Feb 042010

Yesterday, in the first of a two-part feature, we posted our review of the new album by Living Sacrifice. Today, we’re posting (for want of a better word) a meditation on these questions: When there’s no clean singing in extreme metal, do the lyrics really matter? And if they do, how do they matter?

THE MEDITATION: Think about songs in which you can hear the words. Sometimes the lyrics can be important. Beautifully crafted lyrics can tell a story that sticks with you, or they can express ideas or emotions in a way that resonates like poetry.

That kind of lyricism can combine with the music in a way that produces something more powerful than the sum of the parts — the words enhance the music and vice-versa, and each makes the other more memorable.

Of course, those things are possible only if you can hear the words. In extreme metal songs with no clean singing, you can’t hear all the words or sometimes any of them.  It’s rarely the content of the lyrics that contributes to the emotional appeal of those songs. Instead, what matters is the sound of the singer’s voice, which functions mainly as another instrument.

As a consequence, the songwriter’s ability to create memorable lyrics is often pretty unimportant in this subgenre. On those rare occasions when I look up the lyrics to a metal song I like, I’m not surprised to find that usually the lyrics suck – and I don’t really care that they suck because they don’t matter much to what I hear or how I feel about the music.

I suspect that lyrics rarely play an important part in the creation of extreme music either. Most bands seem to work out the riffs, the rhythms, and the melodies first (if melody happens to be a part of the band’s sound), and the lyrics are added later.  By definition, the words aren’t inspiring the sound; if anything, the reverse is true. Sometimes, the words seem to have nothing at all to do with the feeling that the music conveys. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 032010

We’ve been fucking around with cruise ship jokes the last few days, but it’s time to get back to what this site is really about – the music we live by. And we’re getting back to it in a serious way.

This is an album review, but it will be followed by a meditation on the lyrical content (or lack thereof) of extreme metal and the connection (or lack thereof) between the lyrical content and the music. And what prompted that meditation is the album we’re reviewing — the new full-length release from Living Sacrifice. So, today, the album, and tomorrow, the meditation.

THE ALBUM: Last week we traveled to distant lands and wrote about some ear-catching performers from Greece (Gux Drax), Costa Rica (Sight of Emptiness), Italy (Vomit the Soul), France (Eryn Non Dae, DOPPLeR, Zubrowska), and Sweden (Valkyrja). But today we’re back in America — really back — discussing the best release yet by a powerfully influential band from Arkansas.

Living Sacrifice originally came into being in 1988, broke up in 2002, and reunited in 2008 with a six-week US tour (“Stronger Than Hell”) headlined by Seattle metalcore band Demon Hunter. That’s when I became a Living Sacrifice convert. I caught the “Stronger Than Hell” tour when it passed through Seattle, and in my opinion, LS stole the show. Not even a close call.

Of course, I had to go get oriented with their whole catalogue, and that only made me a more devoted fan. So I’ve been waiting impatiently for The Infinite Order. And it’s finally here — the band’s seventh release, and the first full-length of all-new music since 2002’s Conceived in Fire.

Years of working can produce staleness or lazy repetition of comfortable formulas. But this album is powerful and vibrantly alive. In the case of Living Sacrifice, the fire within has not gone out and the years of experience reveal themselves in superior song-writing and impeccable musicianship.  (more after the jump, including a track to stream  . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 172010

It’s Sunday. A perfect day to jack your headphones or earbuds into a computer somewhere and let the music stream into your synapses. Why would you want to do that instead of listen on your personal music player so you can move around and take care of other shit at the same time? Because we’ve got some recommendations that, for the moment, you can only stream.


Living Sacrifice has slowly been releasing new songs from its forthcoming album The Infinite Order for streaming on its MySpace page.  The band has now made the entire album available for streaming here. The album will be available for purchase on January 26. We’ll provide our review of the album in the near future, but for now we’ll just say that this mutha is a headbanging jewel. Here’s the track listing:

01. Overkill Exposure
02. Rules Of Engagement
03. Nietzche’s Madman
04. Unfit To Live
05. The Training
06. Organized Lie
07. The Reckoning
08. Love Forgives
09. They Were One
10. God Is My Home
11. Apostasy

We’ve got two more recommendations after the jump, so don’t stop here! Continue reading »

Jan 122010

Yesterday Living Sacrifice made available for streaming the fourth song from their forthcoming new album The Infinite Order. The song is called “They Were One.” It’s packed with groove-oriented riffs, and the band’s thrash influences are really in evidence. This is one hellaciously infectious tune and (if possible) makes us even more stoked for the full album when it drops on January 26.

The band begins a 19-state tour on January 15, co-headlining with War of Ages. You can listen to “They Were One” and find dates and places for the tour by going here.

Jan 052010

In December, the resurgent death/thrash brawlers from Living Sacrifice uploaded two new songs from their forthcoming album The Infinite Order, plus a video of one of those songs.  Yesterday, they graced us with a third  new one, called “Organized Lie.”  It’s another galloping beast of angry, groove-oriented metal that confirms the new album will be worth the long wait since the band’s last full-length of all-new songs more than seven years ago.  You can check it out here.

And there’s more headbangery ahead: the band promises yet another new song next Monday.

The Infinite Order will hit the streets on January 26, and LS will hit the road on January 15 with War of Ages, Shai HuludLionheart, and The Great Commission.

