Mar 312016
 

Gojira 2016-photo by Travis Shinn
photo credit: Travis Shinn

When names as big as Gojira and Katatonia both release new music on the same day, if you wait more than a few hours to write about it, the odds are that almost everyone who cares about those bands has already been clued in by someone else. But I’m writing about these developments anyway because “Half-Assed” is my middle name and I feel compelled to live up to it. And I’ll throw in a few other new developments that have been somewhat less pervasively recognized across the web.

GOJIRA

As I read Rolling Stone’s interview/listening-session (here) with the Duplantier brothers that appeared yesterday, I became increasingly uneasy. Reading Kory Grow’s descriptions of some of the songs from Gojira’s forthcoming new album that he heard while talking with the brothers in their New York City studio made me fear that Gojira have become a French variant of Mastodon, making a big sweeping turn into radio-friendly rock. Will their first video for the album include twerking? Continue reading »

Mar 082016
 

Katatonia 2016

 

If you recall yesterday’s “Seen and Heard” round-up, I explained that I had fallen so far behind that I had a list of 30 new tracks from over the last week that I thought were worth exploring. And sure enough, the list has only grown, because so many other good new things popped up in the last 24 hours. So I’m starting with the four newest items and concluding with four from last week.

KATATONIA

Yesterday brought details about the next Katatonia album, as well as a very brief teaser video. This will be their tenth studio full-length, with the title of The Fall of Hearts. It’s set for a May 20 release by Peaceville Records. Here’s the artwork (by Travis Smith, of course): Continue reading »

Jan 112014
 

(DGR catches up with another album from 2013, Katatonia’s Dethroned and Uncrowned.)

We’re still running around here at NoCleanSinging like chickens with our heads cut off, the whole date-rolling-over thing and the idea of the year restarting still generally blowing our minds. It’s a constant thing, as we usually get used to the idea of a month happening again along about the July timeframe. We’re also still extending our looking glass into 2013, trying to talk about discs we either never got around to or, in the case of most of my upcoming ones, discs I had intended to review and have listened to a lot and just never got the chance to write about.

The beginning of the year usually has about a week-long lull where you have the ability to catch up before the new 2014 releases start to stack up, though the groups who have started to put out new releases on January 1st have really taken to shooting that idea in the foot. Such is the case with Katatonia’s 2013 re-imagining of their 2012 release Dead End Kings known as Dethroned and Uncrowned. It’s an album that I have listened to a ton, in both of its forms, and with this brief respite at the beginning of the year we finally have time to sit down and chat about it. Continue reading »

Aug 012013
 

Collected here is news about three new tours that surfaced yesterday.

MADNESS AT THE CORE OF TIME TOUR

GWAR is the headliner of this tour, and the rest of the line-up consists of Whitechapel, Iron Reagan, and A Band of Orcs. It’s tough to find a unifying theme for the selection of these bands, other than the fact that the line-up is book-ended by inhuman creatures. But I’ve found that some of the best shows are those in which the combination of bands makes you scratch your head. One band might pull you in, and you might then discover another band you like.

In this case, Whitechapel have kicked my ass every time I’ve seen them and I’m also interested in seeing Iron Reagan and A Band of Orcs (HAIL GZOROTH!). I’ve never gotten into GWAR, though I can’t say I’ve ever given them much of a chance. Maybe that will be my new discovery on this tour. Here’s the schedule: Continue reading »

Feb 182013
 

Hey, happy fucking Monday to all you brain-dead metal heads. Here’s a big collection of new music and news that I came across at the start of my bleary-eyed morning today.

LOST SOCIETY

I’ve confessed before that straight-up old-school thrash is not among the metal genres that are nearest and dearest to my black heart. In addition, I’ve become even more numb due to the avalanche of re-thrash releases by many new bands who all sound alike to me. But with that said, I’m digging the shit out of a new song clip that premiered today by a Finnish band named Lost Society.

The song title alone hooked me: “Braindead Metal Head”. And then the music Finnish-ed me off. It’s a jet-fueled, out-of-control thrash rocket with multiple warheads. The riffing is catchy as fuck, the vocals are pleasingly drunk on the high energy, and the obligatory guitar solo is a first-class trip to shred city. This is speed metal I can get behind.

The video strings together words of high praise by the likes of Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Schmier (Destruction), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Craig Locicero (Forbidden), and Kragen Lum (Heathen), and they might know what they’re talking about. Continue reading »

Jan 112013
 

(A post in which Andy Synn presents five of his favorite mondegreens . . .)

This edition comes with a warning. If you want to continue hearing these songs in the ‘Correct’ way, don’t click the jump to the main article, because what I’m covering here today are the sort of misheard lyrics that essentially ruin a song for you forever. Ok, maybe not ruin, but they definitely stick with you. Once you’ve heard them, you can’t un-hear them.

And I’m not talking about the youtube-style ‘Boat Rudder’ or ‘Fishmaster’ parodies where someone’s posited ludicrous alternative lyrics. I’m talking about just a tiny line here or there that I accidentally misheard the first time round, and have never really been able to shake. Thankfully each of these also gives rise to some unintentional hilarity, as they definitely add a new interpretation to each of the tracks!

Some of them are literally only a one-word change, but that’s enough to completely alter the meaning of the surrounding lines, mostly in a rather ludicrous way!

Again – don’t go any further unless you want some songs ruined for you forever! Continue reading »

Sep 202012
 

(In this post DGR gives us the second of our two reviews of the new album by Sweden’s Katatonia. The first one is here.)

