Jan 152019
 

 

For this installment of the list there’s again no particular reason why I paired these two songs together, so I don’t have much to say by way of overarching introduction. On the other hand, it may be that I just haven’t done a very good job interrogating my subconscious to determine the reason. If you can help me, please speak up.

(To check out the previous installments, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.)

HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY

This Austrian band is another one in which the Ven diagrams of musical interest by the longest-running writers at our site intersect. Our first post about them was in 2014, where I premiered a track from their second album, Aokigahara. That was a wonderful album, but in retrospect was only the tip of the iceberg that was building beneath the surface. Continue reading »

Jan 032019
 

 

(Here’s the fourth installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music. The concluding Top 10 will appear tomorrow.)

A confession: For a long time the only words in this whole writeup prior to me breaking the whole thing into five parts and actually listing the bands was just a whole bunch of swear words. Even though I’ve been doing this for nine years now I still will occasionally try things I learned in writing classes over the years or even some things I’ve read about since then. Stream-of-consciousness writing is one of those, but the only thing I’ve learned from doing that in the context of talking about albums of the year is that I’ve assembled a pretty neat collection of permutations of the word ‘fuck’ that I’ve gathered from popular culture over the years.

It was at this point that I began going back through our review archives so that I could even remember what came out this year. Metal-Archives is also a tremendous help in that regard, since I often can’t remember what I talked about in January unless I’ve listened to it since then. It’s also one of my favorite things to do because I get to have a laugh at how far back I have to go in the segment tagged ‘Reviews’ on the site. I know that we’ve missed more than a few albums, but as it stands now,  our first review of something from 2018 is about forty pages back. And there can be anywhere between five to fifteen albums per page of results — depending on how we grouped them for each article.

I know that’s just reflective of the ‘relentless march of hashtag content’ that the internet has become, but it still makes me smile. If I ever need a reminder that heavy metal is — somehow, despite all the odds and all the editorials about rock music dying — a lively as all hell genre, that’s enough for me. I guess there will always be room for cathartic release via loud instruments, or the various experimentations outside of the tradional music sphere to which this genre loans itself. Continue reading »

Jan 292018
 

 

(DGR presents the following round-up of new music.)

 

My last appearance with a news roundup was, admittedly, a little ridiculous. I will say, however, that I was not initially aware it had gotten so huge as I just kept adding things that I had noticed we had missed in my vain effort to cover everything I thought the NCS crowd might be interested in.

The nice thing about that method, though, is that the act of doing so with such a large dragnet, combined with the massive three-part Shades Of Black post that went up shortly after, means that we’re able to keep this roundup small, covering just three groups that barely missed the bus when those posts went up. One in particular was released right after the post that was perfect for it went up.

So, we return once again to do a little globe-trotting, skirting around the edges of heavy metal and talking about three more newly released songs that have popped up over the past week and a half. Continue reading »

Jan 192018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the Austrian band Harakiri For the Sky, which will be released by AOP Records on February 16th.)

If you’re a long-time follower of the site you may have picked up on an ongoing war of words between some of our writers about how to properly categorise the music of the Austrian duo Harakiri for the Sky.

And while I agree that how you choose to describe their sound doesn’t directly affect the quality of their material one iota, I still think it’s important that we use the right terms and the right language when writing about the band (or any band), as it can definitely have an effect on how people judge and perceive them.

All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that Arson is one damn fine slab of punchy, pulse-quickening Melodeath… and I won’t hear a single word to the contrary! Continue reading »

Dec 122017
 


Afgrund

 

(Like the good cowboy he is, DGR has stepped forward to handle round-up duty today.)

We at NCS are big fans of posts full of genre whiplash, and this roundup of things that caught our eyes and ears last week will likely be one of those. We try to always keep our giant fish net of news-and-music catching open for stuff to fall in and we like to clean it out whenever we get the chance, even though you would’ve figured that last week things should have slowed down just a bit…you would think.

