Oct 062014


We haven’t previously posted about the forthcoming album  by the Devin Townsend Project, which is now scheduled for worldwide release on October 27, but not for lack of interest. It is Devin Townsend, after all, and few musicians muster the kind of enthusiasm around here that he does. Now we have a chance to make amends for our neglect, because Gun Shy Assassin has just premiered a lyric video for one of the new album’s new songs: “Deathray”.

 is a double album, and this new song comes from the Dark Matters half of the release. It will come as no surprise when I tell you the video is a kick to watch. Of course, it involves an intergalactic invasion of our pathetic planet.

The music is also a kick. It’s a hard-rocking intergalactic shake. I feel the groove! You will too! Run for your fetid lives!  Prepare for the coming of your Zootoonian overlords!  (listen and watch next) Continue reading »

Jan 222013

On Sunday night, January 20, the current tour headlined by Gojira and also featuring The Devin Townsend Project and The Atlas Moth rolled into Seattle, and a good-sized group of friends and I showed up at Studio Seven to bear witness.  We had bought tickets in advance, which was fortunate, because although we arrived about 45 minutes before doors, the show was already sold out.

I was still trying to process the fact that we were getting to see Gojira and DT together on the same tour, and in a venue the cozy size of Studio Seven. I’m a huge fan of both, and I also really enjoyed the last album by The Atlas Moth (An Ache For the Distance), so this had the makings of a stupendous experience. And so it proved to be.

A couple of us grabbed perches up against the rail in the balcony bar overlooking the stage and never left those spots. I wanted a place where I could take some photos of the show, and I didn’t really feel like being smashed inside a high-pressure, breathless, sweaty mass of humanity on the floor for this show anyway.

After the jump, some impressions of what I saw and heard, plus a fuckload of amateurish pics. Continue reading »

Sep 252012

(Today we’re posting two different reviews of “Epicloud” by the Devin Townsend Project. In this one, DGR gives us his take on this unusual album. You can read Andy Synn’s assessment here.)

You’re probably in one of two pretty large camps when it comes to this album. Camp A probably saw the name attached to this disc and immediately rushed to check it out, and Camp B had absolutely no idea what was going on here.

It seems that Devin Townsend has attracted one hell of a following in the past few years. Watching that fanbase grow has been amazing, especially since I got the opportunity to jump on that train in ’05 with SYL’s Alien. I’ve heard a lot of his material, from solo works to band projects to joking band projects, and now it all seems to have come to a head with this disc.

It appears that everyone who consistently listens to him loves his stuff; very few people are on the fence when it comes to this material. For many fans, the name Devin Townsend seems like an almost instant purchase these days; it definitely carries a lot of weight. Not so much with me, because I’ll be the first to admit that, yes, he has created music that I haven’t fully enjoyed, and hey, they can’t all be zingers. So when it came to Epicloud, I like to think that I approached it free of supposition or any sort of false pretense as to what this might actually be.

So, if you do happen to be on the fence here and are looking for guidance about whether Epicloud might be worth your time, allow me to offer my services. No album is perfect, but I will say this: I have listened to Epicloud a ton since I was offered the opportunity, and I have enjoyed it tremendously. Continue reading »

Sep 252012

(Today we have reviews of the new album from the Devin Townsend Project by two of our writers. As you’ll see, neither of them was aware the other was also reviewing the album. This first one is by Andy Synn. The second one, by DGR, can be found here.)

So it falls to me to review this one then? Well, I think we all knew it likely would do, since a) I’m generally the one who enjoys Devin’s work the most, while also b) being objective enough to treat each album, each song, with a good bit of critical clarity.

Credentials established, I’m going to start the review proper by giving it a 10/10… for the name anyway. This is certainly an album that is both ‘Epic’  and ‘Loud’. So it succeeds on both fronts there. Though you’d be amazed at how long that took me to ‘get’. Sometimes I’m a little dense. Still, Epicloud has crystallised for me why it is I like Devin’s work so much, despite (or perhaps because of) its unapologetic pop leanings.

