Sep 162021
 

 

(This is DGR’s review of the new EP by Insomnium, which will be released on September 17th by Century Media Records.)

Insomnium are one of those bands for whom the impact of an addition or change of a lineup member is almost immediately felt. This may sound strange but the two big additions to the group over the years have been on the guitar front, and both the musicians chosen have proven to be quite multi-faceted in their approach to Insomnium’s music.

The addition of Omnium Gatherum’s Markus Vanhala to the fold in 2011 brought his penchant for some glorious guitar leads and solos to the forefront of the band, and giving them ammunition for times when the group weren’t entirely ensconced in their own frozen wasteland of melancholy. The more recent addition of Jani Liimatainen has been a bit more immediately felt, as the band quickly made use of his talent for vocal melody alongside his own guitar writing, such that he was already imprinted into the blueprint of the band for Heart Like A Grave and now is one of the defining elements of the group’s 2021 EP Argent Moon, which sees the band adding four new songs to the overall repetoire – all titled with the formula of “The _______” – for another twenty-plus minutes of distant and lightly depressed music. Continue reading »

Jul 172021
 

 

This may be the only NCS post of the weekend, and even this one is hurried. I have a work meeting this morning. There’s also a celebration planned for tonight that I have to prepare for. What the hell kind of party requires hours of preparation? One that involves speech-making. But it’s still a party, and has all the earmarks of one that’s going to keep me up past midnight, which means a very late awakening on Sunday and some unpredictable degree of mental incapacitation, which is why there may not be a SHADES OF BLACK column tomorrow.

As for today’s metal roundup: I posted a big one yesterday exclusively devoted to new songs with videos, but big as it was it still didn’t exhaust all the good new tracks that surfaced over the last week. And of course it didn’t include the usual Friday flood of new song reveals. A few of my NCS comrades made sure I didn’t overlook what that Friday flood flung up on the beach, and I’ve included a few of their suggestions as well as a few of my own picks that I left out of that video-only roundup yesterday. Coincidentally all the songs included here also came with videos, hence the title of this post.

What’s missing today, for the most part, is my own commentary. I’ll give you a minute to dab the tears from your eyes… and then on we go…. Continue reading »

Mar 202021
 


The last week didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. The crunch at my day job eased up, but not as much as I wanted, and assorted other nuisances and diversions reared their ugly heads. So, some things I’d hope to accomplish at NCS besides the usual premieres fell by the wayside.

I also managed to fuck up my opportunity to catch up with new music today by (a) drinking heavily last night during a couple of Zoom get-togethers, and (b) sleeping for 10 hours. As a result of (a), (b) didn’t really leave me feeling rested — more like death warmed over instead. Maybe I’ll do more catching up later, but for now wanted to get a few things out there for your eyes and ears without further delay.

INSOMNIUM (Finland)

I confess that nostalgia led me to choose the first two songs and videos in this collection, both by Finnish bands that long ago played a role in leading me toward extreme metal, and along the way became very big names. But don’t worry, we’ll get into more underground sounds before we’re done today. Continue reading »

Jan 172020
 

 

It’s a necessity to find some strategy for the selection of songs for these year-end lists because the universe of worthy candidates is so enormous. And so, as I’ve mentioned before, I make a conscious effort to present a mix of genre styles, and I also intermingle music from both well-known and much more obscure names.

For today’s installment, I’ve paired two very well-known and successful bands, both of whom have made their mark playing doom-influenced melodic death metal, but have also evolved in interesting ways. Not coincidentally, the songs I picked also include a mix of clean and harsh vocals, and both were presented through especially memorable music videos.

IN MOURNING

I was so happy that In Mourning‘s newest album Garden of Storms (reviewed by us here and here) was home to several highly infectious tracks because that allowed me, in picking one of them, to put one of my favorite pieces of 2019 cover art on our page again (credit to Necrolord). Continue reading »

Jan 232017
 

 

(As part of his continuing effort to make his NCS colleagues jealous, Andy Synn attended the performances of Insomnium, Barren Earth, and Wolfheart in Birmingham, England, on January 16, 2017, and files this tardy report.)

Last week I managed to snag myself a guestlist slot on the Birmingham date of the Insomnium/Barren Earth/Wolfheart tour. And a good time it was indeed.

But why has it taken so long for me to get this write-up together?

Laziness. Pure laziness. Or, you know, some other reason. Take your pick.

Either way, better late than never, right? Continue reading »

Oct 032016
 

insomnium-winters-gate

 

(DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Insomnium, which is out now.)

A few times over the course of my time here I’ve been able to function as an NCSstrodamus of sorts, and when it came to Insomnium’s recently released album Winter’s Gate, that time came once again. Winter’s Gate is Insomnium’s seventh full-length release and one of those albums where we could not possibly have been more prepared for it, almost like a couple of the reviews we’ve done this year were prescient glimpses into the future, so that when the band announced that Winter’s Gate would function as one strict over-forty-minute-long song, we were ready for it. Continue reading »

Jun 152016
 

Opeth 2016-photo by Stuart Wood
Photo by Stuart Wood

This is Part 2 of a round-up of newly discovered things that I began earlier today (here). As expected, between posting Part 1 and getting ready to post Part 2, I spied more developments that happened this morning and have added them (the first two items are in that category, as is the last).

I nearly didn’t add the first two news items because I thought that, by now, everyone who had any interest in the bands — Opeth and Insomnium — would have learned about the news already. Those names are so big that there was probably even a news flash in The Wall Street Journal. And then I thought that adding the announcements might help ease the day for those people who are afraid that metal will run out of things to argue about before the year ends. To them I say, don’t worry, Opeth and Insomnium are releasing new albums.

OPETH

Yes, Opeth will be releasing a new album late this year (named Sorceress) on a new label, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Actually, it seems to be a partnership between Nuclear Blast and Opeth’s own imprint, Moderbolaget Records, which I believe is Swedish for “your arguing sounds like a motorboat”.

The press release we received characterized Opeth as “always an unstoppable force for uniqueness amid a sea of generic swill”. Beyond that, it provided no real clues about the musical direction of the new album or how it will distinguish itself from all the generic swill with which the rest of us are forced to feed ourselves in between Opeth releases. Continue reading »

May 192016
 

Inquisition-Bloodshed Across

Here are a quartet of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought might peak your interest as they did mine.

INQUISITION

Yesterday Season of Mist revealed details about the new album by Seattle-based Inquisition as well as a new song. The name of the album is Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith, it includes 13 tracks, and it will be released on August 26. Here’s a statement about the album by guitarist/vocalist Dagon: Continue reading »

Jan 192015
 

 

I missed a day yesterday, but I’m resuming the 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.

In this Part 22 of the list I’ve paired two songs by two bands on both sides of the Atlantic who, at least musically, have a few things in common. And so do these two songs — principally, beautiful guitar melodies that just will not let go.

INSOMNIUM

My NCS colleague and former friend DGR lobbied mightily for the inclusion of “Out To The Sea” on this list. Even though the song only appears on Shadows of the Dying Sun (reviewed here) as a limited edition bonus track, I still seriously considered it, but I think “While We Sleep” wins in the “infectious” category — but only barely. Actually, I’m pretty sure DGR won’t end our friendship over this decision. Pretty sure. Continue reading »