Katatonia are fast becoming a cornerstone around these here parts. Despite the fact that the band are pretty much completely clean singing, we’ve still covered them quite a bit. Aside from the fact that we here at No Clean Singing have excellent music taste, I am also a massive fan of the group, coming into the fold during a time just prior to the release of The Great Cold Distance and riding that wave of darkness ever since.

Katatonia are even reaching the point when they aren’t just a really great underground band, a trsnaformation that has been excellent to watch as more and more people discover just how good their music is. When you’re receiving shout-outs in main quest lines on million-selling video games, your profile tends to increase pretty dramatically.

It was a little hard to speculate about where the band would go with the impending release of their latest disc, Dead End Kings, as they began slowly to release songs to the public. Were they going to try to return to the fuller, more band-oriented sound of their earlier works or were they going to continue with the sparse, cold, and vocally driven music that they revealed on Night Is The New Day?

The song “Dead Letters” hinted at some really strong potential, but coming into the full album without having followed every step the band have taken, I have found Dead End Kings to be a pleasant surprise. It’s an excellent combination of everything I’ve heard from the band before, with the quality cranked up as high as the band could make it, and nary a stinker on the whole disc. Continue reading »

Sep 092012
 

On the night of September 4, 2012, a group of friends and I were on hand at Studio Seven in Seattle to take in the first show of a North American tour featuring Katatonia, The Devin Townsend Project, Paradise Lost, and Stolen Babies, and I brought my fancy camera, which I still haven’t learned how to work very well. And yes, that means there will be a bunch of amateurish photos scattered around this write-up.

Two of us had bought VIP tickets, which gave us the chance to attend a “meet and greet” with DTP in advance of the show. As instructed, we arrived at the venue at 5:45 pm, and eventually a group of about a dozen of us were brought inside, given swag bags, and escorted to Studio Seven’s balcony bar, which was empty except for staff people getting ready for the night — plus Devin Townsend and two members of his live band, drummer Ryan van Poederooyen and guitarist Dave Young.

We spent the first 10 or 15 minutes talking with Ryan, who couldn’t have been more friendly and humble (and who clearly was in love with the songs DT had written for Epicloud). Eventually, we wandered over to where DT was holding court with the rest of our group of admirers, and he seemed very much the same person as he does on stage — full of energy and humor, making jokes and funny faces, and enjoying talking with all of us mostly tongue-tied well-wishers. If there’s a big rock star ego anywhere in his personality, it’s well-hidden. (We had talked earlier with one of the venue’s security guys who we know, and he confirmed the impression — that DT has always been outgoing and nice to all the staff people every time our friend has worked one of his Seattle shows).

We had our photos taken with DT and then were escorted back out of the venue to wait for the doors to open along with everyone else (though our swag bags contained VIP laminates that allowed us to get back in first). The goodies inside the bag also included a signed copy of the Epicloud CD, which hadn’t yet been released as of the time of this show. Continue reading »

Sep 072012
 

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. Part 1 was yesterday, covering performances on the first two days of the festival. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s third and final day, and at the end we’ve again collected videos of some of the performances discussed in the review.)

DAY 3

Day 3 saw a late start (which may have had something to do with the amount of alcohol consumed the night before) with Naglfar over on the main stage, kicking out some lethal melodic black metal despite the blazing sunshine and clear blue skies. It’s really only in the live setting you can fully appreciate both the anthemic quality of the group’s material, as well as the technical skill behind it.

Over on the second stage Unleashed wasted little time getting into the swing of things, their brutish, occasionally melodic, Viking-obsessed death metal garnering a surprisingly loud reaction (at least for this early in the day). The only niggling problem is that where Amon Amarth are more obviously self-aware, using these tales of Viking lore to inspire and uplift their fans, Unleashed seem to treat their subject matter as a manifesto, and their uncomfortable “we should all be Vikings!” schtick is both extremely geeky and embarrassingly ill-informed.

Over in the third-stage tent Incantation were unleashing their own brand of filthy, blood-spitting aural horror, dropping some gut-clenching death metal grooves and breakdowns into the whirlwind death metal stew, even throwing in a few Possessed covers for good measure. Slightly breaking the atmosphere though was John McEntee’s use of an uber-gravelly Batman voice for his between-song banter, unintentionally hilarious in its own special way. Continue reading »

Aug 292012
 

As mentioned in today’s last post, the last 24 hours have brought a torrential flood of news and new music that I care about, and because I care about all this shit, I’ve been grinding my talons down to nubs on the keyboard, on the assumption that you will care about it, too. And if you don’t, please keep that to yourselves, because I bruise easily. Without further ado, here are four more items to add to the long list that has already filled up our site today.

KATATONIA

We published a very, very early guest review of Katatonia’s new album, Dead End Kings, in this post. We also were fast in posting about the wonderful music video for the first song to debut from the album, “Dead Letters”. For reasons I haven’t figured out, we’ve been getting a ton of hits on both of those posts over the last 3 or 4 days despite the fact that both of them are two months old. We might as well add something a bit more current.

This afternoon, DGR alerted me to the fact that the entire album is now streaming at the Canadian Exclaim.ca web site. HERE is the link for that. Dead End Kings was released yesterday (August 28) via Peaceville.

KRODA

We’ve written so many times about this Ukrainian black metal band that I’ve lost count (actually, I could count them if I had more fingers, because all the previous posts are collected here). Schwarzpfad was probably my favorite 2011 black metal album of all the ones I heard last year. It also showed up on Andy Synn’s list of the year’s Critical Top 10 albums, as well as his list of 2011′s Great Albums, and I included a song from Schwarzpfad on our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Continue reading »