Jan 272013

Welcome to Part 18 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

I think you’ll readily get the connection between the two songs I’m adding to the list today. Folk/pagan metal is not a genre of music that is as near and dear to my black heart as others, and I’d never hold myself out as any kind of expert, much less as someone who listened to a lot of albums in this field during 2012. But I do know what I fuckin’ like, and I do like these two songs.


I’m unable to disassociate this Swiss band’s recorded music from my memories of hearing them live. I’ll see them live whenever I get the chance, because every show I’ve attended has been a big kick in the ass. Those experiences make me prone to like their recorded music because I can visualize and feel the energy of them performing. But with that said, I believe I’d still think the title track to their 2012 album Helvetios is a damned fine song. Continue reading »

Jan 242013

I thought I’d provide a quick update of things I noticed while web-surfing and reading e-mails this afternoon. As always, I’m sharing mainly what interests me, while hoping it interests you as well.


We first reported about this tour on December 2 when its existence became public but before any schedule had been announced. Today, all the dates and places were finally announced. And as a reminder about why this matters, the tour features Finland’s Ensiferum as the headliner, as well as Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). Plenty of ass should be kicked by these pagan brethren.

The schedule consists of 21 shows, launching in Denver on March 30 and concluding in New York City on April 21, and it includes Canadian dates, too. Here’s the complete schedule: Continue reading »

Dec 022012

This post is about two foreign invasions of North America that are scheduled to occur next year, but these invaders will be welcomed with open arms. I initially thought I’d wait to feature these tours until the schedules were released, but I’m so excited about them that I’m goin’ with it now.

Both tours are being produced by Rock the Nation America, which is the booking agency partnership created about a year ago between Kataklysm/Ex Deo frontman Maurizio Iacono, his agent and Canadian metal promoter Stephan Mellul, and Century Media Records.


The first tour — Paganfest America Part IV — will be headlined by Finland’s Ensiferum and also features Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). We’ve prominently featured all of those bands except Helsott, and it sounds like we need to find out more about them because the rest of the line-up kicks ass.

This tour was just announced on Friday and no dates or places have yet been revealed. All I know is that the tour is scheduled to kick off in late March 2013 and will cover both the United States and Canada. I guess I may finally have to break down and get a drinking horn. Maybe a battle ax. Possibly some animal skins. Because I don’t want to be the only person in the audience who doesn’t look awkward.


News of this tour surfaced several weeks ago, and I’ve been waiting for release of the schedule . . . and am still waiting. The line-up is vicious. Marduk (Sweden) and Moonspell (Portugal) will be the co-headliners, and the tour will also include Inquisition (U.S.), The Foreshadowing (Italy), and Death Wolf (Sweden), which features members of Marduk. Continue reading »

Aug 092012

Due to a combination of morning-long work commitments and another 5-hour flight home without wi-fi, this will likely be the last NCS post of the day.  Things should be more (ab)normal tomorrow.

In this post, I’ve quickly collected a variety of items that caught my eyes (and ears) last night.


Cattle Decap posted this status on their FB page last night: “We sodomized the city of Budapest, Hungary tonight. On Thursday we spill our seed upon the citizens of Czech Republic at Brutal Assault. Bye, bye fuckers”  At times like these, it’s fun to imagine the reaction of people outside metal if they knew how our bands showered gratitude on their fans. We, of course, only laugh.


I included news of this tour in a post on July 10 when only 13 dates had been announced. Now, a more complete schedule is available. I’m so fucking pleased to see a Seattle stop on the list. Septic Flesh . . . Krisiun . . . Melechesh . . . Ex Deo . . . Inquisition . . . wow . . . Continue reading »

Jul 112012

I’m still catching up with developments in metal that I missed while cut off from the web during my recent mini-vacation. And I saw some things yesterday that also perked my interest. In our last post yesterday, I rounded up some of the recent developments I thought were worth sharing. Here are some of the rest. They involve Sybreed (Switzerland), Ancient Ascendant (UK), Khonsu (Norway), Selfhate (France), Beak (U.S.), and Ensiferum (Finland).


The first item is the revealing of the cover art to Sybreed’s next album, God Is An Automaton. It’s by the very busy and very talented Seth Siro Anton, who is also the front man for Septic Flesh, whose headlining North American tour we posted about yesterday. The album will be released by Listenable on Sept 24 in Europe and on October 2 in North America.

Sybreed have been posting excerpts of songs from the new album, and they’re up to five so far. I don’t really find short song excerpts worth mentioning, except I did it yesterday with respect to the forthcoming Napalm/Converge split, so what the hell. The Sybreed excerpts released to date are collected right after the jump, in reverse order of their appearance. Continue reading »

Jun 272012

These are short notes about things I saw and heard over the last couple of days that I couldn’t make room for in any other post. And yes, I’m trying out yet another title for these posts. I confess that I’m still partial to “Brain Fuckerings! I Haz Thems!”, but the search goes on . . . In this post: Ensiferum, Testament, As I Lay Dying, and Beherit.


I saw the artwork above. It definitely caught my eye, (a) because it’s for Ensiferum’s new album, Unsung Heroes, and (b) because it depicts the wise, godlike Väinämöinen from the Finnish Kalevala epic in gorgeous reddish colors with a forest and a lake and a vaulted sky of stars. Also a sword, a shield, and . . . what the hell is that thing he’s holding?  A harp of some kind perhaps?

Anyway, it’s a damned epic cover, and I expect no less from the music. The album will be released on August 27. As previously mentioned on this site, it’s available for pre-order at Finland’s Record Shop X (here), which ships worldwide.


I also heard a new song from Testament’s next release. It’s called “True American Hate”, and it will be on the group’s forthcoming album, Dark Roots of Earth, which is due on July 31 from Nuclear Blast Records. It includes kickass cover art, too. We featured it once before, but one good turn deserves another . . . Continue reading »

Jun 152012

I must have been one of the 84% of Ensiferum’s Facebook fans who didn’t see the announcement about their new album in late May. However, I was one of the 16% of Spinefarm’s Facebook fans who did see the status update today about their uploading of a new cover photo, which you can see above, and which depicts Ensiferum in all their half-dressed, kilt-clad, face-painted, badass finery, and which led me to explore why Spinefarm was featuring an Ensiferum photo at the top of their FB page. And here’s why:

Spinefarm will be releasing a new hour-long album of Ensiferum music titled Unsung Heroes on August 24. It will be released as both a CD and a vinyl LP, plus there will also be a two-disc digipak set, with the second one being a bonus DVD consisting of almost 3 hours of material. It will include album art by the godlike Kristian Wahlin (Necrolord), and will feature special guests including members of Apokalyptischen Reiter (which is very weird) plus “legendary Finnish singer & actor, Vesa-Matti Loiri” (about whom I am clueless because Vesa-Matti Loiri is not yet legendary where I live).

Knowing the ways of Spinefarm, August 24 will be a European release date, and the album will be released in North America sometime in 2014, and I will not receive a promo for review purposes until sometime in 2015, if ever. HOWEVER, all the available versions are now available for pre-order at Finland’s Record Shop X (here), which ships worldwide. I have just pre-ordered the two-disc digipak for myself in lieu of waiting for the promo copy in 2015, if ever, at a price of 25.85 Euro, including shipping, which I think is about $5,000 U.S.

I did this because I love Ensiferum. I love you, too, which is why I’m telling you about this news, in addition to the fact that I haven’t posted a feature about Finnish metal all week, and that’s a wrong that must be righted.

Also, I have another Ensiferum promo shot after the jump, plus an older song, because I’m in the Ensiferum mood now. 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 »

Jul 012011

June is behind us, July lies ahead. Here in the U.S., we’re about to start the long weekend leading up to Independence Day, when Americans celebrate the birth of the nation by buying explosive ordinance wherever fine explosive ordinance is sold and lighting up the night sky (in addition to blowing the shit out of objects and sometimes themselves). People will also be exposing unsightly parts of their bodies wherever sun can be found and eating large quantities of health food prepared on outdoor grills. Our Founding Fathers would be proud of what they wrought!

Because the last month has ended, that means it’s time for another installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (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, we 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 album during May or preceding months, we wrote about them 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. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that we overlooked. Continue reading »

Jan 102011

No, we’re not re-starting our seemingly endless series on Finnish metal. This is just a heads-up that the second installment of THE FINNISH METAL TOUR is on the horizon. The first installment last year was one of the best shows we saw in 2010, and the next one is already causing near-sexual forms of arousal here at NCS.

Okay, maybe that was too much information. Let’s just say we’re looking forward to the new tour and leave it at that.

Here’s the arousing line-up: FinntrollEnsiferum, Barren Earth, and Rotten Sound.

Up above is a video trailer for the tour hosted by keyboardist Kasper Mårtenson (ex-Amorphis) and guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator) of Barren Earth. And in case your eyes cross as you try to read the dates and places as they scroll across the bottom of the video, we’ve got the full schedule after the jump.

Be still my beating . . . heart. Continue reading »