Jul 182014
 

I’m getting a slow blog start today. Yesterday I traveled with a friend to Oshkosh, Wisconsin (my friend actually grew up in Oshkosh), in order to attend the Gilead Fest, which starts tonight and runs through the weekend. We got in late and stayed up later, eating dinner and drinking Wisconsin brews, and I slept in.

When people asked what we were doing in town (as many did), we told them we were here for a metal festival, and they all said, “Oh,  Rock USA”. Turns out that festival began Wednesday and runs through Saturday and it’s here is Oshkosh, too. With Slayer and Rob Zombie and Korn and Five Finger Death Punch and… no, we’re not here for that thing. But it is a weird fuckin’ coincidence and explains why we had some trouble finding a hotel or motel with vacancies.

Anyway, I’m getting a slow start on the blog day. So I’m just going to throw some things at you that I came across as I was waking up. Starting with this highly unexpected piece of music from Darkest Hour: “By the Starlight”. Continue reading »

Jun 282014
 

Happy Saturday to one and all, and if you happen not to be happy on this Saturday, we offer our condolences. Perhaps some of the new sounds in the following collection will cheer you up. They sure as hell put a smile on my face.

XERATH

A couple days ago Candlelight Records announced that it will release the third album by UK-based Xerath on September 16 in North American (September 15 for Europe). The title is III, and it was produced by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Epica). The album is a mammoth one, with 14 songs and a run time of almost 70 minutes, and the cover art was again created by Colin Marks. The album also marks the appearance of new guitarist Conor McGouran, who has replaced the formidable Owain Williams. Also appearing on the album will be a live string quartet and classically trained alto and soprano vocalists.

I really enjoyed this band’s first two albums and have had high hopes for the new one. We got a first taste of the album in late April when Candlelight released a sampler that I wrote about here. The sampler included a previously unreleased Xerath song named “Sentinels”, and although I didn’t know it at the time, that turns out to be the seventh track on III. And then two days ago, a teaser of additional new music appeared on YouTube. Continue reading »

Jul 172012
 

In one of yesterday’s posts I compared a song from Sweden’s King of Asgard to Naglfar and Immortal, and I got questioned about that comparison in one of the comments, suggesting that King of Asgard is a Viking metal band. That caused me to consider, certainly not for the first time, what “Viking metal” really means and whether there really is such a thing as a “Viking metal” genre.

These are questions that have been argued in many other places at many other times. For example, our brother Trollfiend devoted a post to the subject at ALSO, WOLVES last fall, insisting that, yes, it’s a genre and it’s defined by the band’s lyrical themes (though he also implied that, musically, it’s a subset of black metal). Other people contend it isn’t a genre at all, or that if it is, it begins and ends with Bathory and early Enslaved and everyone else can go fuck off. And still other people say it’s a pointless question — you either dig the music or you don’t, and who gives a rat’s ass what you call it.

The fact that there seems to be no consensus about how to define “Viking metal” weighs in favor of the argument that it isn’t a genre. That conclusion is bolstered by the significant diversity in the music of bands who different people classify as “Viking metal” (see, e.g., the bands included in the “Viking metal” tag at Last.fm or the Viking metal genre group at Metal Archives). Genre classifications are usually (though not always) defined by widely accepted hallmarks of the musical style, and if no such consensus exists, or if the sound of the music isn’t really the defining characteristic, can we really say that “Viking metal” is a genre?

Is the lyrical content really enough, especially when much of the time you can’t make out the words in the songs when you hear them? Continue reading »

Jul 162012
 

Very sad news to start this round-up: Jon Lord passed away today at the age of 71. He suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism while hospitalized, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Though he had a long solo career and played with a variety of bands, he is best known as the keyboardist with Deep Purple and co-writer of many of that band’s most famous songs, including “Smoke On the Water”.

Deep Purple’s music meant a lot to me at a particular point in my life, and I’m sad to see that Jon Lord is no longer in the world. In his memory, here’s “Perfect Strangers”, a song that stands the test of time:

[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/02-Perfect-Strangers.mp3|titles=Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers]

In happier news, King of Asgard released a music video for “The Nine Worlds Burn”, a song from their forthcoming album …To North, which is scheduled for release by Metal Blade on July 27 in Europe and July 30 in the U.S. The song should be familiar, since we devoted a post to it when it began streaming as the album’s first single in early June. The song still reminds me of Nalgfar and Immortal, with a dramatic feminine vocal in the interlude. Great song, and the video captures the fire of the song . . . with fire. Watch it next. Continue reading »

Jun 042012
 

I don’t really intend to make a habit of these posts, even though this is the third one like this I’ve done in a week. Or maybe it’s already a habit, like smoking hair through a gasoline bong. I don’t know.

Anyway, I heard a new song from King of Asgard today. The last time I wrote about this Swedish band was all the way back in September 2010, via a MISCELLANY post in which I sampled their last album, Fi’mbulvintr. They now have a new album set for release by Metal Blade on various dates from July 27 to July 31, depending on where you live. The album title is …To North, and above is the extremely cool oil-on-panel cover art by Mattias Frisk.

The new song, which began streaming today, is “The Nine Worlds Burn”, and it’s also extremely cool. Basically, King of Asgard are doing it again — combining deeply charred Viking metal with enchanting, clean female vocals. It’s like Naglfar, but with a surprising and effective folk accent. Check it out:

Continue reading »

Sep 042010
 

As fodder for this latest installment of MISCELLANY, I once again played the human pinball machine, randomly bouncing from one thing to the next, checking out new music and videos without knowing much about what I’d see or hear. With one exception, I’d never heard the music of the bands I checked out in this session.

As usual, this post is a log of what I heard and saw, without filtering. I spent so much time exploring that I’ve decided to split up the report into two parts. If you’re like me, you have the attention span of a hummingbird, so I won’t push my luck with a really long post. We’ll post the second part tomorrow. The subjects of today’s post are King of Asgard (Sweden), Fractal Gates (France), and Synapse Defect (U.S.).

KING OF ASGARD

I’ve lost track of where I first read about this three-piece Swedish band, but I’ve had their debut CD for a couple weeks. It was released by Metal Blade on August 16 and it’s called Fi’mbulvintr. And no, I have no fucking idea how to pronounce that.

From the band’s name, I deduced that it might be Viking metal — Asgard being the home of the Norse gods, and the king being Odin. The very cool album cover (by Ola Larsson) reinforced that guess. And I just sort of felt in the mood for Viking metal, so my first stop was to fire up this CD and pick a track. (more after the jump, including the chance to hear the music and watch the vids . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 012010
 

Another month has ended, and like a drug-resistant strain of sexually transmitted disease, we’re still here.

And because we’re now a full six months into 2010, it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted blurbs from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy.

BURDEN OF GRIEF: “German melodic death/thrash metallers BURDEN OF GRIEF will release their new album, Follow The Flames, on July 2 in Europe via Massacre Records. The follow-up to 2007’s Death End Road will contain 10 new songs. The limited-edition version of the CD will include a bonus disc featuring cover versions of eight metal classics.”

CEPHALIC CARNAGE: “Denver, Colorado-based technical death/grind metallers CEPHALIC CARNAGE have set Misled By Certainty as the title of their new album, due on August 31 via Relapse Records. The follow-up to 2007’s Xenosapien was recorded at the band’s own studio with longtime engineer/producer Dave Otero. The CD is described in a press release as a ’50-plus-minute journey into metal’s most extreme realms’ which ‘see[s] these veterans takes it to edge before pulling it back with ‘Repangea’, perhaps their most sprawling and epic work to date.'”

(lots more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »