Jul 182018
 

 

On Monday of this week we completed a three-part post providing photographic memories of Northwest Terror Fest 2018, thanks to the artistic eye and skilled technique of New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor. Today we begin another three-part photo retrospective featuring Teddie’s photos, and this time the focus is on another NCS co-sponsored festival that took place earlier this year — Austin Terror Fest — whose organizers and staff also played integral roles in helping us successfully put on the second edition of NWTF in Seattle.

The second annual installment of ATF took place in the heart of Texas on June 15-17 and featured performances by 30 bands from around the U.S. (and outside it). A small number of those overlapped the line-up of NWTF, but most did not. By all accounts, it was a great event, and the energy comes through in Teddie’s photos. Work has already begun on the 2019 edition of this Texas-based festival.

Teddie’s westward trip from New Orleans took longer than expected, and so the following montage of her pics from ATF’s first day includes only the final four bands who played on June 15th, at the Lost Well venue. We’ll have complete photo spreads of the second and third days in the following days here at NCS. Continue reading »

May 292018
 

 

The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic New Orleans-based music photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. You can find her photos from Day 1 here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here. Continue reading »

May 242018
 

 

The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic New Orleans-based music photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. You can find her photos from Day 1 here, and Day 2 here. Continue reading »

Oct 232017
 


Altarage

 

(Andy Synn brings us this compilation of six reviews.)

I’ve said it a few times already… but it bears repeating here… there’s just SO much music to listen to that even I can’t keep up with it properly.

But hey, trying is half the battle, right? So here’s my attempt to make some sort of dent in the ever-growing pile of albums which we have yet to review here at NCS… some of which are several months old, some of which are very new indeed! Continue reading »

Aug 232017
 

 

The unwelcome intrusion of non-blog life has forced me to truncate my usual verbose reactions to the music I’ve selected in this mid-week round-up (cue the weeping and the gnashing of teeth), but I wanted to be prompt in spreading the word about the following items, all of which appeared either yesterday or this morning.

I picked these five new songs in part because they provide a quite varied array of what metal in the modern era has to offer.

BELL WITCH

The new Bell Witch album, Mirror Reaper, will be released by Profound Lore on October 20, with an album cover by Mariusz Lewandowski that we won’t soon forget. The album consists of one continuous 83-minute piece that unfolds as a single track. Continue reading »

Aug 082017
 

 

This is, obviously, a humongous round-up of things I’ve recently discovered. I’ve organized it in this way:

First up there are two news items that feature imagery and info about eagerly anticipated new releases but no music. Then I’ve got new videos and music streams by (or related to) a quartet of venerable and revered bands, followed by new advance tracks from two younger favorites who are returning with new releases this year. And then I’ll close this out with music from two bands whom I’ve just discovered.

BELL WITCH

On most days I post a piece of usually dark or surreal artwork on our Facebook page. I keep an archive of what I’ve posted over the years, as a way of trying to avoid repeating myself. In that archive I’ve counted 22 paintings by the Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski that I’ve posted over the years since I began doing that, which I think is proof of how strongly I like his creations. But as far as I can recall, he has never created artwork for the cover of a metal album… until now. And his cover for the new Bell Witch album will surely stand as one of the best album covers of the year, if not THE best. Continue reading »

Oct 162015
 

Ulcerate-Bell-Witch-Ageless-Oblivion-UK-Tour-2015

 

(Andy Synn attended the performances of Ulcerate, Bell Witch, and Ageless Oblivion in Nottingham, England, on October 11 and turns in this report, with his own videos of the show.)

Though my erstwhile compatriots may have been attending the sun and shenanigans of California Deathfest without me last weekend (seriously, where was my invite? I thought we were friends!?!) that doesn’t mean that yours truly was without suitably metallic diversions of my own, as I was lucky enough to bear witness to the titanic Death Metal maelstrom known as Ulcerate rolling through my town, leaving a trail of shattered lives and lacerated ear-drums in its wake.

The story gets even better though, as the New Zealend three-piece were accompanied on their pilgrimage of pain by gloom-heavy doomsters (and perennial NCS darlings) Bell Witch and uber-riff-mongers Ageless Oblivion (whose album Penthos I picked as one of my absolute favourite releases of last year).

Not only that but the venue they played, The Chameleon, is the sort of intimate, DIY place that packs a lot of character, and a frankly massive soundsystem, into a very small space, meaning there’s nowhere to hide from the overwhelming onslaught of sonic punishment unleashed by the bands.

You know how an explosion that occurs in an enclosed space is ten times more devastating than one that occurs out in the open? Well that sums up the night quite nicely. Continue reading »

Oct 132015
 

Bell WItch-Four Phantoms

 

(As many of our readers already know, NCS contributor Grant Skelton is a budding writer of dark fiction, and now, as he explains below, he has some great doomy music to accompany his creations as well as inspiring them.)

Doom. Indisputedly one of the most metal words in the English language. It’s a very simple, monosyllabic utterance. It has only four letters. But “doom” carries with it a subterranean labyrinth of macabre connotations. In the metal world, it conjures images of abandoned cemeteries, perverse religious iconography, shadowy horned monstrosities, and a scummy chalice of nihilism.

Doom metal is a genre I’ve really grown to love in the last year. This site has led me to discover doom bands whose music has become personal, and even sentimental to me. And now we’ve finally made it into the throes of autumn, a season where nature itself decays. And how beautiful is that decay! Continue reading »

Apr 212015
 

 

Just a couple of quick notes before I sign off for today:

BELL WITCH

I’ve already said my piece (here) about Four Phantoms, the new album by Seattle’s Bell Witch. In a nutshell:

Four Phantoms will dismantle your defenses, reduce your bulwarks against the bad days to a pool of molten slag, leave your vulnerabilities exposed, and touch those raw places you try to hide. How it can do this and yet leave you feeling transcendent is a wondrous mystery. Continue reading »

Mar 292015
 

 

Four Phantoms is unspeakably sad, an extended lament so vast and panoramic that it seems more like an expression of bereavement for the loss of an entire race than for that of an individual soul. Yet it is also sublime, as if Bell Witch had swum endless fathoms down beneath an ocean of grief, down to the pristine alabaster core of human loss resting in the blackness, and surfaced again to erect it like a monument, gleaming with cold light under a half moon.

You’ll have to forgive me for these flights of verbal grandiosity (there will be more to come). The music is the kind that carries your imagination away. It induces introspectiveness. Its emotional impact is profound. In my case, it makes me search hard for words that are grand enough to suit the music; I’m sure I’ll fail, but it’s too late for you to stop me from trying.

The music is slow, spare, and seemingly simple. There are probably more notes and beats in a few measures of tech-death frenzy than in an entire song on Four Phantoms — and of those four songs, two are more than 10 minutes in length and two last more than 22 minutes. But what Bell Witch do with their seemingly simple tools is to build something exalted, yet with a weight that’s almost too much to bear. Continue reading »