Sep 252020
 


Mr. Bungle by Buzz Osborne

 

(Gonzo brings us another Friday selection of new songs.)

We talk a lot at NCS about how utterly fucking wild this year has been. As September winds down and we all welcome the fall (that’s autumn, not the imminent collapse of society), it seems like the metal community is pulling out all the stops to close out the year – familiar faces releasing some of their strongest work in years, newcomers putting out amazing debuts, and unexpected surprises materializing out of seemingly nowhere.

This week is no exception to any of that. It’s a glorious mix of old, new, and “holy shit these guys still make albums?” Continue reading »

Sep 222020
 

 

Like almost all the posts I wrote this past weekend, I put this one together in my head during a long listening session on Saturday. Since then more new songs have popped up, but I decided to stick with my original mental plan rather than have this thing turn into something even more intimidating to people who are already drowning in music.

I’ve already put the first four songs in this collection onto the list of candidates for my year-end series on Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. In different ways they rock, and they’re all very catchy. And then I decided to turn in other more ugly and unhinged directions.

PUTERAEON (Sweden)

I use the word “majestic” way too much in describing music, because I don’t spend enough time with a thesaurus. Usually it comes to mind when a band use soaring and sweeping melodies (other over-used words in my vocabulary) or create sensations of towering obsidian immensity, as often found in funeral death-doom. Neither of those qualities is present in Puteraeon’s new song (and video) “The Curse“, but the word “majestic” still came to mind. Continue reading »

Sep 192020
 

 

When I woke up this morning I thought there was no way I would be doing something as seemingly inconsequential as listening to music and writing about it. The awful confluence of events in the country this year — the rampant disease, the hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths, the economic collapse, the vivid reminders that systemic racism still thrives, the burning of immense swaths of Western forest and the immersion of millions in a miasma of toxic smoke — just got worse again because of a single death, one that will give a mentally defective tyrant and his sycophantic enablers the chance to finish the job of tearing the country apart. Can we not get even one tiny fucking break from 2020?

And then I thought, we do get tiny fucking breaks every day. Every good new song is a break, maybe tiny in the grander scheme of things, but if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that hopes for bigger breaks are likely to be dashed without mercy.

So, I listened to some new songs, just a few, but enough to get a bit of a break. Maybe I picked them because they express (and perhaps reinforce) my current dark mood of rage mixed with despair, but I guess that’s often what musical catharsis is all about. Continue reading »

Sep 182020
 

 

(Here’s another Friday round-up of new music compiled by Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo.)

I, for one, am looking forward to cooler weather.

Not only will cooler temperatures bring about an overdue ending of the wildfires currently making life miserable for the Northwest, but also an ideal environment for listening to your audial brutality of choice.

And while it’s certainly kvlt as fuck to stand in the middle of a Norwegian forest in corpse paint and spiky gauntlets while cranking up the lo-fi black metal, it’s by no means required. Some of this week’s new releases may inspire it, though. Continue reading »

Sep 142020
 

 

If you missed out on the June 26 release by Everlasting Spew of Serocs‘ new EP Vore, you should fill that gaping hole in your life immediately! It really is an extraordinary record, one that we referred to as “a brutalizing, electrifying, high-speed carnival ride”, so head-spinning in its conception and so technically extravagant in its execution that (as we wrote before), if it doesn’t leave you with an ear-to-ear smile, the virus may have mutated and given you facial paralysis.

We’re so high on the EP that we welcomed the chance to share with you a playlist created by two Serocs stalwarts, guitarist Antonio Freyre (who first started the band as a solo project) and guitarist/bassist Antoine Daigneault. Together they assembled 22 tracks in a Spotify list, focusing ion music that has inspired them, and that list is a hell of a great ride all its own. Here’s what the two men had to say about it: Continue reading »

Sep 122020
 

 

Greetings, ladies and germs. As promised in yesterday’s round-up, I have MANY more selections of new music for your listening pleasure. Does this mean that I’m now caught up in showing you what I’ve discovered? Oh, hell no! I will have more in tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column (and still won’t be caught up).

To speed things along I’m just throwing you the music streams and my usual impulsive commentary, sans artwork. Later today I’ll fill in the art, a few more details about the releases, and the usual ordering and FB links. The following tracks are presented in alphabetical order by band name (with Greece coincidentally represented at the beginning and the end), and I’ll tell you that the music is all over the map stylistically.

