Oct 152014


As I write this I am sitting on an airplane at about 40,000 feet somewhere over the Rocky Mountains. I am having to fly across the country because of my fucking day job, and once I get where I’m going, I will have to fucking work — pretty much day and night until I make it back to Seattle on Saturday night.

I tell you this not to pique your curiosity — because I can’t tell you what I’m doing, or I could, but would then have to kill you — but as an explanation of why there will be some scarcity in our posts between now and Sunday. Also, the “Seen and Heard” title is only half true:

The wi-fi on this plane isn’t good enough to let me stream music, so I actually haven’t heard anything — other than the guy sitting next to me snorting his phlegm every 10 minutes, the dude in front of me snoring, and the dull roar of the engines. Also, I have to fucking work on the plane beginning pretty damned soon.

Well, enough of my whining. Here are some things I’ve seen in my scampering through the inter hole this morning, and some things I would like to hear when I have the chance. Continue reading »

Sep 102014

Once again I find myself in the miserable position of having many new songs I’d like to write about before ending our posts for the day but having only time to write about one (I blame my fucking day job). So, what to pick?

Ironically I’m picking one I can’t even play for you here, because it’s streaming exclusively at another site. But the song is so good that I want to send you over there to hear it. The song is the title track to the forthcoming second album by Montreal’s Beyond Creation, Earthborn Evolution.

It’s really the kind of music that should be held up as an example of how to use extravagant, technically exceptional performances in the service of an actual song, rather than as ends in themselves. “Earthborn Evolution” is thus a marvel both for the wizardry of the instrumental spellcasting and for the musical flow, dynamics, and memorability of the song as a musical composition.

So even though I know how wrenching it will be for you to leave our humble site, please do go here and listen (but do come back to us if you have any thoughts you’d like to share about the music): Continue reading »

Aug 282014


(Austin Weber provides the following introduction to a new song by Canada’s Beyond Creation that premiered yesterday.)

While lyrically speaking, the newly premiered Beyond Creation track, “Neurotical Transmissions”, may indeed mirror its title, the song itself resembles anything but the byproduct of a neurotic disheveled mind. It’s a graceful and epic song that diverges into a bevy of progressive moments amidst its fierce, full-throttle storm.

A back and forth trade-off of spiralling melodies and Dominic Lapointe’s warm, effusive bass rumblings sets the tone, quickly outgrowing its mid-paced beginning and switching direction on a dime toward a plane of mind-boggling pyrotechnics and machine-gun drum bursts, while the band make sure along the way to supplement the cutthroat moments with a series of titanic grooves that add plenty of contrast. Continue reading »

Jul 232014

Here’s a typically random and diverse collection of recommended new music and metal news that I came across over the last 24 hours. It ranges from highly anticipated black metal to a metal banjo cover, with all sorts of different musical trajectories in between.


The fourth album by Colorado’s Nightbringer is entitled Ego Dominus Tuus (I Am Your Lord), and it’s due for release by Season of Mist on September 20 in NorthAm (September 26 elsewhere). Yesterday, SoM revealed the cover art by David Herrerias (above), which is wonderful. At the same time, the first advance track from the album began streaming at various sites around the globe. Its name is “Et Nox Illuminatio Mea In Deliciis Meis”, which refers to a line from Psalm 139. According to the band:

“The lyrics draw heavily upon this psalm, which we feel, via a perhaps more heretical approach, elucidates symbols relevant to the ‘midnight sun’ and the ‘night of light’. Furthermore we touch upon the Greek melancholia and the sovereignty of Saturn over those of us who are born with his mark and our relation to the former concepts as well as the significance of the ‘black light’ of our Lord. It speaks much of the ecstatic furor one may enter in which wisdom is imparted both from above, below and within, via a state of ‘divine madness’. “

Should you be interested in reading the 139th Psalm, you can do so here (the song’s title refers to the phrase “and night shall be my light in my pleasures”). Whether you do or don’t peruse the psalm, I strongly recommend listening to the song (it’s streaming at Stereogum here). Continue reading »

Sep 132013

Bass players occupy an unusual position in metal. On the one hand, much of the time you don’t really notice what they’re doing on a recording. Much of the time they don’t really stand out, partly because of the way most albums are mixed, and partly because much of the time it’s just not all that interesting by itself; their absence would be more noticeable than their presence.

On the other hand, whenever they can actually be heard in a recording and are doing something . . . interesting . . . people sit up and take notice; they like it, and they tend to comment on it. Kind of like what might happen if you came across a talking dog.

So, on the one hand, when I tell you that I’m about to show you a bass play-through of a song, many of you will stifle a yawn. If you’re feeling a bit prickly, you might even be going, “What the fuck?” On the other hand, when I tell you the play-through was performed by Dominic “Forest” Lapointe of Montreal’s Beyond Creation (and Augury), those of you who are familiar with the band’s music will probably be rubbing your hands together in gleeful anticipation.

Because Forest Lapointe can do things most other bass players only dream of doing. It’s almost cruel for him to make a video like this one. Continue reading »

Feb 202013

As I write this (which was the night before it will be posted), I’m sitting in a hotel room in Texas with a crap-load of day-job work ahead of me on the day you will read this. Actually, I have a crapload of work I should be doing right now. And so this will be the fastest NCS round-up ever — more like an index than anything else.

So, with few words, here are news items and new music I saw and heard that I want to spread around.


Yesterday Profound Lore unveiled the cover to the VHÖL self-titled debut album, which you can see above. The artwork is by band member John Cobbett with design by Kevin Gan Yuen. The release date is April 16. Why do I care about this album? Because the band is composed of the aforementioned John Cobbett (Hammers of Misfortune, ex-Ludicra, GWAR, and Slough Feg), Aesop Dekker (AgallochWorm Oroborus), Sigrid Sheie (Hammers of Misfortune), and Mike Scheidt (YOB). For more about this band, see my previous posts. Continue reading »

Jan 232013

I think this qualifies as a HOLY FUCKING SHIT moment, and if you disagree then your mouth must be much better behaved than mine.

