Oct 162015
 

Ulcerate-Bell-Witch-Ageless-Oblivion-UK-Tour-2015

 

(Andy Synn attended the performances of Ulcerate, Bell Witch, and Ageless Oblivion in Nottingham, England, on October 11 and turns in this report, with his own videos of the show.)

Though my erstwhile compatriots may have been attending the sun and shenanigans of California Deathfest without me last weekend (seriously, where was my invite? I thought we were friends!?!) that doesn’t mean that yours truly was without suitably metallic diversions of my own, as I was lucky enough to bear witness to the titanic Death Metal maelstrom known as Ulcerate rolling through my town, leaving a trail of shattered lives and lacerated ear-drums in its wake.

The story gets even better though, as the New Zealend three-piece were accompanied on their pilgrimage of pain by gloom-heavy doomsters (and perennial NCS darlings) Bell Witch and uber-riff-mongers Ageless Oblivion (whose album Penthos I picked as one of my absolute favourite releases of last year).

Not only that but the venue they played, The Chameleon, is the sort of intimate, DIY place that packs a lot of character, and a frankly massive soundsystem, into a very small space, meaning there’s nowhere to hide from the overwhelming onslaught of sonic punishment unleashed by the bands.

You know how an explosion that occurs in an enclosed space is ten times more devastating than one that occurs out in the open? Well that sums up the night quite nicely. Continue reading »

Jan 222015
 

quilts made of metal shirts by Ben Venom

(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

It seems like we often (and deservedly) praise bands for having a multitude of influences, for having a multi-faceted and varied sound, for achieving synthesis of diverse and disparate elements and using them to create a unique core identity for themselves. Heck, one of the key ways (although far from the only way) in which Metal progresses is by incorporating new sounds and influences, new styles, into the core genre, so it’s not surprising that we often laud those bands who bring something new, something fresh and exciting to the table.

After all, lack of breadth and variety in a band’s influences often does tend to lead to repetition and stagnation. If your band is happy to describe yourselves as “like Meshuggah” for example, then it’s odds-on that you’re probably just going to sound like a lesser-copy of the Swedish cybernauts. Just as if you’re a Thrash band and your only influences are other Thrash bands – and usually that means going back to the same tapped-out well as every other band – it becomes less and less likely that you’ll be pushing the genre forward, rather than simply rehashing or reworking what’s gone before (not, let me add, that there’s always anything intrinsically wrong with that).

Yet we also have to be careful about praising bands with too many influences wholesale. It’s certainly possible for bands to go overboard with their disparate influences and styles, and end up a directionless mish-mash of bits and pieces of other bands, which never really cohere into a greater whole.

But that’s not the only potential problem bands face when trying to weave together their influences and inspirations… Continue reading »

Mar 312014
 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the UK’s Ageless Oblivion, which was released March 17.)

It’s been some time since we’ve checked in with the boys from Ageless Oblivion. After rattling more than a few cages with their stellar debut Temples of Transcendent Evolution, the band have now returned with their sophomore release Penthos, expanding on and redefining their esoteric, atmospheric death metal delivery into something utterly malevolent.

Way back in August 2012 I had the (dubious) pleasure of interviewing AO guitarist Dave Porter, during which we touched upon the ongoing process for this album. His response was illuminating, stating that:

So far the songs have been a lot more focused on creating a mood and a vibe of tension/release. We’re focusing a bit more on melody… in the hypnotic or generally claustrophobic sense… we’re aiming to write the darkest and most vicious record we possibly can.”

And I’m more than happy to tell you that the band have done exactly what they set out to do. This is a phenomenal album, in the truest sense of the word. Continue reading »

Jan 242014
 

The creative juices are REALLY flowing out there in metaldom . . . SO much juice . . . So sticky, so pungent . . . You just want to smear it ALL over and massage it into your scalp and make fluffy merengue with it . . . and

Ooops, sorry about that.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, a lot of creative juicing going on. LOTS of new metal songs to be spread around, like. . . well, you know. Here’s just a small smear of what I found this morning (more of what I found over the last 24 hours can be seen and heard here).

AGELESS OBLIVION

In July 2012 our own Andy Synn reviewed the debut album by a band from Hampshire, UK, named Ageless Oblivion. Here’s a relevant excerpt:

“You may not have heard of this band, but doubtless you will be doing so more in the future. With a fresh take on the death metal dynamic, this, their debut album, provides a master class in modern death metal, shot through with unusual progressive impulses. . . . The playing throughout is deft and highly skilled, without veering into territory one could describe (often dismissively) as “tech”. While there is no doubt some complex fretwork going on here, it’s always done in service to the song and as part of an overall pattern of interlocking riffs, woven together seamlessly. Drums clatter and pound with impressive force, eschewing the simple blast-blast-blast approach in favour of punchy, jarring kick patterns and sharp, hammer-blow snare-beats, while the vocals favour a tormented, guttural howl that successfully captures an all-too-human sense of rage and despair, making a rare emotional connection with the listener.” Continue reading »

Aug 082012
 

(In early July, Andy Synn reviewed the 2011 debut album by the UK’s Ageless OblivionTemples of Transcendent Evolution — and today he follows that with this interview.)

Ok, so recently I conducted a back-and-forth email interview with David Porter (guitar) of current NCS faves Ageless Oblivion, where we touched upon everything from the line between atmospheric/brutal death metal and the joys of chasing cattle, to the perils and pitfalls of hanging around on abandoned military bases!

 ********

Because you might be something of an unknown quantity to a lot of our readers, let’s start off with the basics: Who are you, where do you come from, when did you first come together?

We are a five piece Death Metal band from Basingstoke in Hampshire UK.  The band has existed 5 years or so with countless numbers of guitarists and bassists contributing over time.  The band was started by Rich, Steve and myself from a mutual love for old school extreme music and a general tiresomeness of hearing the same two dimensional bands at every show we went to.  We wanted to play something fast, aggressive and with no obvious breakdowns.

At the moment the band consists of:

Steve Jones – Vocals
David Porter – Guitar
Richard Wiltshire – Drums
Fahad Sperinck – Guitar
Sam Chatterton – Bass

Sam joined just after the recording of our album and Fahad was added to the fold only a month ago. Continue reading »

Jul 032012
 

(In this post, Andy Synn reviews the 2011 debut album from Hampshire, UK’s Ageless Oblivion.)

You may not have heard of this band, but doubtless you will be doing so more in the future. With a fresh take on the death metal dynamic, this, their debut album, provides a master class in modern death metal, shot through with unusual progressive impulses and a slight –core edge. The former is a surprising development that showcases the organic integration of unexpected and diverse influences into the group’s sound, while the latter is far from a disparaging statement, merely an acknowledgement of the album as a product of its time and environment.

The playing throughout is deft and highly skilled, without veering into territory one could describe (often dismissively) as “tech”. While there is no doubt some complex fretwork going on here, it’s always done in service to the song and as part of an overall pattern of interlocking riffs, woven together seamlessly. Drums clatter and pound with impressive force, eschewing the simple blast-blast-blast approach in favour of punchy, jarring kick patterns and sharp, hammer-blow snare-beats, while the vocals favour a tormented, guttural howl that successfully captures an all-too-human sense of rage and despair, making a rare emotional connection with the listener. Continue reading »