Jul 172022
 

 

As you could already deduce from the previous two posts at this site, in recent days I found more than the usual amount of time I could devote to new music. My day job left me alone, or I ignored it, and I shrugged off household chores too. Baseball presented the only serious competition, because a certain team in the Pacific Northwest is on a historic winning streak (and I hope I didn’t just jinx them by mentioning that).

Focusing on black metal for purposes of this column, I settled on one dazzling album, a collection of quite varied “singles” from forthcoming records, and a new video. You’ll also find poetry.

SCARCITY (U.S.)

Scarcity‘s new album Aveilut (a Hebrew word for mourning) is difficult to describe. In part because it’s a single 45-minute composition, and in part because the trip maneuvers and whipsaws us through a spectacular labyrinth, it defies efforts to explain that “this happens, and then that happens, and then this other thing happens”. How tedious that would be, despite the hope that mapping the album would make it easier to comprehend.

Trying to pick out signal moments as illustrations of the music wouldn’t work very well either, because there are so many, and because they dramatically diverge from each other. Continue reading »

Jul 072022
 

(Andy Synn hopes that this is not the end for Mantar)

I discovered something this weekend. Something which shook me to my very core.

Did you know there are some people out there who don’t like Mantar?!

I mean, to be clear, I don’t expect every person to like every band – that would be madness – but before this weekend I’d never encountered anyone who actively disliked Mantar before.

Honestly, I’m still shaken by this particular revelation… but maybe the band’s new album will be able to change a few hearts and minds?

Continue reading »

Jun 182022
 

 

A Friday night spent carousing followed by a lazy Saturday morning doesn’t make a good predicate for a Saturday music roundup. And yes, I was languid this morning, rather than hungover, after exercising rare restraint on the alcohol last night. But though functional today, I wasn’t feeling motivated. The cool, gray, damp weather outside may have had something to do with that. While the rest of the country seems to be an oven, I was luxuriating in a Pacific Northwest gift.

And then, and then, I still spent an hour and a half flitting through a list of new songs and videos I’d made in as the week went by. Finally, I made these picks.

MANTAR (U.S./Germany)

Mantar have a new look, at least for the video you’re about to see, and new stylistic ingredients in the music too, but they haven’t forsaken their visceral intensity. It pours out through the vocals, which reach shattering zeniths (and also bring Kurt Cobain to mind at times), and through the angst-ridden but soaring riffs and keys, and the booming and battering drums. It’s also damned difficult to get out of the head once you’ve heard it. Continue reading »

Apr 092022
 


Mantar – pic by Matthis van der meulen

 

I was a hamster last week, racing along the treadmill at my day job, with the only apparent signs of progress being motion and the cage filling up with shit. Oh lordie, while I was spinning that wheel the NCS in-box and other message accounts filled up with a lot of shit too — the good shit!

Based on my pawing through it this morning, I found a lot to share, as you’re about to discover in a very wide-ranging musical excursion. But since I’ve now got to go scrub my paws with lye you won’t find my frothy words or cover art in as much abundance as usual.

MANTAR (Germany)

Let’s begin with a new song and video from one of our favorite bands. I have a long list of people (none whom I personally know) that I’d like to hang low so the rats can get ’em because they make life more miserable by their existence. I’d like to beat and scorch them with this song before they take the drop, though they won’t deserve the song’s great chorus. Continue reading »

Jul 032020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new covers EP by the German band Mantar, (a favorite at our site since the beginning), which is out now on Brutal Panda Records.)

Is it just me, or has it been a hell of a long week?

I’m not just talking about things here at NCS either. My job has been keeping me extra busy every single day, and between that and trying to balance things at home and with the band… it seems like I haven’t had a moment to spare, and right now I honestly feel like I could sleep for a week.

Because of that, because of everything that’s been going on, I’ve decided that I wanted to end the week on something a little bit more “fun”. After all, the only reason any of us write here for NCS (it’s certainly not for fame or fortune) is because we enjoy it. And if we’re not enjoying it, then what’s the point?

