Jul 112018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Today we’ve got a selection of pics from the first day — and Teddie managed to shoot every band that performed; that’s one good thing about the rotation of bands between two stages, with no overlap. You can see every minute of every show as long as your energy holds out (and that hasn’t been a problem, given the caliber of the bands who’ve thrown themselves into their NWTF performances).

So, without further ado, here are Teddie Taylor’s photos from Day 1 at NWTF 2018. Continue reading »

Aug 182016
 

Migration Fest poster

 

This is a recap of the third and final day of the first edition of Migration Fest, organized by 20 Buck Spin and Gilead Media and conducted in Olympia, Washington, on August 12-14, 2016. My recap of the pre-fest show and Day One can be found here, and the Day Two write-up is here.

I’m not as prompt in concluding this review of the festival as I was with the first two parts, but other commitments to our putrid site plus inconsiderate intrusions by the routine of daily life have screwed with my time since I got back to Seattle on Monday. On the other hand, the delay enabled me to upload videos of Day Three performances to YouTube, and I’ve collected those at the end of this post. I still intend to add more videos to the other write-ups as well. Continue reading »

Aug 132016
 

Migration Fest poster

 

Here I am on a gorgeous Saturday morning in Olympia, Washington, still pinching myself to make sure what I’ve been experiencing isn’t some kind of fantasy (or more likely, incipient dementia). Yesterday was the first day of Migration Fest, and the night before that was the unofficial start of the party with a three-band pre-fest show. In a nutshell, it’s been an absolute blast so far. More words (and amateurish photos) to follow.

This is, of course, the first edition of what by all rights should become a never-ending tradition, a labor of love jointly organized by Adam at Gilead Media and Dave at 20 Buck Spin, with support from a whole bunch of their tireless friends and family members. They assembled a stellar line-up of bands, and based on what I’ve seen so far (at least from a fan perspective), they’ve been executing on the plan like a well-oiled machine. Continue reading »

Jan 222016
 

Devouring Star cover

 

Oh, this is a bad sign: I’ve let the entire week go by without a new installment in our list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, yet I had promised myself I would finish the list by the end of January. Just too many other things going on, both with the blog and my own inconvenient life outside the blog.

Anyway, with renewed hopes that I can get back on a consistent track, here are two more entries — neither of them easy on the soul, neither of them exactly straight-forward toe-tappers, but both of them intense experiences, and the kind of music that seeps into your head like poison and comes back to haunt you.

DEVOURING STAR

This Finnish band produced one of the best album titles of 2015 — Through Lung and Heart — and it also brought us a fantastic piece of album art (by Manuel Tinnemans). For a debut full-length, it also made quite an immediate and striking impact. Continue reading »

May 292015
 

I’m getting a late start on the blog this morning. I spent hours on the phone with world leaders attempting to answer their urgent questions about an array of socio-economic and security crises. After a while I got tired of it and just started repeating a convenient mantra, “FUCK THE FACTS”.

AHAB

That album art up there is fucking fantastic. I have very high hopes for the album, too, which is the first one from German’s Ahab in four years. The title is The Boats of The Glen Carrig and it’s a musical interpretation of a 1907 horror novel of the same name written by William Hope Hodgson (more info about the book can be found here). Continue reading »

May 132015
 

 

It has taken me longer to write this review than I had planned, despite the fact that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the album. Apart from the quality of False’s untitled EP in 2011 and their split with Barghest in 2012, their live performance last summer at the Gilead Fest in Wisconsin (which included some of the material from this album) left me stunned and almost breathless. Yet in retrospect, the very qualities that made that performance by this Minneapolis black metal band so gobsmacking were the ones that delayed this review:

The album is so unremittingly intense, so overwhelmingly powerful, so emotionally draining, that it has taken time to absorb it — and I’ve had to leave more than the usual amount of time between listens, just to clear my head and recover from each listening experience.

