May 052014

Behemoth, Goatwhore, 1349, Inquisition, Black Crown Initiate, and Drawn and Quartered performed at Studio Seven in Seattle on Saturday night (May 3, 2014). It was one of my most eagerly anticipated shows of the year. But I had a sinking feeling about it before the concert began.

I paid extra to get advance VIP tickets for myself and some friends (for what turned out to be a sold-out show) because they promised a meet-and-greet and early admission. An e-mail from the ticket-seller notified us that we needed to be at the venue no later than 3:45 for the meet-and-greet, and even earlier than that to pick up the tickets at will-call. This provoked groans, given that the show wasn’t scheduled to begin until 6:00. Of course, this was a metal show, and the odds were high that nothing would actually happen at 3:45, but we didn’t want to risk missing what we’d paid extra for. So we were there at 3:30. And of course nothing happened until 4:15.

In the meantime, we got soaked when the drizzling rain outside the venue became a downpour. And while shaking ourselves like wet dogs in a doorway we speculated that since this was the last stop of the tour, the promoters might have been having trouble waking up any of the musicians for the meet-and-greet. This suspicion was strengthened when we were finally ushered inside, to find obviously fatigued representatives from all the touring bands sitting along a long row of shadow-shrouded tables in the dark venue, waiting one-by-one to sign tour posters we were given at the door. Continue reading »

Apr 292014

In some quarters, Jef Whitehead’s cover to the new album (Death Mask) by Chicago’s Lord Mantis has stirred up controversy — including in the comment thread to our own review of the album, where the band’s Charlie Fell joined the conversation to provide his own response to the controversy. Of course, controversy and metal aren’t strangers. In fact, one might argue that controversy is at the heart of metal. In fact, one might go further and argue that metal really doesn’t give a shit (and shouldn’t give a shit) about social agendas, political issues, or trying to move society in one direction or another.

That seems to be the general point of a short but potent piece by our fellow blogger Full Metal Attorney that appeared yesterday. In that piece, with the title “Metal Doesn’t Give A Shit”, he uses the controversy over Whitehead’s cover as a jumping-off point for an opinion piece in which he responds to the claim that metal should become “a truly counter-cultural resistance against mainstream society” — and I quote in part below:

“No, I’m sorry. Metal doesn’t care. Metal is horror films, snuff films, shock jocks, and pulp in music form. It has no higher purpose, and no social agenda.

Metal isn’t left. It isn’t right. It’s up yours. Dee Snider didn’t dress up like a woman because he was “ahead of his time” on queer issues, he did it to piss people off. Continue reading »

Jan 292014

Here we present Part 14 our list of the year’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. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

You may have noticed that some of the fun I have in compiling this list comes from decisions about how to group together the 2 or 3 songs presented in each installment. Today, for example, the unifying theme is the “formula” that each band uses in its music (and I put that word in quotes because the music is far from formulaic):  Riffs + Poison


I like to think I’m very egalitarian in my outlook about most things, including metal. But every now and then I find myself instinctively falling prey to the disease of “metal elitism” — something to which I’m usually immune. For example, when I saw Inquisition’s 2013 album appearing on one after another year-end list from the so-called “big-platform sites”, I grumbled to myself, “they’re just doing this in an effort to prove they’re cool”.

And then I remembered: The riffs on that album are about as close as you can get to an orgasm without someone rubbing on your nether parts. Anyone can appreciate that! Continue reading »

Jan 132014

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the announcement that’s the subject of this post. And as I wobbled in a sudden affliction of vertigo, the words “holy shit” repeatedly escaped my slack-jawed mouth. About all I’m capable of doing at the moment is re-printing the official press release. Grab hold of something solid in case you feel faint, and read on…

The Metal Alliance Tour is back for their fourth ferocious year of wrecking heads. Festival organizers Dan Rozenblum and Steve Seabury of High River Entertainment are proud to welcome to American soil the mighty Behemoth as their 2014 headliner. This will be the first time in over a decade that Behemoth will tour North America in support of their new record The Satanist released on April 2nd through Metal Blade Records. The tour will be rounded out by New Orleans natives Goatwhore1349Inquisition and the buzz worthy unsigned act Black Crown Initiate.

“This tour is no exception for our love of all things heavy.” states Rozenblum. “This tour is for metal fans by metal fans.” adds Seabury. “this bill explores our appreciation for the dark and black side of metal. Behemoth have been a favorite of ours and we are stoked to have them headline the fourth edition of the Metal Alliance Tour!”  Continue reading »

Oct 222013

I’m going to make this little round-up short. I’ve been trying to catch up on reviews today instead of the usual hours spent surfing my in-box and the interhole for new discoveries. But I did notice these items that you might have missed.


