Dec 172013

After Sweden’s Cult of Luna released Eternal Kingdom in 2008, five years passed before they produced another album, but this year’s Vertikal has commanded a spot on a growing list of year-end lists. Now it appears that fans will be in for another extended hiatus before the band bring more new music… if they ever do again. This announcement appeared about an hour ago on the band’s Facebook page:

“The Beyond the redshift festival in London on may the 10th will be a very special show for Cult of Luna. It will mark the end of an era and after that we will slowly disappear before we reappear again in some form in some indefinite future.

Because of that Klas will join us on stage for the last time and we will play a whole lot of old songs which we haven’t played for years or ever.
We might ask for your help to choose songs. More on that later.”

Continue reading »

Oct 282013

Oh joy! Rapture! Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in ’t!

Okay, I’m just trying to put a good face on another goddamn Monday that blows, like a noxious wind coming off a tire fire. At least we still have beauteous metal, flights of fallen angels to sing us to our rest at nightfall. Here’s a collection of things, in no particular order, seen and heard over the last 24 hours.


I saw that on December 10 Warner Bros. Records will be releasing Mastodon Live At Brixton, a digital-only recording of the band’s live performance at London’s O2 Academy in Brixton on February 11, 2012. That show was part of the band’s world tour in support of their last album The Hunter. I caught another stop on that tour in Seattle, and it was a powerhouse performance.

Interestingly, the digital-only release (which will be sold through Amazon and iTunes) will come in two versions, one that’s audio-only and one that’s a live video version of the 97-minute show. Here’s the set list: Continue reading »

Sep 192013

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Cult of Luna.)

One thing that I think a lot of people fail to acknowledge is that this massive genre we call “Metal” is far from a homogenous entity. Bands don’t all have the same goals and ambitions with their music, and you can’t judge all metal bands by the same criteria.

Though there’s an unhealthy fascination with the lurid early years of Black Metal, you can’t deny their youthful passion and (somewhat misplaced) conviction. But not all Black Metal shares a common bond with the genre’s progenitors. Similarly, there’s a vast gulf of ideological difference between the early Death Metal scenes that flourished in Florida and Stockholm, even though to a layman such differences might appear purely superficial.

Then there are those bands who – beyond even the confusing tangle of genres and styles – are unique and iconic enough that they can only ever be truly judged on their own merits.

Cult of Luna are one such band. Continue reading »

Sep 022013

(Our roving reporter Andy Synn was fortunate enough to take in the 2013 edition of the Summer Breeze open air festival in Germany last month and has prepared a multi-part review accompanied by videos that he shot during the festival. Today we bring you Part 1 of his write-up.)

Apologies to anyone who might have been waiting for my SB review this year. The trip to Seattle took up 99% of my time since, so I didn’t really have much chance to write things up before now!

Let me tell you though, leaving your house at 1am and driving to Dinkelsbuhl (where the festival is located), arriving at around half 7 in the evening, is a LONG drive. I did the first stretch in one relatively unbroken 10 hour stint, but after that it was a case of frequent stops to rest every time I started feeling my eyes getting heavy. Urgh.


As it was, though, I made it to the festival in time to see Vader… well, some of Vader. Because one minor issue with having the opening night festivities situated in the 3rd stage tent is that you end up trying to pack an entire festival’s worth of people into a venue that, while large in itself, was definitely not designed for that purpose! Thus my Vader viewing experience became a curious mix of long-range appreciation and video-screen voyeurism. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

Collected here is news about three new tours that surfaced yesterday.


GWAR is the headliner of this tour, and the rest of the line-up consists of Whitechapel, Iron Reagan, and A Band of Orcs. It’s tough to find a unifying theme for the selection of these bands, other than the fact that the line-up is book-ended by inhuman creatures. But I’ve found that some of the best shows are those in which the combination of bands makes you scratch your head. One band might pull you in, and you might then discover another band you like.

In this case, Whitechapel have kicked my ass every time I’ve seen them and I’m also interested in seeing Iron Reagan and A Band of Orcs (HAIL GZOROTH!). I’ve never gotten into GWAR, though I can’t say I’ve ever given them much of a chance. Maybe that will be my new discovery on this tour. Here’s the schedule: Continue reading »

Jul 232013

(Guest contributor Old Man Windbreaker finds a perhaps not-so-obvious connection among the latest albums by Gojira and a group of other bands, and includes some bonus items at the end.)

