Dec 162012

From me to you, new things discovered today . . .


I became an acolyte of Ghost after witnessing their live ritual twice in the last year. The music was already growing on me before those shows, but they sealed the deal.

Now we have a new Ghost song and a new live video performance of the song to go with it. Ghost began rolling out the song on-line, one recording track after another, and now the entire song is available for listening — and it’s also a free download.

“Secular Haze” has the rhythm of a waltz and fancifully begins and ends with the sound of a calliope. Like so many of the band’s songs, it’s poppy and catchy, and yet moments of ominous tension find their way into the melody. The song didn’t grab me as fast as some of the tracks on Opus Eponymous, but by the third listen I was hooked.

To hear the song and get it for free, go to this location and enter your e-mail address. You’ll then receive a download link by e-mail. To watch the new video, continue on past the jump. Continue reading »

Sep 172011

As a public service, I thought I’d let you know about two North American tours I just noticed yesterday, plus two others announced earlier but not previously mentioned at NCS. The first of the newer ones is advertised by the poster above. What caught my eye, in addition to the name Korpiklaani, was the fact that Russia’s Arkona is on this tour. Arkona is a recent discovery for us here at NCS, thanks to our friend Trollfiend, who provided a guest review of the band’s new album Slovo. Also included on the tour are Polkadot Cadaver and Forged in Flame. I don’t yet know anything about those two bands, but I’m very tempted to see this show simply because of Arkona (though I like Korpiklaani, too), especially because the Seattle stop will be at a relatively small club.

The second tour is the 2011 edition of Thrash and Burn. This has been a summer tour since its inception, but it was a no-show in the summer just past and now appears to have emerged as a re-branding of Winds of Plague’s fall headlining tour. Following in the footsteps of Summer Slaughter, Winds of Plague and the promoters of this tour nominated a group of bands to fill the last tour slot and let fans vote for a winner. A couple days ago, the winner was announced, and it’s Volumes. Interestingly, Volumes was also one of the nominated bands on the Summer Slaughter ballot, but didn’t make the cut that time and instead were included on the Slaughter Survivors Tour. Volumes has a new album called Via that’s getting some buzz, though I haven’t heard it yet.

The rest of the bands on this version of Thrash and Burn are Chelsea Grin, As Blood Runs Black, For the Fallen Dreams, Upon A Burning Body, In the Midst of Lions, and Like Moths to Flames. In other words, the tour should be renamed Deathcore and Burn. No tour schedule has yet been announced.

I must admit that among the fall tours we haven’t yet mentioned at this site, I’m personally more interested in the Mastodon/Dillinger Escape Plan/Red Fang tour and the Mayhem/Keep Of Kalessin/Hate/Abigail Williams tour (which will be joined by Woe on 13 dates not yet specified). The schedules for the Korpiklaani tour and those others I just mentioned are after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 302011

(We are so pleased to feature the first NCS guest review (and we hope it’s not the last) by one of our readers and frequent commenters, the only guy around here who gives Phro a run for his money, Trollfiend.)

I sometimes find myself compelled to defend my love of folk and pagan metal to the people I talk about music with, regardless of whether or not they might also like it or, if I’m being honest, whether or not they care.  This is because the genre has a bit of a reputation, possibly deserved, of being a little cheesy.  You know what I mean: furs, swords, war paint . . . this is what a lot of people think of when they hear “folk metal”.  For those of us who love it, though, that image is as fundamental as corpse paint is to old school Norwegian black metal.

Unfortunately along with this expected trope often comes a certain level of dismissal: You see a bunch of dirty assholes in fur cloaks and you automatically think, ‘Oh great, another pile of wannabe Vikings.  I bet that guy drives a Prius.’  If you take that approach to Russian folk metal powerhouse Arkona, however, you’re missing out on having your ass kicked all over Siberia in all kinds of heretofore undiscovered and not entirely unpleasant ways.

Like a lot of female-fronted bands, especially in metal, Arkona pretty much revolves around its frontwoman. In this case, however. It’s not because the record label thinks tits and leather pants are going to sell more albums…it’s because iron-piped Masha “Scream” Arhipova is a fucking ballbusting Slavic demon goddess with a whip made out of broken vodka bottles and a voice that is like getting punched in the face with a bear.

So when I was offered the chance to review Arkona’s latest album Slovo (released Aug 26, 2011) I sharted myself with glee.  After I changed my pants (no one likes to sit in cold shart) I sat down to have a listen. Continue reading »

Aug 212011

Here we are with another edition of MISCELLANY, in which I listen to bands I’ve never heard before and report the results, whether they be good, bad, or indifferent. The ground rules:  We keep a running list of bands who contact us, or who are recommended to us, or who seem interesting based on things we read. When time permits, I grab a handful of names off the list, I listen to at least one song per band, and I write about my reactions. Then, I let you listen to what I heard so you can make up your own minds.

Them’s the rules, and I usually (though not always) stick to them. For today’s post, I picked two bands who were recommended and one who contacted us: Illuminatus (UK), Arkona (Russia), and Satevis (US).

These bands turned out to be significantly different from each other, and the musical variety was a good reminder of the diversity that metal has to offer. The music also turned out to be quite good, though given my own tastes, I did have a favorite. So, with that preamble, follow along after the jump and please do let us know what you thought of this music after you’ve heard it. Continue reading »