Aug 112014


(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)

Sometime last year, I had planned to showcase some of my favorite album covers. However, as you might imagine, that didn’t happen. So, a bit over halfway through 2014 already, I’ve decided to give it a go again so I don’t have to worry with trying to find everything last minute and become overwhelmed at year-end. I’ve been looking back at some of my favorite album covers, as well as looking at random covers here and there, and I must say, I’ve found a lot more than I expected- so many that I think it’s be best to break this up into a couple of posts.

I’ve actually happened upon some really cool bands this way, too, which isn’t out of the ordinary but worth noting nonetheless. Had it not been for their album art, I might never have found some of the following bands, one of which I simply can’t get enough of. However, to be clear, I’ve done this exercise for the sole purpose of rounding up the nicest looking album art, according to my own tastes. There are a couple of bands in here whose music I can’t stand, and a couple more I’d never heard of before. So to avoid any confusion, I am not necessarily recommending all of the albums featured below. They all just chose wisely for their album art.

Since I began working on this article, I noticed something peculiar: A good number of the album covers correlated in one sense or another with the music on the album. To make sure that I wasn’t just imagining this, I asked my wife (who’s not very big on metal music as a whole) and a friend of mine (who is) to look at the album art and give me their impressions. Some of them were spot-on, others not so much. Here’s what we came up with for the first nine. (Another note, these are in no particular order. They are just listed as I came upon them.)

BelphegorConjuring the Dead

This might be one of the best “photo realistic” album covers I’ve seen so far this year. It’s got the dark, gritty feel washing over it in shoals. The symbolism on the cover speaks of blasphemy, a great deal of death, and more than a smidge of Satanic interplay. When my wife Heather saw it, she immediately guessed that it was death metal, which is a good part of the album, so I’ll give it to her. My friend Adam said the same thing: “This had better be death metal.” Heather also hit the nail on the head about the dark/demonic themes that run throughout many of the songs. That’s a point for the correlation theory, although an easy one. Continue reading »

Jun 182014

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


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:


Apr 162014

(Austin Weber reviews the new album by a band we’ve been following for a long time — Canada’s Archspire.)

When Archspire burst out of nowhere with All Shall Align in 2012, it set a new benchmark for blazing extreme death metal, following in the footsteps of previous speed-, technicality-, and songwriting-pushers such as Cryptopsy and stretching the boundaries of death metal to a place that seemed to make a surprising number of people uncomfortable. Regardless, they impressed a lot of people, and their follow-up, The Lucid Collective, has been greatly anticipated. It certainly delivers, acting as a dream of death mirroring our often collective sleepwalking through existence.

Archspire have always flashed glimpses of a love for Origin and Spawn Of Possession, but they have also made the style their own, giving it brutal legs with which to stand and stomp angrily, and managing to give each track its own unique flow and structure. If Brain Drill was Origin-influenced death metal done to excess (in the opinion of some people), then arguably Archspire are a band who have learned all the things that Origin did right, while not being a rip-off of them at all.

An album like The Lucid Collective is not merely music, but a testament to the human will and ability to achieve incredible and nearly inhuman things through hard work, determination, and focus. Every member of the band performs at an astounding level, not in an effort to impress the listeners with vapid showboating, but with a purpose. Collectively, Archspire form an interlocking mass of arresting malevolence that looms large over the shredscapes and techdreams of noodlers everywhere. Continue reading »

Mar 272014

I’ll spare you the why’s and wherefore’s, but your humble editor has fallen behind in monitoring developments in the world of metal.  As a result, the collection of new songs is even more random than usual. Nevertheless, I think all the music is very good, and it’s diverse enough that it should please a range of tastes.


Tourniquets, Hacksaws And Graves is the name of the seventh studio excrescence by the mighty Autopsy. Ever since the Wes Benscoter album art and April 21 release date were disclosed by the Peaceville label back in February, I’ve been waiting for a taste of the music, and we finally got it yesterday, with the premiere of “The Howling Dead” at Noisey.

I’m not surprised at how good this song is, but I’m surprised at how wretchedly good it is. That driving beat at the beginning, shrouded in dense distortion, is just killer. So is the thoroughly horrific doom slow-down that follows it. So is the lurching, rocking stomp that comes next. And so on… Chris Reifert’s vocals have never sounded more horrific, the riffs are as putrescent and grisly as they’ve ever been, and the closing guitar solo oozes decay. Fantastic! 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 »

Apr 152013

I’ve been following Archspire for a long time, since December 2010 to be exact, when I came across their debut EP in one of my MISCELLANY excursions. Here’s part of what I wrote back then:

“This is a truly eye-popping convulsion of tech-death, with schizophrenic rhythms, astounding technical riffing and drumwork, and tiny threads of reappearing melody that stitch the songs together into cohesive wholes. And I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a death-metal vocalist bark out the lyrics faster than Archspire’s . . . . This is most definitely a band to keep your eyes on; you will hear more about them.”

Take it from me, it’s nice to be clairvoyant. We have indeed heard a lot more from this band — their 2011 debut album All Shall Align kicked a lot of ass and it landed them on a bunch of Canadian and European tours. But 2013 is turning out to be their most promising year yet. In early March, they signed with Season of Mist, and they’re now recording their SoM debut (and second album overall), which should appear later this year.