A little more than a year ago, we read a piece by Andy Synn titled Gojiralternatives, describing music by half a dozen bands as an alternative of sorts for those who are not that into Gojira’s music. Old Man Windbreaker decided to catch up to the bands featured in that list, since most of them have released a new album since the date of that article. But, Old Man Windbreaker is lazy. Hence, you have a review of the albums a full 2 months after the release of the latest album on this playlist. By the way, here are the albums on this playlist, in chronological order:

  •  L’Enfant Sauvage by Gojira
  •  Meliora by Eryn Non Dae.
  •  Vertikal by Cult of Luna
  •  Possession by Benea Reach
  •  Back to Where You’ve Never Been by Hacride

You might notice that Burst and Oceans of Sadness are not in this playlist. That is because they both split up; before the publishing of the original ‘Gojiralternatives‘ article, I might add. So, they will not be revisited, despite having produced amazing music. You might also notice that Eryn Non Dae. is here on this list. That is because of Double Panda. One happened to be playing Double Panda while listening to the album the first time, and One thought they sounded somewhat like Gojira at the time. This eventually led to One revisiting the other Gojiralternatives as well. Continue reading »

May 022013

(Andy Synn reviews the latest album from Sweden’s Cult of Luna.)

To our shame we almost missed this one. I don’t know why. I’d conjecture that it was simply one of those cases where everyone here at NCS assumed that SOMEONE must be doing a review, right? And hence no-one did a review, a situation which, if left unremedied, would have been a huge failure on our part, and would have led (quite possibly) to many of you missing out on one of 2013’s densest and most rewarding musical experiences.

Loosely inspired and influenced by Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, the album manifests as a seething monolith of despair and discordance, incorporating sections of sublime beauty and haunting ambience (both trademarks of the Cult of Luna sound) into its grinding cacophony of heaving aggression and backbreaking heaviness.

The rigours of a concept album are often demanding, and have broken many a lesser band.  That Cult of Luna succeed (and succeed they most certainly do) attests to just how perfectly their sound and vision fits the themes at hand.

Life as a mechanism. Existence as industry. Loneliness. Alienation. Dehumanisation. These are themes that the band have either flirted with before, or been slowly drifting towards for some time – depending on where you stand and how you look at things. Continue reading »

Apr 222013

The 2013 edition of the Roadburn Festival took place over the last four days, from Thursday, April 18, to Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Tilburg, The Netherlands. There’s a dude whose web moniker is kkpgijsbers who lives in Tilburg and attends a lot of live shows and films them. He attended the 2013 edition of Roadburn and has been uploading a bunch of videos he shot of performances at the festival.

The audio and visual quality of these clips is generally excellent — kkpgijsbers obviously has good gear and he sets up at balcony-level, front-row vantage points that provide unobstructed views of the stages. So far this morning I’ve watched the film of Lantlôs performing “Intrauterine”, High On Fire performing “Snakes For the Divine”, Primordial delivering “The Gathering Wilderness”, Electric Wizard with “Witchcult Today” and “The Nightchild”, and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats doing “Valley of the Dolls” with a excerpts of Sharon Tate’s appearance in the movie of the same name on the screen behind them.

I’ve embedded those videos after the jump, plus a random selection of other performances by Alcest, Godflesh, and Cult of Luna. You can find more Roadburn clips by visiting kkpgijsbers’ YouTube channel, and it appears that still more will be uploaded today and in the days to come. Continue reading »

Feb 102013

This is the third and final installment in my Sunday round-up of new music. These are all items that emerged last week, but I didn’t make room for them on the days of their release. After the first item, the remainder are all new videos.


Allow me to repeat, for the third time, the new Rotting Christ album is brilliant. Its name is ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ (“Do What Thou Wilt”), and it’s scheduled for release by Season of Mist in North America on March 5. We’ve previously posted about the first two songs from the album that have been publicly unveiled — the title track “Kata Ton Demona Eaftou” and “In Yumen – Xibalba”. Last week, one more went up for listening — “P’unchaw Kachun – Tuta Kachun”. Since we’ll have a review soon, I’ll say only this about the new track: Listen.

Continue reading »

Dec 032012

This morning brought us two noteworthy new songs.

The first is “Six Coffins Wide”, which will appear on the new Arsis EP Lepers Caress that Scion A/V will be releasing for free download tomorrow.

The second is “I: The Weapon”, which will appear on Cult of Luna’s new album Vertikal, which will be available in January via Indie Recordings. (Thanks to Karl-Göran for the tip on this one).

Of course, the songs are very different from each other. The Arsis is a blistering, groovy torrent, and of course it includes a sweet James Malone guitar solo. The Cult of Luna is more complex, more atmospheric, more mesmerizing. But I’ve been rocking out hard to both tracks and recommend that you do the same . . . right after the jump. Leave comments, too, with your reactions. Please. Continue reading »