Dec 282017
 

 

Those of you who’ve been visiting us for years are quite familiar with our continuing admiration of the Minnesota band Amiensus, whose releases we’ve followed closely and written about frequently ever since the appearance of their debut album Restoration in 2013. And so we were intrigued when we learned that Amiensus frontman (and Fail to Decay bassist) James Benson had started a separate solo project named Nòtt as a vehicle for creating music that combines bleak and progressive elements of black metal.

We can now reveal that Nòtt’s debut album is nearing completion and is projected for release in January of the new year, and we can go further than that — because today we’re premiering the first single from the album, a song called “White. Cold. Death.“, which is now available for free download at Bandcamp. Continue reading »

May 122017
 

 

Last fall, Minnesota’s Amiensus signed with Apathia Records for the release of a new EP this spring, and the release of that EP is now fast approaching. Its name is All Paths Lead To Death, and the release date is May 19th. We’ve previously written about the first two singles from the EP, and now we’ve got the good fortune to bring you a stream of the EP in its entirety.

We’re told by the band that “the concept of the album revolves around Hell and different depictions as well”, which ties to the John Martin artwork used on the cover, depicting Satan reigning on his throne in the hall of the Pandæmonium. And the music ties to that concept as well. Continue reading »

Apr 232017
 

 

I whittled the great limb of blackened music I found over the last week down to a spear, but it was a spear with 10 barbs. I organized the music alphabetically by band name and decided, as I stared at what I’d done, that music from 10 bands was too much for a single post. So, I’ve divided it into two parts, while maintaining the alphabetical ordering. I haven’t finished writing Part 2, so not sure if it will come later today or tomorrow (but probably tomorrow).

ÆRA

Of Forsworn Vows is the debut EP of a two-man project named ÆRA (the creator of all the music seems to be from Chile, the vocalist from Missouri). It was digitally released in February, but it’s now available on tape through Desolated Woods Records, and it appears that Aeternitas Tenebrarum plans to make a CD release (the Bandcamp download has been updated so that the tracks now consist of the CD masters). Continue reading »

Mar 162017
 

 

We have been closely following the musical progress of Minnesota’s Amiensus, essentially step by step, since we discovered and then praised their wonderful debut album Restoration back in the early days of 2013. Since then, they have released (and we have reviewed) a split with Oak Pantheon, a single named “Wolfhead’s Tree“, their 2015 album Ascension, and another single named “Reflections“.

As we happily reported last fall, Amiensus have signed with Apathia Records for the release of a new EP this spring, and now we have further details about it as well as the premiere of a track from the EP named “Gehenna“. Continue reading »

Sep 232016
 

acrimonious-eleven-dragons

 

Here are a select group of new and varied songs I discovered over the last 24 hours that I think are well worth your time.

ACRIMONIOUS

Almost four years have passed since the release of Sunyata, the second album by the Greek black metal band Acrimonious. That album was my own introduction to the band, and also one of my favorite releases of 2012. And so it was a very welcome surprise to find out yesterday that Acrimonious will be releasing a new album, the name of which is Eleven Dragons. As you can see, it features striking cover art by Vamperess Imperium. Continue reading »

Jul 222016
 

Amiensus-Pangaea-White-flyer

 

It’s not a well-kept secret that we here at NCS are ardent fans of Minnesota’s Amiensus. We’ve been closely following all of their releases ever since Andy Synn reviewed their debut album Restoration for us back in January 2013. Their latest album, Ascension, appeared last year (and we reviewed it here), and we premiered a new track named “Reflections” last April.

Since then, Amiensus have signed on with Apathia Records for the release of a new EP in the spring of 2017 and have laid the groundwork for the Dust of the Earth tour with Wisconsin’s Pangaea during September — which we’re now helping to announce. For details about that, plus music from both bands, plus more news updates about both Amiensus and Pangaea, please continue reading…. Continue reading »

Apr 292016
 

Amiensus-Reflections

 

We’ve been closely following all the releases of Minnesota’s Amiensus ever since Andy Synn reviewed their debut album Restoration for us back in January 2013. Their latest album, Ascension, appeared last year (and we reviewed it here). The band wrote a song named “Reflections” that was originally intended for that album, and although they eventually decided not to include it there, they have now recorded it as a stand-alone single that’s being released today — and we have the premiere of “Reflections” for you right here.

The song digs its hooks in almost immediately with an opening riff that pulsates over thundering drums, and the band drive the hooks in even harder with a clean vocal chorus, balanced against the harsh abrasion in the verses. But perhaps the most gripping part of the song is still yet to come at the 3:00 mark, when the lyrical sequence “I am devoid of…” begins. Continue reading »

Feb 082016
 

Amiensus art

 

As regular NCS readers know full well, we’ve been following and supporting Minnesota’s Amiensus for years, because they’ve been consistently delivering such fine music. Last year they released their second album Ascension (reviewed here), but they will have even more new music for us in 2016, and we’re giving you some tantalizing tastes of it below.

The band tell us that they have plans to release a new split in the first part of the year, then an EP in September, followed by another split in December — and in the player below you can check out excerpts from three of the new songs, with music that ranges from jolting, to majestic, to mystical. Continue reading »

Jan 052016
 

Amiensus-2

 

We have been steadfast fans of Minnesota’s Amiensus for years, and so we are very pleased to bring you year-end lists from four of the band’s members.

These lists include metal, of course, but also albums from other genres as well , and two of the members have also listed some favorite individual songs.

If you haven’t heard the music of Amiensus before, go HERE and get acquainted (they’re on Facebook at this location). Continue reading »

Jun 302015
 

 

We’ve known there was something special about Amiensus ever since my co-writer Andy Synn brought the band to our attention through his vivid review of their 2013 debut album Restoration. In the years since then, the band have released a small number of individual songs that proved to be equally impressive, but I still don’t think even that track record of excellent releases could have fully prepared us for the band’s new album Ascension — which will be released tomorrow. In a word, it’s astonishing.

Attempting to capture the tremendously multi-hued character of the music in mere words is probably a fruitless goal. It’s true of most music, but undeniable in the case of this album, that there is no substitute for experiencing it yourself. It’s ambitious, it takes risks, it lays bare the emotional intensity of the musicians and vocalists, and it vividly reflects the creativity of their songwriting ideas. They should all be immensely proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Ascension is a folk-tinged, genre-crossing amalgam of black metal, melodic death metal, and progressive rock. It’s sweepingly atmospheric and it’s warlike. It’s massively heavy and as fragile as snowflakes. It’s doomed and it’s defiant. It’s drenched in sorrow, it’s explosive in its ferocity, it’s panoramic in its epic reach, and it’s often sublimely mystical. And frequently, it’s all of those things within the space of a single song. Continue reading »