Word leaked last week about this tour, but yesterday it was confirmed, and dates were disclosed. The second annual DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR will include Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, and Immolation. In other words, genuine death metal and grind royalty from both sides of the Atlantic.

Other face-ripping bands will join the sonic evisceration party on selected dates: Beyond Creation, Cretin, and Magrudergrind.

I have to say that DECIBEL is not fucking around, any more than they did last year for the Euro-centric inaugural edition of this tour (which featured Behemoth, Watain, The Devil’s Blood, and In Solitude). It’s refreshing to see a tour packaged without any effort to pander in any way to the tastes of people who don’t want to get their fuckin’ teeth kicked in. Continue reading »

Nov 152012

In this post are four new things I saw and heard today.  I saw and heard other things today, such as the sight of the Sun (which is worth reporting, given that it’s November in Seattle) and the explosive sound of my own voice when I put weight on my fucked-up ankle the wrong way. That was about as close as I’ve ever come to thinking I could do vocals for a black metal band.

Well, as painful as it is for me to say this, “enough about me”. Here are new videos from Beyond Creation (Canada), Welicoruss (Russia), and Beastwars (New Zealand). The Welicoruss and Beastwars songs are also brand new and will appear on forthcoming albums. But first . . . the debut of a remastered song from . . .


As you may know, Relapse Records has been re-issuing remastered editions of albums by Death. The latest is the band’s 1990 record, Spiritual Healing. This is a two-disc release, with the first one featuring a complete remaster of the original album and the second one including 16 previously unreleased rehearsal recordings, outtakes, and studio instrumentals. If you spring for the limited edition digipack, you’ll also get a third CD of a never-before-released live set recorded in 1990. And if you download the album from iTunes, you’ll get 5 previously unreleased pre-Human rehearsal tracks that aren’t included on either of the CD versions.

Well, enough with the free advertising. The reason I’m writing about Death today is that today Guitar World premiered one of the remastered tracks from Spiritual Healing: “Altering the Future”. You can hear that after the jump, along with the remastered version of “Living Monstrosity”, which appeared earlier. Continue reading »

May 262012

There are times when I catch myself about to say that Quebec is the current tech-death capital of the world, and then I’m reminded by things like the new song from Nile which premiered yesterday that such a claim would be an overstatement. But not by a lot. Quebec seems loaded up with excellent tech-death bands — including Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Neuraxis, and Beyond Creation — and Augury is certainly near the head of the pack.

Their first two albums, Concealed (2004) and Fragmentary Evidence (2009), were both true mind-benders of progressive technical metal, dazzling in their complexity and ever-changing styles, both imminently memorable and satisfyingly brutal.

I had the great pleasure of seeing the band perform twice in 2010 (and reviewed those performances here and here), once on The American Defloration Tour with The Black Dahlia Murder and again on the Panic Over North America Tour with Soilwork. Vocalist and co-lead guitarist Patrick Loisel was especially impressive, perhaps even more so because he’s older than your average death metal frontman and in his day job he teaches history and science.

At the time of those tours, Augury was playing without fretless bassist Dominic ‘Forest’ Lapointe and drummer Étienne Gallo, both of whom were members of Augury when the band recorded Concealed and Fragmentary Evidence. Lapointe had left in February 2010 to focus on another band, Montreal’s Beyond Creation, whose amazing 2011 debut, The Aura, we reviewed here. If you want to have your mind blown by some six-string fretless bass shred, check out this video we featured at NCS of him doing a playthrough of Beyond Creation’s “Omnipresent Perception”. Continue reading »

Aug 182011

It’s a well-established fact that metalheads love guitar gods. It seems like no matter how good or bad a song may be, if you stick a flaming guitar solo in it somewhere, metalheads will start slobbering and playing air guitar with their grimy fingers. I certainly like me some guitar shred, though I’ve reached the point where even a technically flashy solo doesn’t do much for me if it’s not an organic part of the song and if it doesn’t have authentic soul behind it.

BUT, I do love the sound of a well-played bass almost as much as an expertly played guitar. The lowly bass leads a lonely, often overlooked life in metaldom. It’s an absolutely essential ingredient in most metal, but its contribution is often hard to isolate and notice when you’re listening. More often than not, it gets buried in the mix or overwhelmed by the other instruments. Sometimes that’s necessary, given the kind of sound a band is trying to achieve. Sometimes it’s a blessing, when the bass player isn’t doing anything especially interesting. Sometimes, it’s just a shame.

If you’re like me, you sit up and take notice when a song includes an audible bass line that shows some flash and creativity, and when you hear an actual bass solo, well that’s just a very sweet gift. I get a charge out of heavy-assed bass licks that are solidly competent, rather than flashy, but when a really good bass player lets it all hang out, I get the same slobber-response as most people do when they hear a burst of guitar shred.

When you hear that kind of talent creating rhythms on a fretless bass, it REALLY stands out. It’s a unique sound, which some of us were trying to describe in the comments to a post two days ago about a free four-song comp that’s being offered to build interest in the CD release party for a Toronto band called Nephelium. One of the songs on that comp (“Omnipresent Perception”) is by a Montreal band that we really love around here — Beyond Creation. And Beyond Creation features an accomplished fretless bass-player named Dominic “Forest” Lapointe. Thanks to a comment from an NCS reader who goes by the name egordon, we’ve now discovered a new video of Lapointe doing a play-through of the bass parts in the song, with the recorded song in the background. And holy shit. Is it fun to watch!  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »