Jan 102023


(Axel Stormbreaker rejoins us today with a review of a concept album by the Portuguese band Carma, and an idea for a movie to watch along with it. Inspired by the Conchada Cemetery in Coimbra, the album will be released in March by the Monumental Rex label.)

Blending a music record with a Hollywood movie ain’t an easy task to go through. Even if the eerie performance granted by Christian Bale does assist a narrative comparison to Carma‘s funeral doom aesthetics. The trick is, you gotta let your emotions blossom, without revealing any actual spoilers to the plot. Or neglect the very ground rules that bind a music review’s construct.

And you also gotta remember, the screen part involves the prestigious character of Edgar Allan Poe. Which means it needs to be precise in regards to musical highlights, yet it can’t divert from the feeling the movie generates, nor be too abstract when image and sound are aligned. And… oh, it’s not a basic task to complete. You will need to both watch The Pale Blue Eye and listen to Carma‘s Ossadas to grasp how the scenes and the sound flow together. Continue reading »

Jan 032023


(Axel Stormbreaker returns… and we’ll let him explain what he’s up to this time.)

I didn’t expect myself writing another movie-themed article that soon. Mostly due to my usual concern of saturating a fun idea; especially since a similar installment has been in the cards for a quite a while. The thing is, while I’m firmly convinced we can never have too much of a good thing in our hands, it’s best to remain prudent towards any concept that’s relatively uncommon in metal reviews.

But then again, there are definite exceptions to any rule. Especially, in the occasions when any admirers of fictional cinematography experience outright negligence to an offensive degree. An educated guess is most writers out there will either praise, or bash, or even unfold mixed opinions any readers are (vaguely) aware of. So, here are six, six, six cult records instead (or any other of your own choosing) to play repeatedly, while watching The Witcher: Blood Origin on mute. Continue reading »

Dec 282022

(NCS contributor Axel Stormbreaker takes part in our year-end LISTMANIA series with his picks for the year’s “top 10 dark horse releases,” embellished with quotes from a certain 2000 movie and the book it was based on.)

A good compilation tape, like making a “dark horse” year-end list, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention. I started with “Ljúshtaeshrhendlhë Jecan Glézma”, but then realised that you might not get any further than track one, side one, if I delivered what you wanted straight away. It’s a long song too. So I placed it in the middle of side one.

And then you’ve got to up it a notch. And you can’t have raw music and bright music together, unless the raw music sounds like bright music, or the other way around. And you can’t have two tracks that are too aligned, unless you’ve done the whole thing in parts. And the order from start to finish should be correct, regardless if you split it in segments. And… oh, there are loads of rules.

So, here we go. No bands that are well appraised are included. People will listen to their records anyway. Continue reading »

Dec 232022

(NCS contributor Axel Stormbreaker returns today with a review of the new album by the multi-faceted Mute Ocean black metal project from Saint Petersburg, Russia.)

Despite how metal implementations have been maneuvering their way around jazz themes for more than two decades, few existing examples manage to present an approach equally concise to Mute Ocean’s Caravan. A record inspiring, unifying, as well as controversial to the beliefs of the few; or the many, depending on a random reader’s viewpoint. An in-depth review follows.

I seriously don’t like most lyrics. My elusive boredom may well reach a point when I’d rather sit all day watching the paint dry, than reading the actual verses of most songs I enjoy. Before anyone feels offended, lemme clarify here: I state this while I too used to be an awful lyricist back in the day. Especially, since the art of great lyricism rivals poetry; a tree that bears fruit, only when thoughts stretch the very fabric of reality.

Did that sound pretentious? Well, not really. See, myself, I function more like an old-school computer. Analytical, methodical, calculative, with a dry sense of humor on top of everything. Aspects that could probably help anyone become somewhat of a bearable writer, yet a horrible lyricist in any regard. Reading interviews, liner notes, as well as finding out the deeper thoughts that construct an artist’s view do always seem interesting. But reading the said lyrical part? Man, that tends to feel nothing besides a colossal waste of time. Continue reading »

Sep 122022


(Distance is only fictional for Trhä and their notorious opus vat gëlénva!!! Here is an in-depth review by Axel Stormbreaker.)

History confirms that the more network connections spread exponentially, the more its considerate users obtained the opportunity to study, comprehend and optimize vital elements of distinct cultures. While it’s accurate how most will now use it as an outlet for toxic negativity, there was indeed a time when it stood more as a useful tool, not long before the eventual “upgrading” of social media platforms. Of course, the way I navigate my focus nowadays, there are moments I can’t distinguish most of what is projected from the inner contents of a garbage can. It feels nearly inconceivable how its current pile of disposable data has so far assisted our societies on their very structural level.

That being said, art belongs among those aspects that managed to benefit more than any could hope for. After all, this is how I was granted my own chance to explore the further depths of Japanese extreme metal. I believe my first impressions were initially made, nearly a lifetime ago, by Loudness‘ “Heavy Chains” from Thunder In The East. It was then, when that classic Manowar-based riff stormed in, with that weird accent shrieking on top, that blew my brains to pieces. From that point onwards, Sigh came along, of course; then Gargoyle, Greenmachine, and Hurusoma. And a few years later, Arkha Sva and Magane followed, along with obscurities in the likes of Manierisme, Yvonxhe, and Albiorix Requiem. Continue reading »

Aug 222022

Amidst a time when industrial black metal regains considerable ground in the urban surroundings of COVID isolation, Costa Rica’s DUSK attempt to offer a peculiar recipe of their long-lost youth. An in-depth review by Axel Stormbreaker.

I always enjoy a good scavenger hunt. It’s tricky, spicy and refreshing in ways that contradict the mundanity of a busy city life. Same reason why I tend to avoid people who don’t like, or even appreciate, the first three chapters of the Indiana Jones film series. They lead lives of stolid mediocrity, yet shall revolt hastily when real change is imminent. They desire excitement, yet feel complacent in the safety of the norm. They don’t quite get it’s not the destination, but the journey itself, that broadens one’s horizon. Especially since everything could become the same bland fare, when provided to one a bit too freely.

All in all, Costa Rica’s Dusk do meet the said criteria of an exciting discovery waiting to be made. Especially when the vast majority of listeners either prefer to stick to the classics, or follow the bands others seem to enjoy. Certain metal labels also do pay attention to trends, or even a band’s country of origin, as their investment requires some ground fertile enough to cultivate a growing fanbase. Add to that how Costa Rica is known to mainstream metal for… basically nothing, and you can’t help but appreciate a (hypothetical) dose of well-concealed sarcasm. Continue reading »