May 132016

Agalloch band


As if I didn’t have enough to be depressed about, my friend Joseph Schafer from Invisible Oranges just alerted me to the thoroughly depressing news that Agalloch has broken up. Here’s the message that just appeared on their Facebook page:

Following 20 years, 5 full length albums, many tours around the world, and numerous other recordings, John Haughm and the rest of the band (Don Anderson, Jason Walton, and Aesop Dekker) have parted ways. What the future holds for the separate parties remains undetermined. We collectively thank all of our fans across the world. There are also way too many other people to thank who made this band possible. You know who you are.

Continue reading »

Mar 152015


(In this post Austin Weber updates us with news of forthcoming metal tours.)

Metal Injections Presents: Cryptopsy/Soreption/Erimha US Tour

It’s been several years since Cryptopsy have toured the United States, but now they’re coming back, and they’re bringing along some sick support acts to sweeten the deal. Soreption is definitely a favorite around here at NCS. Their sleek combination of mechanical grooves and technical death metal is incredible, and last year’s Engineering The Void was an amazing effort by the band. US Death metal act Disgorge and Montreal-based black/death group Erimha round out the tour bill. Continue reading »

Jan 042015


Today we present Part 11 in the continuing rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

Today’s additions to the list are both by bands from my neck of the woods, i.e., the Pacific Northwest. One band has become a name known worldwide, the other is one whose name deserves to become much better known.


I’m long past caring about what kind of genre label should now be applied to the music of Agalloch, especially because I’m not sure a genre label has yet been invented that would suit the music on their latest album, The Serpent & The Sphere. It splices together so many strands of disparate music, from folk to prog to black metal to rock to doom, in contrasting and often surprising ways. It’s both complex and simple, both thunderous and sublime, a work that’s both earthy and mystical, and Billy Anderson’s production masterfully brings the band’s songwriting creativity and instrumental skill to vibrant life. Continue reading »

May 052014

(Close on the heels of the album’s streaming premiere, Andy Synn reviews the new work by Oregon’s AGALLOCH.)

The new Agalloch album is currently streaming in full over at NPR. In a sense this makes the idea of reviewing it somewhat redundant. After all, if you want to know what it’s like you can just head on over there and click ‘Play’.

But there’s something to be said for the idea that a review isn’t just about merely describing the songs – “That’s a good riff”, “this bit’s really good”, “wow, aren’t they really fast/technical/brutal” – but can also be a place to talk about the band and their music in wider terms, using the offering of a new album as a starting point for further discussion.

That, and the fact that several of you might not have time or space in your lives to access the NPR site, or might simply prefer to wait for the physical release, prompted me to put metaphorical pen to paper and actually review The Serpent and the Sphere… for myself as well as for you, our readers. Continue reading »

May 042014

“The wait is over. You can now listen to the new Agalloch album “The Serpent & The Sphere in its entirety over at NPR.”

Those are the words that appeared less than an hour ago on Agalloch’s Facebook page. And they are true words — you can indeed listen to the new album (which NPR praises in its review as “another metallic masterpiece from Agalloch”) in its entirety right now.

We just got our promo of the album late last week, about 10 days before its official release on May 13. I was hoping to have a review ready to post tomorrow, and we probably still will review it. But if I were you, I’d listen to it here while you can: Continue reading »

Apr 162014

Agalloch – photo by Veleda Thorsson

These are things I noticed over the last 24 hours that I thought you might want to notice as well.


When I found out that Agalloch was going to play a special show at Highline in Seattle on May 17 with YOB and Wounded Giant, I didn’t crow about it on our site. I can be pretty boorish when I want to be, and even when I’m not trying to be, but even I recognized it would be a dick move to express my joy about something I could see but the vast majority of our readers couldn’t. But now, finally, Agalloch has announced an official tour — Serpens In Culmination.

No doubt, the news will still be painful to fans who aren’t within reach of one of the stops, especially people who are also fans of Obsidian Tongue, Vex, and Jex Thoth, because those bands are also appearing at select stops on this tour. But on balance I feel okay about posting this news. Here’s the first part of the schedule, as announced late yesterday by Agalloch and Profound Lore: Continue reading »

Mar 182014

“A galloping acoustic guitar-and-drums introduction? A strutting mid-tempo build? Vocals both growled and hissed? A quick and focused race through black metal? A heroic coda of pirouetting melodies and broad feelings? Indeed…”

Those are the opening words to Grayson Haver Currin’s introduction of “Celestial Effigy”, the first advance track from the next album by Portland’s Agalloch, which Pitchfork premiered this morning. The Serpent & The Sphere is the name of the album and it will be released by Profound Lore on May 13, followed by a May 19 European release by Eisenwald. There may be a 2014 album I’m anticipating more eagerly than this one, but if so I can’t remember what it might be.

The Pitchfork premiere is an exclusive one, so you’ll have to go here to listen. [UPDATE: No, you don’t have to leave us — because the song is now on SoundCloud and I’ve embedded it after the jump.] In addition to those words quoted above, I’d say this about the song: It’s most definitely recognizable as an Agalloch song, with ringing guitars and nimble bass and drum work, a mixture of driving intensity and swirling melodies. But it’s also definitely on the more hard-rocking side of the band’s multi-faceted character — which is just fine. Continue reading »

Feb 012014

Here are some things I spied and heard over the last 24 hours, including a destructive new song and an invigorating new video. But I begin with some teasing photos that appeared in my Facebook news feed. The first one is above, accompanied by these words:

“Legendary Florida Death Metal pioneers Massacre will return with their first studio album effort in almost 20 years! Programmatically entitled Back From Beyond, the album will be released on March 24th in Europe and April 1st in North America.”

Here are some others, with the verbiage that accompanied them. If you don’t recognize the faces, hover your mouse over the images.

“New Album nearly complete! 1.31.14”

Continue reading »

Jan 312014

photo by Veleda Thorsson

Mark your calendars: About one hour ago, this statement appeared on Profound Lore’s Facebook page:

AGALLOCH will release their glorious fifth full-length album The Serpent & The Sphere on May 13th (North America)….  The album was recorded and mixed by legendary producer Billy Anderson, the result being the band’s most enormous sounding album to date.”

That is all.  Is that not enough?

Dec 292013

Here’s a status update that appeared on the Facebook page of Finland’s Insomnium today (emphasis added):

We’ve now recorded rhythm guitars for 5 songs. In addition to Marshall+EVH combo we’re also using Mesa Single Rectifier and my seven stringed Mayones to add some more depth and fatness to the sound. The new material is definitely more varied than before. For example, we’re flirting a bit with death/black metal vibe with some of the songs. Nevertheless, everything sounds very much like Insomnium and I guess that’s mainly due to our “trademark” melodies. We’re splitting rhythm parts pretty much equally with Markus and also try out different guitar arrangements as we go. All in all, the mood is very relaxed and we’re making good progress without too much pressure and stress.


Aw hell yes.   Continue reading »