Nov 032011

October is over, except for Halloween, which continues to go on and on here at the metallic island that NCS calls home. Your humble editor spent the end of the month and the beginning of this new one grinding away at his fucking day job, which explains why this installment of METAL IN THE FORGE is late. It also explains why it’s more than typically incomplete, but more on that later.

Here’s the deal:  In these posts, 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 forthcoming album before September, we 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.

This month’s list begins right after the jump. I fell down on the job of monitoring the interhole and press releases to catch news about new albums that looked potentially cool to me, so I know I missed announcements of new releases that should be included here. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about! Continue reading »

Jul 302010

In recent years, people have written books with the intent of dispelling various so-called “myths” about wolves. I haven’t read any of them, but they’re probably trying to tell us that wolves are actually warm, loving creatures who are good parents and self-sacrificng friends.

I haven’t read those books because I’d rather continue to think of wolves as vicious, red-eyed pack animals that would just as soon rip out your jugular as look at you. Life is too civilized as it is without having someone domesticate my mental image of the wolf.

Besides, that would detract from the awesomeness of Wolvhammer as a metal-band name. It would turn it into something like Puppyhammer. Or Puppyhummer. Or something equally tame. And Wolvhammer is anything but tame.

We first heard about Wolvhammer’s debut album, Black Marketeers of World War III,  via a feature in the current issue of DECIBEL magazine, which punched many of our buttons — so much so that we ran out and bought the album fast. And we are so glad we did.  (more after the jump, including a mixtape of music inspired by Wolvhammer . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 042010

Yesterday, in the first of a two-part feature, we posted our review of the new album by Living Sacrifice. Today, we’re posting (for want of a better word) a meditation on these questions: When there’s no clean singing in extreme metal, do the lyrics really matter? And if they do, how do they matter?

THE MEDITATION: Think about songs in which you can hear the words. Sometimes the lyrics can be important. Beautifully crafted lyrics can tell a story that sticks with you, or they can express ideas or emotions in a way that resonates like poetry.

That kind of lyricism can combine with the music in a way that produces something more powerful than the sum of the parts — the words enhance the music and vice-versa, and each makes the other more memorable.

Of course, those things are possible only if you can hear the words. In extreme metal songs with no clean singing, you can’t hear all the words or sometimes any of them.  It’s rarely the content of the lyrics that contributes to the emotional appeal of those songs. Instead, what matters is the sound of the singer’s voice, which functions mainly as another instrument.

As a consequence, the songwriter’s ability to create memorable lyrics is often pretty unimportant in this subgenre. On those rare occasions when I look up the lyrics to a metal song I like, I’m not surprised to find that usually the lyrics suck – and I don’t really care that they suck because they don’t matter much to what I hear or how I feel about the music.

I suspect that lyrics rarely play an important part in the creation of extreme music either. Most bands seem to work out the riffs, the rhythms, and the melodies first (if melody happens to be a part of the band’s sound), and the lyrics are added later.  By definition, the words aren’t inspiring the sound; if anything, the reverse is true. Sometimes, the words seem to have nothing at all to do with the feeling that the music conveys. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »