Dec 042012

(Please welcome the return of guest writer Old Man Windbreaker, who has decided to take matters into his own hands. One hopes for the return of his sibling in the comments.)

Old Man Windbreaker greets you once again. After repeated bitching about the lack of content related to Faith No More on this site, One has decided to take matters into One’s own hands… And write about the albums Mondo Cane and Laborintus II by Mike Patton.


One first listened to this album around the the time of its release, back in 2010, without much knowledge about its background except for the introduction in the Wikipedia article. One didn’t pay much attention to the music back then, and forgot about it after the first listen.

Through a fortunate twist of fate, One stumbled upon Mike Patton’s voice on television last month while my cousin was watching Crank: High Voltage, and decided to watch the rest of the movie. One found during the credits that Mike Patton had not sung just one song in the film, but composed the whole soundtrack (which is excellent, by the way). One decided to go back home, and listen to more of his solo work and collaborations.

So, one morning, on a bus ride, to a mall where One would eventually do nothing but have a Subway sandwich for lunch, One huddled up in the back seat listening to this album. Listened to the album once; and twice; and thrice… [It was a long bus ride. But nevermind that.] Continue reading »

Oct 012012

Especially for an extreme metal site, we’ve showed a lot of love for Death Grips. Why? Because their music is “metal”, even though it’s not metal, and also because they don’t give a fuck.

How many fucks don’t they give? Well, you may recall that Death Grips signed a deal with Epic/Columbia to release two albums this year. The first one was The Money Store (reviewed for us here by groverXIII). The second one was supposed to be released sometime this month. But last night on Twitter the band said, “The label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime,” followed by, “The label will be hearing the album for the first time with you.”

And this morning Death Grips just went ahead and put up No Love Deep Web for streaming and free download. Maybe their contract with Epic/Columbia allows them to do this as long as they deliver some other album for label release, but something tells me this wasn’t exactly what Epic expected. I thought Epic was an odd choice for this band anyway, and maybe we’re starting to see why this wasn’t a marriage made in heaven.

Either way, it’s cool to get this new album. It’s so fresh that I’ve barely started listening to it. The SoundCloud player for the stream is after the jump, and you can go HERE to download it while you can (click the smaller “Premium Download” link — it’s the only one that will start the download of the album). You can also download it off the SoundCloud player, or from the other download links I’m including after the jump.

Also, the album cover is a picture of the album’s title written on an erect dick. No fucks given.

Also after the jump, following the erect dick cover art (NSFW): a Phro-tastic write-up I just received from Phro (also NSFW) about this news.

(via Pitchfork) Continue reading »

Aug 092012

(In this post, DGR reviews the 2012 album by Soen.)

Talk about a disc about which it has taken forever to compose my thoughts. It’s been floating around since mid-February as a Spinefarm release in Europe but only saw digital release here in the States much later. Soen are a conflicting-as-hell band to discuss because one of the first things everyone does is drop a comparison to Tool. Given that I am a Tool fan and very familiar with their work, I can confirm that the comparison is definitely warranted, but you know what? Soen deserve to stand as their own band.

Yes, they have some elements of the aforementioned band’s spacey prog-rock tone attached to them, but very few bands do it as well; even those who are influenced by it and try to mimic it to a T usually fail. Soen have somehow managed to get close enough to that band’s sound without becoming them or even adopting the Philosophy-101-styled thinking buried in new age mysticism that I’m perfectly okay with Soen.

Yes, getting David Bottrill involved (famed producer, worked with a ton of groups, including Tool) feels like an incredibly shrewd maneuver, and he does his damnedest to give them the exact same mix, but so what, it sounds great. They’re really not mimics. Believe me, Soen are something of an all-star group who manage to do enough things on their own that they feel like a new thing. Cognitive is a really good bit of prog-rock with quite a lot of individuality buried in between echo-heavy bass lines and singalong-worthy choruses, much of which, surprisingly enough, is provided by the drumming work of former Opeth drummer Martin Lopez.

I know it’s impossible to analyze this album in a vacuum, as if I had never heard some of what’s being done here before, but now that I have gotten that rant out of the way, let’s talk about Cognitive. Continue reading »

Jul 282012

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Metalheads are geeks. Even the ones who may not seem geeky on the surface, you talk to them for a bit and the geekery will come out. It’s just hiding right beneath the surface.

Okay, well maybe this isn’t true of the violent offenders who are in prison and would just as soon rape you as look at you, but all the rest — geeks. That includes me, mind you, and every other metalhead I know. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because frankly, every friend I’ve got is a geek in some way. If you don’t agree, then try to convince me otherwise through rational argument (I’m not gonna suggest that you fight me, because . . . duh . . . I’m a fuckin’ geek!).

