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.


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 »

Jun 062014

NCS reader Joseph D just e-mailed me some breaking news, for which I’m most thankful. You can see the news above: Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity and Finland’s Insomnium will be touring North America in January 2015.

January 2015 is a long way off, but man, I’m already very excited about this announcement, especially because the tour will be stopping in Seattle. I’m sure you get sick of me focusing on myself first and everyone else secondarily, but you wouldn’t want me to be dishonest would you?

All the dates are after the jump. Continue reading »

May 112014

(DGR brings you this collection of bonuses, because he loves you. Well, maybe not you in particular, but the idea of you.)

Don’t worry, I know ninety percent of the time whenever my name pops up it’s because I’ve got another long review written up, and believe me, I’ve got three of those in the works. I’ve found myself stricken with a bit of writer’s block at the moment, though, so I began to distract myself by starting this article that you see here, and since then have found myself expanding upon it more and more. Now I am generally interested in potentially digging up rarer tracks and doing a series on them.

One of the things that has always aggravated the completionist side of my mind has been the release of limited editions and the inclusion of bonus tracks. I know I’m not the only one, but when it comes to content I tend to be one of those people who absolutely devours it and I need every single piece of it when it comes to albums that I have enjoyed and loved over the years. Of course, this often means there are always one or two songs that I discover later, recorded around the same time and included on some odd Japanese or rare edition, and oftentimes those songs are also great. But a lot of people may not even be aware that those tunes exist.

So what I found myself doing recently was starting to record my thoughts on bonus tracks in my regular reviews of albums here. However, there have been occasions when I really wish I had gotten the chance to go more in depth with those songs, or wound up neglecting them for many a reason — the review copy didn’t have them, general forgetfulness, or just no way to add another paragraph to the already ridiculously long tome of a review I had written. However, I still had those thoughts half-recorded or germinating, and I figured I’d finally take the time to expand upon them and let people know about some of the recent extra songs they may have missed and whether they’re worth hunting down. Continue reading »

Apr 302014

Your humble editor has fallen down on the job. Due to a variety of personal and work-related interferences I haven’t been as diligent as I would like in spotting and writing about new developments in the wide world of metal over the last couple of days. With luck, I can do some catching up today, beginning with this collection of items that I thought were worth your attention.


How many times have you seen Incantation’s name as a reference point for releases by new death metal bands? Dozens of times? Hundreds? I know I’ve used them many times myself in attempting to capture a certain kind of sound in writing about the music of more recent groups. And now we have new music from Incantation themselves.

But before getting to that, is that album artwork cool or what? It’s by the phenomenally talented Eliran Kantor, whose work we’ve praised frequently at this site. We’ve obtained a hi-res version of the cover, which you can see in all its glory by clicking on the image above.

The album’s name is Dirges of Elysium and it’s due for North American release by Listenable Records on June 24. The song that premiered yesterday is named “Carrion Prophecy”, and man, it’s a monster — monstrous pounding riffs that ooze radioactive sickness, monstrous abyssal growls, and an atmosphere of monstrous menace. When the song begins to gallop and race, heads will bang hard, and when it descends again into a pit of decay and depravity, you may feel tumors begin to thicken your organs. Continue reading »

Apr 282014


(NCS writer DGR recently had the chance to pose some questions by e-mail to Ville Friman, guitarist, song-writer, and co-vocalist for Finland’s Insomnium, whose new album Shadows of the Dying Sun was reviewed by the same DGR here.)


Thank you so much for sitting down for this interview. How are you feeling as the official release dates of Shadows Of The Dying Sun move closer?

Ville Friman: No worries Dave, our pleasure really. It’s exciting times. Album seems to be doing well in the press, and we just found out that it made album of the month in German Metal Hammer, which is pretty big. Just hoping that people will like it and enjoy it as much as we do.


Shadows Of The Dying Sun is still recognizably Insomnium but there are a couple of shifts in sound. For example, I noticed a pretty big increase in tempo on a lot of the songs and the inclusion of some serious blastbeat work on the part of Markus. Insomnium have done fast tunes and more “traditionally” (if you could forgive a reductive phrase) melo-death songs before, but this album really sees the speed increase on multiple songs. Were you guys feeling in a faster mood than usual?