Yes it has wide appeal, but it’s clearly not for everybody. Hell, it’s not designed for everybody. It’s not made to impress people, or gain critical plaudits. It does, however, prove that you can have a poppy vibe without dumbing down or selling out. And most importantly, it’s made for the sheer love of making music.

And THAT is precisely what gets me. Paradoxically, the more extreme and blackened my listening tastes become, the more Devin Townsend’s carefree, devil-may-care approach to music-making also appeals to me, as an opportunity to just let my hair down, and just FEEL. Continue reading »

Feb 042012

January ended four days ago, so it’s past time for our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. I have to confess that this list is even more spotty and sporadically assembled than usual — which is saying something. Various distractions prevented me from keeping a sharp eye out for news about new releases, so I have no doubt this list is incomplete.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, we probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. For example, on this list you won’t see such notable releases as the forthcoming albums from Meshuggah, Enthroned, Unleashed, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Asphyx, Naglfar, or Autopsy, because we’ve mentioned them elsewhere. Or at least I think we did.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Jan 072012

This is Part 13 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. Each day until the list is finished, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

I guess maybe my trolling earlier today on a phony Part 13 of this list was a bit too subtle.  IT. WAS. A. FUCKING. JOKE.  A joke!  Not serious!  (and apparently not very funny either)  So, onward to the real Part 13 of this list . . .

The inclusion of today’s two bands will come as no surprise to regular readers — you could see this coming from a mile off, because they’re particular favorites of most of us who write here regularly. They also released very strong albums in 2011 — albums that included multiple candidates for this list.


Apart from the fact that Andy Synn’s review of Deconstruction is the most popular piece we’ve ever run at NCS (due in no small part to Devin Townsend’s posting about the review on his Facebook page), we would love this album anyway. It made many of the Best of 2011 lists we published over the last month, including those from Gaia, groverXIII, Stephen Parker, and of course Andy Synn. I shared the sentiments expressed by both groverXIII and Andy:

“Just when I think we’ve plumbed the depths of Devin Townsend’s demented mind, he reaches down and pulls out something else that is completely unexpected. Deconstruction was not the return to Strapping Young Lad that people may have been hoping for, but it was still a massive, chaotic album in its own way. Even now, having heard the album numerous times, I still discover something new every time I listen to it. Staggering.” – groverXIII

“At its heart this record is an expression of one man’s humanity in all its beauty and ugliness. Though its flaws are writ large, in bold, colourful writing, it’s hard to name another artist out there truly willing to go this far and be this open.” – Andy Synn

Continue reading »

Nov 092011

I found a press release from yesterday in my in-box that I thought was worth sharing, because it’s an offer of free music and includes some very good bands (along with others whose music I don’t yet know). This is a sampler from InsideOut Music that includes songs from the label’s best 2011 releases. You can see them above. Not all of the music is metal, but with tracks from Devin Townsend, Redemption, and Leprous (whose fascinating new album will be reviewed here shortly), it’s tough to go wrong.

To get the sampler for free, go to this location (you’ll need to supply an e-mail address for the download code).

Jun 202011

Surely, I’ve done stupider things here at NCS than I’m about to do, though I can’t remember when.

So, in catching up with metal news this morning, I found a whole bunch of shit that peaked my interest. To decide whether it was all worth sharing with you, I needed to listen to some music. I reached for my trusty iPod to get the earbuds and plug them into my laptop, and . . . no fucking iPod. No fucking earbuds.

I’m in Texas visiting my mother and brother, and I think I left my iPod at my mom’s place yesterday, but at the moment I’m earless (and my hearing is too shot to make out very much from the tinny, crappy little speakers on my laptop). But I decided, fuckit, I’m going to share the items I’ve found with you even though I haven’t heard most of them. Maybe you’ll tell me whether it was worthwhile.

