Jul 262010
 

Earlier today we posted an album review without naming the band or any of the songs. Standing alone, that was a pretty useless act. What good is a review if readers don’t know who the fuck we’re talking about? But we did have a reason.

The band whose album we reviewed is Impending Doom, and some people tend to love them or dismiss them not because of the music but because they’re a Christian metal band — not just a band whose members happen to be Christians, but a band whose songs are inspired by their faith and who tour in order to spread the message.

The consequence is that you can’t read a review of their music without half the review being about the fact that they’re an unabashed Christian metal band — which is probably just fine with them.

But here at NCS, we don’t love em or detest ’em because of that fact. We focus on the music and the performances, and we happen to dig both. So we thought, just for the hell of it, we’d see what kind of reactions you had from our review without having those reactions influenced by the fact that this is Impending Doom.

Now that the mystery has been resolved, we’ll run our review again with all the camouflage removed. If you read the earlier review with the identity concealed and aren’t interested in reading it again, even with some details revealed, we’ve added something new at the end of the post (after the jump) under the heading “NEW STUFF”.  As always, feel free to flame or praise or yawn in the comments . . . Continue reading »

Jun 292010
 

Why do people read album reviews? In an extremely rare moment of logical thought, I decided that was a question worth considering when I started writing them myself. Just seemed to me that if I really wanted anyone to give a fuck about what I wrote, it might make sense to figure out what people were looking for. Here are the answers I came up with:

First, some people are looking for advice in deciding whether to spend their time (and maybe their money) on the music.

Second, even if readers already know the band and have their own opinions about the album, they’re curious about how the particular writer has reacted to it, and why — maybe as validation for their own opinions, maybe as a test about whether their own musical taste has finally fallen all the way into the shitter.

And/or third, they want to be entertained by the writing — even if they don’t really give a crap about the album itself.

I read album reviews for all three of those reasons, and I try to keep those reasons in mind when I write my own, even though I know full well that (a) anyone who looks to me for advice is scraping rock-bottom; (b) no one in their right mind would use my opinion as a standard by which to judge their own; and (c) my best shot at being entertaining depends on using words like “shitter,” “crap,” “fuck,” and “anus” as often as possible.

For me, the best reviews are those that satisfy all three of the criteria listed above. But I confess that, more and more, I read reviews for the third reason — to be entertained. I still read reviews to find new music, though the truth is that I already have so much new music to hear that I need more like I need a second anus. And I figured out a long time ago that I like so much of what I hear that testing my opinions against those of respected critics would just make me feel even more retarded than I already feel.

So, realizing that the desire to be entertained is a big part of why I gravitate to particular reviews, I decided to sample for you some of the best lines I found in music reviews over the past week. Why? Because it’s fucking entertaining.  (so, if you want to be fucking entertained, continue reading past the fucking jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 022010
 

No, we’re not talking about the swine flu, or the avian flu, or the next animal virus that decides humans would be a nice host environment upgrade. We’re talking about new metal that has the potential to be sick.

On the first day of the New Year, we posted a round-up of new extreme metal albums forecast for release 2010, along with our list of the 21 we most wanted to hear.

One month has now passed, and we’ve discovered some forthcoming releases we didn’t know about on January 1. Seems like a good time for an update! So, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about forthcoming albums from 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 fit the profile of music we cover on this site (with a couple of Exceptions to the Rule).

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources over the last 31 days about forthcoming releases we missed in our January 1 list:

AGALLOCH: “So what can we expect from the band’s long-awaited follow-up to Ashes Against the Grain? According to an interview songwriter John Haughm gave to German TV last May, ‘expect the unexpected.’ Haughm says that the next release will be ‘completely different’ from its predecessors — ‘a bit darker,’ closer to black metal, but with the same kind of dynamics that Agalloch is known for.  As for when we can expect the new album, Haughm said that he hoped it would be out by May 2010.”

APOCALYPTICA:  “Finnish rock cello quartet APOCALYPTICA has entered Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki to begin recording its new album for a spring/summer release.” [This is one of those Exceptions to the Rule.]

APOSTASY: “Four new songs from the Swedish black metal act APOSTASY are available for streaming on the band’s MySpace page. The tracks will appear on the group’s forthcoming third full-length album, Nuclear Messiah, which will be released later in the year.”  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Dec 242009
 

Here at NCS, we’re putting a different spin on year-end listmania. Ours isn’t a list of the best metal full-lengths of the year. It’s not even necessarily our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year. Ours is a list of the most infectious extreme metal songs we’ve heard this year. We’re talking about songs that produce involuntary physical movement and worm their way into your brain to such an extent you can’t get ’em out (and wouldn’t want to).

We’re not ranking our list from #10 to #1 because that would be too much fucking work (and your co-Authors would still be arguing about it this time next year). So, our list is in no particular order. We’re also dribbling the songs out one at a time because your lazy Authors are still debating what belongs in the remaining slots. (Yes, still.) Our list heretofore:

1. Asphyx: Sorbutics

2. Mastodon: Crack the Skye

3. Amorphis: Silver Bride

4. Goatwhore: Apocalyptic Havoc

5. August Burns Red: Meridian

6. Pelican: Ephemeral

7. Scale the Summit: Age of the Tide

8. Daath:  Wilting On the Vine

And to see our ninth entry on the list, continue reading after the jump. Continue reading »

Dec 082009
 

Texas+in+July+texas

My co-Author IntoTheDarkness turned me on to Texas in July this past summer not long after they released their full-length CD I Am. I liked it immediately and have found myself going back to it periodically since then (and I’ll eventually explain why). When I first started listening to I Am, I knew nothing about the band and there wasn’t a lot to learn on the netz, though I did discover that despite their band name the guys were from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (As a native Texan, I was a little disappointed by that discovery, but managed to get over it.)

Recently, after one of my periodic returns to I Am, I decided to hunt the web again for more info and found a lot more than when I looked the first time 6 months ago. For one thing, the band’s MySpace page now shows more than 1 million song plays, which is a shit-load. And I found that the band had released an EP called Salt of the Earth in October 2008 (both releases are now available on iTunes).  I also found all sorts of on-the-surface reasons why the odds would be against me liking this band.

First, they’re really young (ages 16-18, and two of them still in high school) and I’m really not.  I’ve found very few metal bands that young who have enough song-writing sophistication and playing chops to be worth more than a brisk once-over. Second, look at that photo above: kind of screams “Emo!” doesn’t it? Third, their label (CI Records) bills them  as a Christian metalcore band. Now don’t get me wrong — they’re some bands stuck in that same genre pigeon-hole that I really like (e.g., August Burns Red) — but it’s not a long list. My tastes these days tend to run toward the more brutal end of the extreme metal spectrum.

But against all these odds, I’m still addicted to Texas in July. Call it a guilty pleasure. And the source of the appeal, as it should be, is the music. To explain . . . Continue reading »

Nov 232009
 

Top 40 Hits

A couple days ago, we reported on Decibel magazine’s (premature) publication of its “Top 40 Extreme Albums of 2009” and gave you the list of 40.  Many more “Best of 2009” metal lists will soon be appearing on the netz and the newsstands.  Why do people create these kinds of lists and why do we read them?  Music is a matter of personal taste.  These lists represent the personal tastes of particular critics and fans, no more or less valid than my favorites or yours.  So what’s the fucking point?  I’m not sure there is a fucking point, but I’ll make a stab at it. Continue reading »