Ville Friman: Yes, I guess the blastbeats are bit of a new thing with us. We have fast songs on the album, but also a couple of slower pieces. So it’s a mix of things. We weren’t trying to be fast intentionally. I guess we just brought the tempo up a notch in general. And we were thinking about finding the best tempo for each song, and when we wanted to sound fast, we went pretty much as fast as we could. Continue reading »

Apr 182014

(In this post DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Insomnium.)

Taken at face value, the idea behind the title of Shadows Of The Dying Sun is an easy one to grasp. Poetically phrased, yes, but when the opening line of its titular song (and album closer) is, “We’re nothing more than shadows…”, you get a real quick understanding of what lies behind the title.

Very few things in the world can make me as pensive as an Insomnium disc, and Shadows Of The Dying Sun has had me thinking about the passage of time lately. It is a crazy thing to realize, but with this album Insomnium have been a part of my life for almost a decade, as I joined the zeitgeist like so many others did with the masterful Above The Weeping World. Since then, the band have been a hallmark of consistently great music, with Across The Dark representing an incremental jump forward and One For Sorrow feeling like another amazing disc as it grew on me.

I never could have told the past version of myself — who came to see Insomnium as such an important band, one who showed there is beauty in emotions such melancholy, depression, and frailty — that in later days I’d be reviewing their music and getting the opportunity to talk to guitarist (and one of the main songwriters) Ville Friman for a previous website. Insomnium are the band I go to for lyrical gems such as, “You can’t win always/but you can lose every time”, that absolutely take the wind out of my sails. So at face value, Shadows Of The Dying Sun should be more of that for me — another album that would let me roil in my melancholy and depression, allowing the group to overtake me with visions of cold and blue.

Yet this time it’s weird, because as far as messages are concerned, Shadows Of The Dying Sun is a surprisingly straightforward and hopeful disc… for Insomnium. Continue reading »

Apr 072014

Only three weeks stand between us and the release of Shadows of the Dying Sun, the sixth album by Finland’s Insomnium. It’s both a summing up of where the band have come from and a step ahead, a forward movement that not only embodies the sounds and styles which have drawn increasing numbers of fans to their side but also moves their music in new directions. And as you might guess from that last sentence, it’s a diverse assembly of songs, with some that are faster and heavier than you might expect, and some that are softer. But throughout, the band once ago show their mastery at writing melodies that stay with you.

Shadows of the Dying Sun also marks the first album appearance of the band’s new guitarist Markus Vanhala, who has been a member of Omnium Gatherum throughout their career and has now collaborated with Ville Friman in the songwriting on Shadows.

One new song from the album (“Revelations”) has already debuted, and today we’re delighted to help premiere a second one — “While We Sleep” — and this one comes in the form of a new music video, directed by Dariusz Szermanowicz and produced by Poland’s Grupa 13. Unless we miss our guess, “While We Sleep” is one of the new album’s songs that’s going to get its hooks into listeners’ heads really hard, really fast. Continue reading »

Mar 212014

All of us here at NO CLEAN SINGING are eager — eager, I tell you — for Shadows of the Dying Sun, which is the name of the new album by Finland’s Insomnium. Today we got the first example of music from the album via Terrorizer’s premiere of a new song named “Revelations”.

But guess what?  I can’t listen to it!  Because I am writing this from the middle of a meeting for my day job. I can type this without invoking suspicion from the other 7 people in the room with me. But strapping on the headphones and blasting this song would probably be too much. Probably.

So, please listen to it after the jump and let me know this: am I missing something awesome? I bet I am. I will know in about an hour… Continue reading »

Feb 242014

Happy fucking Monday. Blech, it really hurt to write that. Here are some recommended tunes and videos I heard and saw over the last 24 hours, most of them on a day that wasn’t a fucking Monday.


This first item falls into the category of breaking news:  Century Media has just announced details about the new album from Finland’s Insomnium, along with a teaser of the music. The album’s title is Shadows of the Dying Sun, and the cover art is at the top of this post. It will be released on April 29 in North America and April 28 in Europe.

The teaser is brief — 1:23 of new music. It consists of chiming guitars against a backdrop of ghostly ambience. It feels like the lead-in to some monstrous doomy riffs — but that could just be wishful thinking on my part. More wishful thinking: I would like to have this album today instead of two months from now. Undoubtedly advance tracks will be released. Undoubtedly we will have them here as quickly as we see them.

Check out the teaser next. Continue reading »