Aug 132021


It’s a rare day when I have no premieres to write for our site, and no posts to edit and format from any of our other writers either. So I spent the extra time listening to more than the usual number of new songs and videos released this week, and found a whopping 16 of them I wanted to recommend.

Rather than put them all in a single post, which might have been like hitting you in the mouth with a bag of nails, I’ve divided them into two parts, arranged alphabetically from the beginning of Part 1 to the end of Part 2 — beginning with A and finishing with Z.


It’s been a long wait for something new from this very talented Washington State black metal band, but now they’re back with a new album named A Distant Fire, and a first advance track from the album that’s a sure sign the wait has been worthwhile. Continue reading »

Jun 112018


A whole three days in a row I’ve now managed to follow through with the plan of posting small two-track collections of new music I want to recommend. I’m finding this much easier to do than the larger SEEN AND HEARD collections I usually succeed in posting only once a week — first, because I don’t agonize as much over the choices, knowing that I can make some more from my list the very next day; and second, because it takes less time to scribble words about two songs rather than five or six.

Maybe this little project is less daunting and more inviting to readers as well since it’s not such a big wall of music to confront? Just a guess.


I was wondering what had happened to this French symphonic black metal band. Actually, I wasn’t. I don’t really lie awake at night going through a mental list of bands who haven’t released any new music for a few years. More accurately, it dawned on me when I saw news about a new album that almost three years have passed since Deathcode Society released their fine debut full-length Eschatonizer (which you should definitely check out HERE if you haven’t already). Continue reading »

Dec 302015

Integrity-Orgasmatron cover


Like a lot of people, I spent most of my music-listening time yesterday with Motörhead. For the hell of it, I also spent time listening to metal bands covering Motörhead songs. A lot of bands have done that. Out of the many covers I listened to,  damned few of them are quite as good as the originals, and at least to my ears, none of them is better.

However, having invested the time hunting for covers that breathed some kind of different life into the classic originals, I decided to put them all here — the good ones and the so-so ones — by these bands: Satyricon, Sepultura, Ringworm (with guest vocals by Barney Greenway), Korpiklaani, Sodom, Machetazo, Avulsed, Overkill, Metallica, Horna, Kvelertak, Warbringer, and Krisiun.

But before I get to those, I’m starting with one that’s definitely a success. It’s a cover  of “Orgasmatron” that Integrity released just yesterday on Bandcamp (here). Continue reading »

Feb 212014

Now this is some truly heart-warming news, at least for my black heart. The organizers of PAGANFEST AMERICA PART V have just announced the schedule of dates — which I will share with you in a moment. But first, here are five reasons why this is worth noticing:

Korpiklaani:  They are a band that I think are worth seeing whenever the opportunity presents itself. It doesn’t even matter if their music isn’t in your regular rotation. I’ve seen them twice, and I’m completely sold. Jonne Järvelä is a magnetic, high-energy, infectiously good-natured frontman, the smiling Buddha-like bass-player Jarkko Aaltonen has an epic beard, they sing a lot about drinking, and they know how to rock the fuck out in a live setting.

Turisas: Never seen them, but based on concert videos I’ve watched, I’m betting they will be tons of fun too.

Chthonic: Their last two albums are really good (I hadn’t fully climbed on the Chthonic bandwagon before then), and based on videos, they also look like they know how to put on a kickass show. Continue reading »

Sep 132012

On September 8, 2012, the current North American tour featuring Korpiklaani (Finland), Moonsorrow (Finland), Týr (Faroe Islands), and Metsatöll (Estonia) hit Seattle’s Studio Seven, with local support from Funeral Age and Blood and Thunder, and yours truly was there to bear witness. I again brought my camera, which both thinks for me and defeats my thinking because it speaks a language I don’t understand. I took pics, did the best I could to pretty them up on iPhoto, and have included the most tolerable ones in this post.

We got to the venue in broad daylight, at door-opening time because the guys from Blood and Thunder were starting off the night and we didn’t want to miss them. We headed for the venue’s balcony bar, hoping to grab a couple of the stools up against the balcony’s front railing so I could get an unobstructed view of the stage for pics and so I would have a place to park my lazy ass instead of standing for the next 5-6 hours.