However, just because it’s close to the end of the year and time for everyone to begin writing up summaries of their favorite albums of 2017, and just because our editor managed to escape from the loris horde encircling the NCS compound for a vacation, does not mean heavy metal got the hint and decided to slow down for a bit. We did here in our little comfortable corner of the ‘net, but that doesn’t mean everyone did. And so we go outside to clean off the radar dish and see what landed in the net over the past week. Continue reading »

Nov 062017
 

 

This is the second part of this week’s SHADES OF BLACK collection. You can find Part 1 here.

This post begins with one advance track and follows with three complete releases, which a shortage of time prevents me from discussing in full. I’ll give you a smattering of garbled thoughts about them, and then hope you’ll give them the time they deserve.

HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY

Last Thursday Stereogum premieredTomb Omnia“, the first excerpt from the new album by Austria’s Harakiri For the Sky, the name of which is Arson. To say that we’re excited about this album is like the martyr on the stake whispering “it’s a bit warm here” as the flames begin to lick his legs. Continue reading »

Oct 222017
 

 

I took a break from NCS yesterday… sort of. Instead of writing something to post on Saturday, I used the time to get a head-start on a two-part SHADES OF BLACK for today. Both parts are long ones, and could have been even longer. But the first four items in this Part 1 mainly consist of album announcements and artwork rather than any new music. And yes, we’re now getting into announcements of new albums that will be released in 2018.

HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY

In the first week of this month the German label AOP Records announced that it would be releasing a new album by Harakiri For the Sky early next year, and then on Thursday of last week it revealed further details, including the cover art (by Striga) that you can see above. Continue reading »

Jan 022017
 

 

And so it begins. Just as we’re approaching the end of most segments of our LISTMANIA 2016 series, we’re starting another segment — and it’s the only one for which your humble editor is personally responsible. I don’t have the decisionmaking capacity to make my own list of best albums and, as you’ll discover, I’m only barely more capable of making the list that begins today.

Once again, I’m starting the rollout of our Most Infectious Song list without having finished it — which means I don’t know how long it will be or when it will end. As in past years, I’m making it up as I go along. I’ll do my best to post 2 or 3 songs every day until I arbitrarily decide to stop, though my goal is to finish by the end of January.

If you think that’s a ridiculously inept way to make a list, you might consider that between the list of candidates I sporadically made for myself as 2016 rolled on, plus the lists provided (here) by our readers, and by my NCS colleagues, I have a master list that includes more than 900 songs. It’s a mix of big names and very obscure ones from across virtually every metal sub-genre you can think of. Continue reading »

Dec 152016
 

listmania-2016

 

(Andy Synn’s week-long series of year-end lists continues with his personal list of The Critical Top Ten for 2016. Click these links to see his lists of the year’s Great Albums, the Good Albums, and the Disappointments.)

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I always wind-up my week-long retrospective with two lists, the “Critical Top Ten” and the “Personal Top Ten”.

Now the second one is probably pretty self-explanatory, in that it’s just a list of the ten albums I’ve loved, lived with, and listened to the most this year. It’s really just a snapshot of my personal listening habits/tastes over the last twelve months.

The idea behind this one possible needs some explaining though.

You see the “Critical Top Ten” is where I try (as best I can) to remove my own personal biases and downplay any favouritism and instead attempt to name the ten albums (unranked) which I feel honestly represent the best of the best from the last year in Metal. Continue reading »

Jul 192016
 

Harakiri For the Sky-III Trauma

 

(Andy Synn reviews the great new album by Austria’s Harakiri For the Sky.)

A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet. Or so they say. But when it comes to musical genres… is that really the case?

Now I’m sure some of you are already sharpening your claws ready to declaim that all genres are bullshit, and that you’re above such petty concerns… but for the rest of us who live in the real world, genre terms remain a useful way of tagging and identifying music – though I’m more than happy to admit that once we start getting bogged down in arguing about sub-sub-sub genres things start to get a little silly.

I’d contend that tagging a band with the right term remains important though, particularly when you’re introducing them to a potential new fan. Because, like it or not, using the wrong genre when talking about a band can give a new listener a false impression of what to expect, and sometimes it can be a real uphill battle to overcome this and and get them to judge it for what it is, not for what it isn’t.

Such is the case with Austrian angst-merchants Harakiri for the Sky. Continue reading »