Sep 192022

This was supposed to be “Seen And Heard On A Saturday (Part 3)“. Even when I mentioned the idea for it on this past Saturday I knew in my heart of hearts that the odds of getting it done were vanishingly small. Completing two parts was tough enough. At least this time I didn’t toss the idea in a mental dustbin, never to be recovered.

The idea for this one originated last Friday night, with most of it taking shape during a regular Zoom confab among metal writers that I sometimes drop in on when my spouse is out having fun without me. I can’t exactly reconstruct how all these songs popped into my head during that conversation. Free-flowing gin might have had something to do with that, both the surfacing of the songs and my inability to explain how it all happened.

I’m also not sure this assemblage of music is going to connect with anyone else (it begins with some new things but then tunnels far back in time), but fuck it, worth a try. Continue reading »

Oct 242014


Today the Elemental Nightmares project released the fourth of the seven vinyl splits in the series, with a fourth segment (above) of what will eventually become one massive piece of artwork for the series as a whole — and as of today it’s also now available for download on Bandcamp.

I’ve been especially looking forward to this split because it features two old favorites of this site — Canopy and Obitus — as well as two new ones, Harasai and Kall.

Last summer we had the pleasure of premiering the tracks by Canopy and Harasai, and I’m going to include the accompanying write-up below, along with thoughts about the Obitus and Kall tracks. In a nutshell, this is a great quartet of pleasingly diverse songs. Continue reading »

Aug 312014


Yes, I’m feeling much better today, thank you for asking. My day-long hangover yesterday was so catastrophic that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to any metal at all — so you know it was a really bad one.  Having finally recovered overnight, I decided to do some catching up on this Sunday morning. In thinking about what music to package in this post from what I heard, I decided to make it a globe-trotting musical tour of the underground. It’s all death metal until the final two songs.


Sullen are a fairly new band from beautiful Isla Margarita in Venezuela whom I discovered after the band’s guitarist e-mailed us yesterday. They’ve recorded a four-song EP released earlier this month named Parasite In Agony, which includes a creepy intro, two original songs, and a cover of Venom’s “Resurrection”.

It’s a strong offering of tyrannical death metal that’s both thoroughly malignant and quite memorable. The songs are loaded with big, sour, earth-moving riffs, fine (and surprisingly soulful) guitar solos, viciously pugilistic percussion, and pleasingly throaty, blood-gargling vocals. I thoroughly really enjoyed this stomping, jagged-edged, skull-fracturing EP. It’s well-written, well-performed, and well-produced. Listen below. Continue reading »

Jul 282014

I’ve been following the progress of the Elemental Nightmares project since before it became public, writing about it for the first time in July 2013. It began as an effort to raise money for a subscription series of 13 splits on 7″ vinyl (with digital download options) featuring one exclusive song each by 26 up-and-coming bands from around the world. As the project evolved, the format changed, so that it will now consist of 7 splits on 10″ vinyl, with each split containing four songs instead of two. And, because of the new format, there will be 28 bands instead of 26.

In addition, Elemental Nightmares has offered the splits for sale on an individual basis, as well as subscriptions to the series as a whole, and the digital-only option is still available. To see the names of all 28 bands and for more info about purchase options, go here. The first of the splits will be released in early August; you can find the entire preliminary release schedule later in this post.

Earlier this year Invisible Oranges) premiered four songs that will appear on the fourth installment of the series, featuring music from Porta Nigra (Germany), Membaris (Germany), Ashencult (Philadelphia), and Vuyvr (Switzerland).Today, we’re delighted to premiere two songs of melodic death metal from one more of the 7 splits. The bands are Sweden’s Canopy and Germany’s Harasai. Continue reading »

Jan 022014

(As we have in the past, we asked our friend Fredrik Huldtgren, vocalist for both Sweden’s Canopy and Germany’s Kaos Vortex and the man behind the exciting Elemental Nightmares vinyl project, to share with us his favorite albums of 2013, and here’s his list.)

I always have trouble coming up with these lists, mainly because I can never remember what was released when, and usually once I find something I truly enjoy, I tend to get stuck on it and miss out on a lot of the other albums that came out. So, after going through what I had bought this year, here is a list of the 10 albums I enjoyed the most.

10. The Ruins of BeverastBlood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer

To follow up an album such as Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite is no easy task, and while Blood Vaults … does not quite live up to its predecessor, it is one hell of an album. Brooding, dark, and filled with some great riffs. Continue reading »

May 182013

On December 22, 2011, David Gold died in an automobile collision near Barrie, Ontario, at the age of 31. With his death, so died Woods of Ypres — the doom/black metal band that he co-founded and of which he was the sole consistent member over the course of five albums and assorted other releases. But of course the music of Woods lives on in the lives of the band’s passionate fanbase.

As we reported last July, a woman named Steph LeDrew organized a musical tribute to Gold and Woods, recruiting a large number of bands to record covers of Woods songs. Yesterday, the tribute album — Heart of Gold: A Tribute To Woods of Ypres — was finally released and is now available for purchase on Bandcamp as a digital download for $10. At one point the project was soliciting PayPal donations to that gave donors the option of receiving a 2-CD physical version of the album, though the option to buy a physical format doesn’t currently appear on the Bandcamp page.

The album was mastered by Dan Swanö in Sweden and includes cover songs by 19 different bands or band members, including Novembers Doom, Panzerfaust, Amaranth, and members of Woods, Thrawsunblat, and Into Eternity. The full track list and album stream appear later in this post. But I first want to highlight one song in particular, because it was recorded by a long-time favorite of this site — Sweden’s Canopy. Continue reading »

Jan 032013
(Only the really long-term readers of this site will remember how crazy we went over a Swedish band named Canopy and their 2010 album Menhir. We’re still pretty fuckin’ crazy about them — and there’s reason to believe we will be getting new Canopy music in 2013. As I have for the last two years, I invited Canopy’s vocalist Fredrik Huldtgren to share with us his year-end list of favorite albums, and he again agreed.)
1.    MGLAWith Hearts Toward None

As Groza is one of my favorite black metal albums I had some very high expectations for Mgla’s latest album With Hearts Toward None. The album follows in Groza’s footsteps with some very infectious riffs and great vocal delivery. I find it hard to put into words what it is that Mgla do so right, which usually means that it is not only one thing, but the excellence of all parts and the composition thereof. Even though you might think that they have hardly broken new ground, I feel that the album excels where others have failed and I have a hard time believing that I will tire of them. The fact that they also get to grace the top of my 2012 list, above bands such as Deathspell Omega and Anaal Nathrakh should also speak volumes for this album. Continue reading »

Jul 252012

On December 22, 2011, David Gold died in an automobile collision near Barrie, Ontario, at the age of 31. With his death, so died Woods of Ypres — the doom/black metal band that he co-founded and of which he was the sole consistent member over the course of five albums and assorted other releases. But of course the music of Woods lives on in the lives of the band’s passionate fanbase.

Given my own tastes in metal, I was never a die-hard follower of Woods, though I did appreciate the music, I was really high on certain songs, and I certainly understand why the band had such a powerful effect on many listeners. And I wasn’t surprised to learn earlier this year that a musical tribute to David Gold and to Woods was being planned under the title Heart of Gold. I’ve been casually (and irregularly) monitoring the project’s progress, and so, for example, I saw today that the project’s organizer, Steph LeDrew, had unveiled the very cool album cover that you can see above, created by artist Jason Hicks.

But what really put this album on my personal radar screen was the recent discovery that Sweden’s Canopy has contributed a cover of “Falling Apart”, which was one of two tracks that appeared on the Home 7″ single released in 2011. Long-time readers of NCS know that we’re huge fans of Canopy, and we’ve been starved for new music from the band since the release of Menhir (their third album) in 2010. Now we’ll have something to tide us over until the band finish work on their next album (which is in progress). Continue reading »

Jan 032012

(The musicians I invited to submit year-end lists were people whose music I liked a lot and who I thought would bring interesting perspectives to our look-back on 2011 metal. Here’s the latest offering, from the vocalist of Sweden’s Canopy, Fredrik Huldtgren, with whom I had the pleasure of spending some time in Seattle last month. If you haven’t yet introduced yourself to Canopy’s music (for example, by reading one of the jillions of our posts about them), it can be streamed and purchased on Bandcamp here. Canopy is at work on their fourth album – may it come soon!)

9. Primordial – Redemption at the Puritans Hand

I must admit, I am quite a bit of a Primordial fanboy. That being said, this album actually took me quite some time to get into. It is a rather slow album, and it does not feel as harsh as their previous efforts. The passion is still there though, stronger than ever, but I feel that now more than ever, Primordial is a band to see live, because that is where it all makes sense. Continue reading »

Nov 232011

As I write this, it’s very early on a Wednesday morning. I just finished watching Abigail Williams, Hate, Keep of Kalessin, and Mayhem at El Corazon in Seattle. All four bands were excellent. The highlights of the evening were new songs from Abigail Williams (quite different from anything I’ve heard from the band before, and I think the best work they’ve yet done) and an absolutely mind-boggling performance by Hellhammer, the drummer of Mayhem.

The third highlight of the evening was getting to spend time with Fredrik Huldtgren and his girlfriend. Fredrik is the vocalist of a Swedish band called Canopy, which has been a favorite at NCS for a long time, and he happens to be in town visiting, just in time for some truly ass-sucking Seattle weather — somewhat offset by a very badass night of metal.

Spending time with Fredrik put me in mind of three bands, all of whom I like a lot. There’s a connection between them, but rather than explain it, I’d rather let you guess, or simply wonder. The three bands are Canopy, Obitus, and Lifelover. If you don’t know the music of these bands, then there are some worthwhile discoveries for you after the jump.

With luck, I’ll wake up in a few hours and think of something more to bring your way on an NCS Wednesday. And if the site just appears to be frozen for the rest of the day, you’ll know it’s because my bed has swallowed me whole, like a python chowing down on a wayward dog. Continue reading »