May 072021
 

 

The usual insanity of our in-box reached a fever pitch overnight, because it’s another Bandcamp Friday. That fever has been building all week in anticipation of the day, with the typical flood of new music reaching typhoon proportions. I’ve diverted some of that flood into this collection, a baker’s dozen of new songs and videos that range from the dreamy to the decimating, and includes both the re-surfacing of old gods and the emergence of promising new names – but without the usual artwork or my usual wordy reflections. Not everything is available on Bandcamp, but where it is available there, I’ve included links.

Mother’s Day is also on Sunday, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to have added to the torrent of releases. In catch-up mode, I’ll continue recommending more new music that day and on Saturday (if you don’t keep swimming, you drown). By the way, for those of you who don’t live in the U.S., “Mother’s Day” does not stand for Motherfucker’s Day, so most of you won’t have any reason to celebrate.

Continue reading »

Jan 042021
 

 

Well, here we go again: For the 12th straight year I present my list of the preceding year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

I’m going to dispense with repeating the operative definition of what I think makes a song “infectious”; if you’re encountering this series for the first time, go here to see that. But I will remind you what I do to compile the list, and why I currently have no idea how long it will be, or precisely when the rollout will end — which has been true in nearly every other year when I’ve done this. Continue reading »

Sep 252020
 

 

(In this post Andy Synn reviews three albums being released today or in the near future — by Deftones, Enslaved, and The Ocean.)

As anyone who’s been following this site for, ooh, more than five minutes, will know, we tend to aim our collective focus at the more underground and/or underappreciated albums and artists out there.

Not because we have to. Not because we think it makes us “cool” (trust me, we’re not cool). Not even because we’re trying to make some sort of point or big statement. It’s just because we want to, and because it’s generally more fun to write about these sorts of bands than it is to regurgitate the same generic platitudes you can see/read everywhere else about bands who already have more than enough exposure.

That being said, sometimes we like to turn our attention to some bigger game, and bigger names, because… well… because we feel like it, basically. Which is why you’re about to read my short, but sharp, take on three artists/albums who’ve already received a fair bit of praise elsewhere but whom I think deserve a slightly more critical (dare I even say, objective?) assessment.

Think of it as my attempt to restore some balance to the force, as it were. Continue reading »

May 242020
 

 

At the risk of overwhelming our visitors (a constant risk around here), I have again found so many new songs I’d like to recommend that I thought it best to divide today’s column into two parts, and will do my best not to become too verbose so that I have time to finish Part 2 in time to post it today — because Monday is going to be loaded with new things too.

ENSLAVED

I haven’t tried to find out how Enslaved’s new single is being received among fans and the metal press. I, for one, think it’s fantastic, and would rather not spoil the feeling by coming across some grim cur who’s sour about it. Not because I actually think anyone is entitled to be sour about it, but metalheads being metalheads, it’s inevitable. Continue reading »

Mar 262020
 

 

If you’re okay with this, I’m just going to continue pulling together big batches of new songs, with only brief introductions. Not that I would know one way or the other what you think. But please trust me — I’m not having to bend over backwards to find so many songs and videos to recommend. As it always is, even when I’m including more rather than less, you’re still seeing only a fraction of the new music that fires me up.

I did make one exception to my usual rule of not publishing news if it’s not accompanied by music, because Enslaved is always in a special category. After that, the bands are listed in alphabetical order. There are a couple of exceptions to another rule in here too.

ENSLAVED (Norway)

The news is that Enslaved have completed a new album named Utgard, but that they and their label Nuclear Blast have decided to postpone the release until the coming fall. The first single, and an accompanying video (filmed in Iceland), will be released on May 22nd. Continue reading »

Nov 162019
 

 

It was another one of those weeks when I didn’t have enough time for a round-up of new music. I started working on the one you’re about to read last Tuesday, hoping to post it on Wednesday, which of course I didn’t, and Thursday and Friday were failures, too. Since I began working on it, many other worthy new songs have debuted, but rather than spend time assessing those and revising/expanding this round-up, I’m just leaving it as originally conceived.

ENSLAVED

The digital version of Enslaved’s most recent album, 2017’s E, included a bonus track, which wasn’t part of the promo we received in advance of the album’s release, or on the vinyl edition. Looks like the bonus song was also included on most of the CD editions of the record. I never heard it until last Tuesday, when it became the subject of a video that Nuclear Blast released as a way of celebrating Enslaved’s re-signing with that label for whatever they do next. Now I can’t get this song out of my head. Continue reading »

Mar 082018
 

 

(An NCS fan who we’ll call Barbarian Mike turned in this guest review of the presentation of DECIBEL Magazine’s 2018 tour in Seattle, Washington, on March 6, 2018.)

Whether you consider yourself a fan or not, it’s impossible to deny the status and reverence Enslaved has earned within the community of heavy music. Over a span of 27-years and 14 studio albums – barring live-show DVD’s, splits, and demos – it’s hard to imagine any band as capable as this one in maintaining a passionate fan base and consistently sold-out live performances.

In spite of this success, Enslaved are a band who don’t rest on their laurels, or coast on their hits of yesteryear. In fact, they appear to be continually invigorated by the challenge of creating something new, to pursue new ideas and sounds. It only makes sense that they would headline one of the bigger tours within heavy music – the DECIBEL Magazine 2018 Tour. Needless to say, I was excited to attend the event at Seattle’s own El Corazon. Continue reading »

Jan 302018
 

 

We’re coming down to the wire, and I’m in a frantic state of mind. I’ve now firmly decided to end this list on January 31, but I realized this morning that January 31 IS TOMORROW!!!

I spent hours yesterday afternoon and last night listening to many of the remaining candidates for the list, and reached the conclusion that I have to double-down on these posts. In other words, there will be two installments of this list today and two more tomorrow, and each one is going to include a lot of songs.

This one, as forecast by the title of the post, is devoted to Exceptions to Our Rule (the one in the site’s title). I’ve done this before in previous years, and have already named a few songs to the list this year that include clean vocals. There are some beautiful voices in this post, and a lot of highly addictive music as well (of course). Continue reading »

Nov 272017
 

 

(Andy Synn continues to make his way down to London to witness shows that make his States-side friends violently jealous, but probably isn’t driven to do so solely, or even at all, by the prospect of that effect. Probably.  We have here his words and videos from the latest excursion.)

So last Friday, for the second time in as many weeks, I found myself back down in London at the Islington Assembly Hall to catch another of Norway’s finest musical exports, the nine-worlds-renowned Enslaved.

Now originally I had planned on seeing the Norse quintet in Nottingham the weekend before as part of their tour supporting Opeth but, due to still feeling like crap, I ended up not being able to make that show, resulting in me making the five-hour round-trip down South instead.

But, truth be told, given the option, I’d much rather see an Enslaved headlining show than an Opeth one, as the latter tend to be a little hit-or-miss live in my opinion, whereas I’ve never not had a fantastic time at seeing the former, so maybe things worked out for the best in the end? Continue reading »

Oct 062017
 

 

(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Norwegian icons Enslaved, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on October 13.)

Whereas the popular vision of the Vikings is one of horn-helmeted, heavily bearded barbarians, with an axe in one hand and a drinking horn in the other, the truth of the matter is that the Norsemen (and women) of old were more than just pirates and plunderers. They were a culture of scholars and seers, inventors and explorers, whose lust for life and adventure led them to traverse the farthest reaches of the known world.

It’s only fitting then that their descendants in Enslaved seem to have inherited this same pioneering spirit, and that their career so far has been one of almost constant exploration and reinvention, a potent mix of myth and metaphysics which has seen them always looking towards new horizons, while never losing touch with their roots.

And perhaps nowhere is this more evident than on their fourteenth(!) album, the free-spirited E, which is not only the band’s most shamelessly progressive and indulgently introspective release since Vertebrae, but which also draws influence and inspiration from all eras of their history, from the medieval majesty of Vikingligr Veldi to the cosmic contemplation of Below the Lights, resulting in what is probably their most confident and creatively ambitious album in years. Continue reading »