Searing intensity is the signal feature of False’s full-length debut (also untitled). And because it includes an hour’s worth of music spread over only five long tracks, that’s a lot of intensity. Much of the time, the music is warlike and tumultuous, the kind of senses-filling cyclone of sound that repeatedly conjures images of nature in the throes of a vicious deluge. Listening is like being cast into a storm-tossed craft on a heaving sea — with a battle between gods raging in the black skies overhead. Continue reading »

Apr 102015
 

 

Yesterday brought a wealth of new music, and I’ve collected a few of the riches in this post. The first three songs are black metal, and the fourth isn’t — but it’s still obsidian and it still rips.

FALSE

With only an untitled EP in 2011 and a split with Barghest in 2012 — collectively totaling three songs — the Minneapolis black metal band False have established the kind of underground credibility that makes their debut album one of the year’s most highly anticipated releases. For me, “highly anticipated” became an understatement after I saw them perform at last summer’s Gilead Fest in Wisconsin. In a word, the performance was stunning (reviewed here).

Yesterday, Gilead Media announced pre-orders for the album — which is also untitled — and put up the first advance track for streaming on Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Feb 152015
 

 

This is a round-up of news and new music that I discovered in a long bout of listening and reading yesterday. It happens that all the items in this collection concern black metal, but black metal is a broad spectrum, and it happens that the music you’re about to hear is quite diverse — and all of it very good.

FALSE

This first item is a piece of news, an official announcement of an album that’s been on my personal “most anticipated” list for 2015 since I heard it was being recorded last year. It’s the debut full-length by False from Minneapolis, and it will be released by Gilead Media in the May-June time frame, both as a double-LP and as a CD. The cover art (above) is killer — I’m eager to see what the LP gatefold looks like.

False have only released three songs in their meteoric career — two of them on an untitled EP in 2011 and one on a 2012 split with Barghest (reviewed here). But False are fond of long songs, and so those three add up to almost 45 minutes of music — 45 very intense minutes. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

Adam Bartlett and Thou — photo by Shane Stornanti

Part 1 of this report is here; Part 2 is here.

Yesterday was the third and final session of the GILEAD FEST at the Masonic Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and it proved to be a day of megaton doom bombing mixed with strafing runs of blackened hellfire. It also featured two of the most emotionally searing moments of the entire festival and a final encore at the end of the night that was both surprising and eminently appropriate — and a whole helluva lot of fun.

Once again, the event was blessed with a beautiful day. Once again, the event planners and volunteer staff pulled everything off smoothly. Once again, all the bands I saw were wonderful — though I’m sorry to say that I spent so long toiling over yesterday’s report that I missed the first two groups, Northless and Alraune. We arrived not long before Seidr took the stage…

SEIDR

Seidr’s massive double album Ginnungagap was released by Bindrune last fall. It was the first of the band’s music I had heard, but it was enough — the chance to hear Seidr live was one of the paramount reasons why I made the trip to Oshkosh. Continue reading »

Dec 172013
 

Before this morning I was already excited about something coming our way in 2014 from Gilead Media, that oh-so-tasteful little label run by Adam Bartlett in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I’m talking, of course, about the 2014 GILEAD FEST coming next July 18-20. I’m planning to go, in part because one of my favorite co-workers is actually a native of Oshkosh and seems interested in attending the show even though he’s not a metalhead (though he has an amazing array of other musical tastes, with that one glaring omission). I’ll remind you after the jump who is scheduled to play at that festival.

But the point of this post is to provide additional reasons to be excited, because today Adam provided a full rundown of the Gilead release schedule for 2014. And man, there are a lot of gems on the line-up. For example, on February 25, Gilead will be release Heathen, the fourth album from doom titans Thou. And on the same day, Gilead will be releasing a self-titled 12″ from Geryon, the bass-and-drum death metal project of Nick McMaster and Lev Weinstein (which I’ve already had the pleasure of hearing, and it’s great). You can see the cover art for both of those after the jump.

And there’s more. Here’s the rest of the Gilead release schedule following those two lead-offs for 2014, along with Adam Bartlett’s notes about each one: Continue reading »