Feb 142014

This has been one hell of a week for new songs and videos. I have a list of good new things as long as my… arm… and although I’ve been doing my best to round up the best of what I’ve noticed, I’m still coming up… short. Although I won’t be able to cover everything before the week ends, I do have this one final collection of head-wreckers. Happy Valentine’s Day motherfuckers. If you’re sad about being alone on V-Day, just gaze into the eyes of that cat, and remember… we love you.


Heathen — the forthcoming album by Thou from Baton Rouge, Louisiana — is on my list of highly anticipated 2014 releases.  It is due to arrive from Gilead Media on March 25 and is now available for pre-order here. I discovered this morning that while I wait for that apocalyptic monstrosity, I will have something else from Thou to while away the hours. Specifically, Thou have made available for free on Bandcamp a compilation entitled Ceremonies of Humiliation. It collects all of the band’s musical output from split releases prior to the release of 2010’s Summit.

Ceremonies of Humiliation will also be released as a triple-LP set, though I haven’t yet seen a projected release for that. After the jump, you can gaze upon the Ceremonies cover and stream the entire collection. There is no love in it. Continue reading »

Jul 172012

In one of yesterday’s posts I compared a song from Sweden’s King of Asgard to Naglfar and Immortal, and I got questioned about that comparison in one of the comments, suggesting that King of Asgard is a Viking metal band. That caused me to consider, certainly not for the first time, what “Viking metal” really means and whether there really is such a thing as a “Viking metal” genre.

These are questions that have been argued in many other places at many other times. For example, our brother Trollfiend devoted a post to the subject at ALSO, WOLVES last fall, insisting that, yes, it’s a genre and it’s defined by the band’s lyrical themes (though he also implied that, musically, it’s a subset of black metal). Other people contend it isn’t a genre at all, or that if it is, it begins and ends with Bathory and early Enslaved and everyone else can go fuck off. And still other people say it’s a pointless question — you either dig the music or you don’t, and who gives a rat’s ass what you call it.

The fact that there seems to be no consensus about how to define “Viking metal” weighs in favor of the argument that it isn’t a genre. That conclusion is bolstered by the significant diversity in the music of bands who different people classify as “Viking metal” (see, e.g., the bands included in the “Viking metal” tag at Last.fm or the Viking metal genre group at Metal Archives). Genre classifications are usually (though not always) defined by widely accepted hallmarks of the musical style, and if no such consensus exists, or if the sound of the music isn’t really the defining characteristic, can we really say that “Viking metal” is a genre?

Is the lyrical content really enough, especially when much of the time you can’t make out the words in the songs when you hear them? Continue reading »

Oct 082011

There’s a point at which the vector lines of blackened sludge, doom, stoner metal, and psychedelia intersect, and at that point sits Hull. That realization is evident from the opening track of this remarkable Brooklyn band’s new album, Beyond the Lightless Sky. “Earth From Water” has it all: lurching, catastrophically distorted, cavernously tuned guitar and bass, crushing all in their path; tripping psych-blues guitar leads designed to give you a 1,000-yard stare and solos that would make Jimi Hendrix smile if he were still with us; skull-fracturing drum progressions; vocalizations that mimic the sound of a man with his intestines being pulled out with hot pincers — all of it dense and dark and hopeless, and yet utterly enthralling.

And then I came to the second track, “Just A Trace of Early Dawn”, and I changed my mind. Thematically, the music hasn’t changed. It is still a lesson in the emotional fallout of despair, but the sound of it! Very different, like an Appalachian take on the blackened blues, deep in the hills at night, acoustic guitars strumming an indigo meditation, long and slow, like mournful sex with someone you’ve known forever and will never see again. The light and the delight have gone, and what remains is the sorrow of your maturity.

So off-balanced was I at this point, I wondered what would come next. After a few, brief transitional seconds linking up with the end of the song before, “Beyond the Lightless Sky” returns to the riveting mix of the opener: A segment of rushing cacophony which then zooms off a cliff and falls and falls into a black pit with deep tar at the bottom, all gripping sludge filled with THC, a thick covering of doom, pierced by hallucinatory guitar leads.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 032011

It’s Labor Day Weekend, August is a thing of the past, and as some people count it, summer is over. School is on the verge of resuming for people still attempting to educate themselves, and a ton of new metal tours are looming on the horizon for the fall. And of course, the fall will be filled with new album releases, too. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.

You know the drill:  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 album before August, 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. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Aug 182011

“Sludgy, southern-post-rock-minded Brooklyn quartet Hull offer this sprawling, psychedelic title track as an early taste of their forthcoming sophomore collection, Beyond the Lightless Sky, due October 11 on the End.” That’s the introduction that Pitchfork gave earlier today when they premiered the band’s newest song, the title track from that forthcoming second album.

I fucken love Hull. I fucken loved their 2009 debut album, Sole Lord. Judging from this new song, their second album is going to be a must-listen. The song is both crushingly heavy and flesh-rending in its dark extremity. The uber-low, fuzzed out bass line and down-tuned guitar parts are voraciously soul-sucking. The combo-vocals (part harrowing shrieking, part bestial roaring) cast up images of clawing and then eating. And yes, there are elements of psychedelia in the song, too, along with elements of psychosis.

I wouldn’t call this post-rock, though. More like post-apocalypse. If you want to get your sludge on, go visit Pitchfork, or listen after the jump. Continue reading »

Oct 292010

The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes had it right: life is nasty, brutish, and short. In much of the world, living conditions have improved in the 360 years since he wrote those words, but still — too many people are no damned good, bad things happen to the best among us, and the truly wicked get away with murder. On the other hand, living does have its compensations, and the immense and constantly evolving variety of music is one of them.

As with life in general, the kind of metal I tend to prefer is also nasty, brutish, and short. This suits my attention span, which is somewhere between that of a hummingbird and a rhesus monkey.

Long songs tend to try my patience, perhaps because the length so often seems forced — as if bands were taking shorter songs and artificially padding them to achieve a certain length rather than because the bands really needed more time to express what they were thinking and feeling.

But in the last few days I’ve come across some long songs that merit every minute of the attention they require. And when I say long, I don’t mean 6 or 7 minutes. I mean loooong — as in, the shortest one is 16+ minutes. And that’s the one we’ll start with today. It’s called Viking Funeral, it’s by Hull, and it blows my fucking mind.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Mar 152010

Last week we received the following e-mail:

Hey, No-Cleaners.
We definitely have a whole lot of no clean singing on Flaming Tusk’s new album Old, Blackened Century. For that and many other reasons I think you’re going to love it. The album is available as a pay-what-you-will download (yes, even $0) at http://music.flamingtusk.com.
Enjoy. In a horrifying kind of enjoyment.

Keith [aka Zosimus]
Flaming Tusk

Well, we thought that was one of the most intriguing e-mails from a band we’d received in a while. So, we hopped right over to the linked page, downloaded Old, Blackened Century, made a monetary contribution, and started listening. And then listened again. And again. And it turns out that Flaming Tusk’s stylistic flair doesn’t stop at e-mail messaging and cool album titles.

The music is indeed immensely enjoyable, in a horrifying kind of unclassifiable metal enjoyment. If you like blackened post-hardcore proggy doom sludge noise metal, well you’ve come to the right place. (read on after the jump, and we’ll give you a track to stream, too, plus some musings about band names that Flaming Tusk may have narrowly averted . . .) Continue reading »