Sep 222020
 

 

(We present Karina Noctum‘s interview with Torstein Parelius of the Norwegian band Manes.)

Manes is a Norwegian band that started in the early ’90s as a Black Metal act, but developed a pretty distinct sound and found their niche in the avant-garde scene. In this interview we talk with Torstein Parelius about the band’s beginnings, their latest album Slow Motion Death Sequence, their latest single “Young Skeleton“, and future plans.

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What were you aiming at in the very beginning when you started?

When the band started in 1992 or so, I wasn’t a part of the formation. Before that, Tor-Helge Cern was in the band Atrox which he co-founded back in 1988. I do believe he had an urge to create something darker and grimmer than the death/doom that Atrox played at the time – without compromise. Continue reading »

Sep 222020
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli wrote and packaged together this series of mini-reviews of 2020 albums he wants to recommend.)

So many albums I’m trying to catch up on and reviews I’m still trying to pump out, but I figured in the meantime I’d offer this collection of mini-reviews of albums I recommend.

STATIC-X

Static-X I think are a pretty niche band, but I personally loved their brand of dance groove industrial metal.  I thought Wayne Static was a great vocalist, and except for a couple of questionable albums, their discography was always reliably good, assuming you liked the premise of their sound.  Project: Regeneration Vol.1 is the first in a series of two albums that Wayne Static had started demo-ing prior to his death in 2014.  Helmed by the band’s OG lineup of bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay, the band decided they’d try to pay tribute to their departed friend and bandmate while doing something for the fans, and finish what he started. Continue reading »

Sep 222020
 

 

This makes the third time we’ve done a premiere for the Israeli black metal band Arallu. The first time was about six weeks before the release of their 2017 album Six. The next time, roughly two years later, it was a song from their most recent full-length, En Olam. And today it’s a video for a song that’s… more than 20 years old!

It was 1999 when Arallu released their debut album, The War on the Wailing Wall, following an initial 1997 demo with the same title. In the decades that have followed that release, the band’s music evolved in dramatic ways. As we wrote about their most recent record, “the songs capture archetypes of violence and bloodshed, defiance of orthodoxy and devilish supremacy, but they also become spells,” and, as they had done before, the band augmented the metal “with the tones of ancient instruments, among them Saz, Oud, Kanoon, and Drabukka”, which were used to enhance the strong influence of Middle Eastern melodies.

Turning back the clock to the 1999 debut album, you can perceive the seeds that would grow into what the band has become today. But apart from the historical significance of the record, it turns out to have withstood the test of time very well. And so it’s not surprising that, at last, the album is being reissued on vinyl for the first time, complete with new vinyl mastering by Patrick W. Engel at “Temple of Disharmony”. And it’s one of those 1999 tracks that we’re bringing you today, accompanied by video of Arallu, as they are today, performing the song. Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album from Anaal Nathrakh, which is set for release on October 2nd by Metal Blade.)

They say (whoever “they” are) that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But when that dog has been outfighting, outfoxing, and outfucking the competition, cleanly and consistently, for pretty much the last twenty years, then why would you want to mess with success?

That’s the position that the two-headed rabid pit-bull named Anaal Nathrakh find themselves in right now, as while the band’s modus operandi may have evolved and mutated a fair bit since their Total Fucking Necro days, the underlying formula for their sound [grinding velocity x blackened venom + voracious hooks] remains practically unaltered.

The problem with this sort of approach, of course, is that at some point you’re going to run straight into the creative (and commercial) roadblock that is “the law of diminishing returns”, where just doing the same thing over and over again has less and less impact each time.

So, with the release of their eleventh album right around the corner, the big question now is… do Anaal Nathrakh have anything new to offer the world, or is it time to take them out back and put them out of their misery? Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

Winds of Serpentine Ascension is the title of a new EP by the Toronto band Into Oblivion, and we’ll call it an EP because its tracklist is just three songs long — although they collectively amount to 35 minutes of music. The first two tracks, “Where Winds Wail and Gnaw” and “The Shattering Ascent” are longer than average, both of them falling between seven and eight minutes in length, but they lead up to a truly extravagant musical odyssey in “Eagle of the Serpent Sun“. That song, which we’re presenting today in advance of the EP’s September 29 release by Hessian Firm, is almost 20 minutes long.

The song is an odyssey in more than duration alone. As the band lead us through the richly varying movements of the song and its dramatic range of instrumentation and moods, it really does seem that we have embarked on a harrowing and heart-breaking journey, one that may only end in death for all concerned. And not only because of the EP’s cover art, it seems like the narrative of a warrior’s journey that crosses the sea and hostile lands. Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Icelandic band Cult of Lilith, which was released on September 4 by Metal Blade Records.)

It’s rare any more that modern attempts at technical death metal impress.  A lot of the bands who are producing good stuff were around at least five years ago, if not longer.  So when a band come around who are complete newbies, absolute new blood, and they come out swinging with a debut that crushes the status quo of the hum-drum of bad Beneath The Massacre worship, I have to give credit where credit is due.

The thing about technical death metal that a lot of the zoomers (for lack of a better term) don’t get, is that it’s about demonstrating instrumental virtuosity while still maintaining compelling songwriting chops.  Suffocation has this, Necrophagist had this, Exocrine has this, you get the idea.  It’s hard to find technical death metal bands nowadays who write real songs with definitive elements of progression and logical structure and cohesion while also writing crazy complicated riffs or sections that push both technical skill and endurance.

That brings me to today’s subject, Icelandic upstarts Cult Of Lilith. Continue reading »

Sep 212020
 

 

(Here’s DGR’s review of the new album by the Swedish band Night Crowned, which is out now via Noble Demon Records.)

Night Crowned‘s debut album Impius Viam came out in the tail end of February and it has felt like a musical mental roadblock on this end ever since. We were lucky in being able to cover the band’s premieres at this site and even got their drummer to sit down and talk with us for a bit, yet when the full album came out we never fully sat down to dedicate words to it. Yet it’s been in constant rotation here, an ugly sort of beast clawing at the back of the skull.

The group’s hybridizing of a collective of extreme metal genres — with a heavy ratio of melodic black metal dominating the recipe — seems to have spread like an infection, and in between the spinning of newer releases this year, there’s always that haunting voice in the back of the head with its incessant whisper “what if you gave that Night Crowned disc another listen?” Continue reading »

Sep 202020
 

 

I mentioned in the first Part of today’s column that I overcame the usual brain-freeze brought about by the overwhelming volume of interesting new music by separating the attractions into advance tracks and complete new releases. Today’s earlier post was devoted to advance tracks, and I mentioned that I had an idea for how to handle the new complete releases.

In the early days of NCS I began a recurring series called MISCELLANY, which got up to 78 installments before it died away from neglect. The self-imposed rule for that series was that I would pick bands I’d never heard before and listen to one (or maybe two) songs from something new they’d released, record my immediate impressions, and then leave it to readers to decide whether to explore further. That strategy allowed me to sample from albums and EPs that I didn’t have time to review in full, without knowing in advance how the music would strike me (or you).

And that’s almost the same strategy I’ve used in this post — almost, because some of what you’ll find below came to me via recommendations from people I trust. So it’s not quite the shot-in-the-dark of the old MISCELLANY series.

IN VACUO

To begin I picked “Pavlína Kováříkov“, the lead-off track from this Hungarian band’s just-released third album, Urbain Noir — and man, I love it. The guitar leads have a kind of yowling but spooky and sorcerous sound, and the way in which In Vacuo introduce and then twist the central melody is ingenious. The song as a whole proves to be a twisting (and twisted) experience – heavy and battering, deep and drilling, moody and murmuring, jolting and groaning, thrilling in its maniacally glittering tremolo’d vibrations and blood-curdling in the hostility of its varying vocals. Continue reading »

Sep 202020
 

 

When I began to think about what to include in this week’s column I had the usual brain-freeze brought about by the immense volume of choices. This week I decided to deal with that by herding all the singles and advance tracks from forthcoming albums into one stockade, and filling another one with full-lengths that have already recently been released.

From the first herd I picked the tracks included below. I have an idea about how to deal with the riot in the second group, all viciously clamoring for attention, but I won’t say what that is in case I’m not able to follow through. Onward!

KYRIOS

I would like to create a sub-genre called Queasy Black Metal, reserved for music that roils your guts like food that’s gone bad, and messes with your mind like a demonically conceived hallucinogen. I would put this first song under that heading. Its squirming dissonance, freakish angularity, and unstable rhythms are intestinally upsetting and mentally disorienting. 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 »