Sep 242018
 

 

(This is DGR’s typically detailed review of the new tenth album by Anaal Nathrakh, which will be released by Metal Blade on September 28th.)

It’s pretty safe to say at this point in the career of Anaal Nathrakh that the group have developed a steady formula and groove that is instantly recognizable as their music whenever you hear it, making them one of the easiest groups in the world to pick out of a playlist. You could even say that they really established that sound about four albums ago and since then have been slowly iterating upon it, offering up interesting new twists and deviations, but preserving the overall hallmark of “everything at once, at 110% volume, and as fast as we can make it go”.

As far as the group’s newest album, A New Kind of Horror, is concerned, absolutely nothing on that front has changed. In fact, it may be the most recognizably Anaal Nathrakh disc to date, and that comes after the paint-peeling, screeching madness that was The Whole Of The Law and the bruiser that was Desideratum as the most immediate examples. On the other hand, at this point, with the band having explored so many different avenues for extremity and having cranked up every single element of their sound to the maximum (including electronics, as evidenced on Desideratum), we find A New Kind of Horror in an interesting place — because it is an album that very much pushes against the boundaries of what defines an Anaal Nathrakh disc, more so than its predecessors.

And so half the interest in the tale of A New Kind of Horror lies in just how the group have chosen to differentiate it from its predecessors, and how they’ve done that while keeping up the absolutely relentless clip that they’ve had before. Continue reading »

Sep 192018
 

 

(DGR reviews the new album by Pig Destroyer, which was released on September 7th by Relapse Records.)

It’s been five years since it happened, but when it comes to Pig Destroyer, this article here is always going to elicit a small chuckle out of me. Not because of the lineup shift or anything of that magnitude, but the way the news posting plays out. It almost reads as if the addition of a bassist to the lineup was an absolutely massive thing for these noise-grind stalwarts. It may very well have been, but the idea that the addition of a low-end to the band — something we commonly take for granted as part of a traditional metal lineup — was so important that Pig Destroyer issued a press release to announce it (again, entirely inferred and not the purpose of the article) is so off-kilter that I can’t help but smile a bit.

But, if you had to pick anything to describe the chaotic-ping-ponging around the metal genre-sphere that Pig Destroyer‘s overall discography has represented, Off-Kilter may just work for what the band have made their bread and butter — flying right on the edge of grind, and pushing at its boundaries. In fact, it has often felt like every single Pig Destroyer release has been a soft re-launch of the band, as they’ve played with drone, doom, adding various electronic samples to the overall sound, all of it roughly translating to never quite knowing what you’ll get upon first picking up a new release, outside of the band’s trademark speed.

Which is why the group’s newest release Head Cage proves to be interesting, if not polarizing, in part because it represents the hardest right turn the band have made yet — like a car screeching against the outside railings of a highway off-ramp — taking on a groove-heavy sound in the midst of all that grind, resulting in an album that is overall far less chaotic than what they’ve put forth before, and also a hell of a lot of shameless “fun”. Continue reading »

Sep 052018
 


Sectioned

 

(DGR prepared this large collection of reviews and streams, addressing some older and some newer music, and some things that haven’t yet arrived in full.)

This poor review collection saw more permutations than I’d be willing to admit, with so many different groups being added and removed for fear that I hadn’t spent enough time with a disc and so wouldn’t be able to speak about it properly, that the body count has to be in the double digits by this point. What this thing did move into was something of a themed archive of releases — bookended by earlier albums but with two that are much more recent, and with preview songs from two upcoming releases in the middle to help transition over the two.

What I found I was listening to recently was the real heavy and destructive forces of powerviolence, death metal, and grind, and on the other side of the spectrum, some real caveman level prefix-core styled music as well, just ones with a taste for the symphonic and speed on top of it. It was fortuitous then that on top of that I had a small collection of singles for upcoming (maybe? in one case) releases that I wanted to talk about that felt like suitable bridges between the two, so that our esteemed editor would’ve have to cleave this poor baby in twain; it kind of felt like a perfect thematic walk along the admittedly arbitrary spectrum brought before you.

