Jan 042019
 

(At last, we reach the fifth and final installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music. It includes his Top 10 albums, plus a list of EPs, and one final non-metal entry.)

Here we go into the final installment. One last grouping of albums and one last collection of thudding riffs, heavy guitars, and enough drumwork to leave one’s head spinning by the time it wraps up.

This final ten is all over the place, in terms of both genre and location. My lists tend to be pretty international always, but the consistent bouncing back and forth that is happening in this part has proven to be entertaining in its own right.

This group also reveals just how much of 2018 turned out to be the year of cathartic release for me. Alongside all the genre-bending, all the experimentation, and all of the well-executed groove, I found that every once in a while this year a disc would hit that would just boil down to a half-hour-plus of yelling, and I would relish every single second of it. I’m sure we could credit that to the wider situation of the world these days but I’ve also always been a sucker for turning music into an instrument of release, and for some reason that approach won me over hard this year.

So let’s begin with the final ten, and then a grouping of EPs I enjoyed this year, my final non-metal (ish) release recommendation, and a small (ish) closing paragraph… because why would I ever stop typing after just finishing the final ten?

That’s for crazy people. Continue reading »

Dec 132018
 

 

(Andy Synn‘s week-long round-up of metal in 2018 continues with this list of his picks for the year’s ten best albums across a range of metal genres — one of which hasn’t been released yet and is reviewed here.)

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that any attempt to craft a “Top Ten” list that represents the wide variety and near-infinite density of the modern Extreme Metal scene is doomed to failure. There’s simply too much of it, too many different competing styles and sub-genres, for a mere ten albums to cover.

That doesn’t stop me trying every year though, so what you’re about to read is my latest effort to capture a clean snapshot of the very best of the best from the past twelve months.

Interestingly this list seems to differ significantly from the various other sites and zines I’ve been keeping an eye on, though that’s not by conscious design. It also skews in a surprisingly “progressive” direction overall, which is not something I anticipated when I first began trying to piece it together, with a massive 70% of the albums featured here making use of clean vocals in some form or another.

In demographic terms, this year’s list features two entries from the USA, two entries from Germany, one from Portugal, one from Iceland, and three from the UK – which, again, wasn’t by design – as well as one international collective whose members come from all across Europe.

It also runs the gamut of practically the entire twelve-month period, with the “oldest” album on here having been released all the way back in the first week of January, while the “youngest” entry won’t even be out until the 21st of December! Continue reading »

May 032018
 

 

(On May 18th Season of Mist will release the hotly anticipated (and thoroughly remarkable) second album by Alkaloid (which is now available for pre-order HERE), and today we are delighted to present the premiere of a track from the album as well as Andy Synn’s extensive review of the record, all of which he introduces with a bevy of comments from members of the band.)

So I originally wrote this review last month, and expected it to be published… well… then.

However, just prior to publication, we were offered an exclusive track premiere, and I was asked if I minded holding off on publishing for a little while so that things would line up better. And, of course, I said fine, because I’m nice like that.

Now the song in question, “As Decreed By Laws Unwritten”, is one of the heaviest, and most purely Death Metal tracks, on the entire album, and one of the few which fits with our site name, in that it features… no clean singing.

It’s also one of the songs written entirely by guitarist Danny Tunker, as he explains here:

“This was the second song I wrote for Liquid Anatomy. When we first started sending demos and talking about songs, we felt we needed some heavier songs. We had the title track, which is a ballad, and “Kernel Panic”, which didn’t have a heavy section yet, and another song I wrote, which was a mellotron-driven prog-ballad at that point and turned into “In Turmoil’s Swirling Reaches” later. As a result, Florian wrote “Azagthoth” and I wrote “As Decreed By Laws Unwritten”. Continue reading »

Mar 212018
 

 

(With a bow toward the Waxing Lyrical series begun by Andy Synn at our site, Karina Noctum posed questions to Morean of Alkaloid (and Dark Fortress) about his creation of lyrics for the ravishing new Alkaloid album, Liquid Anatomy, which will be released by Season of Mist on May 18th. The answers are fascinating.)

 

Alkaloid are going to release their latest album called Liquid Anatomy on the 18th of May, and I took this opportunity to ask about the lyrics. Musically, we know already it is going to be a remarkable album because the band counts among its members such metal luminaries as Hannes Grossmann, Christian Münzner (Obscura), Danny Tunker (Aborted, Prostitute Disfigurement, God Dethroned), and Morean (Dark Fortress, Alkaloid, Noneuclid).

Morean is not only a versatile vocalist, but also an excellent guitarist and a classical composer. His hymn to the city of Rotterdam was performed by the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest not so long ago. If you are interested in classical music then I recommend you check his double guitar composition Schattenspiel.

We have Morean’s opening insights into his writing of lyrics and choice of themes, and that’s then followed by a more detailed dialogue. Continue reading »

Mar 052018
 

 

(This is the second part of DGR’s round-up of selected new songs and videos that appeared over the last couple of weeks. You can find Part 1 here.)

 

Inferi – Behold The Bearer Of Light

Right now, the hyperspeed tech-death, melodic-death, black-death, everything-kitchen-sink-and-broken-down-freezer-in-the-backyard metal crew of Inferi are out on the road, touring with Aethere, Alterbeast, and Grindmother as part of Alterbeast’s Feast album release tour. It’s been four years since the group’s last incredibly packed album The Path Of Apotheosis, but those moments of silence shall soon wane as the group have an upcoming April 21st release in the form of Revenant. Continue reading »

Mar 162017
 


Cthulhu” by François Baranger

 

(To commemorate the anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s death, Andy Synn has assembled a playlist of great tracks inspired by the great man.)

 

The influence that the work of H. P. Lovecraft has had upon the Metal scene can’t be understated, with everyone from Metallica to Morbid Angel taking lyrical (and musical) inspiration from his work.

Now yesterday just so happened to be the eightieth anniversary of Lovecraft’s death and, in true NCS fashion… we completely failed to acknowledge it.

However, it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon, and what is dead can never truly die, so here are a bunch of songs/albums which pay tribute to the author’s lasting legacy of eldritch, inhuman horror. Continue reading »

Dec 272015
 

Alkaloid-The Malkuth Grimoire

 

We have arrived at the fourth installment of our 2015 list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Like the first three, this one includes three songs. All three of these are types of death metal, but certainly not the same type. It’s also kind of hard even to slap a genre label on any of them individually, other than the broad one to which I just alluded.

If you’re new to this evolving list, go HERE to see the songs we’ve already named to it and to learn what we mean by “most infectious”.

ALKALOID

The debut album of this German “super-group” drew a lot of attention from us this year, including a premiere of the song I’m now adding to this list. culminating with my comrade Andy Synn naming The Malkouth Grimoire both to his list of the year’s “Great Albums” (here) and to his list of the year’s “Critical Top 10” (here) — anointing it “the No. 1, ‘best of the best’ album of 2015” and lauding its “sheer creativity, mind-blowing instrumental prowess, ball-busting heaviness, and esoteric, progressive melodies”. Continue reading »

Jul 162015
 

Morean_Alkaloid-Photo by Christian Martin Weiss

Photos accompanying this interview by Christian Martin Weiss

(Andy Synn had the chance to interview the Dutch artist Morean about the three bands in which he is currently involved — Dark FortressNoneuclid, and Alkaloid. We’ve divided the interview into three parts, which will appear on three successive days. Today’s focus is Alkaloid. Check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)

 

All jokes aside, all three of the bands discussed in this interview have a certain “Progressive” edge to them (though I’m trying not to over-use that word if at all possible) – Dark Fortress are a Black Metal band, and Noneuclid tend (at least in my mind) towards the Thrash-y end of the Metal spectrum. However your latest band, Alkaloid, is probably the most Progressive AND the most Death Metal focussed group of the lot. Was this something you were always aiming for?

M: You put your finger right on it. Not everyone in Dark Fortress and Noneuclid is equally into Death Metal and shred orgies. And despite all the artistic freedom we take in those bands, there were quite some things Alkaloid wanted to do that would never have fit with the other bands, and I think the same is true for Obscura. So we wanted to give it one last shot to start something fresh from the beginning, where we have complete freedom to do what we want without having to fit our ideas into 10 or 20 year old band concepts – even if they’re our own. In my own artistic development, I feel that with Alkaloid many things that have been growing in the other bands finally are falling into place. And the personnel in Alkaloid [Linus Klausenitzer, Danny Tunker, Hannes Grossmann, Christian Münzner] are very inspiring, there are very few limits to how far the composers in the band can go. It’ll be exciting to see where this band will end up going in the future. Continue reading »

Jul 152015
 

Noneuclid on the sofa

 

(Andy Synn had the chance to interview the Dutch artist Morean about the three bands in which he is currently involved — Dark Fortress, Noneuclid, and Alkaloid. We’ve divided the interview into three parts, which will appear on three successive days. Today’s focus is Noneuclid. Check out Part 1 here and Part 3 here.)

 

Moving on to talk about your work in Noneuclid, which also includes your Dark Fortress band-mates Seraph and V. Santura, along with Linus from Obscura/Alkaloid, and recently departed vocalist Bruce. For those unfamiliar with the band, can you give us some background on the group?

M: We started as a group of friends playing covers together once a year. I had just graduated from the conservatory and was looking for an outlet for my metal-related ideas, and we had way too much fun playing together, so after a while we decided to make Noneuclid a more permanent outfit. That was back in 2004. I set out to write the first album with just the wish in mind to have a few songs to play; little did we suspect they’d be perceived as being this unusual. To us, it was just metal to begin with, but then things went off on a pretty wild tangent with everything that ensued in the years after. Continue reading »

Jul 142015
 

Morean-1

 

(Andy Synn had the chance to interview the Dutch artist Morean about the three bands in which he is currently involved — Dark Fortress, Noneuclid, and Alkaloid. We’ve divided the interview into three parts, which will appear on three successive days. Today’s focus is Dark Fortress. Check out the next two parts here and here.)

 

So, first of all, I just want to say thank you for agreeing to answer these questions for me/us. Both Venereal Dawn and Metatheosis were amongst my favourite albums from last year, and it’s looking very likely that The Malkuth Grimoire will end up in my top ten at the end of 2015 too.

Now, obviously I’m a big fan of all the bands you’re involved in, so this is probably going to be a pretty long and in-depth interview, but let’s start with a simple question… how the hell do you find the time for all of this?

Morean: Thanks for the compliments! How do I find time? Well – I don’t. I have to steal whatever time I put into one band, commission, or project from all the other bands and projects. It’s a problem almost everyone in all these bands has, and it’s getting worse. It’s also the reason why it takes years sometimes before a band is able to get into the studio or back on the road. Continue reading »