Jan 182020
 

 

This is the second part of a new-music round-up that I started here yesterday.

HECATE

Back in 2018, the first recommendation our supporter Speelie made to me, in a comment, was for Hecate’s Une voix venue d’ailleurs. That turned out to be a valuable recommendation, as I attempted to explain in my too-brief review of that superb album (here). Many other valuable recommendations by Speelie have followed, most recently his message to me about a new song by Hecate that debuted on January 12th, and a new album from them that’s set for release by Mourning Light Records (on CD) in March of this year. Continue reading »

Jan 172020
 

 

As you can see, I have ambitions to recommend quite a lot of new songs, enough to justify splitting up the collection into two parts. I can’t promise that Part 2 will arrive today, because I haven’t written it yet. Might be tomorrow before you see it, but trust me, it’s worth seeing (and mainly worth hearing) even if you have to wait until Saturday.

I confess that I chose to put these particular five songs together not only because I liked them quite a lot but also because I enjoyed the idea of giving you genre-whiplash as you move through them.

EARTH ROT

The first four songs in this collection all come from bands whose previous releases we’ve acclaimed here at the NCS hovel, and all of them now have new full-lengths headed our way in 2020. The first of those is the Australian blackened death metal band Earth Rot, whose new album Black Tides of Obscurity will be released on March 6th by Season of Mist. The first advance track, “Dread Rebirth“, is the album opener, and it arrived along with a video that’s full of interesting visual effects. Continue reading »

Jan 162020
 

 

Welcome to the 9th installment of this list. I paired these two songs together because both of them are multi-faceted and musically elaborate, and because they’re both kind of frightening. And of course because I think they’re quite infectious.

THE GREAT OLD ONES

Lovers of Loftcraftian metal were rewarded for their devotion last fall by the arrival of Cosmicism, a new album from the great The Great Old Ones (that was not a typo). The album’s title refers to Lovecraft’s literary philosophy, summed up (in a press release we received) as the notion that “humans are godless creatures who are totally insignificant in the grand scheme of our cosmic universe”. The same press release also included this encouraging quote from the great man himself:

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” Continue reading »

Jan 012020
 

 

HNY!

 

I didn’t make it to the point when the clock ticked over into 2020 last night, not even close.  On the other hand, despite going to bed well before midnight I slept like a dead man for 10 hours, which is an extreme rarity. After all that time in the Land of Nod, I also felt extremely fuzzy-headed this morning, though a bout of drinking last night might have had something to do with that, even though it seemed pretty moderate to me at the time.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I got a very late and slow start today… and then had to focus on finishing up some work on today’s first post. All of that explains why this round-up arrives much later than I had planned. Fortunately, I picked all the music yesterday, or the post would be arriving even later. As usual, it’s a fairly random and stylistically quite divergent selection, united only by the fact that I like the hell out of everything here. (All of it is also very new.)

GRIMAH

The first song I’ve picked, “Thus Spake the Stone“, is off a debut album named Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom by the Spanish black metal band Grimah. The album is set for release on January 3rd, on CD via VERTEBRAE and digitally. Continue reading »

Dec 312019
 


Akos Fulop cracks his whip during the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Kecskemet, Hungary, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 when shepherds, horseherds and story-tellers wave farewell to the year 2019 with singing and whipcracking. (photo by Sandor Ujvari/MTI via AP)

 

Ii won’t say this is becoming a tradition because I can’t remember if I did it before last year at this time and I’m too fuckin’ lazy to find out and who knows if I’ll still be alive this time next year? But anyway, for at least the second annum in a row I’ve decided to end the NCS year with a playlist of music and then roll into the New Year with another one tomorrow.

I feel pretty comfortable that I’ll be able to write the one for New Year’s Day in the morning because, once again, I’m planning a quiet new Year’s Eve at home with my wife. After more than a few decades of severe misbehavior, the idea of a quiet night and a New Year’s Day without a cataclysmic hangover has become very appealing. No more January 1 mornings wondering, “Is the blood on my shirt mine?”, “Whose room is this?”, and “Where did I leave my pants?”

For these SEEN AND HEARD round-ups I usually pick from the songs I’ve added most recently to the list of new music to check out (a list I update nearly every day). But this time I decided to do something different. Continue reading »

Dec 272019
 

 

Christmas Day and the day after are usually quiet ones in the spheres of activity of which NCS is a part. The typical flood of press releases dwindles to a trickle, most other metal blogs are hibernating, and few bands or labels release new music. Eyes are elsewhere, many of them probably closed altogether.