Much like my much larger review nightmare collections, this one includes four albums but with somewhat shortened reviews, and all come highly recommended. Fingers crossed, maybe you’ll find something to enjoy as well, once you’re able to scrape your face off of the wall behind you. Continue reading »

Aug 062018
 

 

(DGR steps in for round-up duty to begin our posts for this new week.)

In case you missed it, one of the recurring themes around the NCS corner of the interwebs is that if the Comments section doesn’t come for us, then it’s the day job that will. Such was the case this weekend when our esteemed editor (who is likely back home by now) found himself on the self-described whirlwind trip to New Mexico for a few days. As will inevitably happen, of course, that means there is going to be a massive blast of new music that we’ll likely catch a good amount of, but not all of, and so those of us who are able to will step into the role of news person.

And so the metal sphere gathered up four very big names and decided that this weekend would be a fucking fantastic time to jam out a whole bunch of news and try to catch us off-guard. Well not us, I say… at least we’ll get to it on Monday maybe. So I’ve gathered up the aforementioned four very large news stories from bands with albums upcoming (one of which actually came out last Friday!) for you folks to start the week off with, all in one handy post that… as is standard…is pretty fucking heavy on the death metal. Continue reading »

Jul 262018
 

 

(DGR delivered a tome of reviews so massive that we decided to serialize it throughout the week so as to avoid fracturing your spine beneath its weight. This is the 4th and final part of the series.)

On occasion we find ourselves backlogged with albums that we want to write about but seem never able to find the time to do so. Sometimes this results in multiple review ideas getting tossed and never revisited, and at other times you get posts like this one as we deseperately try to hammer out a whole bunch of reviews about EVERYTHING that we’ve been listening to.

In this case that means 13 different releases, unsorted by genre and from all varying walks of all things heavy. So, with the floodgates now fully open, let us wade further forth into the rushing waters of heavy metal to recommend some stuff that perhaps might have flown by you.

Jack Ketch – Ashes Of Vesuvius

You may have caught it in the opening of my Light This City review, but a lot of bands who’ve been silent for the better part of a decade have decided that 2018 would be a good time to come back. Maybe it’s just the general sense that the world is on fire right now, but a bunch of groups are now putting stuff out as if they’ll never get another chance to do so. Among the increasing number that are returning to us are two local Sacramento acts, one of which released a new album I reviewed yesterday (Journal) and the other of which is Jack Ketch, whose new EP The Ashes Of Vesuvius is a stunning turn of events from the band’s previous material. Continue reading »

Jul 252018
 

 

(DGR delivered a tome of reviews so massive that we decided to serialize it throughout the week so as to avoid fracturing your spine beneath its weight. This is Part 3.)

On occasion we find ourselves backlogged with albums that we want to write about but seem never able to find the time to do so. Sometimes this results in multiple review ideas getting tossed and never revisited, and at other times you get posts like this one as we deseperately try to hammer out a whole bunch of reviews about EVERYTHING that we’ve been listening to.

In this case that means 13 different releases, unsorted by genre and from all varying walks of all things heavy. So, with the floodgates now fully open, let us wade further forth into the rushing waters of heavy metal to recommend some stuff that perhaps might have flown by you.

LiK – Carnage

Every once in a while I pull the curtain back to reveal what the reveiw-writing process is like on this end, and Lik’s newest album Carnage provides the occasion for one of those times. It has been exceedingly difficult for me to review this album, not because Carnage is bad but because I have a very hard time with albums that are very clear about what they are trying to be, and when they nail that note so specifically and so well, it’s hard to talk about them without coming off as being on some sort of high horse. Continue reading »

Jul 242018
 

 

(DGR delivered a tome of reviews so massive that we decided to serialize it throughout the week so as to avoid fracturing your spine beneath its weight. This is Part 2.)

On occasion we find ourselves backlogged with albums that we want to write about but seem never able to find the time to do so. Sometimes this results in multiple review ideas getting tossed and never revisited,  and at other times you get posts like this one as we deseperately try to hammer out a whole bunch of reviews about EVERYTHING that we’ve been listening to.

In this case that means 13 different releases, unsorted by genre and from all varying walks of all things heavy. So, with the floodgates now fully open, let us wade forth into the rushing waters of heavy metal to recommend some stuff that perhaps might have flown by you.

Infraction – Poshumous Release

It’s rare that we ge to type such a phrase but that’s the fun of writing about music, so here we go: You can blame Gadget for this one.

Continue reading »

Jul 232018
 

 

(DGR delivered a tome of reviews so massive that we decided to serialize it throughout the week so as to avoid fracturing your spine beneath its weight.)

On occasion we find ourselves backlogged with albums that we want to write about but seem never able to find the time to do so. Sometimes this results in multiple review ideas getting tossed and never revisited,  and at other times you get posts like this one as we deseperately try to hammer out a whole bunch of reviews about EVERYTHING that we’ve been listening to.

Our own Andy Synn is particularly good at this, I, however, am not. Thus, in an effort to clean up the 11 different text files I had sitting on my desktop of half-written reviews seemingly going nowhere before I got distracted by the next thing that would wind up half-written before I made a vain effort to go back to an earlier review in order to finish that up, we find ourselves with a collection of shorter and sweeter reviews. I’ll still attempt to deep dive on the discs, but overall this is just a collection of every awesome thing I’ve been listening to that we haven’t taken the time to fully discuss yet.

In this case that means 13 different releases (rather than 11), unsorted by genre and from all varying walks of all things heavy. So, with the floodgates now fully open, let us wade forth into the rushing waters of heavy metal to recommend some stuff that perhaps might have flown by you. Continue reading »

Jul 172018
 

 

(This is DGR’s review of the comeback album by the Bay Area’s Light This City, which is out now via Creator-Destructor Records.)

We’ve been having a lot of fun with it lately but there seems to be a legitimate concerted effort to resurrect the mid-aughts musically, with a handful of groups that gained prominence during the early metalcore and deathcore explosions coming back after multi-year hiatuses and breakups, deciding that 2018 was going to be the time they all returned. They’re obviously not the only bands to do so this year, but it sure does seem like 2018 has been designated the year of the comeback.

We have to be on something of a ten-year cycle for groups breaking up and re-uniting, because that is one of the few ways I can explain how so many bands who were content to hang it up about seven-to-ten years ago all came back at once. If you’ll allow us to pull the curtains back a bit, it seems like my recent review work slate consists entirely of groups returning from my first few years of community college – – particularly the three-pack of Bleeding Through, The Agony Scene, and Light This City, although Into Eternity coming back and local Sacramento groups Journal and Jack Ketch both also joining the fray are part of the phenomenon, with the last two admittedly a likely the reason I’m pounding away at this theme.

As mentioned, Light This City are one of these groups, calling it quits after the release of their 2008 album Stormchaser and from then on reuniting sporadically only for a small handful of live dates (coincidentally the only times I had seen them up until July 1st of this year) — until this year, which saw the late-May release of the group’s newest album through Creator-Destructor Records, Terminal Bloom. Continue reading »

Jun 052018
 

 

(This is DGR’s review of the new album by Fractal Gates, which was released on May 12th through Naturmacht Productions.)

Five years between discs is on the long end of the “should I just stop checking to see if this band is doing anything or move on” segment of the waiting scale for fans. It actually may be the darkest part of said scale, where you wind up quickly moving through the five stages of grief about letting a group go, yet being thankful at the same time for all the music you do enjoy from them while clinging to the hope that if something new does pop up in the future it will serve as a pleasant surprise. It’s an odd yet freeing type of emotional whiplash, and one that many fans of France’s prog keyboard-heavy melodeath crew of Fractal Gates had likely started going through as the time passed since the release of the group’s 2013 album, Beyond The Self.

The musicians in Fractal Gates have certainly kept busy during that time, particularly vocalist Sebastien Pierre, who has become part of a variety of projects including Enshine, his solo work through Cold Insight, his various Mass Effect cover songs and reimaginings, and even some work with Monolithe — but those who enjoyed the up-tempo, keyboard-heavy work of Fractal Gates finally got their own taste of new material this year with the group’s new, densely packed album The Light That Shines, a disc that has absorbed five years worth of experiences into its own introspective formula. Continue reading »