Oct 132012

On the night of October 10, 2012, I was in metal heaven, and the gods were all on stage: Morbid Angel, Dark Funeral, and Grave.

At times like this, I love living in Seattle even more than usual. The city is just big enough to draw tours like this one, but small enough that they get shoe-horned into venues like El Corazon. I’ve seen reports that El Corazon has a capacity of 750, but that must include the separate room where the main bar is located because there’s no way the room with the stage holds that many. Especially when the bar area in the concert room is blocked off and used for gear storage, as it was for this 21-and-over show, that room doesn’t look like it holds more than about 250 people.

And it wasn’t even packed to capacity for this show. Though the turnout was strong, it was still possible to maneuver pretty close to the stage, as I did, getting within about 10 feet from the front. The only drawback was that I forgot to bring my fucking camera, an oversight for which I will forever beat myself up. My companion took a few pics with her phone, and I’m using a few of the better ones to illustrate this review, but still . . . not the same.


I’ll just be honest and admit up-front that I had trouble maintaining objectivity about each of these bands. Completely separating the feelings of excitement-verging-on-awe that I felt from finally getting to see each of them live from my reactions to what I heard just isn’t possible. Grave, for example, is pretty much a band who can do no wrong in my book. They occupy a central place in metal history as one of the progenitors of Swedish death metal, yet they have not only survived for more than two decades, they continue to put out dependably strong albums, with this year’s Endless Procession of Souls (reviewed here) being no exception. Continue reading »

Aug 062012

Over the weekend just ended, the Wacken Open Air festival laid waste to a horde of lucky fans in Wacken, Germany. And now, pro-shot video of many of the performances has surfaced on YouTube.

After the jump, we’ve embedded film of Amon Amarth’s entire set, plus clips of the performances by Dark Funeral and Overkill.

I don’t think I really need to say anything more. Continue reading »

Jun 012012

I’ve been doing actual paying work all morning. I took a break not long ago and cast my baleful eye around the interhole and my NCS e-mail box to see what there was to see and hear. And these are things I thought worth passing on.

First, that cover you see above is for a tribute album to Emperor called In Honour of Icon E, which will be released on June 25 by Metal Swamp. It’s a very nice piece of art, created by Wolkogniv of Folkingrimm Art.

It also looks like it will be a very nice album, with Emperor covers by the likes of Demonical, Helheim, Horna, Taake, and Setherial. I’ll give you the full tracklist rundown after the jump, but the news for today is that the album has gone up on Amqzon for pre-order, which means you can hear snippets of each song here. Continue reading »

Jan 172012

We’ve got good news and not so good news on the Abigail Williams front. The good news is that the band’s forthcoming album, Becoming, is now streaming in full at Hails & Horns, accompanied by an interview with AW’s Ken Sorceron. We got a very early listen to this album back in November, and published what (as far as we know) is the first review of Becoming, written by NCS scribe Andy Synn. (here).

In a nutshell, this is an unusually compelling album, one that should vault this band into the upper echelons of American black metal, one we expect will be on many people’s Best of 2012 lists when this new year draws to a close. We’re not the only people who feel that way — Becoming is already racking up a slew of advance rave reviews. But you don’t have to take anyone else’s word for it any more. GO HERE to listen to the entire album while the stream lasts. Becoming will be released by Candlelight Records on January 24, and pre-orders are being accepted at this location, as well as on iTunes.

Now for the not-so-good news: Although no official statement has yet been released, word is already out that Dark Funeral is canceling its headlining North American tour, which was scheduled to begin on January 29 in Springfield, Virginia. Plans for the tour were already impacted by Belphegor’s exit from the line-up due to frontman Helmuth Lehner’s surgery last fall, which caused the band to cancel all performances through this May. Now, it appears the tour will be shelved altogether.

However, we’ve learned that Abigail Williams — who were to be part of that tour along with Inquisition and Gigan — are doing their best to schedule replacement dates. They need help from interested venues and local bands. More about that after the jump. Continue reading »

Apr 292011

(I swear this was a coincidence. I wrote a post that went up earlier today on metal covers based on a single by Anachronaeon we received yesterday, and then our UK contributor Andy Synn delivered this special edition of THE SYNN REPORT about . . . covers. This is the kind of occurrence that sends me back to the dictionary once again to figure out the difference between synchronicity and serenditpity. Or maybe it’s both.)

Covers are a strange breed of song – they’re the equivalent of a parallel universe, an alternate history, a What If? Comic, an adaptation of your favourite book starring an unexpected actor, a Shakespeare play set in an average American high school…

Seriously though, they have a huge amount of potential, both to be intriguingly inventive and woefully horrendous. Their success (or lack thereof) depends on many factors, but mainly on the song-choice itself – is it a natural fit for the band? Do they have the intelligence to re-work it in a distinctive manner? Or is it simply enough to tear through it in their own inimitable style, making few changes, but relying on sheer power to see them through?

I have chosen 15 artists who have produced some of my own personal favourite covers, showcasing a variety of approaches, some fully traditional takes on the original, others totally reworked variations. If there’s one thing that these covers show however, it is the subtle threads that inter-link all different sub-genres of rock and metal, which allow bands to re-work them organically. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »