Apr 252018
 


photo credit: Lars Johnson

 

For this mid-week round-up I was again up to my eye-brows in worthy new music to choose from. I decided to do something a little different from usual, combining the formats of these SEEN AND HEARD collections and the occasional OVERFLOWING STREAMS columns. In other words, I’ll begin with some new songs and videos that I’ve introduced with my own descriptive verbiage (beginning with a couple of “exceptions to the rule”), and then followed that with a few more music streams that will somehow have to represent themselves through sound alone, difficult as that may be to imagine. (I also intend to present a rare week-day edition of SHADES OF BLACK later today or tomorrow in order to foist some more recent music on you.)

By the way, did you see that on July 6 Nuclear Blast will be releasing the first new Immortal album (Northern Chaos Gods) since All Shall Fall? It’s just Demonaz and Horgh, of course, but with Peter Tägtgren as session bassist. Even without Abbath in the line-up, I’m kind of excited.

AMORPHIS

I was also kind of excited about the prospect of a new Amorphis album when I first learned of it. That band has been the source of many joyous moments for yours truly in the past, and they put on a hell of an exciting show the only time I’ve seen them live (at Maryland Deathfest). Of course they and I have evolved to the point where their music isn’t as “extreme” as most of what I listen to these days, but when they’re on their game, even in these later days they still produce a thrill. Continue reading »

Aug 262017
 

 

I’ve been in this situation more than once, and maybe you have too: I’m hanging out listening to music with people who don’t have much interest in metal and don’t know much about it (though everyone seems to have heard of Metallica), but they’re trying to be polite, so they ask if you’d like to pick something for everyone to listen to, in between whatever they’re playing.

I was in this situation last weekend, which is why I’m thinking about it. It wasn’t the first time, it won’t be the last. I don’t always come up with the same answers. It’s usually whatever pops into my head first. But either consciously or subconsciously, I’m usually thinking about catchy riffs, infectious rhythms, and melodies that people can latch onto fast. It’s usually tempting to steer clear of harsh vocals, but sometimes I just don’t give a fuck about that. Depends on the company I’m keeping and my own mood. Continue reading »

Feb 292016
 

October Tide - Winged Waltz

 

It looks like it’s going to be yet another one of those crazy weeks where if we snooze for about 5 minutes we’ll miss the debut of at least 5 new things worth getting excited about. For example, everything in this post appeared in just the last few hours of this Monday morning, except the penultimate one, which erupted like a volcano of dementia last night.

These are all videos. Because I really hadn’t planned on trying to inject a round-up into an already full schedule of posts at our site this morning, I don’t have time to write much about them. Of course, I do recommend you give them your time.

OCTOBER TIDE

Winged Waltz is the name of the fifth album by these beautifully gloomy Swedes, and it will be released by Agonia Records on April 22. Here is the brand new lyric video for the first advance track from the album — “Sleepless Sun”: Continue reading »

Feb 122016
 

Amorphis-Under the Red Cloud

 

Welcome to the 24th Part of our roll-out of 2015’s Most Infectious Songs, as chosen by me and me alone. I have a constricting feeling around my throat as I bear down on my self-imposed Sunday deadline for finishing this list, when in fact I’m not really close to exhausting all the songs I want to write about. I have some terrible decisions to make this weekend.

The rest of the songs on the list can be inspected via this link.

AMORPHIS

I don’t suppose Amorphis really needed to make a “comeback” album. They haven’t really gone away, and the massive core of their fan base has never left them. But I still think of Under the Red Cloud as a comeback album. Continue reading »

Aug 112015
 

Insomnium-Omnium Gatherum split

 

In preparing these round-ups of new songs I usually try to include music from more obscure underground bands in addition to names most of us would recognize. But I didn’t have much time yesterday to wade through the interhole in search of new things, and by chance two of the new songs I heard come from some of the bigger names; the third one has been out for a month, but there’s a reason I’m including it now. And by chance, catchy melody is the common theme for these songs (which is a big reason these three bands are so well-known).