Thankfully it didn’t take me long to settle on what to write about, as not only are Mantar one of my favourite bands of the last decade but their new covers EP is one hell of way to pay tribute to the group’s influences and inspirations. Continue reading »

May 222020
 

 

Time for me to resort to this format again in an effort to pack in as many new songs and videos as I can — a format that’s short on words (and cover art) and long on sounds. I’ve alphabetized the selections by band name and then divided this mega-roundup into two Parts. Part 2 isn’t quite finished, so you’ll have to tune in here tomorrow to catch the rest.

CONVOCATION (Finland)

We begin with frightening yet enthralling funeral doom that has the gravitational force of a black hole yet also levitates — monstrous groaning and pounding heaviness speared by gleaming shards and surrounded by shimmering effervescence and shuddering feverishness, with a haunting instrumental break and an atmosphere that becomes one of ominous majesty.  The variable vocals (both harsh and clean) are absolutely stunning in their intensity, to the point of being terrifying…. and presented through a video that’s also fascinating. Continue reading »

Feb 082019
 

 

In the famous phrasing of Browning, my reach exceeded my grasp yesterday. After finishing a pair of premieres and a very large two-part round-up of new music, my brain was fried and my NCS time had expired, and so I had to skip a day in the rollout of this list. But now, to resume, prepare to get blasted to smithereens….

The great thing about getting blasted by songs like these two, and the reason they’re on this list, is because you want to get blasted by them over and over again, every time you’ve put your pieces back together again. Or at least I do.

PIG DESTROYER

The latest Pig Destroyer album surprised some people (a dismaying surprise in some quarters), but it really shouldn’t have. As DGR put in his NCS review, “chaotic-ping-ponging around the metal genre-sphere” has been the band’s bread and butter, with their discography “translating to never quite knowing what you’ll get upon first picking up a new release, outside of the band’s trademark speed”.

In the case of Head Cage (again quoting DGR), it represented “the hardest right turn the band have made yet — like a car screeching against the outside railings of a highway off-ramp — taking on a groove-heavy sound in the midst of all that grind, resulting in an album that is overall far less chaotic than what they’ve put forth before, and also a hell of a lot of shameless ‘fun’”. Continue reading »

Aug 222018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the German duo Mantar, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on August 24th.)

There comes a moment, in every band’s career (ok, not every band’s career) when they need to decide whether to “go big or go home”.

And it looks like that time has finally come for Mantar, as The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze is easily the biggest, boldest, and most shamelessly bombastic, album of their short but celebrated career, and is practically crying out to be performed on bigger stages and in front of even bigger crowds. Continue reading »

Jul 312018
 

 

As you can see, I have enough new songs and videos I’d like to recommend that I’ve divided them into two parts. I thought the first three in Part 1 belonged together because they all rock, albeit in very different ways. The first two are explosive, the third one crushes, and although the fourth one blasts instead of rocks, it reconnects with the energy of the first two and rockets it into the clouds.

THE CROWN

Our reviewer proclaimed Cobra Speed Venom as the best album by The Crown since the pinnacle of their career (which he identified as Possessed 13), and perhaps their best album, period, with the band “displaying a reckless sense of abandon” while putting “a lot of emphasis on fist-pumping anthemic melody”.

I also loved the album, and the song that’s the subject of the band’s new video is probably might favorite of all the tremendous ones to be found within Cobra Speed Venom. Continue reading »

Jul 022018
 

 

We have a couple of fine premieres coming later today, and because I devoted some time to writing about those, I didn’t have time to prepare a full SEEN AND HEARD round-up for this Monday — but with a few spare minutes and a bit of a lag in our publication schedule before the first of those premieres is due to arrive, I thought I’d give you a quick hit — two recent songs that made very positive impressions when I heard them this weekend. I might have time for another one of these posts in between those two premieres as well.

MANTAR

I may have mentioned before that Mantar are one of my favorite bands on the planet. And without meaning to detract from the impact of their recordings, they have become one of my favorites because of their live performances, which I’ve been lucky to witness on three occasions. The power and electrifying impact of what these two do on stage can’t really be captured in a studio, in part because they’re so riveting to watch.

Having said that, I’m still eager to hear their new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on August 24th. Continue reading »