Thanks to our buddy Phro, I have found a geek anthem. Undoubtedly, there are other geek anthems, but I do like this one. It’s catchy and funny and you can understand the words, and I think understanding the words really is essential for a song to be an anthem, because if you can’t sing along, then it really isn’t an anthem, is it?

The only problem is that it’s not metal. I’ve tried to think of a metal geek anthem, and nothing is coming to mind, maybe because in most of the metal I like, you can’t understand the fuckin’ words. So if you have a metal geek anthem in mind, leave a comment. In the meantime, I’m goin’ with this one. It’s called “I’m the One That’s Cool”. Continue reading »

Jul 222012

Percussion is an important part of almost all forms of music. Of course, it’s vital to metal, and it’s not limited to the drums. I may be stretching the dictionary definition of the word percussion, but I’d go so far as to say that in genres of extreme metal that use distorted down-tuned guitars and bass, those instruments are used more for percussion and rhythm than for creating melodies.

The presence of percussion instruments in all the world’s cultures stretching back many thousands of years suggests there’s something about the appeal of beat and rhythm, the patterns of sounds and silences, that’s innate in human beings, something we’re born with rather than something we’re taught. Maybe it comes from the beat of the heart we heard in the womb, or maybe it’s a puzzling product of natural selection, but whatever the explanation, the human affinity for rhythm — and especially for percussion — seems like an essential part of who we are (even for spastic white-bread dudes who can’t dance to save their lives).

In this post I’ve gather some fascinating videos of some fascinating people doing fascinating things with percussion, and what they have in common is that they’re using their hands and fingers to strike a variety of different instruments (and machines) directly. The music isn’t metal, but it’s metal, if you know what I mean.


I learned about Efrain Toro because my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting and spending a little time with his daughter and her new husband on their honeymoon last spring while we were on vacation. Efrain Toro is a Puerto Rican percussionist and music teacher who has some interesting ideas about rhythm. Much of what I’ve read about his theories is over my head and I suspect would mean a lot more to people who, unlike myself, have some actual musical training. But from what I’ve read about him, he seems to be regarded as one of the best percussionists in the world, across a wide range of musical styles and types of drums. Continue reading »

Jul 182012

Yesterday Joe and Mario Duplantier of French metal titans Gojira put up a video on YouTube recommending some of their favorite music videos and showing brief clips from the recommended vids. I thought the idea of this was cool — one band going further out of its way than you typically see to promote the music of other bands. I was also surprised by what they recommended.

I didn’t necessarily expect that all of Gojira’s recommendations were going to be metal. Lots of metal musicians listen to music from other genres, and the Duplantier brothers do seem like the kind of people who would have diverse interests and tastes. But their recommendations were dominated by not-metal, and the not-metal videos they recommended were in most cases not what I would have ever guessed, ranging from South African rap to the music of Lhasa de Sela, an American-born singer-songwriter who was raised in Mexico and the United States, divided her adult life between Canada and France, and died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 38.

The picks do shed light on the visual content of Gojira’s own videos. As you’ll see in Mario and Joe’s video introduction to their picks, they like videos by bands “who are not scared to be different”, and videos that are surreal and dreamlike.

I found this exercise interesting, in part because of the insights it gave me about the Duplantier brothers and Gojira, and in part because I enjoyed watching and listening to most (though not all) of the recommended videos. If nothing else, it got me out of my metal shell at least for a little while — long enough to want to go back inside it soon. But I’ll carry some of these songs with me when I go. Maybe you’ll get something out of the exercise, too. Let’s start with the Duplantier brothers’ video. Continue reading »

Jun 282012

(In this post, DGR reviews the new albums from Anathema and Storm Corrosion. Sample songs are at the end.)

Also: Hey guys! You all like Steven Wilson, too, right?

It isn’t too much of a stretch to assume that a lot of us have our pleasures outside of the metal realm. Sometimes, you just need to take a break from all the yelling and ass-kicking’s you receive from your dispenser of choice. A lot of music lies in wait out there beyond the bounds of metal, and if you know where to look you’ll find that a lot of it is surprisingly good. You already read NCS, so you full well know this though, you sexy reader you. I tend to find my solace from stuff outside of metal in the type of electronica rock that the label Fixt usually peddles (as well as more heinous techno like BT and Pendulum) and Prog.

I’ve never drifted too deeply into the prog genre per-se, especially since it is such a huge umbrella term, but what I do find, I usually enjoy. One of my favorites has been Porcupine Tree, and to a broader extent anything in which its members have involved themselves outside of that band. A large part of the attraction is Steven Wilson, and he is prolific as hell in music at the moment. I mention this because it seems like I talk about him a ton anyway, so the fact that he is present in Storm Corrosion means it shouldn’t come as much of a shock to find them included in this post. Not only that, but I’m going to talk about his fellow compatriots in Anathema, who may have just released one of the best non-metal discs to come out this year. Continue reading »

Jun 242012

It appears we’ve driven the NCS funky train right off the rails today. I would offer apologies, but apologizing isn’t metal. The metal thing to say when you feel the impulse to apologize for something is “Fuck you, bitch”. So, fuck you, bitch.

Phro started this. To begin our day, he jumped the rails with that Head Asplody thing. Since the train is already barreling through the sticky underbrush of metalicized J-pop and red pandas, I feel entitled to bring you “Delorean” by FM Belfast before we get our engine back on the road to Hell.

Although the stainless-steel, gull-winged Delorean was actually manufactured in Belfast, FM Belfast are not from Belfast, nor even from Northern Ireland. They are from Iceland, which by itself may be enough to make this metal. There are other aspects of the band’s video for “Delorean” (which premiered on June 21 via IFC) that are kinda metal, such as the massively nerded-out collection of figures in the protagonist’s room (don’t blink or you’ll miss our on the Michelin man). I also couldn’t help but like the idea of this massive, bearded dude (portrayed by Njörður Njarðarson) collecting . . . well, you’ll see what he collects.

And then there’s the song itself. It’s synth-driven electro stuff that’s just fucked up enough to be intriguing, and man does it have a devilish hook embedded in it. Also, the first time I heard the chorus, I thought they were singing, “This shit will blow up your ass”. Continue reading »

May 302012

(DemiGodRaven reviews not one, not two, but three albums, with lots of music included. Get your ass in a comfortable place and wade in . . .)

It’s been known for quite a while now that I do have a bit of a soft spot for certain brands of electronica music. It’s never been something that I’ve felt a huge need to dig into too deeply, but the surface-level groups that I have found I’ve enjoyed quite a bit. Of course, this spills over into my enjoyment of some of the more violent genres such as Industrial (and I have been listening to Ministry’s Relapse…which is a hot mess. Hopefully I’ll get something going on…that) and the various aggrotech styles, but occasionally I do enjoy walking on the lighter side of things.

Lately I’ve been constantly spinning three different releases, all of them great in their own different ways, and since Islander has given me somewhat of a pulpit, a megaphone, and enough rope to hang myself with, I figured I’d take the opportunity to just make one gargantuan post here so that the more metal of us can easily gloss over it rather than do three posts and basically have you guys screaming for my execution. As such, this motherfucker is going to be long-winded as all hell, so prepare your anuses gentlemen, shit is about to get real.

CelldwellerLive Upon A Blackstar (CD release)

You guys had to have seen this coming from a mile away. There was literally zero chance that I wasn’t going to talk about something that Celldweller was up to if I was going to take up valuable post space for a bunch of electronica discs. Although the Blu-Ray/DVD release of this specific disc has been consistently delayed to the point of being something of a tragic comedy [it will begin shipping on June 12, 2012], the audio version of this album has been available for a little. A little clarification as to why I feel this live album is important enough to write about first. Continue reading »

Apr 302012

(BadWolf brings us another installment of the series he started here.)

Murder by Death have one of the best band names I have ever heard—even if it was stolen from a movie, it’s grim, funny, instantly recognizable, and incredibly catchy. In ways, though, it’s misleading—one might expect Murder by Death to be some sort of goofy gore-death band, a Cannibal Corpse ripoff. Not at all—but the music is grim and heavy.  Murder by Death are one of my all-time favorite not-metal bands, mostly because of their one absolutely perfect album: Who Will Survive, And What Will Be Left of Them. [WWS here out] Props to my folk-punk compadre Dan for turning me on to this band!

Murder by Death play morbid, cinematic rock mixed with noisy post-hardcore plus a folk-and-country edge—think a little bit of The Eagles, a little Modest Mouse, a little bit of Godspeed! You Black Emperor, and a buttload of Nick Cave. Their music stands as almost completely unique—especially at this stage in their career—and twists into frequently unsettling passages. Shortly after WWS, the band experienced a slight lineup change and focused more and more on the country elements of their music. I assure you their later output is still quality, but on WWS the disparate elements of their sound stood in perfect synchronicity. It is also probably their heaviest record—perhaps a direct result of playing Hellfest the year before. Continue reading »