Sep 202013

I found a lot of new music and videos over the last 24 hours that I’d like to throw your way, like a tray of Molotov cocktails with the fuses lit. Really, too many to shoehorn into one “Seen and Heard” post, so we’ll have two. This is the first. As usual, I’ve tried to make up the musical styles so you don’t get too comfortable.


I think it’s safe to say that Kataklysm are back with a vengeance. Two songs from their new album have been released for listening so far, and both of them have reinvigorated my interest in this veteran band. The second one, “Like Animals”, began streaming yesterday and it is indeed a huge, fanged groove monster, the kind of song that compels movement from the top of your pointy heads all the way down to your misshapen feet, while landing some stout blows to your kidneys along the way. Merciless.

If you happened to miss the first song, “Kill the Elite”, you can catch that after the jump, too. Waiting For the End To Come will be released in North America on October 29 and on slightly earlier dates in the UK and Europe, via Nuclear Blast. Continue reading »

Sep 042013

Yesterday I posted our final article of the day at about 1:30 pm EDT and then turned my attention for the rest of the day to what I actually get paid to do. While I wasn’t looking, someone re-opened Pandora’s box and a horde of red-eyed bat-winged things flew out in a blizzard of leathery wings and ammoniac guano. Yeah, baby, a veritable flood of nasty shit — so many noteworthy news items and new songs that to fit all of them in this post will require that I wire my jaws shut and mumble only a few words per item. Here . . . we . . . GO!


It started with dates in Hollywood and NYC and predictably has now mushroomed into a full U.S. tour. Well, at least 16 cities in the fullness of the U.S., which do not include all the wonderful cities in the Pacific Northwest or 36 other states. But fear not, others may yet get to see Gojira (!!!), the aging remnants of Slayer, and Melbourne’s 4ARM, because more dates will be announced later. Here are the ones announced yesterday:

25 The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
28 Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA
30 Events Center @ San Jose State, San Jose, CA Continue reading »

Aug 122013

A few quick hits for you from my own quick spin through my e-mail and the interhole this afternoon.


Last week we brought you some news about the next album by Canada’s Kataklysm, Waiting For the End To Come, including the artwork for the CD. I thought the artwork was okay, but it didn’t elevate my pulse rate. HOWEVER, the artwork previously revealed is only for the standard jewel case version of the CD and a limited edition cassette tape of the album. There is an alternate cover for “the deluxe digipak” and the LP versions of the album, and you’re looking at it.

No disrespect intended to Peter Sallai, but I find this creation by the stellar Eliran Kantor much more appealing. It reminds me of what a collaboration between John Martin and Gustave Doré might have produced. Love it! Continue reading »

Aug 082013

Here’s the promised second part of today’s effort to catch up on noteworthy new things from the last several days.


Sweden’s Shining announced a while back that their next album, 8 ½ – Feberdrömmar I Vaket Tillstånd (scheduled for release by Dark Essence on Sept 23), would feature many guest vocalists, in addition to frontman Niklas Kvarforth of course. As of today, we know who they are, and it’s an interesting list that includes more than a few black metal luminaries:

1. “Terres Des Anonymes” featuring FAMINE of PESTE NOIRE
2. “Szabadulj Meg Önmagadtól” featuring ATTILA CSIHAR of MAYHEM, TORMENTOR
3. “Ett Liv Utan Mening” featuring PEHR LARSSON of ALFAHANNE
4. “Selvdestruktivitetens Emissarie” featuring GAAHL of GOD SEED, WARDRUNA, ex-GORGOROTH
5. “Black Industrial Misery” featuring MANIAC of SKITLIV, ex-MAYHEM
6. “Through Corridors Of Oppression” featuring KVARFORTH

The songs themselves date back to an earlier era in Shining’s life. Original pre-production tracks of the songs were used as the foundation, with the addition of newly recorded bass and guitars as well as keyboards performed by Lars Fredrik Fröslie (Angst Skvadron, Wobbler, Asmegin). Should be worth checking out when it arrives. Continue reading »

Mar 292013

(Beginning late last year, TheMadIsraeli embarked on an assessment of the music of Kataklysm. For more details about what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link. And today we have the wrap-up.)

So, it’s time to finally wrap up the first edition of “Higher Criticism” by coming to my final conclusion about Kataklysm.  It was an interesting experience for me to listen through this discography, especially since the last two albums were completely unknown territory to me.

So let’s establish how these summary conclusions are going to go — because I don’t intend to stop with Kataklysm.  I present general opinions on the band as a whole, how they have evolved, how I think the future looks for the band.  I then decide if there are particular albums from their discography, very select ones, that are worthy of being deemed essential listening.  With that said…

Kataklysm have remained an oddity to me.  I began this expedition, as much as I didn’t want to initially, because an ex-girlfriend told me this was one of her favorite bands.  Ever.  From what I had heard, such an opinion sounded completely and utterly unfounded to me, and writing for NCS finally gave me a platform and excuse to dig into this music.  Continue reading »

Feb 092013

(After a bit of a break, TheMadIsraeli completes his reconsideration of the music of Kataklysm. To see what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link.)

