Jul 012011

June is behind us, July lies ahead. Here in the U.S., we’re about to start the long weekend leading up to Independence Day, when Americans celebrate the birth of the nation by buying explosive ordinance wherever fine explosive ordinance is sold and lighting up the night sky (in addition to blowing the shit out of objects and sometimes themselves). People will also be exposing unsightly parts of their bodies wherever sun can be found and eating large quantities of health food prepared on outdoor grills. Our Founding Fathers would be proud of what they wrought!

Because the last month has ended, that means it’s time for another installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which 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 during May or preceding months, we wrote about them 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. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that we overlooked. Continue reading »

Mar 082011

I just saw an announcement this morning that riveted my attention. I hadn’t heard any previous buzz about this, and it’s an amazing surprise. There will certainly be tremendous buzz ahead.

The announcement is about a new “supergroup” called T.R.A.M., which I’m guessing is an acronym for the band’s members. Check this out:

Adrian Terrazas (The Mars Volta) on saxophone, flute, bass clarinet and percussion.

Javier Reyes (Animals As Leaders) on guitars.

Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders) on guitars.

Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies) on drums.

They’ve been signed by Sumerian Records, and their debut album, Lingua Franca, is scheduled for a May release. There’s no music to hear yet, but a new song is supposed to appear soon. The band is supposed to perform their first show ever at SXSW as part of NJ’s WSOU 89.5FM’s showcase on Thursday, March 17th in Austin. I have no idea what this music will be like, or if it will even be metal, but in light of who’s in this band, I will sure as fuck listen to it at the first opportunity. We will keep you updated, and if you want to follow developments on your own, T.R.A.M.’s new Facebook page is here.

Nov 232010

While I was away on vacation I didn’t completely neglect what was happening in the world of metal, but I confess I didn’t spend the kind of time I usually spend keeping up on current developments. So over the weekend I did my best to catch up. It was kind of like swimming against a flood tide. It’s amazing how much happens on a daily basis. Of course, I find that a lot of the bulletins, press releases, and blurbs that fill up the likes of Blabbermouth and band pages on Facebook and MySpace are pretty uninteresting.

But even ignoring the boring and utterly useless streams of bullshit that pass for metal news much of the time, I still found all sorts of happenings over the last 12 days that were quite interesting, and even exciting — the kind of occurrences we would have written about on this site if we’d been able to stay on top of our game. The downside of writing about them now is that for many of you, it will be old news. But what the fuck. We’re going to write about some of those items anyway, stale though they may be. Some things still taste pretty good even when they’re beyond their sell-by date. And besides, maybe some of you missed them, just like I did while I was off staring at clouds.

It may take a couple or three posts to catch up, but there’s no time like the present to get started. So today we’ve got a collection of items about Animals As Leaders, From ExileAfter the Burial, and I Declare War. That’s what you’ll find after the jump, along with some music videos . . . Continue reading »

Oct 312010

Yesterday we tossed up a teaser on this site, just a single song for you to hear with no information about the band (other than the mp3 tag that I didn’t know how to eliminate from the file). We did promise to reveal more about the music today, and we don’t lie.

The song we featured yesterday is called “The Discovery”. It’s the seventh track on a debut album that’s also called The Discovery. It was released in July 2008 by a “band” called Cloudkicker, which turns out not to be a band at all.

Cloudkicker came to my attention via a message from my occasional NCS collaborator IntoTheDarkness, which was worded as follows: “Ok, so I know ur not much for instrumental stuff, but i’ve been listening to a lot lately and you need to check these guys out. They are called Cloudkicker and they are hands down the best instrumental band I have ever heard next to AAL. Especially check out the song ‘the discovery.’ Fucking incredible.”

So that certainly got my attention, particularly because “AAL” is Animals As Leaders, and I’ve made quite plain my slavish devotion to that band. I tracked down the song, listened to it, and quickly decided that yes, it is indeed fucking incredible. And it turns out that Cloudkicker has generated a lot more music that’s equally awesome.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 242010

Not long ago, we posted a video retrospective of the meteoric career of multi-instrumentalist Navene Koperweis. When we did that, we had trouble finding a decent performance video of Animals As Leaders — the band in which Koperweis plays drums with the godlike Tosin Abasi on guitar. Now, METAL INJECTION has remedied that problem.

They were on hand when AAL played the Sonar in Baltimore on the SUMMER SLAUGHTER 2010 tour and filmed some of the band’s performance using multiple cameras. The video quality and the sound quality are both far superior to any other videos currently available of AAL playing live.

The one at the top of this post is the song “Tempting Time”, and after the jump, we’ve got a second METAL INJECTION video of “Wave of Babies”. If this doesn’t make you come, then it’s possible you were neutered in your sleep last night.  Plus, when’s the last time you saw a metal guitarist playing in a polo shirt and white shorts? Continue reading »

Sep 072010

We’ve splashed our admiration for Navene Koperweis across these pages enough times that it’s verging on stalkerish. If somehow you missed one of our many posts in which we dropped his name, he’s a self-taught drummer from California who’s also strikingly adept at playing all sorts of other instruments, too.

