Jan 292017
 

 

Welcome to the 19th installment of my list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I’m beginning to feel stressed about this list, because I swore to myself (and may have promised you) that I would bring this to an end on January 31, and yet I still have dozens of worthy candidates. That means there’s going to be an arbitrary cut-off, with a lot of worthy tracks being neglected. But I figured that would happen when I started this list… I’ve never been very good at list-making.

Anyway, here are four more songs. You’ll never guess why I chose to group these four songs together. It will just have to be my little secret.

FALLUJAH

In his NCS review, my colleague Andy Synn called Dreamless the finest of Fallujah’s three albums so far — a creation that “could very well be a game-changing, life-altering release for these Tech-Death titans-in-waiting.” He praised the songwriting, which gave each track its own distinctive personality despite the presence of common ingredients — “nuanced, technical drums, strobing, rapid-fire riffs, dreamy synth waves, and soaring, extravagant lead guitar work” — and the positive direction of the band’s continuing evolution. Continue reading »

May 052016
 

Fallujah - Dreamless - Artwork

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by California’s Fallujah.)

Depending on who you speak to, Fallujah are either the future of the Technical/Progressive Death Metal genre(s), or simply the latest in a long line of interchangeable faces to front the modern edge of the movement.

Coming off the back of a sophomore album (The Flesh Prevails) which also divided opinions over whether it was a potential masterpiece, or simply a solid enough album which caught the crest of an unexpected wave of hype (my own opinion falls somewhere in between those two extremes), the Californian quintet certainly have a lot to prove and, as a result, there’s a lot riding on both the critical and commercial success of Dreamless, their third… and finest… full-length release. Continue reading »

Apr 112016
 

Shadow Woods Metal Festival 2016

 

As we begin the new week, I have some unfortunate news (at least it’s unfortunate for me). Beginning today and continuing through Thursday morning, I have to bury myself in my fucking day job for one of those day-and-night projects that periodically descends upon me. I’ll make time to post what other writers have sent me, as well as a few premieres I’ve agreed to do, but aside from this round-up and one “Short But Sweet” review I wrote over the weekend, I will be missing in action until sometime Thursday.

Before saying good-bye, I’ve collected a few items that I wanted to share — including, at the end of this post, streams of ten recent videos without commentary (because I’ve run out of time for commentary).

SHADOW WOODS METAL FESTIVAL

I’m late sharing this news, but the news is so exciting that I’m following the “better late than never” mantra. Last year’s Shadow Woods Metal Festival was a marvelous event by all accounts — including this account by our guest Captain Karbon. As I reported in February, organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been planning the second installment of this open-air camping metal party, which will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. They’ve been announcing performers since January, and now the complete line-up has been revealed — and it’s an eye-popper: Continue reading »

Mar 192016
 

Ashcloud-Children of the Chainsaw

 

Last week was another one in which I noticed lots of new songs and videos but didn’t have time to round them up, in part because I was writing about a flood of new songs that we were premiering ourselves. So now I’m doing what I failed to do earlier — but because I waited, the round-up has become jumbo-sized. Consequently, I’ve kept my introductions to the music brief and haven’t taken the time to consistently add album art or links as I usually do. When I did something like this last weekend (except with even fewer words), I said I didn’t intend to make a habit of it. I still don’t.

For those who pay attention to such things, I also failed to post Part 3 of the Shades of Black series I began at the start of the week. But I will do that tomorrow. Now, presented in alphabetical order, here are new songs and videos from 17 bands.

ASHCLOUD

On May 1, Xtreem Music will release the new album by Sweden’s Ashcloud. The album’s title tells you a lot of what you need to know about the music: Children of the Chainsaw. Here’s the title track — smoking, tree-felling, crusty Swedish death metal that’s awfully damned sweet. Continue reading »

Jan 212015
 


Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

 

I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.

In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post. Continue reading »

Aug 182014
 

 

(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Part 1 appeared here. Once again, Ty asked his wife Heather (who he says isn’t very big on metal music as a whole) and his friend Adam (who is) to look at the album art and provide guesses about the music. Once again, please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)

Alright, so the first round went pretty well for my two assistants. Where we left off, they were neck-and-neck in our little guessing game. So, time to finish this thing up and see if the trend continues. Lets get right to it, shall we?

SchammaschContradiction

There’s just something about the color red with me, for some reason. I really like how while the majority of this artwork is solid red, yet there’s enough variation that you can divine the angel, the demon, the symbols, and the serpents. With that knowledge, Heather was able to correctly suggest that this album was steeped in religious undertones, probably in the vein of black metal, as did Adam. He suggested that it might have something to do with atheism, but changed his mind after seeing the symbols along the bottom.

The cover art is by Valnoir of Metastazis Studio in Paris. NCS reviewed the album here.
http://www.graphic-noise.com/valnoir Continue reading »

Jul 222014
 

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Fallujah.)

One of the things that consistently surprises me about music, in general, is how much some artists can change in their evolution yet still remain fundamentally the same. Fallujah released a pretty killer debut with The Harvest Wombs, a blitzkrieg of melodic technical death metal madness with a seasoning of Allan Holdsworth fusion thrown on top of it; the sound was the essence of ethereal yet feral. It was their way of achieving a sort of space-death sound, and it worked.

Of course, the other elements in the music helped, too. Fallujah pulls from a strange bag of tricks and smashes them together. The combination of death metal with a lot of post-y elements, including some borrowed from that end of the Black Metal spectrum, has cemented a sound I would argue is recognizably Fallujah, signature in nature.

The Flesh Prevails is a logical step forward, an attempt to bridge the technical showmanship of The Harvest Wombs with the spaced-out fusion atmosphere of the Nomadic EP. The end result is death metal that is equal parts brutal and Zen. Depending on your mood, you could windmill to this until you get whiplash, or sit around stoically contemplating the meaning of your life. It’s an odd paradox of sound that’s hypnotic. Continue reading »

Jun 192014
 

I’ve collected here new music from three bands. As suggested by the title of this post, the songs have something in common, though they are different in other respects: They all include certain instrumental elements that are very, very fast. Your hair may be singed. The skin on your face may bubble like a broiled fetus. You may void your bowels. I myself only experienced the last of these effects, but I thought it best to provide a complete set of warnings.

FALLUJAH

Damn, but I surely do love that album cover, don’t you? It’s a collaborative effort between Polish artist Tomasz Alen Kopera, whose work I’ve featured about a dozen times in the daily art posts on our Facebook page, and the band’s vocalist, Alex Hofmann. The album’s name is The Flesh Prevails and it’s due for release by Unique Leader on July 22.

What I heard yesterday was a new song named “Carved From Stone”. It’s an interesting song. Certain instrumental tracks are moving at about 1,000 mph. The kick drums eject shells at the rate of am M134 minigun, and the riffs whip like hurricane winds and pummel like a jackhammer. On the other hand, Mr. Hofmann growls his lyrics as if patiently telling a bedtime story, presumably to a brood of orcs. And the lead guitar carefully unspools an eerie atmospheric melody like a coil of razor wire. Continue reading »

Oct 132013
 

(In this post DGR reviews the CD release show of Conducting From the Grave (with friends) at The Boardwalk venue in Orangevale, California, on October 5, 2013.)

Saturday (Oct 5) was exciting for a several reasons. First, it was my chance to see Conducting From The Grave take the stage fresh off the release of their new disc. Second, I also got to see Soma Ras again. Third, I’d get to see the newly christened Alterbeast and find out if my generally high opinion of them from their GBAA days would still hold up. And finally, and I swear this is true, I would finally get to see Fallujah — more on that later.

The whole show was basically a celebration for the Conducting guys, and they were treated like conquering heroes the whole night, with a pretty packed Boardwalk venue and a crowd receptive to every band who took the stage. Also, holy shit, were there a lot of cameras at the venue too; I guess quite a few people wanted to have their own bootlegs of the show that night.

One of them was right next to me for the whole show, someone who I would later find out was working for clothing/media company Atrocious Works (Home site and Facebook page) and has been posting the material online as he has uploaded it. You should obviously check them out because they’re adding to the huge archive of live shows on the net that are out of Sacramento venues, and a huge thanks to them for that. Right now, the videos consist of front-row views (and damn good sound quality) of Alterbeast, Lifeforms, and Conducting From The Grave. Continue reading »

Aug 142013
 

I’m still catching up on what has happened in the world of metal since yesterday. Here are a few more items worth talking about.

INTO THE EVERBLACK 2013

A bit earlier today I wrote about the latest artwork, news, and music concerning the new Skeletonwitch album. If I’d just waited an hour, I could have included the fact that Skeletonwitch are embarking on a North American tour this fall with The Black Dahlia Murder (as the headliner) and Fallujah. And on selected dates, that group of miscreants will be joined by Wolvhammer (who are vicious killers in their own right) or Noisem (also murderous).

This is going to be one very fine evening in the pit of musical hell. Unfortunately, it appears I will have to get in the car to visit hell, because the tour isn’t going to hit Seattle. To see if it will threaten your town, check the schedule after the jump. Continue reading »