May 292015


Here are a couple of new things (one new song and one new video) that I thought I’d recommend before the work week comes to an end. They’re both instrumental pieces, but that’s about where the similarity ends.


A couple of days ago Arizona’s Tempel premiered another new song (“Descending Into the Labyrinth”) from their forthcoming album The Moon Lit Our Path — which will be released by Prosthetic Records on June 16. I meant to write about it sooner than now, but my fucking day job derailed my plans. Better late than never, I hope. Continue reading »

Feb 192014

I’m still in alliteration mode, though I’m not completely happy with today’s title. Given the bands’ names, I probably should have gone with “The ABCs of Metal”. In alphabetical order, here are six new songs from five forthcoming albums that I discovered over the last 24 hours, all of which come highly recommended.


We’ve been closely following the progression of UK-based Ancient Ascendant, with very positive reviews (by Andy Synn) of both their 2011 debut album The Grim Awakening and their 2012 EP Into the Dark. Last month we reported the very nice news that the band had signed with Candlelight Records for the release of a new album (with Dan Swanö again handling the production). Now we’ve got the album title — Echoes and Cinder — and the album art (above), plus a new song that premiered yesterday.

The song’s name is “Riders”, and you can hear it next. It will give you a hell of a blistering, black-thrashing ride, something like being snagged by a giant red-eyed bat horde flying from their cave for a night on the hunt. Damned infectious, too — you’ll want to limber up your neck muscles before listening because heads will bang. Continue reading »

Aug 242013

(DGR reviews the August 21, 2013 show in Sacramento, California, put on by Animals As Leaders, Navene-K, Journal, Legion’s Requiem, and Bispora.)

It’s so odd being outside of the home city right now, especially considering that just three days ago I was out in front of a venue there waiting for a show. This jet-setting lifestyle creates some cognitive dissonance with the brain for sure. On Wednesday Animals As Leaders made the incredibly cool gesture of coming to Sacramento after their time on the Summer Slaughter tour had already wrapped up. The guys chose to soldier on and play a few more shows, and one of them took place in my stomping ground.

So it came to pass that I found myself standing out front in what began as a very small line outside of Ace Of Spades, which would grow to a pretty good-sized crowd over the span of the night. It was somewhat of a local social event as well since the whole support came from local groups, with the exception of Navene-K, who would eventually go on to surprise me as one of my favorite things that I saw that night.

I tried to find videos of every band from that evening and managed to do so for three of the five. We have a new group out here called RealityCheck Sacramento who are proving to be very cool, so look them up, and SickDrummer uploaded some drum-cam footage of Navene doing the song “Microcosm”. I haven’t found anything from Animals As Leaders yet. but the previous two uploaders are amazing people and I love them. Continue reading »

Mar 132013

(DGR turns in this review of the live show by Meshuggah, Animals As Leaders, and Intronaut in Sacramento on March 1.)

This may be the third sold-out show that I have gotten the chance to attend at Ace Of Spades. That seems nuts considering that I have gone to a ton of concerts there since the venue opened up in downtown Sacramento – but that venue is huge. I admit that when I checked the site on the day of the show to make sure none of the bands had cancelled (a lesson that I learned after The Ocean had to flake out on the Job For A Cowboy/Between The Buried And Me show that hit there), seeing the SOLD OUT tab next to the show was exciting.

Seeing a band that you’ve never gotten the chance to see before is great, but seeing it with the hum and excitement of a ton of other people has such an effect on shows that it’s hard to describe. You often hear performers talk about how they will feed off of an excited crowd in front of them, but it seems there’s something about being in a packed venue that has that effect on the people watching as well.

I also still get a laugh out of seeing that giant swath of people standing in line across the street when the other side has a pool bar, then the venue, a burger restaurant, and then another bar – basically the type of place where a bunch of metalheads outside across the street seems weird. Continue reading »

Nov 132012

Here’s a collection of items that came my way over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing — in addition to all of the awesome posts that already graced the site yesterday.  (I can use the words “awesome” and “graced” without tarnishing my well-known reputation for humility because I’m not directly responsible for any of ysterday’s posts, even though this post will also be awesome.)


I saw via Heavy Blog Is Heavy the rumor that Meshuggah will be touring the U.S. along with Animals As Leaders and Intronaut early next year. The rumor is based on a flyer for a date in Minneapolis that you can see above.Yes please.

That same photo up there also provides evidence of another tour that I read about previously. This one is official: Norway’s Enslaved will be returning to the U.S. and Canada in early 2013 for a headlining, 20-show “Winter Rite” tour joined by U.S. doom metallers Pallbearer and occult rockers Ancient VVisdom (and both of those bands are killers).

The tour begins January 30 in Philadelphia and ends February 22 in New York City. The full schedule can be seen after the jump. And in case you missed our earlier post yesterday, Osmose Productions has just uploaded three older Enslaved albums for streaming and download on Bandcamp for the first time. Continue reading »

Jun 172012

Javier Reyes with Vicente Sanchis Classical guitar

When it rains, it pours.

As many of you already know, Animals As Leaders guitarist Javier Reyes was arrested by Boston police following a show on May 27 in what appears to have been a gross abuse of authority, and he’s having to deal with the legal ramifications of that. For more details, and to sign a petition urging the Governor of Massachusetts to get involved on Reyes’ behalf, GO HERE (at this writing, almost 25,000 people have signed the petition).

