Sep 062012
 

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.

DAY 1

Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live. Continue reading »

Mar 022012
 

Blashyrkh Prototype SubZero D-Grees is a full-hybrid four-wheel drive, all-weather sports car with heater technology to warm you down to the bones in the bitter cold of the North. It has a 666-horsepower engine that is guaranteed to cause avalanches everywhere you go, but don’t worry, the car’s Kraken shell frame will protect you from even the sharpest of battleaxes.

The scintillating performance and efficiency of this highly environmentally-unfriendly vehicle, which delivers 496.636115 kW (674.818538 hp) and 1516.44615 Nm of torque yet achieves a combined animal-fat consumption rate of 6.66 litres of mountain goat lipids per 666 km and combined CO2 emissions of between 66.6 and 99.9 g/km, makes it the perfect wintry companion for the freezing journeys along lonely, desolate mountain paths.

Call (666) 999-1349 to book an appointment with a Blashyrkh representative at our mountaintop showroom and get your free trial today!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Rev. Will wrote this report. The price of the vehicle may be your soul, so think twice before calling that number.)

Mar 212011
 

We are consumed, body and mind, in a never-ending search for ways of improving the NCS experience for you, our beloved readers, who thankfully have way too much time on your hands.

Actually, to be brutally honest, which is the only kind of honest we know how to be at this site, we don’t think much about improving anything around here because that would involve . . . well . . . it would involve thinking. Which is why almost nothing has changed since we started NCS, except on those rare occasions when someone else has basically done all the thinking for us, like when groverXIII (TNOTB) just up and re-designed our site banner out of the goodness of his black heart.

Well, recently we found out that some of you have been experiencing delays in streaming or downloading song files when we include a song-link in our posts instead of an embedded audio player. This could be explained by network congestion or your own bandwidth limitations, but I suppose it could have something to do with our file-hosting service. 

So, we decided to experiment and see what happens when we use a different service. We randomly picked two songs as the guinea pigs. Can you guess which album one of them came from? (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 042010
 

WORLD PREMIERE VIDEO

Fifteen years have passed since Immortal last released a music video. But they’ve just released a new one, for the title track of their most recent album, All Shall Fall.

It’s a great song — we’ve thought so since the first listen last year. But as much as we want to like this video, it just doesn’t match the intensity or grandure of the song — the dramatic setting notwithstanding. It’s the fucking design of their corpsepaint that’s at fault — that, and the unintentionally comical posturing. We’re sorry, but these guys just don’t look ominous or evil. They look more like Kiss with frowny faces.

Further details about the video are available at the Immortal web site.

And in other news, we have a new tour to report. Yesterday, we got all hot and bothered over the release (for free download) of the first song from Enslaved‘s forthcoming album. Now, we’ve seen the news that Enslaved will be touring North American in November and December as support for Dimmu Borgir. The other bands on the tour will be Blood Red Throne and Dawn of Ashes.

Online ticket sales will begin September 15. The dates and places are after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Jul 312010
 

My, how time flies. Another month is in the history books. However much time you have on earth, you now have 31 days less of it since since the last installment of this post. Drink up!

But have no fear. You’re headed for a better place. That’s right, basically the same existence you had a month ago, but with more new metal ahead of you. Drink up!

And all those physical processes that are inexorably decaying your bodies on the rocky road to your demise, they’re still there and they’re still working on you like termites that have found a rotting log. But hey, you can still bang your head, so . . . Drink up!

Yes, we’re now a full seven months into 2010, and so it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted items from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy. Continue reading »

Jun 012010
 

We’re now five months into 2010, and it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.)  Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re old school like us, just get ’em tattooed someplace you can see without a mirror (because reading stuff backwards is hard).

THE ACACIA STRAIN: “Western Massachusetts’ chuggernauts The Acacia Strain, have completed work on their new album, which will be released July 20th in North American and August 2nd in Europe via Prosthetic Records.”

ATHEIST: “Reactivated seminal technical metal pioneers ATHEIST will enter LedBelly studios in Atlanta, Georgia on July 5 to begin recording their long-awaited, as-yet-untitled fourth album. Engineering the session will be Matt Washburn. Additionally, the band has secured the services of one of metal’s most significant talents of the past decade, Jason Suecof (TRIVIUM, CHIMAIRA, DEVILDRIVER), to handle the mixing of what promises to be a modern classic from the pioneers of technical metal. . . . ATHEIST‘s forthcoming album is tentatively scheduled for a late 2010 release and will be followed by a world tour in 2011.”   (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 »

Feb 242010
 

Miseration‘s new album, The Mirroring Shadow, is not at all what we were expecting — but it’s a most welcome surprise.

Our expectations were based on the band’s first album, 2007’s Your Demons – Their Angels. That album was a particularly melodic rendering of melodic death metal, marked by the same mixture of clean singing and harsh growling that vocalist Christian Älvestam brought to his former band, Scar Symmetry. In fact, the similarities to Scar Symmetry were far more dominant than the differences.

That wasn’t a bad thing (cuz we liked the old Scar Symmetry just fine), but it seemed to us that Älvestam’s partnership in Miseration with guitarist/drummer Jani Stefanovic had become less a catalyst for change than a vehicle for continuing on with the songwriting style and musical sound of the band Älvestam had just left.

But on The Mirroring Shadow, Miseration has become a different breed of cat altogether. And we mean something like a prehistoric sabretooth — big, fast, powerful, vicious, and with teeth the size of carving knives. (more after the jump, including songs to hear and a digression about album artwork. . .) Continue reading »

Jan 062010
 

Back on December 15, the New York Times ran a story about an academic symposium held in Brooklyn called “Hideous Gnosis,” which explored intellectual aspects of black metal.  We posted some commentary about the event that basically made fun of the whole thing.  We threw around words and phrases such as “pointy headed academics,” “fucking pretentious,” and “blather.”  I think we also implied that all the participants were douchebags.

Hey, it was easy to do.  Sort of like clubbing baby harp seals, except without the back-splatter. And what did you expect?  We’re an extreme metal site, which by definition means we pretty much disrespect everyone except the bands who work their asses off making the music we live by, and a few metalhead writers who do what we’re trying to do, except do it a lot better. And we never feel guilty about it.

Well, almost never.

We got a couple of comments on our bushwhackery that have at least given us pause — one from the “Hideous Gnosis” symposium group itself and one from Shinjuku Thief. We’ll talk about the first one today and the second one soon after.  And for musical accompaniment, we’ll stream some new black metal that will core out your skull.  Read on after the jump. Continue reading »

Dec 192009
 

wacken10smallVans WarpedYesterday, NCS Co-Author IntoTheDarkness posted a piece on the brutality of German extreme metal bands. In an episode of synchronicity, this morning I saw three news updates about festivals scheduled for 2010 — one in the U.S. and two in Germany. And the comparison speaks volumes. On the one hand, we have the 2010 Vans Warped Tour spreading across the US next summer like a brain-sucking plague. On that tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see such stupifyingly awful bands as Attack! Attack!, Breathe Carolina, and Eyes Set to Kill. There are a few saving graces on the tour — Parkway Drive, Suicide Silence, and Whitechapel. But suffering through the rest of the 67-band lineup for the opportunity to see those dudes would be worse than a garden-hose colonoscopy without anesthesia.

SUMMER_BREEZE_2010On the other hand, next year in Germany we’ll have the latest installments of (a) the Summer Breeze festival scheduled for August 19-21 in Dinkelsbühl; and (b) the Wacken Open Air festival scheduled for August 5-7 in (where else) Wacken, Germany. At Summer Breeze, you could see the likes of Asphyx, Barren Earth, Behemoth, Dark Tranquillity, Despised Icon, Dying Fetus, Hypocrisy, Necrophagist, Obituary, Sepultura, Swallow the Sun, The Crown, and Maroon. And Wacken Open Air will feature bands such as Amorphis, Arch Enemy, Caliban, Immortal, Iron Maiden, and Slayer.

What’s really mind-blowing about the contrast is that those German festivals, each spread over just a few days in a single location, will draw tens of thousands (e.g., 70,000 tickets were sold for the 2009 edition of Wacken Open Air more than 200 days in advance). To get that kind of attendance in the U.S. for metal, you apparently need to have a line-up of largely craptastic bands and a schedule of about 40 dates in 40 cities.

To be fair, the German festivals draw crowds from all over Europe, and the U.S. does have some legitimately extreme festivals that are drawing headbangers in increasing numbers (the Maryland Deathfest, now in its 8th year, comes to mind most prominently). But still, so far, it’s no contest.

For full lists of the bands scheduled to date for these 3 tours, continue reading after the jump.

Continue reading »