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 »

Dec 122019
 

 

It’s been another of those weeks when the rest of life has rudely intruded on my NCS time, and so I haven’t been keeping up very well with new songs and videos. Haven’t even had time to add to my list of things to check out based on what has popped up in the various sources I use. Still, I did pay attention to the following four new songs, and the attention was rewarded.

Be forewarned: If you come to NCS expecting us to rigidly adhere to the site’s title, today’s collection includes a couple of exceptions — two of four.

DAWN OF SOLACE

Fourteen years is a very long time between albums. And in the case of Dawn of Solace, there was no reason to expect a follow-up to The Darkness (released in 2006), because in 2013 the band’s alter ego Tuomas Saukkonen announced the interment of all of his previous bands and projects, and the decision to replace them all with Wolfheart.

But now there will be a second Dawn of Solace album, the title of which is Waves. It’s set for release on January 24th by the new label Noble Demon (who will also be releasing the debut album of Night Crowned, for which we hosted a song premiere last week). Continue reading »

Dec 072019
 

 

I wasn’t sure I would write anything for this Saturday. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t leave you enough music to explore through the 18 posts we made during the last five days, especially the 1,000 or so albums that Andy Synn recommended in his week-long year-end lists. But as I made my way through some new songs that appeared last week, it turned out that six of the tracks I enjoyed (some of which include a portion of clean vocals) were presented through better-than-average music videos, and so I couldn’t resist the temptation to pull those together here.

SYLOSIS

Sylosis are returning with their first new album in five years. Entitled Cycle of Suffering, it will be released by Nuclear Blast on February 7th, and includes the work of new bassist Conor Marshall. The first advance track, revealed through the first video in today’s collection, is “I Sever“. Continue reading »

Dec 052019
 

 

Time is short, and always fleeting, so I’ll dispense with further introductory comments and get right to these three new songs (and a new video) that caught my attention.

SVART CROWN

We’ve been writing about the music of Svart Crown at NCS since the fall of 2010, when we got the chance to hear and review their second album Witnessing the Fall in advance of its release. Since then they have released two more terrific albums, 2013’s Profane (reviewed here) and 2017’s Abreaction (discussed in part here). And now Century Media has announced that it will release this French band’s fifth album, Wolves Among the Ashes, on February 7th next year. The first song in today’s small collection is the first track made public from that new album. Continue reading »

Nov 282019
 


Blaze of Perdition

 

“I spent most of my life believing a gauzy, kindergarten version of Thanksgiving, thinking only of feasts and family, turkey and dressing.” So wrote a New York Times columnist today, near the end of an essay in which he explained in gruesome detail why, in this view, he “was blind, willfully ignorant, I suppose, to the bloodier side of the Thanksgiving story, to the more honest side of it”. His reminiscences of childhood Thanksgiving might have been my own words, but whether you remain among the blissfully blind or have become hardened by the truth, I still wish you a Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of all of us at NCS. Regardless of the reason for the occasion, happy days are hard to come by and wishes for more can’t hurt, can they?

Of course, one of the long traditions at this site has been to ignore holidays in our labors. Taking days off from posting just subtracts from the opportunities to spread the word about new metal, which continues to arrive every day, heedless of holidays. So I’ve picked some of the new arrivals to recommend. Maybe they’ll make this Thanksgiving Day a happier one for you. Continue reading »

Nov 242019
 

 

Two things: First, for those of you who make it a point to come here on Sundays for a SHADES OF BLACK feature, I do plan to have one ready a bit later, though I’ve had a devil of a time trying to cut it down to a manageable size. I still have quite a lot to write too, and I’m planning to get together with some cronies to watch the Seahawks football game this morning, so things could go sideways.

Second, I waded through an extravagant number of recently released songs yesterday, planning on a SEEN AND HEARD round-up. And that’s really what this is, but the different post title I picked hints at the reason why I decided to combine the music of these five bands — because all the music, in different ways, struck me as exotic. And I do have to emphasize that they struck me that way because I’m listening with Western, and in particular, homegrown American, ears.

THY CATAFALQUE

The first selection is a cover of a song by Kaláka, an old Hungarian folk band who turned 50 this year. The mastermind of Thy Catafalque, Tamás Kátai, explained that this band “have been one of my main inspirations since my childhood and this song is particularly close to me.” The song, “Embersólyom“, is presented through a beautiful video filmed in the Bükk Mountains of northern Hungary. Continue reading »

Nov 162019
 

 

It was another one of those weeks when I didn’t have enough time for a round-up of new music. I started working on the one you’re about to read last Tuesday, hoping to post it on Wednesday, which of course I didn’t, and Thursday and Friday were failures, too. Since I began working on it, many other worthy new songs have debuted, but rather than spend time assessing those and revising/expanding this round-up, I’m just leaving it as originally conceived.

ENSLAVED

The digital version of Enslaved’s most recent album, 2017’s E, included a bonus track, which wasn’t part of the promo we received in advance of the album’s release, or on the vinyl edition. Looks like the bonus song was also included on most of the CD editions of the record. I never heard it until last Tuesday, when it became the subject of a video that Nuclear Blast released as a way of celebrating Enslaved’s re-signing with that label for whatever they do next. Now I can’t get this song out of my head. Continue reading »