Sep 242019

Murder Made God


(NCS scribe DGR is catching up after a long hiatus, with a multi-part collection of reviews of 2019 releases, beginning with this one.)

At one point I half-joked with myself that I’d call this column ‘with apologies’. This is due in part to the happening-more-often-than-not real life occurrences taking over my internet-writing time and resulting in missed self-imposed deadline after self-imposed deadline. In fact what you’re seeing right now is only ‘part one’ of this review roundup rather than everything at once, to protect the sanity of both your beloved writer and our beloved editor.

I keep a long running list of albums I’ve been meaning to review, stuff to look at, stuff I think our readers will find interesting, and so-forth, but as mentioned, there was a whole lot of falling behind as life just seemed to cascade one unfortunate event after another in an attempt to crush me. Long story short, by the end of the crushing I wound up with one fewer pet and became a new homeowner, with a whole bunch of bullshit in between. And so in that sense, I feel like there are apologies due not only for the lateness but also for the multiple re-writes that happened behind the scenes as I attempted to shake the rust off of what was essentially two months of exile.

That doesn’t mean music discovery and listening stopped. In fact that was an ongoing activity, and so this archive in all of its Parts covers a wide swath of the year, from January right up to stuff that came out just a few days ago. The same goes for genres and locations, because if there’s anything I do enjoy it’s traveling the world of heavy metal. The world doesn’t stop and wait for us to play catch-up, though, and right now is just as good a time as any to begin again, so if you’ll indulge me doing much shorter reviews than usual, here we go…. Continue reading »

Aug 172012

If the name Apostate or that cover art up there seems familiar to you, it may be because I wrote about this band (here) in early June. At that point, they had put up a video for a song called “The Town”, which was to appear on a five-song EP entitled Λ ♦ Λ ♦ Ø. The song and the video hooked me right in the gills, and I wondered aloud what else Apostate had in store for us on that EP.

Well, now I know, because they self-released the EP on August 3, and I finally made time to hear it this week. It fulfills the considerable promise of that first song.

The five songs are named in a way that implies a story — “The Road”, “The People”, “The Speech”, “The Rupture”, “The Town”. The EP title itself, though expressed in symbols, stands for “against all odds”. And the band’s name, at least in the dictionary definition, means someone who has abandoned, renounced, turned away from, a religion — or less commonly, a non-religious cause or belief.

There are more clues the the theme of this EP in the lyrics to the four songs that have lyrics (which are available here). Contrary to the usual meaning of “apostate”, they don’t seem to be one of the usual metal rants against religion, at least not clearly so. In fact, they could be considered a profession of belief against un-belief. They’re very well-written, and they appear to be about a specific time and place, events on a bigger scale than a mere individual’s experience. But they’re deliberately mysterious, and so they’re subject to interpretation.

The words convey a sense of triumph against fear and violence, but also weariness and regret, condemnation of self almost as much as condemnation against an un-named enemy, and a lot more. I rarely bother with song lyrics, partly because they’re usually so unimportant to an appreciation of metal (they’re usually unintelligible), and partly because when you take the time to read them, they’re so often terrible. But in this case, the music made me curious. And yes, I really am getting to the music . . . in fact, I’m there. Continue reading »

Jun 102012

I came across this song and video after I had finished the post that preceded this one today, or I would have included it there. On the other hand, that post was pretty long anyway, and besides, this song deserves a spotlight of its own.

The band is Apostate. They’re from Prague in the Czech Republic. Almost exactly a year ago, I reviewed their debut EP, Seaborne. They’re now putting the finishing touches on a follow-up, five-song EP called Λ ♦ Λ ♦ Ø.

Near the end of last week, they put up a video in collaboration with Vice magazine for the first track on the new EP, “The Town”. I’ve been listening to it over and over again since yesterday afternoon. It’s a beautiful piece of music — beautifully imagined and beautifully rendered. It’s almost entirely instrumental, in a style I suppose could be branded post-rock, until the explosion near the end (and I love that they ended it the way they did). 

There were hints of this kind of song in Seaborne, but in most ways it seems quite different to me, and makes me even more curious to see what else Apostate have gotten themselves into on Λ ♦ Λ ♦ Ø. They’re showing that, musically, they’re mature way beyond their years.

The video shows the band playing the song in what looks like a rehearsal studio, with no distractions from the music other than the sights of some serious dudes playing some serious music, which works just fine. Check it it out following the jump and let me know what you think.

UPDATE! Apostate has just made “the Town” available for free download on bandcamp (though I’d encourage you to chip in some bucks to help the band finish recording their latest release). HERE is the link for that. Continue reading »

Oct 172011

Over the weekend I came across a divergent array of largely new music that I feel compelled to share here at the beginning of the week. It’s really all over the place, up and down, swerving right and left. Tracking through these songs and videos put me in mind of a rollercoaster ride, hence the title of this post. There’s so much here that I’m dividing this into two parts. The next one will follow in a couple of hours. I’ll keep the verbiage brief and let the music do the talking for itself. In Part 1, the music comes from Ne Obliviscaris (Australia), God Is An Astronaut (Ireland), and Apostate (The Czech Republic).


We originally featured this unsigned Melbourne, Australia band back in March 2010, focusing on a 2007 EP called The Aurora Veil. At long last, they’ve completed their debut album, Portal of I, which will be released in the near future (I haven’t yet found a specific date or how it will be distributed). It will consist of 7 tracks, with a total run-time of more than 1 hour 11 minutes. So yes, the songs are long ones. The band released one of them to their Facebook page on Friday night. It’s called “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope”. I heard it via a link from NCS reader Kevin this morning — and it has floored me.

I know that I’m given to impulsive bursts of enthusiasm and that this undoubtedly devalues the weight that some people give my opinions. So, those people will want to take this with a grain of salt. Actually, take it with a pound of salt and choke ’til you pass out, because I’m serious: this is a wonderful song. It begins with a sweeping, violin-led melodic instrumental section and then moves on through a changing splash of musical colors and tones, part black metal, part melodic death metal, part prog metal — all good. It’s right after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 012011

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been using these SHORT BUT SWEET features to catch up on recent EP’s by bands both well-known and just emerging. Today, we’ve got three more in the “just emerging” category. Two of the bands were recommended by my NCS co-founder IntoTheDarkness, and the third came my way via Quigs at The Number of the Blog (who correctly surmised that it would be my kind of thing, though I suspect it’s not his).

If you’ve been slumming here at NCS for very long, then you know IntoTheDarkness has a penchant for deathcore. I still have a reservoir of enthusiasm for that genre, though certainly not as wide and deep as ITD’s. He and I have had a brief, civil debate about whether today’s first two bands really belong under the deathcore banner. I can understand why he thinks of their music that way, but I’m not sure the label strictly fits. More on that later. But labeling isn’t what this post is about — it’s about the music, which should speak for itself.

IMHO, the music of these two bands happens to be worth hearing. Why else would I be writing about it? And as for the third band, I’m just a complete sucker for the style — I have been for a long time, and always will be. So, without further ado, here are a few words about Tempest (California), Apostate (The Czech Republic), and Superstition (Croatia) — plus a selection of songs for you to test drive (after the jump). Continue reading »