However, I can’t resist taking advantage of the relative peace to check out odds and ends I’ve been waiting to explore, or have recently noticed for the first time. I guess it’s obvious that I can’t resist, given how much new music I’ve already thrown at you during this holiday week — but here’s more (don’t duck!):

WORSEN

I could have sworn I had written something about Worsen’s 2019 debut album Cursed To Witness Life, but can find no evidence of it. Add that to the list of excellent 2019 releases I’ve shamefully neglected. If you haven’t already sampled what that album has to offer, and you enjoy black metal, you should go here and give it a shot. As a couple of commenters wrote on that Bandcamp page I just linked you to: “Cold as hell, awesome melodies and in your face riffs”; “Haunting, beautiful, dark and utterly mesmerizing.”

What reminded me of Cursed To Witness Life was a new single that Worsen released on December 24th to commemorate the birthday, not of Jesus, but of Lemmy Kilmister, at whose altar many of us pray more often than the other guy’s. It’s a cover of Motörhead’s “Killed By Death”, and it’s fucking great. Continue reading »

Dec 242019
 

 

Contrary to an accusation that one of my NCS comrades recently leveled at another one, I don’t hate fun. In fact, I love it, and I enjoy seeing other people have fun. And so, although the imminent Christmas holiday means nothing to me, I’m sure I speak for all of us here (except maybe one of us) in wishing you some joy.

To ameliorate the possibility that you will have nothing in your stocking but a lump of coal because you’ve been so baaaad, and to help relieve the brain death that the stresses of the holiday season demonstrably produce, here are a few gifts from us to you.

REPLICANT

This New Jersey death metal band turned out a hell of a debut album in 2018’s Negative Life, which Steve Schwegler (of Pyrrhon, Seputus, and Weeping Sores) beauatifully reviewed for us. I’ll excerpt just a few of his thoughts about that album: Continue reading »

Dec 212019
 

 

With the new year rushing to an end and the holiday season rushing toward us even faster, it will become even more difficult for me to compile these collections. Among other things, our annual LISTMANIA orgy consumes a lot of my NCS time. Even though I don’t prepare my own list, I do track down album art and embed codes for album streams for the lists made by others, and conform the formats to our usual style, and do lesser or greater amounts of text editing. And speaking of year-end lists, I’m sitting on a slate of eight of them by both musician guests and NCS writers that I’m planning to begin rolling out next week, with a few more yet to come.

New music, of course, doesn’t stop appearing just because the holidays and the end of the year are almost upon us. In fact we’ve been getting recent reminders that maybe a lot of year-end lists were made too soon, as well as indications that 2020 is going to start off with a BANG!, at least in terms of forthcoming metal albums, if not in terms of North Korean missile launches, or maybe that too.

Anyway, to underscore that last observation I’ve chosen a couple of very impressive late-year releases, a few tracks from 2020 records, and one new stand-alone single — and as usual I’ve mixed things up a bit just so you don’t get too comfortable.

BLACK AEVUM

This new Black Aevum EP is one of two releases in today’s collection that Rennie (starkweather) messaged me about just yesterday. He wrote about a third one, too (by Reasoning Reflections), but I haven’t made it to that one yet — because I got completely drawn into the two you’ll find here. In fact, in the case of Black Aevum I only intended to quickly check out one song just to see what was going on, and the next thing I knew 23 minutes had passed and I was tempted to start again from the beginning right away. Continue reading »

Dec 202019
 

 

Unsurprisingly, I have accumulated quite a lot of new music I want to share since the last of these round-ups almost one week ago. I’ve picked four new songs for the following collection and have plans to highlight a few more on Saturday.

FRIGORIS

In 2016 we had the privilege of premiering the third album, Nur Ein Moment…, by the atmospheric black metal group Frigoris. As I wrote then, “Through the course of the album’s six long tracks Frigoris move from passages of soft, ethereal beauty to storms of surging blackened power, interweaving elements of black metal, post-metal and doom to create a journey through a changing emotional landscape of peaks and valleys.”

That album was the beginning of a concept that reaches its conclusion on the band’s fourth album, …In Stille, which will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records on January 24th. The first song I’ve selected for today’s collection is one from the new Frigoris album that was revealed just yesterday, and it makes a powerful first impression of the new record. Continue reading »

Dec 142019
 

 

Friday nights are usually perilous for yours truly, and tend to portend ugly Saturday mornings. Last night, however, I was a good lad. After only a moderate amount of drinking to celebrate the end of the work week I made it home at a reasonable hour, only to discover that my spouse had already conked out. With her solidly in the Land of Nod after what had been an exhausting week for herself, I spent a couple of hours listening to new music before conking out myself.

From that experience I picked the following new stuff — a smattering of bigger and lesser-known names, and kind of a weird scattering of sounds and styles that nevertheless made sense to me as a playlist. Whether it will make sense to you is of course a different question.

CARCASS

What do you think of the new Carcass single? Surely you’ve already heard it. As the first new song in six years from one of metal’s most revered names, it escaped the attention of only those who live under rocks. If you’re only now peering from beneath your own rocks, I’d suggest you give it a whirl. Continue reading »