Mar 042018


I would have started this post with the new At the Gates song, but DGR is including that in a big round-up for Monday, and I don’t want to steal his thunder because I’m too interested in reading his take (I know he likes the song, as do I). But I am beginning with another melodeath band for whom I also have a soft spot, so it’s all good.

By the way, by the time you read this I’ll be in Iceland, with a bunch of friends from Seattle. The main object of the trip is the third and final edition of Oration Fest in Reykjavik this week, but because we have days on either side of that, I assume we’ll also explore the environs beyond the capital city.

Because of this metal-filled vacation, I think it’s likely that the volume of posts at our site will decline this coming week. I have agreed to write one (but only one) premiere each day, and my NCS comrades have some things in the works, plus I’ve learned not to underestimate the strength of my blog addiction. For example, unless jet lag completely short-circuits my own biological batteries, I do have some ideas for a SHADES OF BLACK post in the near future. Continue reading »

Sep 042012

Holy shit!  The last 24 hours have brought a flood of brand new music videos that are (a) constructed around kickass music of considerable diversity, and (b) fun to watch. I’ve collected five of them in this post, and have kept my introductory verbiage to a minimum so you can spend your time listening and watching.  Go!


Oblivion are Nick Vasallo (vocals, bass), Ted O’Neill (guitar), and Luis Martinez (drums). They are tech-death hell on wheels. TheMadIsraeli reviewed their 2012 demo here, and we’re damned excited about their forthcoming debut album, Called To Rise.

Today they debuted a video for the first song to be aired from the album, “Black Veils of Justice”. The song just blazes. And the video is cool, too, mixing a band performance together with an animated short film called “ARK” by Grzegorz Jonkajtys.

We’ll have more news about the new album in the near future. You can keep track of what Oblivion are up to by visiting their Facebook page. Here’s the video: Continue reading »

Jun 272012

(DemiGodRaven reviews the latest album from Sweden’s Engel.)

Engel are a weird band in a weird place. They’re one of the bands who are pretty much epitomized by the much-maligned ‘modern metal’ tag because they try to hybridize so many different elements in their music in order to distinguish themselves from the rest of their scene. In that way they’ve always felt like a continuation of a few of the band members’ previous project, Passenger.

They’re not ashamed to write something that would be worthy of radio play and, likewise, pretty much refuse to stick with one genre for a whole song. They’ve also been very prone to work in many electronica elements, not just keyboards but also full-on trance-worthy segments in an attempt to add texture to their music. This has resulted in very jack of all trades, master of none, dynamic. Sometimes they will absolutely nail it and other times they come off a little too bland for their own good.

Surprisingly, I fell in love with the one time they really played it safe, in the song “Six Feet Deep”, but otherwise the group’s prior disc Threnody (and it’s 47 different releases) was a hit or miss affair that left just enough positive residue in my system that I was inclined to  look into their latest release, Blood Of Saints. Continue reading »

Mar 022012

For a change, I actually remembered on the second day of the new month that that the preceding month had ended; usually takes longer than that. My creditors would be happy, except I think their bills need to age a while longer. But yes, February is history — and that means its time to post our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. Today’s list is a little more comprehensive than the half-assed job I did at the end of January, which means it’s about three-quarters assed. One of these days it will be fully assed.

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 I found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, I 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.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us (me and your fellow readers) what I missed when I put this list together, because I’m abso-fucking-lutely certain that I missed all sorts of shit. So let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Dec 132009

in flames

Swedish melodic death metal pioneers In Flames will always hold a special place in my heart.  They were my introduction to extreme metal, and though their music has become poppier over the years, I still love what they do.  I’ve been lucky enough to see them play in the Northwest on three occasions and to meet the guys in person on one of those tours (and they’re about as nice and unpretentious a group of dudes as you could hope to meet).

Guitarist Jesper Strömblad is one of the founders and the only remaining original member of the band. So it was with some trepidation that I read in February of this year that he’d checked himself into a rehab clinic to get treatment for alcohol abuse and would therefore miss the band’s Australia/SouthAmerica/Japan tour. A significant and positive step for Jesper, but one that raised some questions about how it would affect the future of In Flames.  In March, drummer Björn Gelotte gave an interview in which he had this to say about the situation:

“Well, as with every problem of this kind, it’s not something that you want to tell everybody. It is something that you are sort of embarrassed about, but we’ve been living around this problem now for many many years. The thing is that with something like this you can’t really force anybody to go to the doctor or to feel better. You have to wait until this person realizes that himself. And what happened is that it got to be too much and he had a breakdown and he realized when his body said, “This is it.” He had to go and get medication, get some treatment and lock himself in for a couple of weeks and take it easy and take care of himself. And this is the only way of waking up, I think. I don’t know how it is with other abuses, but with this one — it’s kind of embarrassing. It’s tough for him to realize it, but when he finally did it, now he’s doing something about it. But it takes time to get back.”

I hadn’t heard much more about this situation until today, when I saw a story that really brightened up my Sunday morning.   Continue reading »