Sep 182019
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Chelsea Wolfe, which is out now on the Sargent House label.)

Metal is a sound. Heavy is a feeling. There are plenty of bands that on paper are metal, but when played are not heavy. There are some entire genres of metal that might be suited for the Friday night D&D game or drinking mead with your mates, but are not heavy. Then there are artists who are not metal, but given their sense of darkness, despair, or pure sonic gravity, are heavier than a great number of metal bands. Artists like Swans, Diamanda Galas, and The Birthday Party come to mind. Chelsea Wolfe is also one of those.

Her Burzum cover brought her to the attention of metal fans early in her career before she caught the ear of the indie rock crowd. I have obviously covered her here before, since I tend to prefer sonic heaviness and melancholic heaviness over metallic heaviness. This album falls more under melancholic heaviness and is less sonically heavy than her past three albums. Continue reading »

Aug 152019
 

 

By last night I had accumulated 63 new songs or complete releases that I wanted to check out, almost all of which had surfaced over just the previous 48 hours. Ridiculous, but that’s the rate at which new music is arriving these days. It would be easier to keep up if my tastes weren’t so wide-ranging, but it would be tough even if I were solely focused on just one micro-genre.

Obviously, I didn’t listen to all 63 of the items on my list. I was more interested in some items than others, and then just kind of randomly skipped around until stumbling to bed, bewildered. It happened that some of what I decided to listen to wasn’t metal, or it was only metal in part. That doesn’t happen very often, because I try to stay focused on the genres that NCS focuses on. But curiosity got the better of me, and I eventually decided to group together some of those off-the-beaten-path selections for this post.

Some of this is really waaaay off our usual beaten paths, but don’t despair if you’d rather just stick with extreme metal. I have another grouping of stuff that’s more in our wheelhouse, though I probably won’t get that other round-up written until tomorrow.

LIGHTNING BOLT

Lightning Bolt have a truly fascinating history, and an equally fascinating artistic bent (if it’s a new name to you, check out what The Font of All Human Knowledge has to say about ’em. I know I’ve dabbled in their music in the past, and I’m not sure I can explain (even to myself) why I’ve only dabbled. I decided to dabble again after seeing a friend link to this first song on Facebook along with a story about how they played in a street near downtown Seattle when too many people showed up to fit into the tiny art space where the show was scheduled. The flock of people blocked streets in all directions, 10 cop cars showed up and just waited for the show to end… different times for sure. Continue reading »

Sep 182017
 

 

(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Chelsea Wolfe, which will be released by Sargent House on September 22.)

With a Burzum cover early in her career Chelsea Wolfe gained a solid following in the metal community. Her brand of gloomy folk rock was dark enough to keep them listening. Gradually this darkness grew denser and began to cross over into a more metal-influenced sound on Abyss. Her newest album takes it even a step further into metal.

On her last album the bass was fuzzed enough to give it a doom-like heft. Now the guitar is assuming a more metallic role. Production-wise, this recalls her older work, in the sense that her voice is mixed with ghostly effects against the guitar. Tempo-wise, it is very much in a doom/sludge direction.

“16 Psyche” finds the guitars kicking the door down, then backing off for her to sing, then it comes back around to the verses. “Vex” summons up more intensity in the drive of the song and finds Aaron Turner’s growled vocals coming into the background toward the end of the song. Continue reading »

May 312017
 

 

The latest edition of Roadburn Festival took place at Tilburg, The Netherlands, on April 20-23, 2017, and L.A.-based photographer extraordinaire Levan TK was there to capture the performances on film.

We are fortunate to bring you some of his amazing photos, divided among the days of the festival, with his photos from the second day in this post. To see the photos from Day One, go here. Photos from the remainder of fest will be coming soon.

P.S. Levan was quick to get us these photos. The delay in sharing them is entirely the fault of our half-wit editor. Continue reading »

Apr 202017
 

 

(Greek writer John Sleepwalker of Avopolis.gr returns to NCS with this interview of Chelsea Wolfe conducted in advance of her appearance in Athens on April 29 at the Smoke the Fuzz Fest with Amenra, Oathbreaker, and Skull & Dawn. )

 

Your style has reached out to audiences unfamiliar with experimental sounds, thanks to its remarkable accessibility. Do you believe diversity can be an obstacle when aiming at new horizons, and how much do you see your sound further developing? When should we expect a new full-length release?

CW: I think sometimes being difficult to define can hold an artist back from certain opportunities, but I’ve been really lucky to still have support from a lot of really great people despite being sort of in-between genres. When I’m writing a new album I just follow my instincts and pay attention to what my bandmates and I are writing naturally, and then we hone in on that and refine it. We actually just finished recording a new album and if all goes well, it’ll be out later this year. Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 

Neill Jameson

 

(Krieg’s Neill Jameson recently completed a very well-read three-part NCS series on obscure black metal from the ’90s (collected behind this link), and now he returns to our site with a different kind of mixtape.)

Even though we’re still in the middle of the season where your chances of getting skin cancer AND being irritated at all times is still going strong, I’m attempting to be forward-thinking. Thus to take my mind off the heat, I’ve decided to write about miserable and morose music this time around. I figure if places are trying to shove pumpkin beer up our asses in the middle of summer then I might as well shove some gloomy music up whatever orifice you prefer. I’m trying to be considerate.

As some of these artists have wildly varying styles across recordings I’m just going to hone in on one specific one per, but the majority of these fine and well-adjusted folks have a lengthy resume to choose from, so don’t just take my preference as gospel, which I’m sure no one does anyway. Continue reading »

Mar 222016
 

Withered-Grief

 

This is a collection of new songs and videos, most of which I intended to share yesterday before I discovered a torrent of other hot-off-the-presses debuts that appeared the same day. And of course, as a result of the delay I spotted more new things that appeared since then — including the first and last items in this round-up.

WITHERED

As previously reported a couple of weeks ago, Atlanta’s Withered are primed to release their first new album in more than five years. This one is entitled Grief Relic and it’s coming out on May 27 via Season of Mist. One song named “Husk” got its debut at DECIBEL on March 7, and today Revolver brought us another one named “Feeble Gasp”. Here’s a statement about the song from guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson: Continue reading »

Jul 302015
 

(Wil Cifer presents some thoughts about the new album by Chelsea WolfeAbyss.)

It is no secret that Chelsea Wolfe has managed to gather a fan base in the metal community without actually playing metal, aside from a Burzum cover. Rumors have been abounding that Abyss was going to be her metal album. Considering some of the stylistic shifts she has made with each album, going in a heavier direction would make sense — but how do the rumors line up against the actual album?

Well, this is a spoiler alert as to just how metal Abyss is. Continue reading »

Apr 282015
 

 

Oh what the hell, even though it’s well past the time when we usually stop posting, I think you should listen to this new Chelsea Wolfe song, the name of which is “Iron Moon“.

My NCS comrade BadWolf told me about the song; there was a lot of heat coming off him when he did.  He has talked my ear off (actually, both of them) about Chelsea Wolfe over the last year or two. He lusts after her music (and I think her as well) with the fervor of a true zealot.

I do understand the attraction(s), but I have a pretty simple, one-track mind when it comes to music. In general, if it’s not incinerating (and “Iron Moon” isn’t that), it needs to be very heavy or very terrifying. “Iron Moon” gets pretty close to both of those comfort zones. Continue reading »