Oct 012021
 


Unto Others

(NCS contributor Gonzo returns with another end-of-month roundup of music that caught his ears.)

There are a few bittersweet observations I’ve come to realize in the past month, related both to music and to the endless hellscape that is the human condition:

As of this writing, 2022 is just three months away and I’m still processing whether 2020 was even real. This means that while I survived the endlessly overwhelming shitstorm of that year, it does beg the question of how much worse this planet could get for humans over the next decade.

While live music is back and I’ve been reveling in the joy of sweaty venues and the sleep deprivation that comes with festivals again, I was just notified that Judas Priest is postponing the rest of their tour due to Richie Faulkner’s heart condition.

The next date would’ve been where I would see them (for the first time, no less) here in Denver.

Fuck.

The good news? Sabaton, who opened for Priest on this tour, is still playing a show in Denver, and by the time this piece goes to print, I’ll have seen the show and will post a full review in the coming days.

In the meantime, I’m at least somewhat distracted by the troves of amazing heavy music that keep blasting out of the darkest corners of the netherverse as of late.

Join me as I take you through some unfettered heaviness and savagery that’s emerged in the past month and kept me sane as we descend into 2021’s final few months. This month, I’ve got two albums and three singles for you to delve into. Continue reading »

Jun 212021
 


Netherbird

 

Lo and behold, I had time this morning not only to prepare a round-up of new songs and videos but also (unlike the last few I’ve done) to add some completely unnecessary commentary. What you’ll find is a bit of this and a bit of that, with some well-known names and a couple you’ve possibly never heard of. Everything I chose today consists of advance songs from forthcoming records. And with that, let’s begin:

NETHERBIRD (Sweden)

First in today’s collection is “Towers of the Night“. Packaged with a lyric video, it does indeed become towering. Initiated by rumbling and battering drums and by whining, wailing guitar harmonies that radiate anguish and despair, the song further includes sinister fanfares, doses of slashing and jolting savagery, and scalding snarls. The song also reveals a dreamlike yet menacing interlude and anthemic soloing that’s primed for arenas filled with headbangers (whenever such a thing is possible again). Quite a thrilling experience…. Continue reading »

May 202021
 

 

I managed to grab a few hours of listening time yesterday before they evanesced. I barely scratched the surface of my gargantuan list of things to check out, but it didn’t take long before I found the songs and videos I’ve compiled here, which collectively made a gripping impact. I book-ended the collection with some bigger names and stuffed the interior with some names that need to be bigger.

HOODED MENACE (Finland)

Hooded Menace have a new album named The Tritonus Bell headed for release in August. Guitarist Lasse Pyykkö commented that the first advance track, “Blood Ornaments“, “comes with some of our most intriguing ingredients yet”. He continued: “There’s a contrast between death/doom misery and head-bangable heavy metal riffs like never heard before in Hooded Menace‘s music, making ‘Blood Ornaments‘ my favourite track from the album”. Continue reading »

May 212018
 

 

The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. We asked Teddie to introduce herself first, to those of you who may not be familiar with her work:

“I am an Alabama transplant currently residing in the glorious swamp that is New Orleans. Growing up, I regularly went on adventures to photograph the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast and thought I’d eventually pursue nature photography. I’ve always been involved with the arts, whether it be attempting to dance or taking vocal lessons, and fell hard and fast into music photography during a college internship at the local rock radio station. A few years and seemingly hundreds of deafening nights in small bars later and I am an intern at Relapse Records and Earsplit PR and travel regularly to interview and take photos of musicians I adore. I apologize in advance if my tall, camera-hauling self blocks your view or whacks you with a camera during a show.”

And with that preamble, here are some of Teddie’s photos from the first day at Roadburn 2018: Continue reading »

Jan 082018
 

 

In an effort to catch up with new music that appeared last week (or in some cases that I only discovered last week), I’ve resorted to a two-part OVERFLOWING STREAMS post. And for those who haven’t noticed the format of these posts, they’re a form of personal surrender to the flood of new music. I enjoy writing thoughts about what I want to recommend, but in posts such as this one I just let the music speak for itself because there’s so much to recommend that I don’t have time to blurt out my own reactions.

In Part 1 (here), I collected some newly discovered splits. This one is devoted mainly to new advance tracks, some of which just premiered today, with a few full-album or EP streams in the mix. Continue reading »

Nov 212017
 

 

(Comrade Aleks brings us yet another fascinating interview, and this time a very detailed and in-depth one, with Lasse Pyykkö of Hooded Menace, whose new album will be released in January.)

