Nov 112017
 

 

You can go long or you can go short. You can pound your musical erogenous zones or you can shrivel up and go dry from something far outside the rim of your bullseye. You can fragment your mind or feel it coalescing in configurations that become receivers of new visions. Every day there are new opportunities.

I’m speaking of metal, of course. I got doses of all those experiences this week, but bit off almost more than I could chew with this week’s flood of premieres, and got squeezed by my fucking day job on top of that, so I failed to compile a round-up until now, and hence it’s a big one.

Catching up is an impossibility, of course, and this time it happens that my choices (all the way up to the last one) are mainly indulgences in a particular mood rather than my usual effort to throw darts all over the metal dartboard. The one thing I haven’t done is incorporate black metal, because I have tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column for that.

AETHERIAN

We’ve been writing about this Greek band for years, beginning with their first single in 2013 and including their second one in 2015, their debut EP released the same year (and reviewed by DGR here), their amazing single and video from last year, “The Rain”, the first single (“Seeds of Deception”0 from their debut album, The Untamed Wilderness, which will be released by Lifeforce Records on November 24th, and the second one (“Shade of the Sun”). And now there’s a third, accompanied by a video. Continue reading »

Oct 222014
 

Byzantine, celebrating

Here are a few things that caught my eye yesterday.

BYZANTINE

There aren’t many bands that all the long-tenured writers at this site like, but West Virginia’s Byzantine are one of them. Their 2013 comeback album got loads of praise here and elsewhere, and so we were stoked to find out that the band had launched a crowd-funding campaign to help finance production of a new album — To Release Is To Resolve.

That campaign surpassed its goal (though contributions can still be made here, which will get you a pre-order of the album), and yesterday brought the announcement that the band have now finished recording all the music for the new record, with only Chris “OJ” Ojeda’s vocal tracking left to be done. But one thing will happen first — and that’s the second piece of Byzantine news we want to spread around: Beginning today, the band are embarking on a tour that will run through the end of October, with Thy Will Be Done and IKILLYA. The dates are after the jump… Continue reading »

Oct 062014
 

 

Given my near-pathological affection for old-school death metal, and particularly the curriculum taught in old European schools, I was kind of stunned to realize that I’ve failed to write about Finland’s Decaying since reviewing their debut album (Devastate) back in 2011. Since then, they’ve released two more albums — Encirclement (2012) and The Last Days of War (2012) — and now their fourth album is almost upon us. The new album’s name is One To Conquer, and based on the song from the album we’re about to premiere, it should be another strong one.

Decaying have a penchant for including longer, doom-suffocated tracks in their military-themed albums, but they’re fully capable of rolling right over you in a crushing assault as well — and that’s the style of “Zero Hour”. If you like your old school death metal in the form of a smoking tank attack with a howling, rasp-voiced commander exhorting the battalion to show no mercy, “Zero Hour” is your thing. It’s definitely my thing: The song is a gassed up, heavy-grooved headbang trigger with a beautifully morbid melody — death metal militarism that will put a charge into your brainstem.

Especially with the timbre of the voracious vocals, you may think of Asphyx or Hail of Bullets, but fans of Bolt Thrower should eat this up, too. Continue reading »

Jan 022012
 

The new year has started off with a bang here at the NCS island. We’ve been swamped with new music in just the last couple of days — too much for me to take in all at once, but I thought I’d pick out a random sampling to throw at your faces on this first Monday of 2012. Both of these songs come from relatively new bands, and both are damned impressive. So, while we’re still not finished with our Listmania look-backs at 2011, let’s also start looking at what the new year has in store for us.

BLOODSHOT DAWN

This is a band with members scattered around Portsmouth and Hampshire in the UK. They’ve completed a self-titled debut album scheduled for release on January 26 that contains 11 tracks and more than 50 minutes of music — and as you can see, it features some typically terrific Par Olofsson artwork on the album cover. The band have just made available a single from the album for free download as a taste of what the album offers. It’s called “Godless”, and man, it lit me up like fireworks exploding on New Year’s Eve.

The song is a double-barreled blast of melodic death/thrash with flashy riffing and a headstrong rhythm that’s immediately galvanizing. But what really got me enthusiastic was the instrumental extravagance that takes over in the last third of the song — one head-spinning guitar solo after another. It comes your way right after the jump. Continue reading »

Sep 062011
 

I’m always looking for new death metal played in the old-school style, because few kinds of music push so many of my buttons. I don’t even look for some kind of new spin or tweak, because the whole point of authentic old-school death metal is to be faithful to the hallowed late-80’s and early-90’s progenitors of the genre. But when I do find a band that’s faithful, authentic in their sound, and doing something (extremely well) that’s not commonplace, I really pay attention. And when the band comes from Finland, which is demonstrably the most metal nation on earth (in terms of metal bands per capita), then I’m doubly excited. I’ve got one of those bands for you today.

The band is called Decaying, and it’s only a three-man operation, which provides a hint that the music is likely to be stripped-down and primal. Their debut album, Devastate, was released in May of this year, and it appears it’s being re-released in September by Hellthrasher Productions. It’s a compilation of two Decaying demo tapes, New Order (2010) and The Annihilator (2011). It includes “only” six songs, but it’s not an EP: The running time is 52 minutes, and three of the songs each range in length from more than 11 minutes to more than 14.

Now, add to that information the fact that those long songs are mainly down-tempo affairs, with the band wading through the soul-sucking tar-pit of death-doom. If you’re a fan of monsters like Bolt Thrower and Asphyx, you’ll recognize the style. But 11 – 14 minutes? How, you may ask, does an old-school band like Decaying maintain interest for that long? That turns out to be no problem at all. In fact, I can’t get enough of them. And if you like your old-school death with a heavier foot on the accelerator, don’t worry: The other three songs on the album swing the sledgehammer at your skull with more speed and they’re just as solid as the long ones. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »