wells Valley that I’ve picked to start today’s collection, which is also now streaming on a recently established Bandcamp page for their new album. Continue reading »

Aug 152019
 

 

By last night I had accumulated 63 new songs or complete releases that I wanted to check out, almost all of which had surfaced over just the previous 48 hours. Ridiculous, but that’s the rate at which new music is arriving these days. It would be easier to keep up if my tastes weren’t so wide-ranging, but it would be tough even if I were solely focused on just one micro-genre.

Obviously, I didn’t listen to all 63 of the items on my list. I was more interested in some items than others, and then just kind of randomly skipped around until stumbling to bed, bewildered. It happened that some of what I decided to listen to wasn’t metal, or it was only metal in part. That doesn’t happen very often, because I try to stay focused on the genres that NCS focuses on. But curiosity got the better of me, and I eventually decided to group together some of those off-the-beaten-path selections for this post.

Some of this is really waaaay off our usual beaten paths, but don’t despair if you’d rather just stick with extreme metal. I have another grouping of stuff that’s more in our wheelhouse, though I probably won’t get that other round-up written until tomorrow.

LIGHTNING BOLT

Lightning Bolt have a truly fascinating history, and an equally fascinating artistic bent (if it’s a new name to you, check out what The Font of All Human Knowledge has to say about ’em. I know I’ve dabbled in their music in the past, and I’m not sure I can explain (even to myself) why I’ve only dabbled. I decided to dabble again after seeing a friend link to this first song on Facebook along with a story about how they played in a street near downtown Seattle when too many people showed up to fit into the tiny art space where the show was scheduled. The flock of people blocked streets in all directions, 10 cop cars showed up and just waited for the show to end… different times for sure. Continue reading »

Aug 102019
 

 

I hope your weekend is off to a good start. As you can see, I managed to start mine last night without allowing the demon alcohol to inflict obliterating damage on my brain, only moderate damage (it feels like there’s a tiny man, center-right in my skull, repeatedly jabbing with an ice pick). And so I decided to pull together four of the better songs I heard over the last 36 hours and one I discovered about a week ago. All of them are from forthcoming albums.

BLOOD RED THRONE

September doesn’t seem as far away as it did when I wrote about a new song from Blood Red Throne‘s new album back in June. That album, Fit To Kill, is the ninth full-length in a career that began in 1998, and it will be discharged by Mighty Music on the lucky 13th of September. Now there’s a second song from the album out in the world, a track named “Requiem Mass“, which premiered this week at DECIBEL. Continue reading »

Aug 072019
 

 

This makes the fourth round-up in the last 7 days, and the sixth one if you count the two-part SHADES OF BLACK I compiled for last Sunday and Monday. I know this isn’t going to continue. Eventually my fucking day job or some distraction in my personal life is going to put the squeeze on my NCS time again, and the new-music round-ups will dwindle. But I’m doing my best to make hay while the sun shines before things get overcast again.

As for what I chose today, the main themes are cranial trauma and reflexive movement. Lots of cool album art in here too.

GATECREEPER

Man it’s good to get a new Gatecreeper album. Their first one, Sonoran Depravation, was killer, and all the short releases they’ve made since then have been too. The new one, Deserted, will be released by Relapse Records on October 4th. The first single, “Boiled Over“, is accurately described by the band as an effort to mix “the melodic side of Bolt Thrower with the crushing heaviness and groove of bands like Obituary or Crowbar“. Continue reading »

Aug 062019
 

 

I had time last night to check out a bunch of new songs that surfaced in recent days, and from that listening excursion I decided to pick the ones below for a Tuesday playlist. Serendipitously, all the bands have one-word names. However, both their locations and musical styles are diverse. You’ll encounter varieties of old school death metal, black metal, metallic hardcore, and death/crust — and I hope you’ll like all of it, because I sure as hell did.

DARKENED

Metal-Archives lists two long-defunct bands named Darkened, one from Sweden and one from the UK. The Darkened whose music I’ve chosen to begin today’s round-up is obviously neither of those, though the line-up of this new band does include members from Sweden and the UK — as well as the U.S. The band may be new, but those members will be known to many of you through their numerous other projects: Continue reading »

Aug 032019
 

 

In a rare showing of restraint, I didn’t slaughter millions of brain cells last night in celebrating the end of the work week. Consequently, I woke early this morning without feeling like I’d contracted the plague while asleep, and spent a block of time making my way through many new songs that had come my way over the last couple of days. From those I picked this collection.

