Sep 092017
 

 

(Andy Synn is the author of this thought piece, and as always, we welcome your own thoughts in the Comments.)

I/we recently received a pair of promos here at NCS that couldn’t have been more diametrically opposed in style, Deus Salutis Meae by Blut Aus Nord and Will to Power by Arch Enemy.

The former is a return to the oppressive, industrialised soundscapes of The Work Which Transforms God and Mort, whose purposefully unsettling nature practically epitomises the idea of “art for art’s sake”, while the latter is a collection of shamelessly catchy, if predictably formulaic, tunes, designed with one eye firmly on increasing the band’s popularity and mainstream (in Metal terms at least) appeal.

And though the two bands/albums have very little in common on the purely musical side of things, their very nature means they can still be compared as representing the two polar extremes of the modern-day Metal spectrum. Continue reading »

May 222015
 

 

Over time I’ve come to enjoy tours that mix and match, that cross genres and by doing so introduce Band Y to fans who come to see Band X. Of course, there’s also a risk in this strategy, especially if what you’re mixing are all well-known bands, and the fans of some wouldn’t be caught dead in the presence of the others. I’m thinking there might be some of that risk in this year’s edition of the SUMMER SLAUGHTER TOUR.

Arch Enemy has been announced as the headliner — and bear in mind, this is Arch Enemy with Jeff Loomis in the line-up. Obscura are on this tour, too, along with Cattle Decapitation and Beyond Creation. And then these bands are also on the line-up: Continue reading »

May 052015
 

 

Here’s an assortment of new music I discovered over the last 24 hours with some help from friends. Needless to say, I urge you to give all of it a listen.

GESPENST

Gespenst is a new Danish black band with some experienced members — vocalist/bassist Galskab, for example, is also a member of Woebegone Obscured, Dwell, and Black Dementia, as well as a former member of Horned Almighty and a live performer with Glorior Belli.  Gepenst have recorded a debut album named Forfald (Danish for “Downfall”), and yesterday they uploaded for streaming an excerpt of one of the album’s songs that blew me away when I heard it (it comes with some eye candy on YouTube).

The song’s name is “Life Drained To the Black Abyss”, and it’s a long one. Even the excerpt is more than 7 1/2 minutes long; as I learned from the band, the complete track runs more than 12 minutes. The album as a whole includes over 40 minutes of music, but only four tracks, so each of them is likely to be a long-form piece. Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 

 

I’ve seen and heard a lot of metal things on this Monday. I thought I’d try to collect all of them for tomorrow’s first post, because that way I could do some other things with what’s left of my Monday, such as doing some work for my fucking day job, because there are some people who actually think I should do something I’m actually paid to do. But fuck that. I decided to make a start right now and finish everything up in tomorrow’s first post.

INFESTUM

Last week the European Space Agency landed a small spacecraft named Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a 2.5-mile-wide ball of rock, ice, and dust that was moving faster than 40,000 miles an hour and was 317 million miles from Earth at the time of the landing. Not a bad piece of work. I have trouble landing my car in my driveway.

Unfortunately, the spacecraft shut down on Saturday after its batteries were drained. Apparently it landed against a cliff or crater wall where it couldn’t get enough sunlight to recharge those batteries. Before that happened, Philae did send back some photos. As you can see above, one of them looks suspiciously like the cover of Monuments of Exalted, the new album by Infestum from Belarus that was released by Lacerated Enemy Records just a couple of days earlier. If you’ve heard anything from the album, you may be less convinced this was a coincidence. Continue reading »

Jun 182014
 

Here are some arch-ie things I spotted this morning.

ARCHSPIRE

Spencer Prewett is the drummer for Canada’s Archspire, whose new album The Lucid Collective we reviewed here in April. On a superficial level, he appears to be human — two arms, two legs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, realistic looking skin and hair. But appearances can be deceiving, because based on the video I’m about to show you he is clearly a Cyberdyne Systems model T-1000 cyborg. Fortunately, John Connor can rest easy because Spencer Prewett was sent from the future only to destroy drum kits.

In this drum play through, the song you’ll hear is the new album’s first track, “Lucid Collective Somnambulation”. I dropped my jaw and the damned thing bounced somewhere I didn’t see because my eyes were glued to this video. You watch it while I go look for my damned jaw.

(thanks to DGR for linking me to this. He prefaced the link in his message with this:

“WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” Continue reading »

Jun 102014
 

Arch Enemy live at Sweden Rock — photo by Am. Creations, used with permission.

The new album from Arch Enemy, War Eternal, is being released today in North America by Century Media and to celebrate the occasion we bring you the premiere of the band’s official video for the album’s fifth track, “No More Regrets”.

For a genre of music that at its core is about wrecking convention, metal has a surprising number of fans who tend to resist change. Arch Enemy, of course, experienced a big change this year with the end of the Angela Gossow era and her replacement by new frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz. That has led to some upheaval in the ranks of the Arch Enemy faithful — an upheaval that has sometimes seemed to overshadow the music on War Eternal itself, which happens to be excellent.

As our writer Andy Synn put it in his review of the new album, “[T]he recent changes to the band’s line-up really are a blessing in disguise. Throughout War Eternal the new Arch Enemy sound renewed and re-energised, a band firing on all cylinders and with something to prove – to themselves as much as to everyone else…. [The album] succeeds in taking the by-now familiar formula of the Arch Enemy sound and sharpening it, strengthening it, giving it teeth and claws and a fresh appetite for destruction.” Continue reading »

May 232014
 

(Below, Andy Synn reviews the new album by the revamped — and revitalized — Arch Enemy.)

Ok, I’m sure a fair few of you have already skipped past this review, simply because of the words “Arch Enemy” there at the top. After all, AE are a pretty big band, and an easy target, so it’s not at all “cool” to like them. That’s fine.

But for those of you still reading, I’m sure you’re more than a little interested in just what this new incarnation of the band is all about. After all, the band’s line-up has undergone some pretty big changes recently. Chris Amott has taken what appears to be his final retirement from the group, to be replaced by the superfluously talented Nick Cordle, who comes to the band from the decidedly Arch Enemy-influenced Arsis… it’s not quite Ripper Owens joining Judas Priest, but it’s not entirely dissimilar, is it?

Overshadowing this of course is the departure of Angela Gossow and her replacement by ex-The Agonist frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz, inspiring a firestorm of internet nerd-rage of apoplectic proportions, so-called “fans” of the band clamouring desperately for attention as part of “Team Angela” or “Team Alissa” like angsty pre-pubescent girls.

But let’s make one thing clear right now, before we go any further – having listened to the album in full I can confidently say that Ms White-Gluz is a more than worthy successor to Angela Gossow’s vacated throne. Close enough in terms of power and delivery to maintain a sense of continuity within the band’s discography, but with a style and substance of her own, she brings a welcome breath of fresh air and a renewed, combative edge to the vocals that helps her stand out as more than a simple carbon-copy of her predecessor. Continue reading »

Mar 292014
 

Yesterday was a bonanza for me, like Santa got lost on Christmas Eve and wound up in a roadhouse in Amarillo and pulled out of his blackout drunk only yesterday, just long enough to drop these three presents down my non-existant chimney while he puked his guts out all over the reindeer. Or something like that.

VALLENFYRE

I get all tingly in my nether bits thinking about Vallenfyre’s new album, Splinters. A Fragile King (2011) was such an auspicious debut, and it’s such welcome news that this all-star band decided to follow it up with another album, which is now scheduled for release by Century Media on May 12 in Europe and May 13 in North America. Yesterday brought the premiere of the album’s opening track, “Scabs”.

The combination of screeching feedback, massive guitar and bass tone, and crisp, rapid-fire percussion grabs you within the first half-minute — and the song just gets even better from then on. The writhing guitar melody, the truly titanic chugging, the cavernous vocals, the obliterating drumwork — it all combines to exert a powerful, primal appeal, and an atmosphere drenched in bleakness. Fantastic song. Continue reading »

Mar 212014
 

Well, yesterday at NCS didn’t go exactly as I had planned. We did have a couple of excellent song premieres and an interesting play-through video, but my old fucking day job prevented me from pulling together a round-up of new developments in the world of metal — of which there have been many in the last 48 hours. So I’m gathering a few in this post even though the reports aren’t as timely as I would have liked. By coincidence, all the items (but one) involve venerable Swedish bands.

OPETH

Few albums in recent years have generated as much controversial commentary at our site than Opeth’s Heritage. It seems that all we had to do was mention that 2011 album, and conflicting opinions would come out of the woodwork like termites. It has been used as an example of both a band who betrayed their fans and one who felt free to let their artistic impulses dictate their direction rather than commerce. Some thought it was a fine album, others thought it was as dull as dishwater.

Yesterday, we got news about the band’s next album. Via an interview of Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt and Fredrik Akesson, Loudwire reported that the 11th studio (not yet titled) has been completed and projected for release in June. Loudwire has heard the album and wrote this: “Opeth’s songwriting is top notch on the album, but once again, the record features no guttural vocals.” Continue reading »

Mar 182014
 

Phil McSorleyCobalt

I had to deal with a load of personal shit yesterday, and I do mean a load of shit. For the second time in about six months, my car was broken into on Sunday night while parked in a lot on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Passenger side window smashed in — again. Laptop and other personal valuables stolen — again. When will I learn? I’d like to come across the motherfucker who did this. Killing would be excessive, but I could live with myself if I permanently crippled him.

And then, after spending a crapload of time trying to figure out how to get my car window replaced (again), changing internet passwords to be safe, and working on replacing everything that was stolen, I somehow managed to load malware into my PC at work — the one I almost never use because I prefer to use my MacBook (the one that was stolen) because shit like that never happens to it. And so I had to surrender that PC to our IT department to figure out how to clean it up, leaving me to sit around with my thumb up my butt.

To sum up, my feeble plans to live some kind of blog life yesterday were basically fucked like a tethered goat. Continue reading »