Nov 202021

Dormant Ordeal


I didn’t completely neglect NCS during the 10 recent days when I was in Iceland. I did write some premieres, though not as many as usual, and I did regale readers with tales of my Ascension Fest adventures. What I did not do was pore through the several hundred emails that hit the NCS in-box every day, looking for new music that might be worth writing about, or searching for new tracks and videos through other usual sources.

And I spent almost no time actually listening to anything other than the sounds that bombarded me at the fest for four days and nights, not for lack of interest but because I forgot how little sitting-in-my-room-time-with-nothing-to-do I actually have at festivals, especially when every other day I had to make time for a covid test.

So here I am at the end of the first (partial) week following the return home from the land of fire and ice. The thought of trying to completely catch up with all the new songs and videos that surfaced since my vacation began two weeks ago is a ridiculous one, especially because a sister-in-law and brother-in-law are house-guests this weekend. I did a little trolling through the waters yesterday, and had saved a few links from before I left, and from that I still had too much to listen to this morning. I did the mental equivalent of throwing darts, and this is where they landed: Continue reading »

Oct 202021

Obscura and their rides…


I picked songs for six bands for this hump-day roundup, and all of them come with videos. I expect moving through this will keep you on your toes, or rock you back on your heels, because the tracks move in unpredictable ways from one to the next. I got thrills of different kinds out of all of them, and hope you will too.

As the post title suggests, I have an idea for a second round-up, which includes some recently released EPs. I haven’t started writing it yet, so I’m unsure whether I’ll have time to finish it for posting today, but if not, you’ll see it first thing tomorrow.

OBSCURA (Germany)

This latest track premiere from Obscura’s new album, which is delivered through a performance video, got my motor running in a big damned hurry. “When Stars Collide” is a turbocharged thrill-ride with glorious bursts of singing by Soilwork’s Björn Strid, the kind of song geared to set arenas on fire with its pyrotechnical fretwork and blistering drum attack, and the dual-guitar soloing is a big ear-worm too. Continue reading »

Jul 252011

In an album that throws a surprising number of curveballs and knee-buckling change-ups into a normally steady stream of death-grind heaters, Finland’s Blastanus saves the biggest surprise of all to the final track. I’m still looking for my jaw, which dropped off at about the 2:20 mark of that last song, which happens to be the title track from the band’s just-released second album, Collapse. And when I say just-released, I really mean just released — because we’re premiering it as a free download right here at the end of this post.

You’d be forgiven if you jumped to some incorrect conclusions from this band’s name. But the music is no iwrestledabearonce kind of goof-fest. It’s definitely a fest, or a feast, but what’s doing the eating is a mixed horde of banshees and staggering, zombified ghouls, and what’s on the menu is your brain. When the consumption is finished at the end of that 11th track, the inside of your skull will be nice and pristine, scoured clean, waiting for something dark and fanged to take up residence. It’s up to you whether you’ll feel like re-attaching your jawbone.

This is our second visit with Blastanus, the first coming in March 2010 after the band ushered forth their debut album, Odd. The band allowed us to make that album available for free download, too, and the download link accompanying our review is still active. Comparisons are unavoidable. The first album held much promise, and I wondered to what degree the band would realize on it in this second offering. Happily, I’m here to report that with Collapse, Blastanus have taken big strides forward from their debut, revealing not only an upgrade in production quality but also leaps ahead in songwriting assurance and instrumental command. Continue reading »

Mar 222010

Suomalaista Metallia! We seem to be on a Finnish metal roll over the last week. First Kalmah, then The Jasser Arafats, and now Blastanus. Or maybe we’re just on a weird-band-name roll. On the subject of what this band’s name means, here’s a multiple-choice quiz:

(a) Pronounced “BLAST-uh-nus”, the name of the Finnish pagan deity who rules the underworld; lord of the heroic dead who perished by flame and sword;
(b) Severe gastrointestinal condition caused by eating too many wild berries in the Finnish countryside;
(c) What would happen if a cow tried to stifle a severe sneeze;
(d) None of the above.

If you chose (d), congratulations! From the band’s MySpace page: “The concept of Blastanus derived from the sick minds of two friends who at a young age decided to stop trivializing their existence and concentrate on the things that matter the most in life: Blastbeat and, well, you know, assholes!”

You’re probably already beginning to makes guesses about what kind of metal this is. But slow down a minute and hear us out.

Blastanus has one album to its credit. Self-released in July 2009, it’s appropriately called Odd, and consists of 16 tracks ranging in length from 00:07 to 04:12. The basic foundation is grindcore, with all the elements you might expect — pervasive blast beats inflicted at such high speed as to create a fused wall of sound, vocals that alternate between low-end gutturals and piercing shrieks, and distorted guitar riffs that spin like a band-saw shearing through wood.

But grindcore is just the foundation, and on top of that Blastanus has pulled materials from other genres to erect an intriguing residence for themselves. (more after the jump, plus a chance to download the album . . .) Continue reading »