Today I saw a new studio video from the band’s sessions at Rain City Recorders. There appears to have been beer involved, but you wouldn’t know it to watch and listen to drummer Spencer Prewett. Holy fuck. We’re talking hyper-fast human blur activity. Continue reading »

Aug 012012

Here’s the second part of the two-part feature we began here, spotlighting a slew of new videos and new songs from some of our favorite metal bands that surfaced over the last 24 hours.

In this Part 2: release information and a brand new song from Krallice (U.S.), a new video from Alaric (U.S.), and a new song/video from Archspire (Canada).


Well, this is the third of our posts about Krallice’s forthcoming album since July 15, which is an indication of our enthusiasm for what’s coming.  And what’s coming is Years Past Matter, a collection of five songs totaling about one hour of music. The album, which is being self-released by the band in a limited edition, will begin shipping on August 25 and is now available for pre-order here. We’re told that a double LP version of the album will be released by Gilead Media soon after.

There will be a record release show on August 25 at St Vitus in Greenpoint Brooklyn, NYC, where Krallice will be performing with Ancient Wound and Sea of Bones.

And today, we are beyond stoked to stream for you one of the new songs from Years Past Matter. The title is “IIIIIIII”. It’s a whirlwind of slashing/ringing guitars, bounding basslines, and percussive pandemonium that rumbles and thunders. It’s a lightening strike, sizzling with electricity. It’s also a black dream of rushing clouds, the kind of music that’s hypnotic as well as violent. Dense, dynamic, atmospheric, compelling — this is a long song that well-justifies its length. So much happens that the song rewards repeat listening – indeed, demands it. Here it is: Continue reading »

Nov 172011

(TheMadIsraeli follows his review of First Reign’s EP with some notes about a band-in-the-making from First Reign’s drummer.)

Seven Year Storm is the upcoming project of First Reign drummer Sean Lang. I don’t have much to say except that it’s dazzling progressive groove metal with some mighty badass orchestration. The songs are in raw form, and the guitars are recorded with synths and the like; so for now, this actually sounds more like… brutal video game music? It’s awesome even in its current form. Also, did I mention Dean Lamb from fucking Archspire will be involved?

Songs and videos are after the jump. Continue reading »

Nov 122011

Archspire is a young band from Vancouver, BC, who’ve come a long way in a short time. I first discovered them near the end of 2010 via one of our MISCELLANY posts and I’ve been tracking their news ever since. They feature two guitarists who blaze away on 7- and 8-string guitars, a bassist who works wonders on a 6-string fretless bass, and a drummer and vocalist who match them stride-for-stride. They churn out head-twisting streamers of technical death metal that should appeal to fans of bands such as Origin, Decrepit Birth, and Spawn of Possession.

Earlier this year, Trendkill Entertainment released their debut album, All Shall Align, which has been extremely well-received by both fans and critics, and they’re now about to embark on a European tour headlined by Decapitated. I recently got the chance to interview vocalist Oli Peters and guitarist Dean Lamb, through the good graces of Trendkill’s Virgil Palazzolo. The interview follows, and there’s some Archspire music at the end for those of you who haven’t yet tumbled to this band.


NCS: It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since we first wrote about you guys at NCS. A lot has happened since then. You got signed by Trendkill, All Shall Align has been favorably reviewed far and wide, you’ve been gigging a ton, and you’re over 3,000 likes on Facebook — but the biggest recent news is the European tour with Decapitated, Aborted, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Cyanide Serenity. That is one hell of a line-up. How did this thing come about for you?

Dean: Well, we have been working with Virgil at our label, Trendkill for the past few months on setting this up. He has taken on a huge budget to help us out on this one, and it would have been impossible if it weren’t for his initiative and support. It’s really huge for us, and we can’t wait to show Europe what we can do, and what we’ve worked so hard on these past couple years.

Oli: It’s a huge honor. Virgil has done an incredible job and we wouldn’t be where we are right now without him. Continue reading »

Apr 152011

In December, for one of our MISCELLANY posts, we wrote about a then-unsigned technical death metal band from Vancouver called Archspire that had really impressed the hell out of us. The band featured two guitarists who blazed away on 7- and 8-string guitars, a bassist who worked wonders on a 6-string fretless bass, and a drummer and vocalist who matched them stride-for-stride.

By sheer chance, the following month we interviewed  Virgil Palazzolo, the head of a French record label called Trendkill Recordings, and within days of that learned that Trendkill had just signed Archspire to a recording contract — a coincidence that made us quite happy.

Last week, Archspire’s Trendkill debut, All Shall Align, became available digitally on iTunes and it was released as a limited digipack CD in Europe yesterday; the CD will be released in the U.S. and Canada on April 21. That limited digipack CD and a very limited CD/T-Shirt bundle, which features eye-catching artwork by Toshihiro Egawa (Dying Fetus, Suicide Silence, Devourment, and more) are still available at Trendkill’s webshop (here).

A few days ago we learned that the album is now streaming at a French site called Deezer (here). If you’re a fan of bands like Origin, Decrepit Birth, or Spawn of Possession, we think you’ll fall hard for Archspire, and now’s a good time to listen to the album while that stream lasts. If you happen to live in Canada, you’ll soon have the chance to see Archspire live — because they begin a 3-week tour of the country today. Dates and places follow the jump . . . Can you tell that we think this band fuckin’ rocks? Continue reading »