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 »

Nov 272020
 


The Corona Lantern – photo by Tom Šrejber

 

I had plans for a “Thanks Giving” post yesterday, ruminating on why the holiday still means something to me, even though as a godless heathen the only spirit in the sky I’m thankful to is this one. It was going to include observations based on this fascinating article about how the science of the brain helps understand why this time of year can be so melancholy, why the stresses of the pandemic have made the sadness (and the anger) even worse, and why we could all get some good out of not using our prefrontal cortex so much.

I was even going to explain what I had just learned, based on this absurdly detailed article and this video, about how toilet paper is made, and in particular about how the hell they perforate such fragile sheets of soluble cellulose. I even had a way of connecting that subject to the others, which will now remain a mystery, because I obviously ran out of time yesterday before I could write it.

Now that we’re on the other side of Thanksgiving Day I don’t feel up to writing the post I had conceived of, and will just say that somewhere along the way I intended to thank all of you who make NCS possible and all who support it, as well as all the bands — though I already did that when celebrating our 11th birthday not so long ago. But it can’t hurt to renew expressions of gratitude, and it might actually be therapeutic, so thanks again.

And now here’s a bit of music, a very tiny bit compared to my usual round-ups, but time is again about to run out. More coming this weekend. Continue reading »

Nov 242020
 

 

(Our Atlanta-based contributor Tør returns to NCS with the third edition of a series that began here in August and continued here in September.)

It’s official: I am in I-don’t-give-a-fuck-anymore mode. Between quarantine, social distancing, and Covid-induced madness, I’ve managed to stay above water but barely. Like most of us, I miss going to shows, hanging out with fellow metalheads, having a beer or two, and getting my ears blasted with hellish riffs in some smoke-filled, damp shithole in the sketchy part of town. As Islander points out in this piece, it has become abundantly clear by now that we will be dealing with this mess for the foreseeable future and any talk of a vaccine sorting things out, at least immediately, is pure fantasy.

Adding to the misery is the current political situation in the US and elsewhere. Recently, we were made to choose between two sets of incompetent and corrupt candidates whose political grand accomplishments include gems such as drafting the 1994 Crime Bill, imprisoning thousands of black men on minor (and often bogus) drug charges, building a ridiculous border wall, giving the rich more tax cuts, and tweeting nonsense at the world all day, everyday, for the last four years. Those who have done the most damage to American society by harassing, abusing, and dividing its people with their actions and rhetoric are now masquerading as leaders committed to social justice and unity. Continue reading »

Nov 232020
 


Moonspell

 

(For the second (or is it the third?) time, our editor (that would be me) screwed up and didn’t get Gonzo’s Friday music round-up posted before having to turn to non-NCS work, but we’ll just pretend again that Monday is the new Friday. Hope you have a good weekend on Tuesday.)

Doing what you love for a living can often be the ultimate study in double-edged swords, in the sense that getting paid to do it all day makes doing it for fun… somewhat less fun.

In this case, I’m talking about writing. The past month has seen me doing a lot of it, and unfortunately, the bulk of that has gone towards my new day job instead of describing the dark and devastating tones found here at NCS.

Today is Friday, though, and my chronic addiction to loud music is overtaking any professional obligations. For now.

Join me as I blast out some words about some new shit you can crank up and bang your head to. Continue reading »

Nov 152020
 

 

One look at the title of this post tells you it’s a mega-sized round-up. Deprived by my fucking day job of the time to do round-ups during the work-week, I’ve been left to do them on Saturdays. But I had to do non-NCS work yesterday too, so here we are, with a Sunday collection of new songs and videos.

Big as it is, this post barely dents my list. But picking the music of these nine bands made sense to me, because I was again lucky to listen to songs which seemed to line up nicely into a playlist that flows rather than jars. For those of you who come here on Sundays for SHADES OF BLACK, fear not because I still plan to write that column too (though it will be short), and you’ll find some black metal below as a head-start.

