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 »

Apr 272017
 

 

(In this post Andy Synn reviews the new EPs by Mantar, Maré, and Mesarthim.)

So I’ve officially now reached a point where I am so far behind in my writing that the balance has fully shifted into the negative, with more new albums and EPs being added to my review queue – almost on a daily basis – than are being scratched off of it.

What to do, what to do…?

Well, the only answer, it seems, is to hammer out a bunch of quick reviews, and try to make some sort of dent in the ever-growing pile of streams and promos currently clogging up my inbox/mp3 player.

So, without further ado, here’s three great EPs, two from bands we’ve covered before, and one from an entirely new discovery of mine. Continue reading »

Feb 112017
 

 

Happy Saturday to one and all, and if you’re not feeling particularly happy, maybe the recommended new music collected herein will improve your mood.

This is another Seen and Heard post, but with a title that’s more specific to the music I chose for this collection. Most of it could be considered shades and phases of death metal or, in the case of the first item, death-themed.

MANTAR

The Spell snuck up on me. I learned about it yesterday through an e-mail from Nuclear Blast Records that included a link to the lyric video you’re about to see. Like virtually everything else I’ve heard from Mantar, it exploded my brain. Continue reading »

Jan 042017
 

 

This is Part 3 of our continuing list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. To see the first two installments and an explanation of the criteria for making the selections, go here.

MARTYRDÖD

Anyone who saw my review of List won’t be surprised to find a song from the album on this list. I came close to embarrassing myself with how effusively I praised it. Hands down, it’s one of my favorite releases in an incredibly strong year for metal. Continue reading »

Dec 152016
 

listmania-2016

 

(Andy Synn’s week-long series of year-end lists continues with his personal list of The Critical Top Ten for 2016. Click these links to see his lists of the year’s Great Albums, the Good Albums, and the Disappointments.)

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I always wind-up my week-long retrospective with two lists, the “Critical Top Ten” and the “Personal Top Ten”.

Now the second one is probably pretty self-explanatory, in that it’s just a list of the ten albums I’ve loved, lived with, and listened to the most this year. It’s really just a snapshot of my personal listening habits/tastes over the last twelve months.

The idea behind this one possible needs some explaining though.

You see the “Critical Top Ten” is where I try (as best I can) to remove my own personal biases and downplay any favouritism and instead attempt to name the ten albums (unranked) which I feel honestly represent the best of the best from the last year in Metal. Continue reading »