Jun 122014

Here are some new things I found over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing around. I’m doing my best to finish a review, so I’m going to atypically attempt to be brief. I know this will cause mass depression among readers, but that’s just the way it has to be.


As previously reported, the next album by Iceland’s Sólstafir is named Ótta and will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America. Today the album became available for pre-order in triple-LP format (here) and the cover art was disclosed (above). I don’t know what thinking is behind the use of this photo or how it relates to the music and/or lyrics, but I like it — such a dramatic setting, and such a fascinating face. Bought it.

Also today Stereogum premiered the new album’s title track. You may not be prepared for it. You may not even think it’s metal. But I think it’s goddamned awesome. It’s icy and adrift, bleak and beautiful, melancholy and memorable. But it has a harsh edge as well, it rocks in its own way, and the soaring of the vocals into a howl near the end are very cool. And is that an electrified mandolin I’m hearing, along with the synth and strings? (Answer:  Nope, it’s a banjo!)

Go HERE to listen.


I’ve written before about the Relapse reissue of the one and only album by Sweden’s God Macabre — a band who’ve frequently been on my mind ever since seeing their magnificent set at Maryland Deathfest XII last month. One of my friends who was there with me surprised the hell out of me a few days ago with a gift of the special MDF edition of the LP. And then yesterday I noticed that the digital version of The Winterlong reissue is now available on Bandcamp. If you haven’t heard it, you should. It has lost nothing in the two decades since its original release. Here it is: Continue reading »

Apr 162012

It’s late where I am, but not too late to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic. April 15, 1912, that great ship and 1,514 passengers and crew went to their graves in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. I’ll get to who reminded me of this, at the end of the post.

It seems to be true that as the Titanic sunk, the ship’s eight-member band valiantly played on, until the black water claimed them. Maybe not quite as insane as the bagpipers who led British troops across No Man’s Land in World War I, but still a vivid example of British reserve and fortitude in the face of imminent obliteration.

But I like to think it’s an example of something else, too — people dedicated to their music, realizing they’re fucked no matter what, on a ship with only enough lifeboats to hold half the people on board, deciding to spend their last hours playing, probably for themselves as much as for anyone else.

And on that cheery note, here are a batch of recent music videos that don’t have anything to do with the Titanic but are just as fuckin’ metal as that ship’s band, courtesy of the following performers: Agalloch, The Devastated, Threat Signal, and Alestorm. Continue reading »

Jan 012011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Did you see what we did?  We had to change the logo for this edition of SICKNESS.  Because 2010 is behind us, and the new year lies ahead.

We spent the last 30 days, as we’ve been doing for the last year, collecting news blurbs and press releases about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like, or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we’ve cut and pasted the announcements and compiled them in alphabetical order.

All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment when November ended, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. And be forewarned: This is a really long list. There’s a massive slag of new metal coming our way, and man, does it look hot.

So, without further ado, let’s get started. See if there’s anything on the list that makes you moist, or tumescent, or just generally slobbery.

ABORTED: “Good news is that we are starting pre-productions for our upcoming record on January 4th. This means we will demo all the songs for the record, make sure everything sounds good and make the necessary adjustments to make sure they are all more lethal than a chainsaw in Mr. Leatherface’s hands. We’re all very excited about the material thus far and can’t wait to get this over with and proceed to the actual recordings later this year. Expect a fall 2011 release through our culprates in mayhem Century Media.”

AGNOSTIC FRONT: “The Godfathers of New York Hardcore, Agnostic Front, have just finished recording their highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 release, Warriors. The yet to be titled album features 13 new powerful and anthemic songs laid down by Erik Rutan (Madball, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse) at his Mana Recording Studio in Tampa, FL under the watchful guide of producer Freddy Cricien of Madball. The record was mastered by Alan Douches (Nile, Mastodon) and will be released in Europe of March 4, 2011 and in North America on March 22, 2011.”

(the list continues after the jump . . .)

Continue reading »

Dec 202010

Being in a Scottish pirate metal band like Alestorm must have its ups and downs. On the one hand, you’ll never be considered grymm. On the other hand, if you’re in Alestorm, you get to issue press releases like this one. Can’t imagine seeing something like this from, say, Gorgoroth.

“It is my very great pleasure to announce that on January 10th ALESTORM will be heading to the studio to record our third album, which we’re gonna call ‘Back Through Time’. It’s gonna be an epic adventure through piratical badassery in 11 tracks, with more drunken singalong anthems than you can shake a stick at. There will be songs about midgets. There will be songs about Wisconsin. There will be songs about travelling through time to kill Vikings. And, of course, loads of songs about pirates doing what they do best; kicking your ass and stealing your wenches!”

And then there are the projected song titles announced by the band for the forthcoming piratical badassery:

* The Sunk’n Norwegian
* Shipwrecked (Pure Dead Banjaxed)
* Buckfast Powersmash
* Rum
* Back Through Time
* Swashbuckled
* Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid
* Midget Saw
* Scraping The Barrel
* Rumpelkombo
* Barrett’s Privateers

(more after the jump . . .)

Continue reading »

Mar 062010

One of our favorite metal bloggers, whose base of operations happens to be in New Zealand, is Steff Metal. Every week we find unusual stuff on her site that we don’t come across anywhere else. This week she decided to create a mix-tape of her favorite pirate metal (and non-metal pirate) songs, most with video accompaniment and each with her own witty introduction.

A lot of extreme metal is angry, grim, violent, and cathartic — which is exactly why we eat it up here at NCS. Doesn’t mean it can’t be fun at the same time. In fact, we think most of the angry, grim, violent, and cathartic metal is also shitloads of fun.

But when it comes to fun, pirate metal may take the cake — as Steff Metal’s audio-video montage proves quite nicely. She’s obviously more a student of pirate metal than we are, and her collection includes some bands we’ve never heard of — but they can sure swash their buckles and haul their keels. (read on after the jump, mateys . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 032010

I knew this would happen.  On New Year’s Day, we put up a long list of extreme metal bands who reportedly will be releasing new albums in 2009, and then carved from that list the 21 bands we especially want to hear in the New Year.  We tried to be complete in compiling the master list, but of course we’re already hearing about bands we left off.

So far, three overlooked bands, in particular, deserve mention: Kivimetsän Druidi, Portland’s own Agalloch, and Mors Principium Est. These bands may not be as widely known as others that made “forthcoming” lists in various trade publications, but we’re psyched to hear that new releases are in the works.


Kivimetsän Druidi (pictured above) is a Finnish symphonic folk metal band whose name appears to mean “druid of the stone forest.”  The band released their Century Media debut CD “Shadowheart” in late 2008 and followed that with a cool video, shot in Finnish Lappland, for a song sung in Finnish called “Jäässä Varttunut.”  It appears the song title, loosely translated, means “Grown Up Within Ice,” as in, “The white steel that has been grown on ice will clot the blood with its strike.”

I saw the video, was impressed, tracked down the CD, and remained impressed. It’s a fast-paced, dramatic combination of symphonic death metal, celtic folk stylings, savage gutteral vocals from Joni Koskinen, and soaring sopranos from crystal-voiced Leeni-Maria Hovila. Heavier than you might expect, with memorable melodies and plenty of hard-driving riffs.  (more after the jump, including that video. . .) Continue reading »