Jul 262020
 

 

The last 10 days have been rough. I mentioned last weekend that the virus had claimed the life of someone I was very close to, and my day job has simultaneously become very demanding. The combined impact has stressed my work at NCS. Just haven’t had the time or mental health necessary to plow through all the new music that is somehow still managing to come out.

For the first time in an unusually long time, I did do some updating of my out-of-control listening list yesterday, and checked out some of the more recent entries that I thought might be suitable for this column. I also re-listened to a few things I’d intended to write about before calamity struck. From those excursions I made selections that I’ve divided into two parts. The way I divided the groupings makes musical sense to me, but who knows if it will make sense to anyone else. Part 1 includes individual songs and videos; there are a bunch of full album streams in Part 2.

ROTTING CHRIST

My memory is spotty at the best of times, but I’m pretty sure that at least once before here at NCS I’ve mentioned that Rotting Christ were the first band who opened my eyes to black metal. That was about 13 years ago. Before that I’d dabbled a bit in the genre but wasn’t hooked, and then I discovered Theogonia, and the rest is history. Speaking of history, after being wowed by Theogonia I traveled further back and listened to some of RC‘s earlier output, including 1994’s Non Serviam, whose opening track was a song named “The Fifth Illusion“. Continue reading »

Feb 262020
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Finland’s Black Royal, which was released by Suicide Records on February 14th.)

Maybe it’s just me (I don’t think it is, but you never know) but it seems like the last several years have seen quite a lot of bands, both old and new, turning back to the “old school” for inspiration.

And while there are lots of speculative, pseudo-psychological reasons for why this might be so (there’s certainly something to be said for the idea that during unsettling or uncertain times we’re more likely to cling to what’s familiar), I honestly think that the best explanation for this recent “old school” resurgence is that quite a lot of bands have simply grown dissatisfied with what more modern trends have to offer them (and, in turn, demand from them).

Of course, this isn’t necessarily anything all that new. Metal has, after all, often been quite an insular scene, with a large fixation on its own history, and practically every year sees the emergence of yet another wave of “retro” groups trying to recapture the spirit and the sound of Metal’s “golden age”… mostly without really adding anything to it.

But, of late, I’ve really taken note of how many bands have been trying to do more than just imitate the classics by taking and twisting them into fresh new shapes, repurposing clichéd ideas for new purposes, and by mixing and matching “timeless” elements in ways which would once have been unthinkable.

I’m sure we can all think of lots of current/recent examples of this (Chapel of Disease immediately spring to mind). But the one I want to bring your attention to today is the brilliant second album from Finnish riffmongers Black Royal. Continue reading »

Feb 122020
 

 

One week has passed since I posted the last of these round-ups, and dozens of new songs have emerged since then that I’d happily throw your way, in addition to the many dozens I haven’t foisted upon you from preceding weeks. However, it turns out that I had overlooked new tracks from some of my favorite bands, discovering those only two days ago. I can’t resist including them here, along with a few newer discoveries.

HEAVEN SHALL BURN

We seem to have fallen off the radar screen of Century Media, because we haven’t received a single press release about the new album by Heaven Shall Burn, whose many previous releases we’ve covered with religious fervor. Even worse, none of my NCS compatriots breathed a word to me about the fact that three songs from the new album have debuted for public consumption. I had to find out about them yesterday via a YouTube side-bar. What is the world coming to? Well, I know it’s going to shit, I just didn’t know it was this shitty. Continue reading »

Nov 172019
 

 

As promised earlier, Part 2 of today’s column collects music that, for want of a better word, is more demonic than what I chose for Part 1. It also includes music from four obscure bands whose music I had never heard before this past week — mainly because these are their first releases. But before I get to those, I’m beginning with something new from an old favorite.

BLACK ROYAL

I have very fond memories of the 2018 album Lightbringer by the Finnish group Black Royal, and in particular of a song called “The Chosen” that I put on our list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs for that year. I didn’t expect we’d have another album so soon, but that seems to be the case.

Word is, that an album named Firebride will be out on February 14, 2020, via Suicide Records. And on November 1st the band premiered an occult-themed pagan video (here) for an advance track (which has been released as a true single) called “Pagan Saviour“. Continue reading »

Jan 092019
 

 

As old-timers among the followers of our site will remember, I have a habit of grouping songs in the rollout of these lists in a way that makes sense to me. Part of the fun is in pairing up tracks that sound made for each other, sometimes because they share genre characteristics and sometimes because the flow of the mood just seems right. I had the feeling that combining the two tracks in this installment would be a good call — but you be the judge of that. I’ll add that both tracks were initially released with videos that I quite enjoyed; the first one in particular was one of the best of last year, in my humble opinion.

I should mention that if you happen to be encountering this series for the first time, you can go here to find out what it’s all about.

CONAN

Many metal bands have come up with unique descriptors for their own music rather than rely on conventional genre terms. Most of them are simply clever (or not very clever) marketing tools rather than labels that have any meaningful connection to the music itself. But Conan’s name for their own brand of sound couldn’t be more perfect: “Caveman Battle Doom”. And I happen to have a crippling weakness for those sounds, perhaps because the music itself is so crippling. Continue reading »

Feb 172018
 

 

Still playing catch-up after a week devoted mainly to premieres, I picked the following five tracks to conclude this two-part Saturday round-up. I’m definitely not caught up yet, but this will have to do for now. More catching up will happen tomorrow, with the usual Sunday focus on black metal.

THY CATAFALQUE

Tamás Kátai has recorded a new Thy Catafalque album, and I could hardly be more excited to hear it. If perchance you haven’t discovered Thy Catafalque, carve out some time this weekend and go explore the Bandcamp page, which I’ve linked below. I think you’ll find the music distinctive and enthralling.

The new album (the eighth one) is Geometria, and Season of Mist plans to release it on May 4Tamás explains that this one includes violins, electronica, occasional saxophone, trumpet, and fretless bass, plus the voices of Martina Veronika Horváth (Nulah, Niburta) and Gyula Vasvári (Perihelion), in addition to his own. Viktoria Varga also provides narration. Continue reading »

Feb 032018
 

 

I got a late start on this Saturday’s round-up of new music, and then burned a lot of time trying to decide what to include. I didn’t have time to do much rounding up over the last couple of weeks due to the daily roll-out of my 2017 Most Infectious Song list and the usual platter of premieres, and during that interval my notes of things to check out became mountainous.

I know that DGR is pulling together his own round-up for Monday, which will help us catch up a bit, but there’s still quite a lot to do. I’ll at least make a modest start with the four songs I’ve packed into this post.

MORBOSIDAD

I still have vivid memories of the first time I saw Morbosidad play live, which was also the last time. That was at California Deathfest in 2015. They were absolutely barbaric, a blackened death metal war machine unleashing non-stop savagery from start to finish.

They were fronted by original vocalist Tomas Stench, a menacing shaven-headed figure clad in gauntlets with six-inch spikes and crossed bandoliers fully loaded with bullets. When he wasn’t banging his head during instrumental breaks, he was spewing ghastliness with head thrown back like a wolf calling to his kind. He also set an unbound Bible on fire and tossed the smoldering pages into the audience. Since the pages didn’t fully ignite, some helpful audience members finished the job, starting a small bonfire in the mosh pit. Very cool way to start that Saturday night. Continue reading »