Oct 042018
 

 

Two days ago Metal Hammer published an essay entitled “I witnessed the death of genres“, in which the author raved about the live performance he’d recently witnessed by a band named  Scarlxrd, praising the artist’s hybridizing of musical styles from different genres, including metal. The article ended with these words:

“Where else will you find a night of music so indebted to aggressive metal and hip-hop, but unafraid to introduce AC/DC and Oasis into the mix? This is the future of music. Just music. Nobody cares about your arcane genre tags or inexplicably niche sub-genres that only two bands fit into, it’s all just sound, we’re in a genre fluid world and you should embrace it. Music is beautiful and narrow-mindedness is ugly.

“Be part of something, be part of everything.”

This provoked a Facebook status by my NCS colleague Andy Synn. By the time I saw it, it had drawn a large number of comments and exchanges, and one of those dialogues was with our mutual friend and former NCS scribe Joseph Schafer (who now writes for such publications and sites as DECIBEL and Noisey, after a stint as Invisible Oranges‘ editor). Continue reading »

Aug 202018
 

 

(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

…of the good. Or so we’re so often told. And a chance encounter on Twitter this weekend only reaffirmed this particular factoid to me.

Allow me to set the scene a little. As part of my duties monitoring and managing the Beyond Grace twitter account, one of the bands I frequently interact with is Allfather (whose new album you can read about here), as I like their music, their ideology, and their general outlook on life (although I do sometimes question their taste in beer), and have enjoyed several productive discussions about music, politics, and other related topics, with them as a result.

Cut to yesterday, when I see that they’ve become involved in a thread about how anti-fascism is now becoming the “in” thing for a lot of bands, with the original poster asking for more recommendations of artists who are consciously and explicitly rejecting the current geo-political shift towards authoritarianism, while also asserting that, if we want this to be more than just a passing trend, we need to really get behind and support the movement.

So far, so good, right? Continue reading »

Jun 252018
 

 

(In this post Andy Synn discusses the phenomenon of metal bands releasing remastered or re-recorded versions of older albums, and recommends two recent examples of the practice, by Vader and Hetroertzen.)

For all that we’re supposedly in another “Golden Age” of television, I know there are quite a few people out there (thousands upon thousands of them) who are becoming a little tired of the seemingly constant stream of reboots and remakes of supposedly “classic” (and some not-so-classic) shows from previous eras, under the assumption that some sort of ingrained sense of nostalgia will help sell them more than something like, say, quality writing or a new, interesting premise, would.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of these new versions of older shows are absolutely fantastic, and benefit greatly not only from the new and improved technology of today, but also a greater freedom to reimagine things which comes from a more modern idea of what television can be, when given the chance to do more than simply entertain. It’s just that, as you might expect, the number of lazy remakes vastly outweighs the more creative ones.

The same sort of thing goes on in the music world too, particularly in the Rock/Metal world, where artists with long-running, wide-ranging careers often feel the need to at least remaster, if not entirely re-record, material from their early days, if only because they feel that the technology or budget available to them at the time simply wasn’t sufficient to allow them to properly capture what they were really trying to convey.

And, let me tell you… I’m not entirely against this process. Continue reading »

Jun 152018
 

 

(Andy Synn offered the following thoughts about his conception of our mission here, plus recommendations of three new albums.)

Why are we here? That’s the big question which has been playing on my mind for a while now.

Not in the philosophical or religious sense though, more the very concrete, very real question of why are WE, the people who make up NoCleanSinging, actually here? What is our purpose? What are we trying to achieve? Continue reading »

Mar 152018
 


Anthony Pilon: “The Fevered Sycophant”

 

(Andy Synn goes on a rant.)

 

I don’t know about you guys, but the amount of fawning hype I’ve seen being bandied about with regards to certain bands recently has begun to make me feel a little green around the gills.

It’s not so much the fault of the bands in question either – both Rivers of Nihil and Conjurer (to name but two) have produced new albums recently which, while overhyped to a frankly ridiculous degree in places, richly deserve the praise they’ve been getting – nor do I blame them for capitalising on it, but the general lack of any sense of professional ethics or detachment and the perceived unwillingness (or inability) to even try to be even semi-objective on the part of many of those who call themselves “reviewers” has really started to get my goat.

And I realise I may be putting the cat amongst the pigeons here, nor do I contend that NCS is entirely innocent in this regard either, but the fact of the matter is that a large number, maybe even the majority, of the reviews that I encounter these days tend to read more like unpaid press releases than an attempt at any sort of critical analysis/assessment. Continue reading »

Dec 022017
 

 

(We invite you to respond to Andy Synn’s invitation to fill in a certain alphabet…)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll doubtless be aware that a little band called… Morbid fuckin’ Angel… just released their long-awaited and highly-anticipated – albeit with a certain amount of trepidation – new album, Kingdoms Disdained.

And while it’s not a total three-point-slam-dunk-home-run (I don’t know sports…) it’s still a solid album, replete with a bevy of stand-out tracks that go a long, long way towards redeeming the band’s slightly tarnished reputation.

Although I still contend that it should have been called Judas Continue reading »

Oct 032017
 

 

Anyone who pays any attention knows this:  Every day is filled with tragedy, somewhere. We go on here, as everyone else does, because what else are we to do?

I think at some genetically encoded level we know death as well as we know anything. We repress the experience, we fight it, but we know it in our marrow. And we go on with our lives anyway, even when death intrudes in some particularly horrific and incomprehensible way, because in an unthinking way we’re geared to survive.

Enjoyment of our survival is tinged with guilt on days like yesterday and today, as unreasoning as that is. Still, we forge on, because every living thing is driven to do so, even living things as self-destructive as we are, with our giant, toxic, and beautiful brains. Continue reading »

Sep 092017
 

 

(Andy Synn is the author of this thought piece, and as always, we welcome your own thoughts in the Comments.)

I/we recently received a pair of promos here at NCS that couldn’t have been more diametrically opposed in style, Deus Salutis Meae by Blut Aus Nord and Will to Power by Arch Enemy.

The former is a return to the oppressive, industrialised soundscapes of The Work Which Transforms God and Mort, whose purposefully unsettling nature practically epitomises the idea of “art for art’s sake”, while the latter is a collection of shamelessly catchy, if predictably formulaic, tunes, designed with one eye firmly on increasing the band’s popularity and mainstream (in Metal terms at least) appeal.

And though the two bands/albums have very little in common on the purely musical side of things, their very nature means they can still be compared as representing the two polar extremes of the modern-day Metal spectrum. Continue reading »

Sep 022017
 

 

(Andy Synn is now lobbying the Oxford English Dictionary for recognition of a new word.)

In case you didn’t know, yesterday saw release of the brand new album by Symphonic Death Metal titans Septic Flesh (yes, I’m still spelling it as two words).

Now while I’m not planning on reviewing it here (that honour will, in all likelihood, fall to DGR), I will say that Codex Omega feels like a big step up from The Great Mass and Titan, the latter of which in particular suffered (in this author’s opinion at least) from a noticeable lack of balance between the “Symphonic” and the “Death Metal” aspects of the band’s sound, with the lion’s share of the effort put into the orchestration, while the drums and riffs (or lack thereof) were treated very much as an afterthought.

And as Codex Omega is such a big improvement on its predecessors in this regard, I felt it might be high time we all got together to discuss the costs/benefits inherent in “symphonisizing” (a word I’ve just invented) your sound. Continue reading »

Aug 202017
 

 

I’m still in Wyoming with a bunch of good friends, now one day away from the total eclipse of the sun that we came here to witness together. Last night was another late session of stargazing, boozing, and the kind of unpredictable conversation that boozing under the shine of the Milky Way can produce.

Much earlier in the day NCS contributor Grant Skelton had sent me a link to a song that I had decided to include in today’s SHADES OF BLACK column (which I haven’t even started writing, but will write, I promise — though I might not post it until eclipse day tomorrow). And the name of the band reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in years, and that provoked one of the most interesting conversations under the stars last night. Continue reading »