Jan 202012

We hardly ever actually “plan” anything around here.  Impulse is in the driver’s seat most of the time.  But sometimes a pattern develops despite the absence of design, and this week our content has been heavier than usual with videos and album art. Yesterday I saw even more eye-catching artwork for forthcoming albums, so I’m collecting them here (along with some music, of course).


This long-running avant-garde Norwegian band is one I learned about through readers on this site back in the early days of NCS. What with all the clean singing, I didn’t immediately love the music, but I’ve developed an appreciation for what they do, and so I’m interested in the new studio album they recorded with Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (OpethParadise LostKatatonia) in Örebro, Sweden. The album is titled Urd and will be released on March 26 in Europe and March 27 in North America via Century Media Records.

The eye-catching album art was designed by Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco, who did the cover for this band’s previous Universal album. He has also created album art for many other bands, some of which we’ve featured here, including BelphegorEinherjer, Dimmu Borgir, The Faceless, Noctem, and Keep of Kalessin.

The cover for Urd captures the look and feel of a Nordic wood carving. More info about the design and the album can be found on a post at Borknagar’s official site, here. As for the clean singing, the new album will feature three pretty talented vocalists working together – Vintersorg, Lars Nedland, and ICS Vortex. One of the heavier tracks from the band’s last album comes right after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 132010

Lift yourselves from your Sunday morning slumbers and feast your carnivorous ears on the wonders of Keep of Kalessin. We could run off at the mouth with genre labels and call this Norwegian band’s just-released fifth album blackened, paganized, anthemic, proggy, power melodic death metal. Or, we could keep it simple and just call Reptilian dragon metal. You know, simple things for simple people.

Thematically, Keep of Kalessin has always included elements of fantasy and folklore in their music. “Kalessin” itself is the name of the arch-dragon in the wonderful Earthsea trilogy written by Ursula K. Le Guin between 1968 and 1972. But in Reptilian, Keep of Kalessin  have given themselves over entirely to the worship of “claw and fang,” in homage to the imagined reawakening of the “reptilian king of kings.” And musically, the creative fires in the lair of these dragonlords have never burned hotter.

We were first drawn to this album back in April by the announcement of its amazing cover art by Brazilian graphic designer Marcelo Vasco, and we included it in the first installment of our “Eye-Catchers” series. At that point, we had one track from the forthcoming album (“The Awakening”) available to us on the band’s MySpace page, and were bowled over by it. Now, we’ve heard the entire album, and it’s filled to overflowing with draconic treasure.  (more after the jump, including a track for you to hear . . .) Continue reading »