But now there’s even more bad news from the AAL camp. This message appeared on the AAL Facebook page last night:

“Hey guys.
We’ve got some pretty terrible news to report. Upon returning home to our house in LA we discovered that we’d been robbed while were out on tour. The thieves were able to get away with Javier’s Chevy Blazer and all of the equipment we didn’t have on tour with us. 10 guitars in total. This includes many of our one of a kind custom instruments (Stranberg, Rick Toone ) as well as amplifiers, PA equipment and personal items.

This is beyond devastating. We know so many of you have been beyond supportive with Javier’s legal troubles. We may need more of your help now to potentially find some of these one of a kind instruments that may pop up on Ebay, Craigslist, pawn shops, used music stores etc.

We’re adding an album containing photos and detailed descriptions of the stolen gear to our profile. Please take a look and keep your eyes open for anything that looks close to this stuff. I truly think that with your help we have an exponentially better chance of tracking some of this down.

Tosin, Javier”

To see those photos, GO HERE.  One of them is at the top of this post. Also, after the jump, I’ve added the rest of the photos for those of you not on FB, along with a few more thoughts. Continue reading »

Dec 122011

(The time has come.  What time is that?  Why, it’s the time when we begin publishing our own series on the best metal of 2011 — lists created by our writers, guest contributors, and members of metal bands who we’ve specially invited to share with us their lists.  And what better way to start than by turning to Phro for the kick-off?)

Ahhh . . . 2011, how quickly you came and . . . went?  Are going?  Let’s just stick with came for now.

What a year it has been!  I think.  I don’t really remember it.  I think there was something to do with tentacles and a few zombie girls.  Seriously, someone please make the whole zombie/vampire/werewolf thing stop happening.  Please.  I’m begging you.  I can only take so much pithy teen angst foisted upon poor hapless creatures of the night.  GIVE THEM BACK THEIR BALLS, DAMNIT!!!

Seriously.  And wizards, too.  Enough of that shit.

Oh, right, and there was music, too.  Particularly metal music.  Particularly good metal music.  (Anyone who ever utters the words, “It’s been a bad year for metal,” should go out behind the chicken chopping shed and punch themselves in the throat with a rooster.  You fucking lazy scum fucker.)  But it`s the end of the year, and it’s not enough to simply say there was a lot of it.  You people from the Internet want proof all of the sudden!  You freaks with your memes and your porn and your meme porn and your porn memes.  And your rules!!!  So many rules!  Well, I have a new rule for you.  Rule number 0.5.  It states, quite clearly: anything that can be made into furry-rape-scat porn should be made into furry-rape-scat porn and then broadcasted on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC until foxes look sexy.  (But only when they`re covered in poop.)

Poop, poop, poop, poop . . . poop . . . poooooooooooooop . . . Continue reading »

Oct 242011

(Today is something of a rare instrumental metal day at NCS. Following our review of the new album by Odyssey, TheMadIsraeli provides some thoughts about the sophomore effort from another NCS favorite, Animals As Leaders.)

Animals as Leaders, and more importantly Tosin Abasi, proved themselves to be quite the anomaly when they released their self-titled debut in 2009. The trio’s combo of instrumental djent, jazz and electronic music in tandem with Abasi’s top-notch proficiency in the shred department created a sound completely unique at the time. Now we have Animals As Leaders (or AAL from here on) laying on us a new album of musical mindfuckery by the name of Weightless, and I’m telling you now, this album is a trip.

Weightless takes the formula established on AAL’s debut and ratchets everything up to 11 — not doing anything dramatically new, but making a tried-and-true sound even better than it was originally. This enhancement is instantly apparent in opener “An Infinite Regression”. After an eerie, tapping intro, AAL blasts open the door with cacophonous drumming and noisy, low-end, 8-string tapping, and the stage is set for the song’s main melody, a quite apprehensive and dark one at that.

Throughout the elaborate melodic layers of Weightless, there is a pronounced feel of a dreamlike state, but it all comes with an overhanging sense of tension. Songs like “Earth Departure” demonstrate this perfectly, whereas other pieces like “Odessa” simply step into the brain with the kind of twistingly atonal-and-then-melodic back-and-forth that only the best of jazz fusion usually musters. Other songs such as “Do Not Go Gently” prove AAL’s ability to convey a mood and tell a story by the cadence of the song alone, the melodies and rhythms both contemplative in their nature but otherwise functioning as quite separate entities, like two streams of thought meeting and becoming one. Continue reading »

Oct 012011

September is behind us. Here in Seattle, it was such a beautiful month that it seemed like nature’s compensation for how late the summer started. Unfortunately, with September’s end, we’re on a short track to the onset of winter, which means about six months of short, cold, grey, ceaselessly wet days. Ain’t that just fuckin’ great?

Well, bitchin’ about the winter ahead won’t change one fucking thing. I prefer to think instead about the deluge of new metal that’s headed our way and try (momentarily) to forget about the deluge of rain on the horizon. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.

You know the drill:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album before August, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. As usual, also feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Sep 232011

Today seems to be a day for song and video debuts from bands we like here at NCS. As long as they continue rolling out, we’ll continue putting them up.

The most recent advent comes from those brilliant instrumentalists in Animals As Leaders, whose sophomore album Weightless is coming our way in November via Prosthetic Records. The song that debuted in full today is called “Isolated Incidents”, and it’s a blast to hear.

The song begins with an inventive but almost placid passage, which is hardly preparation for the sledgehammer blows that follow it as the song kicks into high gear. Tosin Abasi is in fine, fine form, mixing a host of different guitar instrumental styles as the song weaves its way through the maze of its progressions, and his compatriots Navene Koperweis and Javier Reyes stay right with him. Coolness. Listen after the jump. Continue reading »