He used to blast the skins for deathcore band Animosity. Now, he plays with Tosin Abasi in the stunningly good Animals As Leaders, and he’s the creative and instrumental force behind Fleshwrought (with Job For A Cowboy’s Jonny Davy on vocals).

It’s not like we think about him all the time, which would be kind of creepy. But a few days ago, we saw a Facebook post by one of the dudes in FXZero that linked to a four-year old video of an Animosity song called “The Black Page” that we’d never seen.

And there was Navene Koperweis, pummeling the crap out of his drums and looking much younger than when we saw him with AAL on the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour a few weeks ago (see our photo above).

So, we thought, what the fuck — let’s put together a little audio-video montage of this dude, then and now. You can see how he’s grown in his playing and his musical interests, and all the songs happen to be fucking great, too.  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 242010

This is the second part of a two-part post about the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour’s performances in Seattle and Portland on August 20 and 21. In Part 1, we gave our impressions about the music and posted photos of about half the bands performing in Seattle.

Today, we have a random assortment of observations about our two days of metal in the Pacific Northwest, plus photos of all the bands at the show in Portland.

None of us here at NCS know what the fuck we’re doing with a camera. We like to justify our ineptitude by telling ourselves it’s just like the DIY ethic of underground metal. We also like to make excuses that divert attention from our complete lack of training, such as the constantly changing or almost non-existent light, the non-stop motion on stage, the distance from which we’re taking the photos, and — most important — the fact that we go to shows to listen to the fucking music, not to take photos, so there’s a limit to how much time we’re going to spend snapping away like a fucking tourist.

But, despite our manifold shortcomings as photojournalists, we think these pics are just barely good enough to share, so we’re sharing them — a lot of them, since 11 bands played in Portland and we didn’t miss out on any of them.  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 232010

This year’s edition of THE SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour was a celebration of death metal in some of its more brutal and technical flavors — and one out-of-place wild card that stole the show. In this case, “stealing the show” is a relative term, because the line-up of bands was so strong.

In fact, with allowances for the extremity of our musical tastes here at NCS, this was as consistently solid a line-up, from start to finish, as any tour in recent memory: Vital Remains, Animals As Leaders, Carnifex, Decrepit Birth, Cephalic Carnage, Veil of Maya, The Red Chord, All Shall Perish, The Faceless, and Decapitated.

In fact, we were so stoked about this tour that we decided to see it both in Seattle last Friday and again in Portland the next day. The tour’s last show is in San Francisco tonight, so we were catching the bands near the end of a long summer haul that no doubt wore them out. But you couldn’t tell that from the way they played. If we didn’t have day jobs and were closer to SF, we’d be tempted to take in a third performance — it was that good.

As usual, we took a crapload of photos at both performances. And in fact, most of them are crap. But we’ve been painstakingly sorting through them to find the least crappy ones that we wouldn’t be too embarrassed to share.

So, today, we’ve got some high-level reactions to what we heard from all the bands, plus photos from the Seattle tour stop. Tomorrow (now at this location), we’ll have some random observations about the scene and the crowds and a few other thoughts that aren’t really in the nature of a review, plus the best photos from the Portland show (which are a bit better than the ones we’re posting today).  (continue after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 212010

SUMMER SLAUGHTER was in Seattle last night. I went with one of my NCS cohorts (Alexis) but left after Cephalic Carnage. Why? Because all the perpetrators of this site are  leaving at the crack of dawn to drive to Portland today. Why? To see SUMMER SLAUGHTER in Portland. Why? Don’t ask.

So, I’ll get to see the first 5 bands twice. For now, three words:

Animals. As. Leaders.

More words:

Cephalic. Carnage.

Aug 072010

I guess this MISCELLANY thing is turning into a weekly installment. I do have fun with it, and I hope you continue to find it worthwhile, too.

For new readers, it’s a record of how I spent my time on a recent morning (in this case, yesterday), checking out music I hadn’t heard before. The process is pretty random. I see something that looks interesting — whether from an internet post somewhere or an e-mail we receive here at NCS or a MySpace friend request or something that shows up in the mail.

I’m still hoping our cat will bring me a new CD someday, thinking it’s a mouse. That would really be random, but it hasn’t happened yet. I try to explain what I want, but he just looks at me like that rare Sri Lankan loris over on the right. Except he’s a cat. I wouldn’t want a loris for a pet because they have hands. That would worry me.

Anyway, this MISCELLANY post is a record of what I heard, not knowing in advance whether it would be good, so you’re kind of taking pot luck right along with me. As usual, there’s an international flavor to what I found. And as it happens, I had amazingly good luck on this most recent excursion. Not 100% satisfaction, but pretty fucking close.

The performers whose new music I heard (or whose new videos I watched) were: Navene Koperweis and Alex Rudinger (U.S.), Sole Remedy (Finland), The Red Shore (Australia), Apocalyptica (Finland), and The Autumn Offering (U.S.) — with a little bonus from The Crown (Sweden).

You can hear the music and watch the vids after the jump . . . Continue reading »