Seems like we’ve been posting about every little thing that has emerged in the run-up to release of Inquisition’s new album, Obscure Verses For the Multiverse, because it is shaping up to be one of 2013’s true highlights. But today’s development is the biggest event yet: The entire album is now streaming on Bandcamp, where’s it’s also available for purchase in various formats (the official release is October 24). And because it’s on Bandcamp, we can put it . . . right . . . HERE: Continue reading »

Oct 162013

Herein, a collection of recommended music I discovered over the last 24 hours.


Last night brought the premiere on three European sites of the title track from Inquisition’s forthcoming album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, which Season of Mist plans to release on October 29. Lambgoat then premiered it this morning for the North American market. Yet none of these sites chose to say anything about the actual song. It was just sort of “here’s a song, listen to it”. Maybe they know something I don’t know, i.e., that most people skip over words and go right to the music? Man, if that’s right I’ve sure been wasting a lot of time. But I can give it a shot:

Go HERE if you want to listen to “Obscure Verses for the Multiverse”. Continue reading »

Oct 022013

I ran roughshod through the interhole yesterday and this morning, and it seemed like around every corner was new music worth sharing. Even more good tunes were lurking in the NCS e-mail inbox. So, I’ve divided what I found into two posts, this one being the first.


I first came across Hamferð in August 2012 because they were the first band from the Faroe Islands (population: 49,000) to enter the globe-spanning Wacken Metal Battle competition — and they won the whole thing, earning the right to play at the Wacken festival on August 6 of last year. That remarkable story is what snagged my interest, and listening to their 2010 EP Vilst er Síðsta Fet made me a fan (for more details about their story and a review of that EP, go here).

Hamferð have now finished their debut album Evst, and a couple of hours ago they announced that it will be released on October 11 in The Faroe Islands and November 15 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (it will also be released digitally worldwide on the same day). It will be a concept album and appears to be a continuation of ideas developed on the EP. Once again, the lyrics will be in Faroese (the band’s name is a Faroese term for the apparitions of sailors appearing before their loved ones).

Interestingly, although winning Wacken Metal Battle gave Hamferð the option for a label contract with Nuclear Blast, they turned it down “to be able to continue their work without unwanted influences”. Continue reading »

Sep 172013

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make headway in listening to entire new EPs and albums when one is continually being distracted by the premiere of individual songs, especially when so many are so good. And that’s been the way the last several days have gone. So here’s one more round-up, though I’m limiting this one to two songs.


As previously reported, Season of Mist will be releasing the next album by Inquisition — Obscure Verses for the Multiverse — on October 29 in North America and October 25 elsewhere. In our last post about these developments, we included a collection of excerpts from all the songs on the album, but today brought the premiere of one complete track — “Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons”.

There are good reasons why this duo are so highly regarded by lovers of extreme music, and this song proves the case again. It unleashes a flood of mounting intensity, yet couples the storm front of razored riffing and attacking percussion with ringing melodic chords and twisted soloing that provide the magnet for repeat listens. I still prefer the vocal roars to the cracked croaking, both of which are in evidence on this song, but this really is a thoroughly compelling song. Listen via the lyric video that comes next. Continue reading »

Aug 282013

I haven’t been keeping my eyes peeled for metal news since last week because I’ve been too busy hob-nobbing with my fellow NCS scribes in Seattle. I did take a few quick minutes this morning to glance around and found the following three items that I thought were interesting.


At the end of July we reported the welcome news that black metal powerhouse Inquisition had revealed the name of their next album (Obscure Verses for the Multiverse) and announced its release dates via Season of Mist — October 29 in North America and October 25 elsewhere. Today brought more information about the album, beginning with the cover art above, which is quite fetching.

We have also been treated to a teaser of music from the album. The video clip that I’ve included beyond the jump includes short snippets from 9 tracks. Except for the snippet of the last track, which features a harsh roar, you’ll learn that Dagon has not changed his vocal style, which continues to sound like a bullfrog being strangled with barbed wire. Continue reading »

Jul 312013

Here’s some recent album-release news that got me excited.


Early yesterday we reported about a U.S. tour scheduled for October that will be headlined by Deicide. One of the supporting bands is Chicago’s Broken Hope. I mentioned in that post that Broken Hope had recorded their first new album in 14 years and that it would be released by Century Media in October under the name Omen of Disease. And then later the same day we got an official announcement of the release dates: October 1 in NorthAm and September 30 in Europe.

We also got an unveiling of the album art, featured above. That’s one imaginatively nightmarish creature, isn’t it? I think I saw one of those fuckers in the corner of my bathroom one night. Right before I blacked  out. That was a bad night.

The cover was painted by the illustrious Wes Benscoter, who has created artwork for the likes of Slayer, Hypocrisy, Autopsy, Kreator, and many more. In a coming-full-circle kind of episode, he also did the covers for two of Broken Hope’s own albums, though that happened in 1995 (Repulsive Conception) and 1997 (Loathing). Continue reading »