This year Hooded Menace celebrate their tenth anniversary of spreading darkest death doom in the underground scene. Though some might not tag the band as an “underground” one when their albums have been released on such labels as Relapse Records, Profound Lore, and Season Of Mist.

The last of those labels proclaimed that the new Hooded Menace album, Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed, will be released on January 26, 2018. And if you take a look, you’ll find that the Hooded Menace lineup went through big changes once more, though Lasse Pyykkö remains, as always, its core.

Did these changes influence Hooded Menace’s recognizable sound? How many of the Blind Dead will return from their tombs in the new songs? Lasse gave me answers to these and others questions, I’d like to thank him again for this deep and detailed interview. Continue reading »

Oct 272017
 

 

Happy Friday. And if you actually happen to be happy because it’s Friday, instead of boiling with rage because you’ve just endured four-plus days of bullshit, you may not relish the music you’re about to hear. On the other hand, maybe your preferred means of matching your happiness (or your rage) to music involves abrading your ear drums, losing your mind, and mercilessly kicking open the spigot on your adrenaline glands. In which case, brothers and sisters, you’re right where you need to be — right here.

This is Part 2 of a round-up I began yesterday (here). And even though I didn’t finish this in time to post it yesterday, it’s exactly what I intended to post then. In other words, I decided to close my ears to the flood of other new songs that surfaced between then and now. There’s always time to catch up with that on Saturday, though I have a bad tendency to wound myself with intoxicants on Friday nights, so I ain’t promising nothing.

HOODED MENACE

The fifth Hooded Menace album will arrive on January 26 via Season of Mist, with the title Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed and cover art by Adam Burke, who continues to kill everything this year. The first advance track, “Carnal Reflections“, debuted at DECIBEL two days ago. Or was it three? Continue reading »

Feb 162017
 

 

On New Year’s Day of this year I posted a large round-up of new music that included brief teasers of music from a vinyl split release by Finland’s Hooded Menace and the Canadian band AlgomA. At that point, release of the split by Doomentia Records had been delayed past its originally scheduled November 2016 release date, but it finally became available at the end of January (and the limited-edition splattered-color version of the vinyl is already sold out), and full streams of both songs are now up on Bandcamp.

The artwork for the split was painted by the Italian maestro Paolo Girardi. My own admiration for his work probably appears slavish to regular readers here, but man, what he did for this split really makes me drool. I’ve ordered the split on vinyl just to be able to hold it in my hands, though I didn’t find out about the vinyl release until too late to grab one of these: Continue reading »

Jan 012017
 


Partied hard, smiling big.

 

Happy New Year to one and all. I hope you survived whatever you did last night, intact and with only a modicum of blood loss and brain-cell death. I would tell you in detail what I did but I’m not sure you could stand the excitement. Even I was so drained after both putting down the robot uprising and preventing the savagery of the loris horde’s celebration from overflowing their compound, armed with nothing but a few blow darts, that I was asleep by 10:30, stone cold sober and vomit-free.

I’m beginning the new year at NCS the way I ended the old one (here), by assembling a giant batch of the new music I heard in recent days that I thought would be worth your time, plus one older release I came across only recently.

As a trained medical professional (ha!), I’ll warn you that if you did suffer more than a modicum of blood loss or neuronal cell death, you might want to wait another day before exploring what awaits you below. It won’t help your recovery, and it’s no sane person’s idea of a hangover cure. Damned good metal, though.

I’ll also mention that because this post takes the place of my usual Sunday Shades of Black feature, the music is mainly in a blackened vein, though not entirely. Continue reading »

Oct 182016
 

cdf-monday-morning3

Monday morning, Oakland waterfront

This wraps up our coverage of the second installment of CALIFORNIA DEATHFEST, which took place from October 14-16, 2016, in Oakland, California. As was true of my posts on Day One and Day Two, I haven’t written fulsome reviews of the performances I saw on the final day, though this time I have included a few more impressions than in the earlier installments — but I’ve once again included photos and videos I made using my iPhone.

Yes, this is a half-assed way to document a festival compared to what you will probably see from a few of the more well-healed metal publications out there who employed professional photographers and videographers. However, because “Half-Assed” is in fact my middle name, I’m being true to myself. Continue reading »