May 152012

Through the good graces of Century Media, we sponsored a free ticket give-away for the DUAL DESTRUCTION TOUR of two of our favorite up-and-coming bands, 7 Horns 7 Eyes and Stealing Axion. The contest is now closed, and we had a random drawing for the winning entry.  Congratulations to Nicole B!  Nicole, we will be e-mailing you shortly with info about your ticket.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  Even though we aren’t getting you a free ticket, this will be a tour well-worth paying to see anyway. Check out the tour dates here.

May 032012

When it comes to Washington State metal bands, my objectivity could be questioned, because I live in the Seattle area. But that’s only because you don’t know me well enough. Fact is, when it comes to the metal, I don’t think about the music of Seattle or Tacoma bands any differently than I do bands from California or New York or India or Europe or anywhere else. Yes, I have a chance to see them perform live more often than bands from elsewhere, but I won’t change my rule: I only want to write about bands I feel I can honestly recommend.

And I’m not bending the rule when it comes to 7 Horns 7 Eyes or Stealing Axion. They are extremely talented bands making music that ought to be heard far and wide. So, from my perspective, it’s extremely cool that these two bands have managed to arrange a tour together, sponsored by Guitar World. It’s called the DUAL DESTRUCTION TOUR, and I expect that’s what they’ll bring — destruction.

We’ve reviewed both of these bands’ most recent releases (7E7H here and Stealing Axion here), and in fact we got the privilege of streaming the new 7H7E album. But we have two more things to throw your way today, besides the tour schedule, which is still being expanded (see the current schedule after the jump).

First, we have one pair of tickets to give away, courtesy of Century Media, in a market of the winner’s choice. I’m going to make this contest really simple. Send me your name via e-mail to I will put each name on a slip of paper and put all the paper slips in a bowl. Rather than smoking all the slips, I will instead ask my non-metalhead wife to pick one of the slips from the bowl, and her pick will be the winner. I will then smoke all the rest of the slips. This contest will end at midnight, Pacific Time, on May 11, 2012

True story: this ticket offer came my way from Century Media minutes AFTER I wrote the balance of this post. If that’s not a freakishly felicitous coincidence, I don’t know what is.

Second, I have for you a play-through video by Stealing Axion drummer Blake Ferris. Watching and listening to this video brings to mind a question I have about skilled metal drummers every time I get a bird’s-eye view of their performances: How they do this? Continue reading »

Apr 252012

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the awesome new album by 7 Horns 7 Eyes.)

Here it is folks.  The moment of truth.

For me, the best metal albums always have these qualities: a dignified, almost regal vibe; exceptionally well-composed guitar work; and the ability to convey the gamut of human emotion in its most agonized states.  If an album can bewilder me, evoke emotion in me, and make me feel crushed under its presence while displaying musical virtuosity in all of its glory, it will win me over for life.  It’s these kinds of albums that embody the idea that music can be a journey.

We at NCS have been anticipating this debut album by 7 Horns 7 Eyes like none of you would believe since each respective member here was made aware of its existence.  At the time of writing this, I just finished listening to Throes of Absolution for the fifth time — the fifth time TODAY.  To say I can’t get enough of the punishment is a severe understatement. I’m also enthusiastic about reviewing this audio tome of morose brutality because 7 Horns 7 Eyes are known for being a rather openly Christian band;  A Christian band with the professionalism, compositional breadth, depth, and technical ability that match any of their hottest contemporaries.  Listening to this album has been an invigorating experience, and it’s a pleasure and an honor to review it.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s a landmark for the legitimacy of mixing Christianity and metal.

I also got my pre-order package at the time of writing this, which further pumped me up for this review and led me to review the album as a whole (and you’ll see what I mean by that).

7 Horns 7 Eyes have been the subject of much classification debate, but I’m personally going to lob 7H7E in with the melodic death doom metal crowd.  There are shades of In Mourning and Daylight Dies that PERMIATE EVERY FIBER of the band’s music.  Don’t be misled by my that statement, though . . . in their approach to the style, 7H7E are undoubtedly unique and recognizable virtually from first note.  Their Christian background also has a tangible influence in the music, as certain musical hallmarks the Christian music of old, as well as heavy classical influences, are evident.  The result is a sound that is quite dark and bleak, but one that communicates light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of elements contribute to this result. Continue reading »

Apr 192012

January 26, 2010 — the day when I first saw and heard 7 Horns 7 Eyes. They were the only local Seattle band on a night that included The Binary Code, Revocation, and Hypno5e. They played last, and I nearly left because I had an early start at work the next day, but I didn’t — and man, was that a piece of good fortune. As I wrote the next day in a review of the show for this site, I was thoroughly blown away: “If merit counts for anything (and unfortunately, it doesn’t always), these hard-working dudes will find a place in the vanguard, and the kind of widespread notice they deserve.”

Since that night, I’ve seen the band put on more riveting live shows and written about them frequently at NCS. They’ve undergone some changes — including the addition of vocalist J.J. “Shiv” Polachek (who has recently become an NCS guest columnist). But perhaps the biggest change is that they’ve signed with Century Media and Basick Records, and they’re on the verge of releasing their debut album, Throes of Absolution: April 24 in North America (Century) and a day earlier in Europe (Basick).

Not all success stories are happy ones (lots of low-talent artists become successful), but this one sure as hell is, and we’re stoked to show our support by streaming the entirety of Throes of Absolution for your listening pleasure.

If you’re new to 7H7E, I’ll say this much for now and save the rest for our review, which will be coming soon: This is a really good album. Jolting stop-start rhythms, dark keyboard atmospherics, thunderous bass-lines, guitar leads and solo’s that go off like fireworks, beastly vocals, swirling melodies, excellent songwriting.

Oh, one more thing: Jeff Loomis makes a guest appearance on “Regeneration”. Continue reading »

Feb 232012

Quite a few news items were delivered to the NCS Island today via carrier pigeons, which are our preferred mode of news transportation. Unfortunately, a few of the pigeons dived left when they should have dived right and landed in the loris compound, where they were unceremoniously converted into squab tartare. We’ll never know what important messages those brave aeronauts were carrying. But the ones who made it safely to the NCS editorial offices revealed the following:


Yours truly can testify that the new Asphyx album Deathhammer is a delicious serving of primal death-doom with more hooks than you’ll find in this guy. But you don’t have to take my word for it, because DECIBEL has started streaming the whole album here.


High On Fire’s new studio album De Vermis Mysteriis has now been scheduled for an April 3 release by eOne Music. It was recorded in Salem, Massachusetts’ GodCity Studios with producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. The album title apparently comes from a fictional grimoire created by Psycho author Robert Bloch and incorporated by H. P. Lovecraft into the lore of the Cthulhu mythos.

According to the press release I got, “The album carries a deeply mystical undercurrent, incorporating fantastical themes and lyrics detailing, among other things, time travel, a serum called liao that is made out of a black lotus, and ‘a Jesus twin who can see the past through his ancestors’ eyes.'” However, portions of the release were obscured by pigeon dung, so I can’t swear I got the Jesus twin thing right. Continue reading »

Feb 042012

January ended four days ago, so it’s past time for our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. I have to confess that this list is even more spotty and sporadically assembled than usual — which is saying something. Various distractions prevented me from keeping a sharp eye out for news about new releases, so I have no doubt this list is incomplete.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, we probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. For example, on this list you won’t see such notable releases as the forthcoming albums from Meshuggah, Enthroned, Unleashed, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Asphyx, Naglfar, or Autopsy, because we’ve mentioned them elsewhere. Or at least I think we did.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Jul 142011

I’ve never been in a metal band. I fantasize about it sometimes. I’d guess most fans do that at one time or another. But there’s at least one aspect of band life that I think I’d get tired of pretty fast — touring in cramped, dysfunctional vans, sleeping on people’s floors, and eating crap food while on tour. When I was younger, I didn’t think anything about living (and smelling) like an animal. But now that I’m older than dirt, it don’t sound so appetizing any more.

It’s easier to fantasize about being in a band who are successful enough to tour in style, in a big full-comfort bus with a road crew to take care of some of the heavy lifting and assorted other bullshit you’d otherwise have to do for yourself. But even bands like that don’t get to travel in style all the time. Like when the bus breaks down and 15 of you have to get in a van and drive for hours across the flat, featureless landscape of the Canadian prairie. Which is what happened to The Devin Townsend Project and Septic Flesh on the road from Saskatoon to Winnipeg not long ago.

Most hand-made tour videos that I see aren’t all that interesting. Basically, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. But Devin Townsend, being the evil creative genius that he is, put together a short video of this cramped van trip that I enjoyed. In terms of what you see, it’s still pretty much in the category of “seen one, seen ’em all”, but the editing and especially the musical soundtrack are cool. Plus, I saw these bands on their current tour (along with Obscura and Children of Bodom), and they were both so tremendous that I couldn’t resist watching this. The video is after the jump.

Also after the jump — news about a newly released 3-song single from 7 Horns 7 Eyes that we recommend highly. Continue reading »

Apr 032011

Last week you may have seen, either here at NCS or elsewhere, the announcement of the line-up for this year’s SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour and the chance to vote for the band that will fill the last slot on the tour. One of the 10 bands on the voting ballot is a Seattle group with whom you may not be familiar. So, allow us to introduce you to 7 Horns 7 Eyes.

We first saw this band in early 2010 when they opened for Hypno5eRevocation, and The Binary Code at the Seattle stop of the METAL AS ART tour (reviewed here), and then we saw them again on other occasions, including their supporting slot on a tour featuring The Dillinger Escape Plan, Darkest Hour, and Animals As Leaders (reviewed here), and at the 2010 edition of THE FINNISH METAL TOUR (which we described here). Every time, they wowed us with their music and their live performances. Here’s what we said about their performance with the Finns:

This was the third time we’d seen these dudes this year as local support for a national tour, and they continue to impress in a big way. Every time we hear them, we adjust the description of their music, but we think we’ve just about got it down now: technical, somewhat blackened, melodic mathcore progressive death metal. Got that?

This is music you can get lost in just as much as you can bang your head to it. It’s a creative blend of styles that works really well, and their live playing continues to be sharp as tacks. We’re hungry for the album they’ve got in the works.

Well, that album — Throes of Absolution — is about to get a bang-up release, because last week it was announced that the band have been signed by Century Media, with the European release being handled by Basick Records. One song from the forthcoming debut album is available for streaming, and you can hear it after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Apr 232010

On the night of April 21, The Finnish Metal Tour 2010 played Seattle’s El Corazon, and two of your NCS Co-Authors were there to bear witness and file this report — along with a big batch of our amateurish photos.

With the likes of Finntroll, Moonsorrow, and Swallow the Sun on the bill, we expected nothing less than excellence on stage, and that’s what we got. Which brings to mind a question we’ve had before:

How does a country with only 5.4 million people produce so many awesome metal bands? We still don’t know the answer. But whatever the explanation, here’s hoping it doesn’t stop. Judging by the reaction of the full house at El Corazon, we’re not alone in feeling that way.

Before the procession of Finns took the stage, two local bands got the growing crowd nice and warmed up.


This five-piece Seattle band plays Gothenburg-flavored, melodic death metal, driven at a galloping pace by some flashy keyboard and guitar work. They’ve got some good song-writing chops, too. The songs were memorable, and we’ve been drawn to the band’s MySpace page to listen again.

They’re one of those rare bands whose lead vocalist is the guy behind the drum kit, and his evil, death-metal vocals make a nice contrast with the memorable melodies. We were told that the band has finished tracking a debut album, to follow an EP released last year. We definitely want to hear it. A strong start to the night!  (our concert notes continue after the jump, plus lots of photos at the end . . .)

Continue reading »

Apr 222010

We got caught in a temporal vise. On one side was The Finnish Metal Tour 2010 at El Corazon in Seattle last night. Two of your NCS Co-Authors hit that up, and man, was it awesome! Finntroll (pictured above in one of our photos from last night), Moonsorrow, Swallow the Sun, and two very good local bands (7 Horns 7 Eyes and Blood and Thunder).

Those Finns don’t do half-measures. They all played long and late. We’re not complaining — but let’s just say it was the wee hours of the morning before we hit the rack. That’s one side of the temporal vise. And on the other side? The fucking day job. And the time in between the two just got squeezed down into a wafer-thin layer of almost nothingness. Certainly not enough time to finish messing with all the photos we took or to write our reactions to what we saw and heard.

So, to tide you over until tomorrow, when we can post our review and a batch of photos, we’re doing this: After the jump, we’ll post one photo from each of the Finnish band’s sets last night plus one album track to stream of a song from each of those sets. So, you’ll get songs from Swallow the Sun, Moonsorrow, and Finntroll to hear as you gaze at the photos — and imagine just how ridiculously good this concert was.  (all that, after the jump . . .) Continue reading »