Today, in addition to emphasizing stylistic diversity, I decided to focus even more on lesser-known names than usual, though it’s always our standard practice to make sure we’re not just writing about what everyone else in the metalverse is writing about. Having said that, I couldn’t resist beginning with a name that’s undoubtedly been on the lips of vast throngs since yesterday’s song reveal. And that name is…

BORKNAGAR

In his review of 2016’s Winter Thrice, my friend Andy remarked that “it only takes a quick glance at the Membership Timeline on the band’s Wikipedia page to see how many different members and line-ups the group have gone through over the years, while somehow still retaining the same creative drive and overarching musical identity that first brought the band together”. That list will become longer now, with the impending release of Borknagar’s 11th album, True North, which features new drummer Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow and new lead guitarist Jostein Thomassen. Missing this time around are Vintersorg, Jens Ryland, and drummer Baard Kolstad, who had made his first appearance on Winter Thrice.

On the other hand… Continue reading »

Aug 012019
 

 

The music in the first Part of today’s round-up of new music leaned into the deathlier side of the metal spectrum, but this second Part is more all-over-the-place. Once again, I’m starting with the announcement of a new album, even though I don’t yet have music from the record to share with you.

ESOTERIC

We don’t make a habit of simply posting announcements of new releases because there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day for that kind of thing. Plus, our main mission is to recommend music we enjoy that we’ve actually heard. But this week I’ve made several exceptions to that rule based on the eye-catching nature of cover artwork, coupled with high levels of confidence that the music is going to be exciting. I’m doing it again here, in the case of funeral doom icons Esoteric and Lisa Schubert‘s cover artwork for their new album, A Pyrrhic Existence. Continue reading »

Aug 012019
 

 

Today’s round-up of new music and videos again comes in two-parts, which is more a statement of optimistic expectations than a present reality, since I haven’t started work on Part 2 yet. As for the present reality of Part 1, it’s focused on the deathlier side of the metal spectrum. As I did earlier in the week, I’ve also inserted an announcement unaccompanied by music, which I rarely do, but again couldn’t resist.

BODYFARM

I’m beginning with that announcement. Even though there’s no music yet to share from Bodyfarm’s new album, I couldn’t resist adding it to this collection because Dan Seagrave‘s cover art is so spectacular (this series, after all, is called SEEN and heard for a reason). There’s also the added attraction of this Dutch band’s previous releases, which provide solid reasons for expecting good things from the new one. Continue reading »

Jul 302019
 

 

To continue with the round-up I began earlier today (here), I’ve got another wide scattering (stylistically speaking) of new music and videos, and as I did in the first post I’ve snuck in an announcement that (sadly) I’m not able to accompany with new music.

PAGANIZER

I decided to begin with this new Paganizer track for three reasons. First, because I needed to see Dan Seagrave‘s fantastic artwork for the new album at the top of our page until tomorrow. Second, because I have a crippling weakness for the music of Rogga Johansson, and Paganizer is the oldest and longest-running of the numerous groups to which he has devoted his talents over the last quarter-century. And third, because the track is a killer. Continue reading »

Jul 302019
 

 

My usual mission, and it’s usually an obvious one, is to compile these round-ups of new music in a way that presents diversity. When I make my own playlists of music, I prefer to have one track vary (stylistically) from the next to the next to the next. And that’s in the back of my head when I make these SEEN AND HEARD collections; I think of them as playlists of what I would like to listen to, with the added benefit that because the sounds vary, even listeners who have very pronounced preferences might find at least one thing that grabs them, even if they don’t like everything else.

Having said that, what I’ve collected today is particularly all over the place. It starts within the red zone of insanity, and winds up there again, and there are some other zones of insanity in between, zones of very different colors. I don’t expect all of you to like all of this. If you did… well… you would be me, and wouldn’t that be weird? (Obviously, I’ve divided the collection into two Parts, with the second to arrive later today.)

SAMMATH

On this day (July 30) the Dutch black metal band Sammath celebrate their 25th birthday, and they have done that by releasing a stream of the first song from their new album, Across The Rhine Is Only Death, via a DECIBEL premiere. As the name suggests, and as the band explain, the album is “a true tale of death and destruction”, conceptually focused on the final months of World War II when Germany desperately tried to hold the Rhine as its western border. Far from a celebration of war, it represents an effort to summon the horrific annihilation that humanity is capable of inflicting on itself — and this new song is utterly annihilating in its own right. Continue reading »