Jun 212014

(Guest contributor Old Man Windbreaker returns to NCS after an extended absence with the following quirky commemoration of this seasonally significant day.)

Mellow greetings, fellow sapients. Old Man Windbreaker greets you, indeed. Old Man Windbreaker is also sleep-deprived and febrile. Old Man Windbreaker decided to write something for this year’s day of the Northern Solstice. And no, it is not an installment of the promised “A Tredecennium of Metal” series.

Anyway, let us get on with it — a review of Wagner, Wagner Reloaded, and Wagner Revolutions. In addition to finding out whether that is a real thing, you will find here enclosed in this non-existent envelope the non-existent answers to the big questions: “Where do we come from?” “What are we?” “Where are we going?” “Will it blend?” {Cue Immortal and their invisible oranges}

Firstly, there is no trilogy of feature films or musical works titled “Wagner”, “Wagner Reloaded”, and “Wagner Revolutions”. We shall be considering only the music recording titled Wagner Reloaded by Apocalyptica with the MDR Symphonic Orchestra, with the corresponding dance performance choreographed by Gregor Seyffert.

Secondly, One shall wish you to have a great time on this year’s day of the Northern Solstice, which also happens to be World Music Day. One shall not apologise for the irrelevance of the music review to the event of the Northern Solstice.

Finally, One shall make no further mention of the answers to the big questions, other than to say this: “Yes, it will blend.” Continue reading »

Dec 162010

We’re down to our last two posts in this Finland Tribute “Week” series. Today, for the sake of completeness, we’re betraying the title and thematic focus of this site. Of the three bands we’re writing about today, only one — Apocalyptica — is a band whose music is on our personal playlists, and none of them fits our definition of extreme. But in terms of global appeal, they’re certainly among the most popular quasi-metal acts to come out of Finland in the last decade. So, we’re paying respect to them through this post. While gritting our teeth. For the sake of completeness.


Apocalyptica started in 1993 when four classically trained cellists at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki started playing Metallica songs on their cellos. They released a debut album in 1996 (Plays Metallica by Four Cellos), consisting entirely of Metallica covers. Their second album, Inquisition Symphony (1998) included more Metallica covers, plus songs by Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera. As fun as it was to hear metal songs covered by cellists, many people (including us) thought this would be a one-and-done novelty act.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. The third album (Cult, 2000) included mainly original songs, and the fourth one (Reflections, 2003) was nothing but original tunes and included drums along with the cellos (with Slayer’s Dave Lombardo providing the drum tracks). Guest vocalists began to appear on the band’s albums, which led to even greater heights of sky-rocketing popularity. Now, with nine albums in their discography (including a couple of “best of” releases), the band has sold over three million records worldwide and has played somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 concerts in 50 countries. Some novelty act.

We’ve seen Apocalyptica in concert twice, and their shows are massively entertaining. The live productions are slick, but these dudes work their butts off on stage, and the fun they have while playing is irresistibly infectious. And yes, a lot of their music legitimately qualifies as metal, despite the hard-rock feel of most of those songs with guest vocalists. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 212010

A mental chime reminded me that it was about time for another edition of “THAT’S METAL!“. Or it could have been the microwave announcing the readiness of another gourmet meal. Or possibly the sound of a beer can hitting a stack of empties.

Anyway, I decided it was time to venture timidly forth from my carefully maintained informational cocoon into the fearsome world of, gulp, hard news, to see if there might be something that would cause me to exclaim, “Shit! That’s metal!”, even though it’s not about music.

Sure enough, I found a few items — even though I had to wade through some typically depressing news about shit like wars, unemployment, environmental catastrophe, legislative stalemate, and crime, to get there. I try hard to remain ignorant about current events because it’s so fucking depressing/nauseating. But duty to our readers trumps depression and nausea every time!

I did find some nuggets in the cesspool of current events though. They involve a bull leaping a wall and rampaging through seated fans at a bullfight, new ways in which boobs can be used to score some quick cash, and driving without a license — and without a tire.

And of course, we include our usual tasteless commentary plus musical accompaniment  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

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 »

Jul 032010

This seems to be video day here at NO CLEAN SINGING. We didn’t plan it that way, but we just keep running across brand new videos from bands we like.  Here’s one more.

This one veers pretty far outside our usual stomping grounds. It’s another one of those radio-friendly hard-rock songs that Apocalyptica has been putting out with name-brand guest vocalists. This particular offering, “End of Me”, features Gavin Rossdale, former lead singer of Bush and current husband of Gwen Stefani.

So, the song isn’t metal, but it’s an Apocalyptica song, and your NCS co-authors have had way too much headbanging fun at their live shows in Seattle to ignore even a non-metal song like “End of Me”. So, we’re invoking our Exception to the Rule rule and posting the video. It’s a catchy song, it features a bunch of long-haired dudes rocking out on their cellos, and it ends with an ornately dressed woman fading into smoke.

If you’re in the mood for that kind of thing, you can watch the vid after the jump. And if not? Have a nice fucking day anyway. Continue reading »

May 062010

Those chill cellists in Apocalyptica are set to release their seventh studio album 7th Symphony on August 23rd (August 20 if you live in Germany). Per a press release issued yesterday, the band will continue its relatively recent but oh-so-successful practice of including guest vocalists on some of the songs.

The first single, “End Of Me”, will feature Gavin Rossdale, best known as the vocalist of Bush. Another one, “Broken Pieces”, will include vocals by Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm, and “Not Strong Enough” will be sung by Brent Smith (Shinedown).  Looks like we’re in for more hard rock from Apocalyptica.

We can’t honestly complain about this, because we’ve got a serious weakness for Apocalyptica, even though their music has drifted far beyond the boundaries of what we write about here at NCS.

But here’s the part of the press release that’s worth a mention on this site:

The album also features a number of other notable guest performances: Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo plays on “2010”, [and] “Bring Them To Light” features Joseph Duplantier, singer and guitarist of the French death metal band Gojira . . . .

Say what?!?  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 022010

No, we’re not talking about the swine flu, or the avian flu, or the next animal virus that decides humans would be a nice host environment upgrade. We’re talking about new metal that has the potential to be sick.

On the first day of the New Year, we posted a round-up of new extreme metal albums forecast for release 2010, along with our list of the 21 we most wanted to hear.

One month has now passed, and we’ve discovered some forthcoming releases we didn’t know about on January 1. Seems like a good time for an update! So, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about forthcoming albums from bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that fit the profile of music we cover on this site (with a couple of Exceptions to the Rule).

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources over the last 31 days about forthcoming releases we missed in our January 1 list:

AGALLOCH: “So what can we expect from the band’s long-awaited follow-up to Ashes Against the Grain? According to an interview songwriter John Haughm gave to German TV last May, ‘expect the unexpected.’ Haughm says that the next release will be ‘completely different’ from its predecessors — ‘a bit darker,’ closer to black metal, but with the same kind of dynamics that Agalloch is known for.  As for when we can expect the new album, Haughm said that he hoped it would be out by May 2010.”

APOCALYPTICA:  “Finnish rock cello quartet APOCALYPTICA has entered Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki to begin recording its new album for a spring/summer release.” [This is one of those Exceptions to the Rule.]

APOSTASY: “Four new songs from the Swedish black metal act APOSTASY are available for streaming on the band’s MySpace page. The tracks will appear on the group’s forthcoming third full-length album, Nuclear Messiah, which will be released later in the year.”  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »