Feb 152021
 

 

(We present the first NCS review of 2021 by DGR. Even though we’re already six weeks into the new year without hearing from him, he has been busy listening and writing — witness the fact that we suddenly have an archive of four reviews, divided into four parts, of which this is the first. The others will follow over the next three days.)

 

We’ve been hammering the drum for Greek black metal group Human Serpent for a little while now – at least your dear writer has – so the announcement last year of a full-length followup to the group’s scorcher of a 2018 album For I, The Misanthropist (after a series of intervening EPs and singles) was exciting. While the singles and EPs proved to be a lot of fun, if only as a small slice of just how surgically dangerous the band have become, a new full-length blasting from the group’s furnace was obviously going to be a lot more exciting.

And thus with the closing of January do we find ourselves at the feet of the group’s latest release Heirlooms Eternal, an album self-described by the band like this: “It is the most aggressive, soul-suffocating and mind-destructive Human Serpent album/It is a physical manifestation of a life-walking private hell.”

For one: The album is certainly the most visually colorful, given the group’s excellent choice of red and black for the cover art (we may be biased toward that combo) vs their usual muted blacks, greys, and sepia tones. But also, when you have a song with a title like “Memories Are Rooms Of Pain”, you can’t help but think that maybe the band might be on to something when they describe their own music as “soul-suffocating”. Continue reading »

Dec 262020
 

 

Time has become ill-defined for me as for everyone else this year, but I do realize that it’s not still Christmas Day. I just couldn’t get Part 2 of this round-up finished in time to post it yesterday before having a virtual get-together with close family members. Probably just as well, because stacking this much new music on top of what was in Part 1 might have drowned you, especially on top of another installment of DGR’s mountainous year-end list, which (by the way) ended today without caving in the site’s foundations, though that was a risk that left me in a cold sweat all week.

For Part 2 I’m starting with an album and then moving onto a couple of EPs and a couple of singles.

CASAVIEJA (Guatemala)

When Rennie (starkweather) first urged me to listen to this band a week ago, their new second album had just come out. He said they were from “South of the Border, South of Heaven”, but I didn’t realize until later that they hail from Guatemala. Without intending to be condescending, that’s not a nation that spawns typhoon waves of extreme metal bands, a fact that just made me more eager to hear them. Continue reading »

Mar 042020
 

 

(In this column DGR has combined reviews of two EPs, both of which are out now, one by Napalm Death and a charitable endeavor released by the Greek black metal band Human Serpent.)

 

NAPALM DEATH: “LOGIC RAVAGED BY BRUTE FORCE”

It’s wild to think that we’re a little over five years since the release of Apex Predator – Easy Meat, Napalm Death‘s most recent full-length album, but here we are with something new.

It’s always a bit of a struggle to review a Napalm Death disc. The band have become such a weirdly monolithic cultural force in the grind substratum of heavy metal that at this point you can almost take the band in sight unseen (or rather, sounds unheard) and know that the ever-prolific crew are going to find some way to beat your skull in. Yet across their immensely vast discography there remains a healthy bit of experimentation as the group fling themselves from the now traditional high-speed blasting grind to chunky death metal to songs with a fairly defined sense of groove to the noisier and more industrialized chaos that Apex Predator started to hint at. Continue reading »

Nov 202019
 

 

(Here’s DGR’s review of a new two-song EP by the Greek band Human Serpent, which was released on November 18th.)

It wouldn’t be a black metal release if it didn’t have a flair for the dramatic, and the duo behind Greece’s Human Serpent are no different, describing their latest release — a two song EP entitled The Vacuity — as having been written during “the last days” of’ 2016 and 2018, and recorded at various points in “autumntime of 2017” and “wintertime of 2019”. It’s a simple turn of phrase that can easily be read as “the music for this was written during the last week of….”, but because it is black metal and in the case of Human Serpent, fiery and high-speed black metal, “the last days of…” begins to sound suitably apocalyptic, as if the world ended at the end of each of those two years.

Going by Human Serpent‘s prior discography the group would be more than happy to provide the soundtrack to such events. 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 »

Jul 232018
 

 

(DGR delivered a tome of reviews so massive that we decided to serialize it throughout the week so as to avoid fracturing your spine beneath its weight.)

On occasion we find ourselves backlogged with albums that we want to write about but seem never able to find the time to do so. Sometimes this results in multiple review ideas getting tossed and never revisited,  and at other times you get posts like this one as we deseperately try to hammer out a whole bunch of reviews about EVERYTHING that we’ve been listening to.

Our own Andy Synn is particularly good at this, I, however, am not. Thus, in an effort to clean up the 11 different text files I had sitting on my desktop of half-written reviews seemingly going nowhere before I got distracted by the next thing that would wind up half-written before I made a vain effort to go back to an earlier review in order to finish that up, we find ourselves with a collection of shorter and sweeter reviews. I’ll still attempt to deep dive on the discs, but overall this is just a collection of every awesome thing I’ve been listening to that we haven’t taken the time to fully discuss yet.

In this case that means 13 different releases (rather than 11), unsorted by genre and from all varying walks of all things heavy. So, with the floodgates now fully open, let us wade forth into the rushing waters of heavy metal to recommend some stuff that perhaps might have flown by you. Continue reading »

Jan 252018
 

 

Yesterday I posted the first Part of this three-part collection of new or recently discovered black metal. If the rest of my life will cooperate, I should be able to post Part Three tomorrow. As previously explained, I arranged all the music in alphabetical order by band name and then divided the list into thirds. And so tomorrow’s music comes from bands whose names follow the letter N — unless I find something else I want to tack on, or forget how to alphabet.

HUMAN SERPENT

My comrade DGR pointed me to For I, the Misanthropist, the third album by the Greek band Human Serpent. I don’t think we’ve written about Human Serpent before, although in preparing to write this post I saw that the band’s last release (just a few months ago) was a 20-minute collaboration with Isolert, who I have tried to expose to our readers on a couple of previous occasions. That’s a release I need to listen to (and you can listen to it here as well). Continue reading »