Jan 012010



So, why did you get so hammered last night? Is it really right to start off a new decade sleeping off a bender?  Well, I ain’t your mama, so my answer is:  Of course it is.

If you’re like me, today may not be the best day to pound your head with metal — unless of course you haven’t gone to sleep yet, in which case metal is exactly what you need. Because if you go to sleep now, that means you’ll wake up feeling like toad shit.  So, as your doctor, I advise you to listen to metal and don’t go to sleep.  Ever.  Be like that dude played by Christian Bale in The Machinist.  Except eat more.

Now, where was I?  Oh yeah, the new year.  As we gaze into the bright new future, we’re thinking about all the extreme music that’ll be coming our way in 2010.  We pulled together from various trade sources and internet prowling a list of extreme bands that have promised new releases in 2010, and then over the Christmas holiday your three NCS Co-Authors each picked the ones we’re most looking forward to hearing.

There were 21 bands that got at least 2 votes from the 3 of us, and that list is below.  Not that we think you really care deeply about what the three of us are stoked to hear, but our brains are too fogged today to do anything but post lists.  So here’s our list, and after the jump you can see the complete line-up we compiled of extreme bands who’ve promised new releases in 2010.  (If you know of bands we missed, let us know!)

A Life Once Lost
The Absence
Acacia Strain
All Shall Perish
Dark Tranquillity
Decrepit Birth
Devin Townsend Project
Ion Dissonance
Living Sacrifice
Rotting Christ
Through the Eyes of the Dead
Veil of Maya

There’s one band that isn’t on this list that deserves special comment — PIG DESTROYER. They’re missing for only one reason: Although there have been widely circulated rumors (which seem to trace back to this report) that Pig Destroyer will be releasing a new album next fall, we haven’t seen any confirmation from the band or their label. But we definitely hope the reports are true.

And now, after the jump, you can see a complete list of NCS Metal bands that have announced 2010 releases. Continue reading »

Dec 232009

This is turning into video day at NCS. Not like that was our purpose when we rolled out of bed this morning. Just happened. We saw the new video released yesterday by Living Sacrifice and put that up. We put up a piece on Brutal Truth and decided, what the hell, maybe some of you haven’t seen the vid of “Sugar Daddy,” so that’s up too. And then we saw that today the almighty Meshuggah had released a video trailer for their forthcoming DVD/CD combo, Live, which is set for U.S. release on February 9. And you know, as short teasers go, it does the trick — if you’re a Meshuggah fan (as we are) it will get you hot and bothered. So watch it after the jump, along with the other videos with which we’re filling up the page today, and then come back a little later and see our eighth entry on the Ten Most Infectious list. Continue reading »

Dec 222009

Two weeks ago, influential death/thrash band Living Sacrifice released “Rules of Engagement,” the first song from its forthcoming new album The Infinite Order (scheduled for a January 26 release), and we slobbered over it.

One week ago, Living Sacrifice released a second song from the album, called “Nietzsche’s Madness.” More slobbering here at NCS.

This week: another new song? Not quite. But today the band premiered a video for “Rules of Engagement” at AOL’s Noisecreep site.  The video intersperses band performance with a story about a psychologically damaged young soldier dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. To read guitarist/singer Bruce Fitzhugh’s thoughts about the video and the making of it, go here.

To watch the video, simply look below:

Dec 172009


We’ve been writing about Living Sacrifice quite a lot recently, but that’s because there’s been a lot of Living Sacrifice news recently. Oh yeah, and they’re also a killer band. And we’re writing about them again today because, why? Well, because there’s more (good) news of course.

Living Sacrifice and War of Ages will be co-headlining “The Abominable Snowtour” during the month of February, with Shai Hulud, Lionheart, and The Great Commission rounding out the line-up. There will be 21 shows in 23 days. No stops in the Pacific Northwest, or West of Texas for that matter, but we will be patient. All good things come to those who wait. On the other hand, good things sometimes also come to those who push and whine and nag the shit out of everybody.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, the “Abominable Snowtour.”  You can get all the scheduled dates and places after the jump. Continue reading »

Dec 142009


Tonight: Long miserable day at work ends. I trudge homeward in the dark under a leaking sky. I fire up the computer and check the news headlines, just to see if something really earthshaking has happened while I was being miserable at work — you know, like if the U.S. got into another war, or swine flu has really turned out to be the no-shit, unstoppable killer we were told it would be, or my utility rates are going up again. Fortunately, none of these things has happened. All I see on a quick look is this:

Twenty-two million missing Bush White House e-mails found (what a shock), Obama begs top banks to start lending money again (that’s probably not going to work), new computer modeling shows that Arctic ice cap may completely vanish by 2014 (we’ve got plenty of polar bears in zoos anyway, right?), Italian prime minister Berlusconi hospitalized in Milan after man hits him in the face with a souvenir statue (I was wondering when someone was going to hit that disgusting fucker in the face with a souvenir statue).

I finish reading the headlines and I breathe a big sigh of relief:  as they say in the Army, Situation Normal (All Fucked Up).

I turn to the real news of the day:  metal news! And what do I see almost immediately?  Living Sacrifice has put up yet another new song on their MySpace page.  We here at NCS had barely finished drooling over the band’s new single “Rules of Engagement” and now we’ve got yet another teaser for their forthcoming full-length, The Infinite Order (scheduled for a Jan 26 release). I check out the new song — and damn! It’s even more hot shit than “Rules”! Continue reading »