OMNIUM GATHERUM

It’s been over two years since Finland’s Omnium Gatherum released their last album, Beyond. On August 9 they began a North America tour headlined by fellow Finnish melodeath stalwarts Insomnium — who are mounting the tour without growler/bassist Niilo Sevanen, replacing him for this tour with Mike Bear (Artisan, ex-Prototype) from the U.S. And to coincide with the tour, Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium are releasing a 7″ vinyl split, featuring artwork by Olli-Pekka Lappalainen. Continue reading »

Jun 162015
 

 

Still in Texas, still working my ass off (but not on NCS), still not able to listen to much metal — but I did have time for a quick swim through the effluent of the interhole, and these things caught my eye (and ears).

AMORPHIS

Thanks to my NCS comrade Andy Synn, I saw the striking cover art above, by Valnoir Mortasonge, which Finland’s Amorphis posted on their Facebook wall, along with this announcement: Continue reading »

May 262015
 


None of these people is me.

I’m seriously considering a legal change of my name to include the words “Ass Backwards” in it. I mean, I’m not fooling anyone anyway, so I might as well be up-front about it.

Case-in-point: Instead of writing a chronologically oriented and comprehensive review of the recently concluded Maryland Deathfest XIII, I just started tossing out random collections of photos over the last three days, mainly as a way of explaining why I wasn’t doing much of anything else for the site. And now, rather than starting over with something that actually looks like a thoughtful report on an amazing event, I’m going to continue with what I started and fill in the gaps I left, working my way backward to the pre-fest show last Wednesday.

Once again, there will be more of my photos in the continuation of this series than my words, which may come as a continuing relief to many. Continue reading »

Aug 192014
 

 

Editor’s Note:  Have you heard the news? Have you heard that Amorphis will be playing Tales From the Thousand Lakes (1994) in its entirety at Maryland Deathfest XIII next year? Our old pal Trollfiend heard the news and seemed pretty excited about it, especially since, if memory serves, it was the last Amorphis album he liked (or at least part of it).

I couldn’t leave him in a state of unmitigated excitement, what with his high blood pressure and all, so I reminded him that he had never finished his no-holds-barred cage match with the discography of Amorphis, the one he started (here) way back in December 2011. Apparently, Trollfiend is vulnerable to guilt-tripping, and so here — more than two years after he engaged in “no rules” combat with Tuonela — we bring you Round 5. This promises to be gory…

********

It has been more than two years since I set foot in the arena.

I have forgotten many things, but the brutal reality of my last battle against the hordes of Amorphis still cuts deep into my soul. I wander the sands, once watered with fresh blood. I am Alone.

I stand at the spot where the assassin Tuonela fell, her neck broken by my own hands. I remember then, as I do now, the horror that I felt; that I could be so callous, cold, unfeeling. That I could discard my oath so readily. I had sworn to serve, and had felt betrayed, but her words haunted me still.

“It is you who are the betrayer.”

Nothing makes sense to me anymore. The harsh cries of circling vultures sound like wails through a bent metal tube, perhaps an alto sax. They grate on my nerves like her accusal. I was the victor then, but now? She has become the Goddess at whose feet I weep, and I am but a Sad Man.

Continue reading »

Apr 022013
 

I didn’t have time to compile a daily round-up yesterday, so there’s a lot of shit to cram into this one. I’ll try to keep words to a minimum and let the music, the videos, and the imagery speak for themselves.

ITEM ONE: CHTHONIC

2011’s Takasago Army marked the time when I finally got into Taiwan’s Chthonic. It was interesting and multi-textured, in addition to kicking large amounts of ass. So I’m now quite interested in their next album, Bú-Tik, which will be released by Spinefarm this summer. Today, the sexy cover art was revealed. Apparently, nearly 100 people volunteered to be the model for it.

The album cover is eye-catching for sure, though it doesn’t exactly suggest that the new album will be devoted to history and tradition. Yet in this new interview the band’s eye-catching bassist Doris Yeh suggests that it will. I’m up for it. Continue reading »