TRIBULATION (Sweden)

To begin, I’ve chosen a new song and video named “Leviathans” by the Swedish band Tribulation. My appreciation for their music took some time to grow after they began changing their musical course, but witnessing their amazing performance at Iceland’s Ascension Festival in 2019 made me a true believer, and this new song does nothing to shake that. Continue reading »

Nov 072020
 

 

Two things have combined to cut way back on what I’ve been able to do at NCS this past week, and especially yesterday and today. First, my effing day job has gotten me busier than at any time since the pandemic hit hard in March. I even spent most of this Saturday morning working that job instead of listening to metal and pulling together a Saturday round-up. And second, you may be aware that here in the U.S. we had an election.

Even though I knew it wouldn’t be good for my mental health, I’ve been glued to the reports of vote counting since election day on Tuesday. Because of our screwy Electoral College system, the counting of national popular vote totals is irrelevant. Instead, we had to spend days and days watching votes dribble in on a county-by-county, State-by-State basis, which I imagine is something like being waterboarded. The four words I now hate the most are “Too Close To Call.” But at last it’s over. Continue reading »

Oct 312020
 


Benighted – photo by Anthony Dubois

 

While slugging coffee this morning I got my daily text-message alert from the county health department reminding me that the safest way to celebrate Halloween is to stay inside my home. As if I needed that fucking reminder, on top of all the other miserable reminders that this Samhain will be like no other in our lifetimes.

I can’t even count the predictable absence of trick-or-treaters as a silver lining to this cloud, because they never came around our place even before the pandemic made that a potentially self-destructive choice. The screaming of the loris horde and the carefully-placed pools of guts might have had something to do with that.

So, most of us will have to celebrate the most metal day of the year stuck inside playing with ourselves our pets and trying to forget that global infections are now setting new records, that the U.S. set its own new record yesterday with more than 99,000 new cases (!), and that Sean Connery died. What a fucking year it’s been, and still two months of fresh hell to go before it ends.

But we can still listen to the devil’s music tonight, and here at NCS we need to do our part to enliven that experience and help you forget. So here’s an extravagantly-sized playlist of mostly brand new songs and videos that I assembled this morning.

BENIGHTED (France)

If you haven’t had enough breeeeee in your diet, we’ll fix that right away. Also included in the food groups within this first dish are cyclotron-speed drumming, incendiary riffage, back-breaking grooves, splendid blaring chords, carnivorous roaring, and a generally rabid approach to life. Continue reading »

Oct 262020
 

 

So far, the experimental black metal band MRTVI, which is the solo project of Serbian musician Damjan Stefanović, has released two albums — Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare (2015) and Negative Atonal Dissonance (2017). Both are fascinating, and well off the usual beaten paths of black metal. As we wrote around the time that the second album was released (by Transcending Obscurity Records), MRTVI “makes a determined effort through this music to fracture reality into a shower of sharp shards and splinters, to plow madly through the constrictive channeling of experience through our perceptions, in search of an inner cosmos”.

Now MRTVI is only 11 days away from the release of the band’s third album, Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion, also via Transcending Obscurity Records. The album is divided into four chapters, and each chapter consists of multiple songs. The final chapter, “View of Denial“, unfolds through two songs, and today we’re presenting the first of those — “Perceived Entirety“. Continue reading »

Oct 242020
 

 

What a week it’s been. The virus is running wild again, like rabid dogs — that lots of people apparently still want to hug. Anxiety levels over our coming election seem to be reaching a zenith. My fucking day job has been pounding me like a harp seal on an ice floe, which is melting fast. And bands and labels are still releasing so much music so fast it’s like they think tomorrow may not come. And I ain’t going to say they’re wrong.

The long and the short of it is that I’ve fallen even further behind in trying to keep up with new metal. And to make that Sisyphean task even more daunting, we’re rapidly approaching Listmania season. I for one can’t wait for this miserable year to end, but we still can’t let that happen without indulging in our usual list-making around here. Looking backward, of course, makes it tougher to look ahead, and sideways.

But for now I did have a slice of time to myself this morning and used it to dart around among some recent releases. I picked the following songs and videos to recommend.

NADER SADEK

When you watch this first video, which premiered at Decibel a few days ago, you’ll quickly learn that in 2017 Cairometal.net and Nader Sadek invited Karl Sanders (Nile), Derek Roddy (Serpents Rise), and Mahumud Gecekusu (Perversion) to visit Egypt. Of course, they made music together. Continue reading »