DEPHOSPHORUS (Greece)

This first song is such a heavyweight neck-wrecker at the beginning, although filaments of ravishing melody rapidly spiral out from beneath its bone-breaking rhythm. However, the song also explodes in breathtaking fashion — a storm of battering drums, blizzard-like guitars, and truly wild, howling vocal ferocity. The track is tremendously thrilling in all of its course-changes, which include sweeping, fire-bright sonic panoramas; the sludgy heft of the low end is a thrill all its own. Continue reading »

Sep 112020
 


Katla

 

(Our friend Gonzo returns with anoher Friday selection of new music, this time actually posted by our editor on Friday!)

 Doing these columns over the past few weeks has made me intensely aware of my perception of time. Some weeks feel like days, some days feel like weeks. Nothing makes sense anymore. We’re all living in a Black Mirror episode that’s been left on repeat after being force-fed enough LSD to turn ourselves into spiritual mediums for an alternate dimension where capitalist houseplants have enslaved humanity.

Fortunately, there’s new music to distract us from our inevitable fate at the hands of some power-worshipping azalea. And where would we be without it? I don’t want to imagine that dark alternate reality.

Sticking to the darkness of the current reality seems sinister enough.

The good news? If dark and sinister is your musical preference, I can’t recommend this week’s new releases enthusiastically enough. Continue reading »

Sep 112020
 

 

Earlier today one of our writers, purporting to speak for all of us, asserted that we at NCS are not perfect. I disagree. I, for one, am perfectly aware of my inability to keep up with the release of new music.

Last night I did manage to plow through the last two days of e-mails in our bulging in-box and checked a few other valued sources. From that effort I added roughly two-dozen new songs to check out, on top of a similar number I had identified the last time I went exploring just a couple of days ago.

A laughable thing to do, of course, given there’s no way I could make my way through all of that in time to write anything for today. So I threw mental darts at the list, with some hits and some misses. The following eight new songs were among the hits. I’ll pick some more for your listening pleasure on Saturday.

DARK TRANQUILLITY (Sweden)

In “Phantom DaysDark Tranquillity launched the run-up to their new album Moment with a sure-fire crowd-pleaser — nothing terribly different, but capable of stimulating the pleasure centers of fans. I confess that I felt stimulated, though not to the point of tumescence. Will I remember it? That’s a different question. Continue reading »

Sep 102020
 

 

(In February of 2019 we published an article (here) about the “Proliferation of Metal Across National Boundaries” by guest writer Tør, a self-professed metalhead, data nerd, and ex-academic. The article, and accompanying interactive maps, were based on his work on a Ph.D. doctoral dissertation. Now Tør has updated the work in that previous article, along with a new map, under the second of the “Isolation Diaries” he has written for us — which includes some music at the end.)

I recently revisited some data I had collected on metal bands from The Metal Archives website and decided to make an interactive map illustrating the location of all metal bands archived on there.

Los Angeles, Mexico City, Santiago, Paris, Moscow, Athens, and Stockholm emerge as the most vibrant hubs for metal bands although there are plenty of equally important “metal cities” across the globe. A couple of notes about this map: (1) it is not normalized for population so only raw numbers are depicted, (2) the data is current as of 2015 so it doesn’t reflect the latest catalog of bands listed on the MA. I will probably make an updated map at some point in the future. I should also thank the fine folks over at MA for all the work that goes into maintaining that site. Continue reading »

Sep 072020
 


TOMBS (photo by Dan Higgins)

 

EDITOR’S CONFESSION: Is it possible? Could I have actually failed to post the second installment of this series by our contributor Gonzo on Friday, just like I was late in posting the first one? Even though it’s called NEW MUSIC FRIDAY? Hell yes! It’s true! I fucked up two weeks in a row! But I’m risking covid to visit a tattoo parlor today to have NEW MUSIC FRIDAY tattooed on my forehead so I’ll never forget again. Of course, when looking in the mirror it will read YADIRF CISUM WEN.

 

The show must go on.

Given the quality output so far in a year otherwise mired with seemingly every kind of imaginable strife dominating the headlines, you’d think those words were the mantra of every working band out there.

Some of those themes of the year, as it turns out, make for excellent and timely material to write songs out of. I have no doubt that we’ll start seeing more and more of it start to emerge as we trudge on through this supremely uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing timeline we’re living through. This week [Editor’s Correction: last week!] has dropped a few hints of what’s to come, with spectacular results. Continue reading »