Aug 102014

Last weekend (August 2-3) I spent two beautiful days in Denver attending the Denver Black Sky Festival. For someone who had never attended a metal festival of any kind before this year, I’ve had three great experiences in a row — MDF in May, Gilead Fest in July, and now Black Sky in August. I’d like to say I deserved it, but who would I be fooling?

The festival took place at The Gothic Theater and at Moe’s BBQ, both located in the same block on S. Broadway. I made the trip with three compatriots from Seattle, and we met my NCS comrade Badwolf from Toledo in what became an MDF reunion (and an unanticipated turning point for BadWolf’s life). We spent Saturday and Sunday at The Gothic, and missed some bands we ideally would have wanted to see at Moe’s, but had to make some tough choices.

The Gothic is a very cool, spacious, multi-level, vaulted-ceiling venue, with a wrap-around balcony on the second level, a big floor, and a great main stage with good lighting. The festival organizers set up a second stage opposite the main one, just in front of the bar at the rear of the floor. They called it “In the Round”, because its location enabled the audience to stand all around the stage; you could stand behind the second stage as well as in front of it (and you could also look down on it from the balcony above). Continue reading »

May 172013

(Our man in the UK, Andy Synn, witnessed a night of death metal fun in Manchester on May 15 and files this report, with video.)

Tonight’s show was courtesy of my good friend Gary of Bite Radius Designs, who recently did some work for Cephalic Carnage on their Crucifreak t-shirt design. Thanks to him we were both put on guestlist and got a chance to enjoy a night of heavy, techy, thrashy, grindy, pummelling death metal fun.


Opening band Fallujah were the youngest and most inexperienced band on the bill, but still gave it their best shot at warming up the steadily growing crowd. Unfortunately, although their spacey, technical death metal works incredibly well on record, it lacks a little something live.

The mix didn’t help their cause, with the rhythm guitar and bass almost entirely inaudible, leaving the band to contend with a mix consisting purely of vocals, leads, and drums. Thankfully, the proggy, cosmic guitar leads are one of the band’s biggest strengths and offer a captivating glimpse of the band’s future potential. They just need to work on a bit more of a distinctive identity for themselves beyond this one aspect of their sound. Continue reading »

Jan 282013

You know, it’s about fuckin’ time that someone captured in music the inner pain, sorrow, degradation, and wistfulness that clowns experience every goddamn day. God bless those Cephalic Carnage brethren Nick Schendzielos and Brian Hopp for doing that in this new video.

I mean, let’s be brutally honest: no one likes clowns except other clowns. Little kids may pretend to like them, but deep down inside they’re either scared shitless or experiencing an inarticulate sense that something is not right. And the rest of us KNOW that something is not right.

This widespread prejudice has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of clowns. It is the hidden shame of our great Nation. And the number would be orders of magnitude higher except for the fact that juggalos travel in packs. But (except in the case of juggalos), this mixture of fear and loathing that everyone feels about clowns is heartless and insensitive.

If you prick them, do they not bleed? If you tickle them, do they not laugh? If you poison them, do they not die? Beneath the face paint and the big red noses, are they not human, just as you and I? Actually, I don’t know, because I wouldn’t get close enough to touch one of them if my fuckin’ life depended on it. Continue reading »

Sep 132010

It’s difficult to know whether to take this seriously:  Northern California’s Embryonic Devourment dedicates their new album, Vivid Interpretations of the Void, “to the people helping to expose the reptilian agenda,” specifically including David Ickes, Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa, conspiracy theorists Phil Schneider and Alex Jones, and “The Sumerians”.

If you don’t know, David Ickes is a British writer, speaker, and former media personality whose writings argue that shape-shifting alien reptoids have been controlling the course of human events for thousands of years and have inserted their own genetically compatible humanoid slaves into positions of power.

Embryonic Devourment’s fixation with the reptilian threat goes well beyond the album dedication. Lyrically, the songs are all about that, too — that and nothing else: Shape shifters “killing people fast”, the controlling dominance of “eternal ancient gargoyles,” the “messages lying beneath older worldly tablets,” the intertwining “of repto ancestry through history,” “lizard eyes pierc[ing] your mind hypnotized,” and more.  The album as a whole stands as a warning to the merely human: “Beware thy master god of disaster.”

Stranger things than this have inspired musicians, though this is certainly strange enough. But hey, we’re keeping open minds about the reptilian agenda. We run across people almost every day who act like reptoids. Who knows? Maybe they really are.

Plus, we’re keeping open minds as a show of respect for the music — which is an inventive and strangely pleasing amalgamation of cathartically extreme styles. (more after the jump, including an ear-grabbing song . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 242010

This is the second part of a two-part post about the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour’s performances in Seattle and Portland on August 20 and 21. In Part 1, we gave our impressions about the music and posted photos of about half the bands performing in Seattle.

Today, we have a random assortment of observations about our two days of metal in the Pacific Northwest, plus photos of all the bands at the show in Portland.

None of us here at NCS know what the fuck we’re doing with a camera. We like to justify our ineptitude by telling ourselves it’s just like the DIY ethic of underground metal. We also like to make excuses that divert attention from our complete lack of training, such as the constantly changing or almost non-existent light, the non-stop motion on stage, the distance from which we’re taking the photos, and — most important — the fact that we go to shows to listen to the fucking music, not to take photos, so there’s a limit to how much time we’re going to spend snapping away like a fucking tourist.