Alright! Now that we’re finally getting back to this, it’s time to wrap it up with the final two albums in Kataklysm’s present discography. Prevail and Heavens Venom are albums that, until this point, I never even listened to, but about which I always heard extremely mixed opinions.

Starting with Prevail, this was pretty much an attempt to recapture what Kataklysm had channeled on In the Arms of Devastation. I don’t blame them, because that album was definitely the best work of their modern era. Prevail is not as impenetrably unstoppable as In the Arms…, however it is still an extremely solid, excellent piece of work. I really love the opening song (title track) especially; it’s full of bulldozing groove and surging power.

The problem is, this album is obviously trying to cash in on the mark its predecessor left. The songwriting is as solid and MOST of the songs are as good, but this album suffers from a couple of draggers that really harm the consistency factor. That’s a flaw this album couldn’t afford, given that In the Arms… was a perfect record, insofar as their current sound is concerned. Songs like “Taking the World by Storm” just feel shamelessly phoned in. Contrasted with trailblazing numbers like “Chains Of Power”, they just feel a bit off as you listen. Continue reading »

Jan 092013

(TheMadIsraeli continues his reconsideration of the music of Kataklysm. To see what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link.)

If I were to tell NCS readers which Kataklysm albums I consider essential listening, I’d name Temple Of Knowledge, Victims Of A Fallen World, and this one. In The Arms of Devastation (2006) is quite possibly the best album modern Kataklysm has produced. By retaining the core of the new sound while introducing new influences, this album is infectious, brutal, and full of rage.

It also benefits from the fact that it’s the first album since Temple Of Knowledge that contains the diversity that album did, mostly assisted by the fact the band takes influences from all over the map. You’ll hear the typical Grave influence that has stayed with this band (especially in the guitar tone on this particular album), but the music also reflects the sounds and styles of Vader, Hypocrisy, and Amon Amarth, among other bands.

This album also includes a lot of the best songs of this era of Kataklysm. “Like Angels Weeping the Dark”, “Crippled And Broken”, and “The Road To Devastation” are good examples. Continue reading »

Jan 052013

(TheMadIsraeli continues his reconsideration of the music of Kataklysm. To see what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link.)

Serenity in Fire (2004) is the first of newer Kataklysm albums I heard in full, and I have to say it still holds up as one of the best and most consistent representations of their modern sound.  It benefits immensely from an almost perfect combination of melody and ballsy groove on songs like “As I Slither” (a song which musically fits its name) or the album’s extremely infectious opener “Ambassador Of Pain”, which has a Slipknot-ish feel in a good way.

There are other songs on this particular album that also really get me going, such as the blackened melodic death like fury of “For All Our Sins” or the outright blistering chaos of “Blood On The Swans”.  The closing track “Under the Bleeding Sun” is also quite good, invoking Dark Tranquillity a bit.

This is a good album and it’s a fun album.  Definitely worth a listen.  Music after the jump. Continue reading »

Jan 012013

Your humble editor has been so busy over the last four days with year-end lists, Most Infectious Song posts, and non-blogging life events that I haven’t compiled a news/new-music round-up since last week. However, I was watching out for developments, and now I’m finally collecting those which seemed worthy of notice. I have enough items to vomit forth into your laps that I’ve divided them into two posts, this being the first.


It would be poor form to start the new year at NCS without some Finnish metal. As it happens, this first day of 2013 has delivered something new from Finland, and what it delivered also gives us a chance to start the new year by again confusing people. Sowing confusion makes life worth living.

The news is that Finland’s Eternal Tears of Sorrow have a new album entitled Saivon Lapsi that’s scheduled for release on February 22. It features album art (above) by Travis Smith. In addition to that news, the band also premiered today a music video for one of the new songs, “Swan Saivo”. The video is a beautifully made allegory with a visually arresting finish (and includes some great footage of the band headbanging). And I enjoyed the song, too . . . though its appearance at this site will indeed confuse some people. Continue reading »

Dec 312012

(TheMadIsraeli continues his reconsideration of the music of Kataklysm. To see what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link.)

The Prophecy (Stigmata of the Immaculate) (2000) is definitely the weakest entry in Kataklysm’s body of work up to this point despite the fact it is more certifiably brutal than the album previous.  This also begins the thing about Kataklysm that is really going to irk me for the rest of this discography — opening albums with downright stupid monologues or silly movie quotes.  This is also going to be the shortest review of this series up to this point, so I think we’ll just include reviews of two additional albums because of that.

The Prophecy can be summed up pretty easily.  It’s nine songs of bland, uninspired, blasting melodic death metal that attempts to recapture an intensity reminiscent of the band’s Sylvain Houde era material that they just don’t have it in them to do anymore.  A bad move on the band’s part.  The mix is also intrusively grating in all the wrong ways.
Continue reading »