May 102018
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by the UK band Lychgate, released in March by Blood Music.)

If you show up for this album expecting black metal, it might be a jarring turn for you. The fact that it is not black metal but still manages to be just as dark and interesting made me willing to go along for the ride. Not every movement on this shifting landscape of angular chaos connects with me, but I approve of the sense of adventure and rebellion against the black metal status quo.

The atmosphere and melancholy of the first song make the angular math of the guitars more balanced, and they get into some proggy abstraction on “Unity of Opposites” to the point that it might be too much like free-jazz for even Deathspell Omega fans. Like it or not, the band has to be applauded for doing their own thing. Continue reading »

Mar 042018
 

 

I would have started this post with the new At the Gates song, but DGR is including that in a big round-up for Monday, and I don’t want to steal his thunder because I’m too interested in reading his take (I know he likes the song, as do I). But I am beginning with another melodeath band for whom I also have a soft spot, so it’s all good.

By the way, by the time you read this I’ll be in Iceland, with a bunch of friends from Seattle. The main object of the trip is the third and final edition of Oration Fest in Reykjavik this week, but because we have days on either side of that, I assume we’ll also explore the environs beyond the capital city.

Because of this metal-filled vacation, I think it’s likely that the volume of posts at our site will decline this coming week. I have agreed to write one (but only one) premiere each day, and my NCS comrades have some things in the works, plus I’ve learned not to underestimate the strength of my blog addiction. For example, unless jet lag completely short-circuits my own biological batteries, I do have some ideas for a SHADES OF BLACK post in the near future. Continue reading »

May 032016
 

Roadburn-2016-OfficalArtwork1

 

The 2016 edition of the Roadburn festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands, is now in the history books. It was the first edition of the festival to be presented at the newly renovated 013 venue, and it boasted a typically impressive and diverse line-up of bands. While none of the NCS scribes was on hand for this year’s event, we do have beautiful photos of many of the performances, thanks to Kris T. Therrian of 17 seconds photography.

We’ve divided these photo collections into four parts, one for each day of the festival, and we’re rolling them out on successive days here at our site. You can see photos from Day One here. The remaining two installments will appear over the next two days. Many thanks to Kris for letting us share these memories with you. For more info about her work, visit these links: Continue reading »

Dec 182015
 

Lychgate-An Antidote for the Glass Pill

 

(We present this guest review of a fine album by Allen Griffin, who makes his first appearance at our site.)

Dedicated fans of Extreme Metal often suffer from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to finding bands who can competently produce the sounds they yearn for. What these same fans often lack are acts that can provide a sense of surprise and excitement, a feeling we might not have felt since the early days of diving headlong into the genre.

This is what makes Lychgate’s second full-length, An Antidote for Glass Pills, such a startling discovery. This group consists of Vortigern, also of The One (vocals), G.A. Chandler, also of U.K. group Esoteric (vocals), T.J.F.Vallely of Macabre Omen (drums and percussion), S.D. Lindsley (guitar), A.K. Webb (bass), K.J. Bowyer (organ), and F.A. Young (piano). Obviously, with some members being involved with other well-known projects (at least in underground circles), there is some indication this is a side-project, which would be a shame as this group seems to be at least the equal of just about any band out there. Continue reading »

Jun 292015
 

 

I was outside all day yesterday, untethered from my computer, and astonishingly did not spontaneously combust as do most vampires exposed to the sun. I had some plans for today’s first post that I intended to execute this morning, but those plans did go up in a burst of flames when I awoke to discover three new songs by three favorite bands that premiered over the last 24 hours. Here they are:

JUST BEFORE DAWN

Sweden’s Just Before Dawn, who have been a fixture at our site since the band’s first release, have just delivered a new single named “Graves Without Crosses“. For this new song, JBD mastermind Anders Biazzi (guitars, bass) is joined by vocalist Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud, Skineater, Syn:drom) — who also mixed and mastered the track — and drummer Fredrijk Van Daaten (Ashcloud), with a finishing guitar solo contributed by Håkan Stuvemark (Wombbath, Skineater). As expressed in Jonny Petterson’s lyrics, the song is dedicated to the heroes of war — “not the ones mentioned in the history books”, but

“the forgotten souls that fight side by side in a rain of fire, the ones to defy a hail of bullets, to give their life, not for the cause or the country, but for their brothers in arms!!” Continue reading »

May 222015
 

 

In February of this year I came across the debut of a song from the new album by LychgateAn Antidote for the Glass Pill —  that stopped me dead in my tracks. That song (“Letter XIX”) was so striking, and so strikingly different, that I became both intrigued and anxious to hear more. And now the time has arrived when we can all hear more, because we have the privilege of premiering a second track from the album: “An Acousmatic Guardian“.

Lychgate features the talents of vocalist/guitarist Greg Chandler (Esoteric) and guitarist/organist/keyboardist Vortigern (The One, Spearhead), as well as T.J.F. Vallely (Macabre Omen) on drums, A.K. Webb (Ancient Ascendant) on bass, and  guitarist S.D. Lindsley. Together they have created some very distinctive and unusually compelling music. Continue reading »

Feb 132015
 

Presented below, for your entertainment and edification, is a collection of songs and videos I discovered this morning. All but one are new. All are recommended. No two of them sound alike.

LEVIATHAN

Within the last couple of days Noisey published an interview of Leviathan’s Jef Whitehead by Drew Millard, preceded by Millard’s thoughts about the subject of the interview (“Whitehead’s a scary guy”). If you want to read that, the link is below. But the main point of attraction to me was an accompanying premiere of a new song from Leviathan’s forthcoming album, Scar Sighted (due for release by Profound Lore on March 3). Below, I’ve included the Soundcloud stream for that, too. Continue reading »

Dec 172013
 

Before this morning I was already excited about something coming our way in 2014 from Gilead Media, that oh-so-tasteful little label run by Adam Bartlett in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I’m talking, of course, about the 2014 GILEAD FEST coming next July 18-20. I’m planning to go, in part because one of my favorite co-workers is actually a native of Oshkosh and seems interested in attending the show even though he’s not a metalhead (though he has an amazing array of other musical tastes, with that one glaring omission). I’ll remind you after the jump who is scheduled to play at that festival.

But the point of this post is to provide additional reasons to be excited, because today Adam provided a full rundown of the Gilead release schedule for 2014. And man, there are a lot of gems on the line-up. For example, on February 25, Gilead will be release Heathen, the fourth album from doom titans Thou. And on the same day, Gilead will be releasing a self-titled 12″ from Geryon, the bass-and-drum death metal project of Nick McMaster and Lev Weinstein (which I’ve already had the pleasure of hearing, and it’s great). You can see the cover art for both of those after the jump.

And there’s more. Here’s the rest of the Gilead release schedule following those two lead-offs for 2014, along with Adam Bartlett’s notes about each one: Continue reading »