But, despite our manifold shortcomings as photojournalists, we think these pics are just barely good enough to share, so we’re sharing them — a lot of them, since 11 bands played in Portland and we didn’t miss out on any of them.  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 232010

This year’s edition of THE SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour was a celebration of death metal in some of its more brutal and technical flavors — and one out-of-place wild card that stole the show. In this case, “stealing the show” is a relative term, because the line-up of bands was so strong.

In fact, with allowances for the extremity of our musical tastes here at NCS, this was as consistently solid a line-up, from start to finish, as any tour in recent memory: Vital Remains, Animals As Leaders, Carnifex, Decrepit Birth, Cephalic Carnage, Veil of Maya, The Red Chord, All Shall Perish, The Faceless, and Decapitated.

In fact, we were so stoked about this tour that we decided to see it both in Seattle last Friday and again in Portland the next day. The tour’s last show is in San Francisco tonight, so we were catching the bands near the end of a long summer haul that no doubt wore them out. But you couldn’t tell that from the way they played. If we didn’t have day jobs and were closer to SF, we’d be tempted to take in a third performance — it was that good.

As usual, we took a crapload of photos at both performances. And in fact, most of them are crap. But we’ve been painstakingly sorting through them to find the least crappy ones that we wouldn’t be too embarrassed to share.

So, today, we’ve got some high-level reactions to what we heard from all the bands, plus photos from the Seattle tour stop. Tomorrow (now at this location), we’ll have some random observations about the scene and the crowds and a few other thoughts that aren’t really in the nature of a review, plus the best photos from the Portland show (which are a bit better than the ones we’re posting today).  (continue after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 212010

SUMMER SLAUGHTER was in Seattle last night. I went with one of my NCS cohorts (Alexis) but left after Cephalic Carnage. Why? Because all the perpetrators of this site are  leaving at the crack of dawn to drive to Portland today. Why? To see SUMMER SLAUGHTER in Portland. Why? Don’t ask.

So, I’ll get to see the first 5 bands twice. For now, three words:

Animals. As. Leaders.

More words:

Cephalic. Carnage.

Jul 012010

Another month has ended, and like a drug-resistant strain of sexually transmitted disease, we’re still here.

And because we’re now a full six months into 2010, it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy.

BURDEN OF GRIEF: “German melodic death/thrash metallers BURDEN OF GRIEF will release their new album, Follow The Flames, on July 2 in Europe via Massacre Records. The follow-up to 2007’s Death End Road will contain 10 new songs. The limited-edition version of the CD will include a bonus disc featuring cover versions of eight metal classics.”

CEPHALIC CARNAGE: “Denver, Colorado-based technical death/grind metallers CEPHALIC CARNAGE have set Misled By Certainty as the title of their new album, due on August 31 via Relapse Records. The follow-up to 2007’s Xenosapien was recorded at the band’s own studio with longtime engineer/producer Dave Otero. The CD is described in a press release as a ’50-plus-minute journey into metal’s most extreme realms’ which ‘see[s] these veterans takes it to edge before pulling it back with ‘Repangea’, perhaps their most sprawling and epic work to date.'”

(lots more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Apr 162010

The official line-up for the Summer Slaughter Tour 2010 has now been confirmed (by Metal Sucks).  Here it is:


That is one mouth-watering band list of extreme metal awesomeness, isn’t it?

But as you scan your greedy eyes over that list, which band doesn’t exactly fit with the rest? If you’re like us, your eyes probably came to a halt at Animals As Leaders. Wonder how they came to be included. Mind you, we’re not complaining at all. We saw Tobin Abasi and his mates play in Seattle last week (and wrote about it here, with photos), and they are gobsmackingly good. But it’s an interesting choice.

Tour dates and places aren’t available yet. You can be abso-fucking-lutely sure that if this tour comes anywhere near Seattle, we will be there.

Jan 192010

Every now and then we’ve told you about a word or phrase we’ve stumbled upon that has nothing to do with metal, but sounds exactly like it oughta be the name of an extreme metal band. We’ve stuck those posts under the category of “Band Name Fodder.” Now we’ve stumbled across something new: words and phrases that have nothing to do with metal but sound like they could be the names of brutal songs.

You know the kind of song titles we’re talking about — the kind that at first blush (and sometimes second and third blushes) make no sense, but just sound really evil, uncompromising, and vicious.  Songs like:

“Carrion Sculpted Entity” (Cannibal Corpse), “Megacosm of the Aquaphobics” (Cephalic Carnage), “Postmortal Coprophagia” (Devourment), “Prosthetic Erection” (Annotations of An Autopsy), “Diaboloical Submergence of Rebirth” (Goatwhore), “Intestinal Putrefaction” (Abominable Putridity), “Pestiferous Subterfuge” (Aborted), “Gestation of Malevolence” (Abysmal Torment), “Cyclopian Scape” (High On Fire), “Ceremonian Disembowelment” (Impetuous Ritual), “Gestated Human Slurry” (Infected Disarray), “Damnation Pentastrike” (Lightning Swords of Death), “Into the Qliphot of Golachab” (Malfeitor), “Fermented Offal Discharge” (Necrophagist), “Postmortem Dissection” (The Pathology), “Cataclysmic Purification” (Suffocation), “Contemporary Perception Narcotics” (Trigger the Bloodshed), “Cranial Media Parasite” (Magrudergrind). And so on.

Well, just in case the well runs dry for bands like these (or they lose their thesaurus), we’ve found a gold mine of source material. (see what we’ve discovered after the jump . . .) Continue reading »