No problem getting to the rail . . . but the stools were nowhere to be seen! I could already feel my ancient back beginning to stiffen up. But I put the anticipation of pain out of my head as soon as Blood and Thunder started to crank it up.

This was the first time I’d seen these dudes since a line-up change that brought on board a new bass player (not sure who he is) and new second guitarist and backing vocalist (Vance Bratcher). I had some question marks about what would happen, particularly because the band’s blackened form of melodic death metal gets intricate and relies in part on dual guitar solo’s and leads. But all was well. Continue reading »

Jul 022012

Are you like me? Have you ever changed your opinion about a band’s music for the better after seeing them perform live? That’s what I did after seeing Finland’s Korpiklaani on stage. There was a time when I had only a middling regard for their recorded music, and then I saw them in Seattle last year in a tour they headlined with support from Arkona, among others. I became a complete Korpiklaani convert after seeing that show.

Their set was just a complete blast — I could have continued listening to them and watching them ’til dawn. Now that I’ve been infected by their infectious exuberance, I get a big stupid grin on my face just about every time I listen to them, in part because it makes me remember how good they made me feel on that night in Seattle at Studio Seven.

I got one of those stupid grins this morning after watching the band’s new video for “Rauta” (Steel), which will appear on their next album, Manala. Manala will be released via Nuclear Blast on August 3 in Europe and August 14 in North America. Korpiklaani sing their music in Finnish, but the European limited digipak edition of Manala will come with a bonus CD that will include all the songs with the lyrics sung in English.

Anyway, there are actually two versions of the “Rauta” video — one with the song sung in Finnish and one with the English lyrics. It’s a foot-stomping good time in either language, though I prefer the Finnish. These videos follow pretty closely on the heels of two lyric videos (in Finnish and English again) for another song from Manala called “Kunnia” (Honor). It’s a good time, too. I think you would really have to be in an especially sour mood not to tap your foot and smile over these songs.

I’m also delighted to report that Korpiklaani will be touring North America again this fall, with an amazing line-up of support bands: MOONSORROW, TÝR, and METSATÖLL. So, get your hurdy-gurdy on and check out the new videos (in both languages) after the jump, along with the tour schedule. Continue reading »

Oct 092011

If you don’t know what humppa is, you could check out this post from our Finland Tribute Week series last December, which featured Finntroll and Korpiklaani. Or, you could listen to the song that follows the jump in this post.

The players are twofold: First is Troll Bends Fir, a folk metal (or maybe folk rock) band from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Actually, the band call their music “beer metal”. They contacted NCS about their music a loooong time ago (how could you forget a name like that?), but at the time I wasn’t convinced the music was in the target area for this site. But our horizons have broadened some since then, especially since Trollfiend moved into the NCS neighborhood and started introducing us to his folk-metal relatives.

Troll Bends Fir’s latest release is a compilation released on September 16 called Братья Во Хмелю (Brothers in Drinks). It includes a song called “Хумппа По Соседству” (“Humppa Is My Neighbor”), which features guest vocals by none other than Jonne Järvelä of Korpiklaani — and he’s the second player in this post. The song is just too much fuckin’ fun not to share. So, you can hear it after the jump. There’s also a tender video about the making of the song, too. Go on, humppa ’til it hurts.  (credit to Trollfiend — who else? — for this tip.) Continue reading »

Sep 172011

As a public service, I thought I’d let you know about two North American tours I just noticed yesterday, plus two others announced earlier but not previously mentioned at NCS. The first of the newer ones is advertised by the poster above. What caught my eye, in addition to the name Korpiklaani, was the fact that Russia’s Arkona is on this tour. Arkona is a recent discovery for us here at NCS, thanks to our friend Trollfiend, who provided a guest review of the band’s new album Slovo. Also included on the tour are Polkadot Cadaver and Forged in Flame. I don’t yet know anything about those two bands, but I’m very tempted to see this show simply because of Arkona (though I like Korpiklaani, too), especially because the Seattle stop will be at a relatively small club.

The second tour is the 2011 edition of Thrash and Burn. This has been a summer tour since its inception, but it was a no-show in the summer just past and now appears to have emerged as a re-branding of Winds of Plague’s fall headlining tour. Following in the footsteps of Summer Slaughter, Winds of Plague and the promoters of this tour nominated a group of bands to fill the last tour slot and let fans vote for a winner. A couple days ago, the winner was announced, and it’s Volumes. Interestingly, Volumes was also one of the nominated bands on the Summer Slaughter ballot, but didn’t make the cut that time and instead were included on the Slaughter Survivors Tour. Volumes has a new album called Via that’s getting some buzz, though I haven’t heard it yet.

The rest of the bands on this version of Thrash and Burn are Chelsea Grin, As Blood Runs Black, For the Fallen Dreams, Upon A Burning Body, In the Midst of Lions, and Like Moths to Flames. In other words, the tour should be renamed Deathcore and Burn. No tour schedule has yet been announced.

I must admit that among the fall tours we haven’t yet mentioned at this site, I’m personally more interested in the Mastodon/Dillinger Escape Plan/Red Fang tour and the Mayhem/Keep Of Kalessin/Hate/Abigail Williams tour (which will be joined by Woe on 13 dates not yet specified). The schedules for the Korpiklaani tour and those others I just mentioned are after the jump. Continue reading »

Dec 102010

Let’s pause for a moment and take stock of what we’ve done with this tribute series so far:  We’ve covered a pretty wide range of melodic death-metal bands, both globally known names and newcomers. We’ve featured some purveyors of funeral doom. We’ve written about some of the biggest names in Finnish black metal. What are we still missing?

HUMPPA METAL! Yes, in response to overwhelming popular demand, today we’re shining the spotlight on two bands who have incorporated traditional Finnish humppa into their metal in quite different ways. You could also think of this post as a dip into the waters of Finnish folk-metal, though in our opinion that isn’t really a fair characterization of one of these bands.

What, you may ask is humppa? Let’s see what The Font Of All Human Knowledge has to say on the subject:

Humppa is a type of music from Finland. It is related to jazz and very fast foxtrot, played two beats to a bar (2/4 or 2/2). Typical speed is about 220 to 260 beats per minute. Humppa is also the name of a few social dances danced to humppa music. All dances involve bounce that follows the strong bass of the music. . . . The name humppa was invented by Antero Alpola for a radio show in the 1950s. He picked it up from German Oktoberfest where the locals used the word to describe the playing of the band. The band probably used a tuba, as the sound of tuba on the first beat is like hump, the second beat coming as a pa. (The related German style is known as oompah.)

As far as we can tell from afar, humppa isn’t the sort of music that many people in Finland buy for their listening pleasure. Instead, it’s music that people dance to, and it’s played in dance halls in cities large and small. As we’ll see, it has also been incorporated into metal by two bands whose fame has spread well beyond their home country — Finntroll and Korpiklaani.  (more after the jump, including tracks to hear . . .) Continue reading »

Dec 012010

November is now in our rear-view mirror. December lies ahead of us: A perfectly good stretch of road marred by the speed bumps of the cataclysm that is Christmas. And on the other side of those speed bumps is the end of the year – the roadkill that is New Year’s Eve. And you know what the run-up to year-end brings — year-end lists. It’s already started, but the coming weeks will bring us a slew of Best of 2010 album lists. We’ll probably do our own Best of 2010 list — not the best albums of the year, but, as we did last year, the most infectious extreme metal songs of the year.

But we’re not quite ready to launch that list. Instead, we’re looking off into the future, not backward at the music that’s rattled our skulls over the past year. Yes, it’s time for another monthly installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we cobble together a list of forthcoming new albums, cribbing like rag-gatherers and lint-pickers from PR releases and metal news sites like Blabbermouth in order to construct a line-up of new music that we’re interested in hearing.

All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. After the jump, of course . . .

Continue reading »