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 »

Jan 072011

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the debut of a new column which Islander has kindly allowed me to write and display here at NoCleanSinging.

Each week (ok, whenever I get round to it, they may not be weekly – or they may be more frequent, we’ll see) I’m going to be providing an introduction, a retrospective, or simply a re-consideration of  a band which I feel merits the treatment. Certain bands will be more well known than others, and primarily these bands will be part of THE SYNN REPORT simply because I feel that with all the bullshit media hype in the world, the band in question has been perhaps judged unfairly due to the influence of matters non-musical. Certain bands, however, you may not have heard of before at all, as although I do not consider myself a paragon of underground taste, there is only so much time each of us can devote to finding new music and really exploring it. Hopefully this column will help a little!

Each column will deal with a single musical entity, considering their works and progression in turn. Certain columns will be dedicated perhaps simply to eras in a band’s career and progression, considering and evaluating changes in style and direction with the benefit of hindsight and (hopefully) critical objectivity. Although that probably won’t last very long!

Anyway, for my first column I would like to introduce you to the Greek band ASTARTE (more after the jump, including sample songs from the band’s discography . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 232010

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As we’ve done on other occasions, we invited one of our readers and commenters, the UK’s Andy Synn, to write whatever his black heart desired as a guest contributor to this site, and this is his first contribution. So, apart from our earlier brief post about Revocation’s new video, we’re stepping aside today to make way for Andy’s review of the forthcoming new album by Dimmu Borgir.)

Morning/afternoon/evening all. Islander’s been kind enough to offer me an open slot for posting as and when possible, and whilst I’m working on a more substantial column I thought I’d jot down a quick review of the new Dimmu album, as I don’t expect a review of it to appear on here otherwise.

Generally I find myself gravitating more towards reviewing slightly more “major” releases  these days (and “major” is definitely a relative term here, the metal bands we all think of as “big” really, really aren’t when placed in the wider scheme of things) as I find it easier to be subjectively critical and/or complimentary about a band that already has such wide exposure. Firstly, because the smaller bands will feel the weight of a bad or badly written review far more heavily, and secondly because the more “major” releases often receive a ton of criticism from questionable sources simply by virtue of their own existence.

Now I was sincerely disappointed with In Sorte Diaboli as I felt that (vaguely sketched conceptual themes aside) their attempt to prove their mettle/metal by bringing forth the more basic metal elements ironically resulted in an album that was very forced and extremely paint-by-numbers. However I’m happy to say that Abrahadabra appears for all intents and purposes to be an album made by the three core members primarily for their own artistic reasons. (much more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 042010


Fifteen years have passed since Immortal last released a music video. But they’ve just released a new one, for the title track of their most recent album, All Shall Fall.

It’s a great song — we’ve thought so since the first listen last year. But as much as we want to like this video, it just doesn’t match the intensity or grandure of the song — the dramatic setting notwithstanding. It’s the fucking design of their corpsepaint that’s at fault — that, and the unintentionally comical posturing. We’re sorry, but these guys just don’t look ominous or evil. They look more like Kiss with frowny faces.

Further details about the video are available at the Immortal web site.

And in other news, we have a new tour to report. Yesterday, we got all hot and bothered over the release (for free download) of the first song from Enslaved‘s forthcoming album. Now, we’ve seen the news that Enslaved will be touring North American in November and December as support for Dimmu Borgir. The other bands on the tour will be Blood Red Throne and Dawn of Ashes.

Online ticket sales will begin September 15. The dates and places are after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Jul 012010

Another month has ended, and like a drug-resistant strain of sexually transmitted disease, we’re still here.

And because we’re now a full six months into 2010, it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy.

BURDEN OF GRIEF: “German melodic death/thrash metallers BURDEN OF GRIEF will release their new album, Follow The Flames, on July 2 in Europe via Massacre Records. The follow-up to 2007’s Death End Road will contain 10 new songs. The limited-edition version of the CD will include a bonus disc featuring cover versions of eight metal classics.”

CEPHALIC CARNAGE: “Denver, Colorado-based technical death/grind metallers CEPHALIC CARNAGE have set Misled By Certainty as the title of their new album, due on August 31 via Relapse Records. The follow-up to 2007’s Xenosapien was recorded at the band’s own studio with longtime engineer/producer Dave Otero. The CD is described in a press release as a ’50-plus-minute journey into metal’s most extreme realms’ which ‘see[s] these veterans takes it to edge before pulling it back with ‘Repangea’, perhaps their most sprawling and epic work to date.'”

(lots more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jun 302010

We’ve been waiting for the seed of Insidious Disease to blossom forth from the fertilized earth. Will it be a putrescent mass of unearthly purplish life, writhing with hungry tentacles and awesome in its otherworldly magnificence? Or will it be just another pumpkin?

Why do we wonder? Because of who’s in the band:

Marc “Groo” Grewe (ex-MORGOTH) – Vocals
Sven Atle Kopperud (a.k.a. Silenoz) (DIMMU BORGIR) – Guitar
Shane Embury (NAPALM DEATH) – Bass
Tony Laureano (ex-DIMMU BORGIR, NILE, ANGELCORPSE) – Drums
Jon Øyvind Andersen (a.k.a. Jardar) (OLD MAN’S CHILD) – Guitar

We got so stoked when we first heard about this line-up that we wrote about it two months ago, and we’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for more news ever since.

Now we know that Insidious Disease will release their debut album, Shadowcast, on July 12 in Europe and July 27 in the U.S. via Century Media Records. And now we have a video of the band performing a track from that album called “Rituals of Bloodshed”. Watch it after the jump, and decide for yourself: Awesome putrescent mass or just another pumpkin? And while you’re deciding, be stunned and amazed by the infernally amazing special effects. Continue reading »

Apr 252010

Insidious Disease is an international super-group.  What does that mean?  It means that the members come from bands that extreme metal geeks like us hold in high esteem, and they’re spread among many countries.  To be specific, the members of Insidious Disease are:

Marc “Groo” Grewe (ex-MORGOTH) – Vocals
Sven Atle Kopperud (a.k.a. Silenoz) (DIMMU BORGIR) – Guitar
Tony Laureano (ex-DIMMU BORGIR, NILE, ANGELCORPSE) – Drums
Jon Øyvind Andersen (a.k.a. Jardar) (OLD MAN’S CHILD) – Guitar

Seriously — gaze upon those names, and be honest: You’re interested, aren’t you? We sure as hell were. And we weren’t the only ones, because this band has just signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. They’ve recorded 12 songs for a debut CD to be called Shadowcast, and from what we’ve heard, it’s going to be a fucking killer.  (more after the jump, including a song . . .) Continue reading »