Here’s the line-up: Chimaira has debuted two new songs from The Age of Hell album, which is due for release in late August by Long Branch Records in Europe and eOne Music in NorthAm. One is streaming exclusively at MetalSucks (here) and one at Revolver (here). You can buy both of them at iTunes right now. As I said, I haven’t heard them, though I’m a Chimaira fan. I hope they’re good. I bet they will be. If you haven’t already heard, the new Chimaira line-up includes two of the dudes from DaathEmil Werstler (on bass!) and Sean Z. (on keyboards!).

After the jump . . . performance videos from Mayhem and At the Gates at festivals this past weekend, plus news about full-album streams from In Flames and The Devin Townsend Project. Continue reading »

May 082011

We have been anticipating The Devin Townsend Project’s new album Deconstruction for quite some time, but have been positively slobbering over the prospect since we found out the identities of the guests who will appear on the album (see the line-up, matched with the track list, here). Among those guests are Joe Duplantier, the vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the almighty Gojira, and Paul Masvidal, the vocalist and guitarist for Cynic. Both of them join DT and his bandmates on a song called “Sumeria”.

The modern musical world being what it is, Deconstruction has already leaked, which is a shame. And from leakage of the album to download sites, of course it will be a short step before the songs start to appear on YouTube for streaming. One already has. Guess which one.

Initially, “Sumeria” appeared as a track recorded off a broadcast by a Finnish radio station, with subpar sound quality and sounds of the DJ talking at the end. But now, some asshole has put the actual album track up for streaming, with album-quality sound (well, at least mp3 quality). So, of course, we completely ignored that, in protest of the leakage of what is likely to be an album-of-the-year candidate from one of the most creative metal artists working. That protest lasted about 60 seconds.

Having registered our protest by waiting 60 seconds, we listened to the song, and it’s stunning — a massive, complex, heavy, beautiful, many-layered creation that will take many listens before the contributions of all the parts become clear. But there is no mistaking Joe Duplantier’s contribution — there are passages in the song when those lumbering, instantly recognizable Gojira riffs begin to stomp and Duplantier’s instantly recognizable voice begins to proclaim the verses. Not that Devin Townsend stands in anyone’s shadow, but if you’ve been pining for a new Gojira song, there’s one lurking inside “Sumeria”.  And even though we really do think it’s a shame that this album has leaked, as responsible journalists reporting the news as it happens, we’re embedding that YouTube clip of “Sumeria” right after the jump. Continue reading »

Jan 022010

About a week ago we finished posting our list of the Ten Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2009. Finishing the list turned out to be a bit of a struggle because your NCS Co-Authors had more favorites than we had open slots on the list.  And each of us had some infectious favorites on our short lists that didn’t survive the final negotiations among us — but they just missed by a nose. So we’re going to roll out those songs now. It’s the next best thing to just reneging on our commitment to make our list a “Top Ten” and instead renaming it the “Top Fourteen.”

LAMB OF GOD:  In Your Words

Lamb of God enjoys such a hallowed place in the pantheon of extreme metal that thousands wait with bated breath for each new release — and then, when it comes, promptly engage in vociferous debate about whether it compares favorably or not to the monster hits of the band’s past.  Wrath was LOG’s first release in over two years, and predictably generated a war of words about whether LOG had lived up to its fans’ stratospheric expectations, and about what it signified about the band’s future trajectory.

We won’t engage in comparisons of the album to LOG’s ground-breaking work of the past: Considered on its own merits, it’s a well-engineered, riff-filled barrage of headbangery by some brilliant song-writers and musicians.

“Infectious” is Lamb of God’s middle name, but our most infectious favorite from Wrath is the first song that appears on the album after the (very cool) instrumental intro.  “In Your Words” launches with an insistent, immediately headbangable riff, followed by an extended scream from the almighty Randy Blythe (whose versatile vocals throughout the album are superb) and a crushing drum attack – and we’re off to the races.  At about  the 2:30 mark, the song defuses into a pounding breakdown and then culminates in an extended cascading wall of pulsing, groovy, tremolo-picked melody.  So damn cool!  See for yourself and then continue reading after the jump for our last three finalists:

Lamb of God: In Your Words Continue reading »