Nov 052019
 

 

(Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo has delivered this review of the new album by the Swedish hardcore punk legends Refused, which is out now via Spinefarm Records.)

Few album titles in 2019 have been as well-suited as War Music, the latest slab of anti-capitalist post-punk from Swedish icons Refused.

Never ones to shy away from politically charged subject matter, the Swedes have only seemed to build on the energy of their phenomenal 2015 comeback album, Freedom, and channeled it into a compact 10 songs of vitriolic angst that’s just waiting to be the soundtrack to the next time a protester throws a Molotov cocktail at a government building. Continue reading »

Sep 102019
 

 

(Our Seattle-based contributor Gonzo re-joins us with another lively concert review, this time reporting on Iron Maiden‘s performance in Tacoma, Washington, on September 5, 2019.)

“It’s only gonna get better from here,” bellows a spry Bruce Dickinson, addressing the Tacoma Dome crowd while standing under a replica Spitfire plane. Dickinson and his band of merry men in Iron Maiden had just torn through iconic opener “Aces High,” complete with said plane dangling from the top of the stage like a marionette during the song’s entirety. This alone would be an impressive spectacle for any live act to pull off, but for Iron Maiden, it’s the warmup.

At this point in the band’s storied career, to expect anything less than this from Iron Maiden would be silly. At 61, Dickinson is as energetic as someone half his age, and Steve Harris and the rest of his bandmates in the indispensable UK metal crew aren’t far behind. Not surprisingly, then, would the band’s 2019 Legacy of the Beast tour be anything less than spectacular? Continue reading »

Aug 272019
 

 

(In this post NCS contributor Gonzo reviews the new album by Killswitch Engage, which is out now via Metal Blade Records.)

Perhaps no band in modern American metal has been able to pull off what Killswitch Engage have in their 20-year career: Ascend to the Billboard charts with one vocalist (Jesse Leach), then weather the storm of his departure with a serviceable replacement (Howard Jones), then weather the storm of his departure with the return of Leach, all while never relinquishing their crown as one of the genre’s stalwart kings.

With Atonement, released on August 16th, the band have shown no sign of slowing down. This is the third installment in Leach’s return, and the combination of its blazing riffs, masterful songwriting, and standout individual performances on every instrument might make it the best of the three. Continue reading »

Jul 262019
 

 

(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Today’s post covers performances on the fourth and final day of the fest. To read about Gonzo‘s experiences during the first three days, go here, here, and here.)

According to a poll on Copenhell’s Instagram story as of 10:21 a.m. Saturday morning, 64% of festival goers are tired as fuck. I counted myself among them. With a good night’s rest and wearing enough sunscreen to make myself flame retardant, though, we set a course on the 666 express to Refshaleøen once again. If we weren’t tired by this point, we’d be the exception.

Today was the final day of Copenhell 2019. The executive decision to eat something healthy for breakfast, I think, ended up being a wise choice. More fried food was wolfed down at lunch, just as While She Sleeps were getting ready to rock the Pandemonium stage. When we walked in, we could hear Candlebox closing out their set with the unmistakable chorus of “You,” but that would be all we’d get of our hometown grunge rockers. Continue reading »

Jul 252019
 


BAEST – photo by Bransholm Photography

 

(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Today’s post covers performances at the third day of the fest. To read about Gonzo‘s experiences during the first two days, go here and here. The wrap-up comes tomorrow.)

After a rough start to the morning due to the sun’s fiendishly bright rays at a truly ungodly hour, coffee began replacing the hope of getting any more sleep. A risky endeavor, especially since the day would be pretty warm, and I am not built for the heat. My hope was that it would be cooler by the harbor at Refshaleøen, but we’d soon find out. Once more into the breach.

The unmistakable smell of barbecued meat and fried food on our way into the festival welcomed us once again. If I wasn’t busy watching bands today, I’d be rolling down the hill after eating my way through this place. Today would be the day I would eat several of whatever these “flying pancakes from hell” were. I didn’t know what made them special, but what I did know was that I didn’t want to have any other type of pancake ever again. Continue reading »

Jul 242019
 

 

(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Beginning yesterday (here), and continuing today and for the following two days, we’re sharing his entertaining stories from that adventure.)

I woke up and saw highlights from Katatonia’s much-hyped performance of Night is the New Day all the way through, and sure, it looked like a fun time. I also would’ve likely passed out and fallen over in a ditch somewhere in the harbor if I had gone, so I called it a win and cut my losses. Fuck it. The good news? It wasThursday morning, and three whole days of Copenhell were, at long last, only a few hours and a few kilometers away.

Jumping on the festival bus was easy enough for out-of-towners – the route number changed from its usual operating of “9A” to “666.” The quick ride to the harbor from the city center was full of death growls, beer, and very loud Danes. It was almost enough to make me pity the bus drivers in charge of this route, but they were dealing with the ruckus amazingly well. In fact, negativity just didn’t seem to be a thing in Denmark. You could really say everyone here was… hell-bent…on having a good time. (I also can’t promise that’ll be the last of my “hell” puns through the duration of this. No, I’m not even a little bit sorry.) Continue reading »

Jul 232019
 

 

(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Beginning today, and continuing for the next three consecutive days, we’re sharing his entertaining stories from that adventure — though as you’ll discover, the Day One coverage didn’t turn out as planned.)

Summers in the north are great, right up until you want to get some fucking sleep.

I pulled into Copenhagen at around noon, after the requisite transatlantic flight that forced me to stay awake for almost 24 consecutive hours because no way can I ever sleep in a pressurized fart tube at 35,000 feet. It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve been here – the last visit was basically a fly-by on the way to do completely stupid shit to my liver in Munich. So, my recollection of being here is admittedly not great.

Why have I returned, you ask? There’s a festival I’d been curious about for a while called Copenhell that happens every summer in Copenhagen, billing itself audaciously as “the wildest party in the north.” Admittedly, my partying days aren’t quite on the level they used to be, but like some kind of suicidal cat with a tendency to find itself haphazardly swinging from a chandelier after getting into the stash of catnip hidden on top of the fridge, curiosity gets the better of me a bit too often. And why not? I have long fantasized about going to a proper, full-on European festival, and the metal gods seemed to all but conspire this year to usher me to this magical place. Continue reading »