Jan 102015

Welcome to the somewhat delayed Part 15 in the continuing rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

Because of interference by my day job, I missed adding an installment of this series yesterday, but we’re rolling onward with it today. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both of the songs in this edition, and I’m pairing them here because both songs are also inextricably linked in my head with the videos that were released for them.


I still think Once More Round the Sun sports one of the best album covers of 2014, by Oakland-based artist Skinner. The album as a whole reflects the band’s continued crossover movement, which began with The Hunter, into the realm of hard rock — albeit with both prog-y and sludgy ingredients still quite evident in the mix. I don’t begrudge them the decisions that led to these two albums, though I don’t consider either one of them unqualified successes either.

Despite those misgivings, Mastodon remain a phenomenal live band, I still get quite a kick out of the vocal tag-team among the band’s three vocalists, and they still turn out some highly infectious songs that are still heavy enough to get their hooks in my head. Which brings me to the next addition to this list. Continue reading »

Sep 162014


(Our friend Leperkahn wrote this review of the new album by Ireland’s Ilenkus.)

If you remember the ancient days of roughly a year ago, you may remember a post by the name “Random Discoveries in Dublin”. Cringe-worthy title aside, I wrote of a chance encounter with two Irish bands, Gacys Threads and Ilenkus, at Fibber Magee’s in Dublin, while on a vacation to visit family. This was both my first post for any site, my misguided step into the world of metal journalism that I still pretend to be a part of, and my introduction to the mercurial post-metal of Ilenkus. Back then, they were playing shows on the strength of their first full-length, Rule By Thieves. A year past, they now return to the fray with a new full-length, The Crossing, a disc that further expands on the Dillinger Escape Plan-meets-The Ocean sound they had used to breath new life into post-metal.

First song “Devourer” does quiet a bit to continue injecting new life into post-metal. Unlike so many hordes of their colleagues, Ilenkus choose to open the album not with a soft, ethereal melody or intro, but with a damn-near grind-y explosion of sound, acting as a slap in the face to the tranquility you might be expecting. These first moments prove to be the first of many times the band defies the listener’s expectations on this album. Just as quickly as Ilenkus start with “Devourer”s firestarter of an intro, they move just as suddenly into a softer, foreboding sense of ominous calm, then escalate back to cacophony with the ferocious bellows of guitarist/vocalist Chris Brennan and the propulsive riffs of guitarist Sam Ellis (I’m taking a random guess here, it could be any of the three guitarist/vocalists in the band – Ellis, Brennan, or Josh Guyett), establishing an ebb and flow of catharsis and despondence that runs like a thread throughout all of The Crossing. Continue reading »

Sep 022014

Here are a trio of randomly chosen new things I discovered over the weekend.


Ilenkus are five men from Galway, Ireland, whose second album The Crossing will be released on vinyl on September 15. The album is available for pre-order on Bandcamp along with a stream of one song, which can be downloaded now if you make the pre-order. I wrote about that song — “Over the Fire, Under the Smoke” — back in July. It hits hard right from the beginning, with big Mastodonian riffs, attention-grabbing drum rhythms, and clawing vocals. The high-voltage music flashes with jolting, progressive-minded lead-guitar flurries — and then takes a sharp left turn into something dreamlike and drifting before building again, with a rising sense of urgency, into a high burn and then a cooling-off period. Impressive guitar work and an equally impressive rhythm section make this song stand out.

Late last week Ilenkus released a music video for the song, which has racked up over 22,000 views in short order. In a nutshell, it shows one of the band’s three rotating vocalists, Chris Brennan, walking along a Galway pedestrian thoroughfare on a busy day. The camera stays focused on him, and he stays focused on the camera as the crowd flows around him. He’s singing the song as he walks — and from the looks he gets, I’m pretty sure he was actually shrieking and growling the words at full volume rather than lip-syncing (though we’re hearing the studio track in the video). Continue reading »

Jul 222014


So many new things happen every day in the world of metal that if you check out for almost four days, as I just did, catching up is tough. Not that I’m complaining, because I had a blast attending Gilead Fest. I know you’ll want to read all about how much fun I had, in case you haven’t already. But now I’m back in Seattle, and I’m making a small stab at catching up on what I missed while I was neglecting daily metal happenings. Here are three new songs I heard last night that I recommend to your ears.


Iceland’s Sólstafir have now shared with the world the third advance track from their next album, Ótta, which will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America. The new one is named “Dagmál”. It cruises like a car on an open road, the top down, the wind in your hair, not another soul in sight, magnificent vistas around every turn. And then your car leaves the road… and glides into the air.  Continue reading »

Aug 282013

(We welcome first-time guest writer Leperkahn, who introduces us to a couple of discoveries from Dublin — Ilenkus and Gacys Threads.)

Hello fellow NCSers. This is my first guest post for you all, hopefully the first of many, depending on whether I can get enough inspiration to get off my lazy ass and actually write things. As a bit of background, I live in San Diego, where weather does not exist, and promoters expect us to drive to feckin’ Los Angeles for 80% of our live metal, with the other 20% being at venues young’uns like me can’t get into.

That said, this post has nothing to do with San Diego. It has to do with unexpected metallic discoveries I found in Dublin, where I have been visiting family for the past couple of weeks. My aunt decided to show me a metal bar called Fibber Magee’s, where she had apparently been a regular years before. We happened on a little event called the Unleashed Festival, which was to go on all weekend.

Among the recognizable bands at the festival were Irish thrashers Gama Bomb, who headlined the first night. I, however, caught two of the bands performing on the second of three nights. Both kicked my ass and reduced my brain to corned beef, but each did so in somewhat different ways. Continue reading »