Dec 062013
 

(In this post, guest writer Tal — whose own blog is here — forcefully expresses some opinions about the shirt emblazoned with the above image released by the band Mastodon for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. As always, Comments are welcome.)

In case you haven’t been on the internet since before Thanksgiving, Mastodon decided to mark that holiday by putting out a really tasteless shirt. The shirt, which shows a male Pilgrim pointing a musket at a kneeling, scantily clad, stereotypical image of a Native American woman holding up a turkey, has drawn outraged responses from members of Native communities (for example here and here). The band seem to think that they are doing something to raise awareness; they wrote on Facebook:

“Regarding our thanks giving shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today. this shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling.”

They felt the need to add: “we may have a sick sense of humor, but we are far from being ‘Racist’ as some of you who might not get it are calling us.” (What’s actually chilling is that this post had over 4,000 likes as of the writing of this article.)

Mastodon in effect dismisses the criticisms leveled at their choice of imagery by implying that the critics don’t “get” the shirt or somehow don’t believe that Native Americans were massacred at the hands of white settlers, when this is not the problem at all. The problem is not their message, but the way they’ve chosen to execute it, and the band’s response just makes it worse. Continue reading »

Dec 052013
 

(In this guest post, Booker identifies works of literature that he was inspired to read as a result of metal, along with the specific music that provided the push. If you’ve had similar experiences, we’d like to hear about them in the Comments, along with any thoughts you might have about Booker’s post.)

Well, if you’re reading NCS, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that metal is one of mankind’s greatest creations. When I’m feeling generous I’d even expand that to music in general. You know what one of human beings’ other greatest creations is? Sending humans to an orbiting lunar body in specially controlled atmospheric craft and protective suits? Pfft, no! Using a modified virus to evoke lasting immune responses to deadly diseases? Meh.

What I’m talking about is writing. That’s right, writing, without which those other achievements wouldn’t even be possible. When you think about it, it’s pretty mind-blowing that we can scrawl lines on paper, and now digital displays, and someone else can look at those hieroglyphics and almost instantaneously discern meaning, enabling us to convey ideas and thoughts to someone else without even talking to them! From one side of the planet to another, or even from one mind to another across the abyss of time and the divide of death. Think about that after smoking a few pipes (oh my god, it’s like there’s people reading my mind!… over the internet!… and I’m reading some thoughts from someone who’s dead!… woooaahh).

And with writing came literature (and humorous toilet graffiti).  Not surprisingly, given the vast array of ideas and storylines conveyed by literature, some of those works have in turn inspired musicians to craft musical works covering the same themes, and when metal musicians do it you get what I’d call a veritable orgy of humanity’s greatest creations – metal meets literature, all getting off over each other. That’s what I’m talking about! But what I’m going to cover here is taking this one step further – not just metal albums inspired by literature, but albums/songs/bands that have in turn inspired me to go back to the source and read the inspirational literature in question. Continue reading »

Oct 282013
 

Oh joy! Rapture! Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in ’t!

Okay, I’m just trying to put a good face on another goddamn Monday that blows, like a noxious wind coming off a tire fire. At least we still have beauteous metal, flights of fallen angels to sing us to our rest at nightfall. Here’s a collection of things, in no particular order, seen and heard over the last 24 hours.

MASTODON

I saw that on December 10 Warner Bros. Records will be releasing Mastodon Live At Brixton, a digital-only recording of the band’s live performance at London’s O2 Academy in Brixton on February 11, 2012. That show was part of the band’s world tour in support of their last album The Hunter. I caught another stop on that tour in Seattle, and it was a powerhouse performance.

Interestingly, the digital-only release (which will be sold through Amazon and iTunes) will come in two versions, one that’s audio-only and one that’s a live video version of the 97-minute show. Here’s the set list: Continue reading »

Jul 102013
 

I had the misfortune of being able to spend only an hour total on the internet yesterday between about 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. That made it really difficult to keep up with happenings in the world of metal, especially when so many things happened yesterday (as I later discovered). I mean, hell, even though I did manage to dash off a post about the new Fleshgod Apocalypse song, I couldn’t even listen to it until late last night. I blame my fucking day job.

There’s no realistic way I’m going to catch up, but I’ll at least make a stab at spreading some news I found interesting about some very good bands in the process of cooking up some brand new releases.

KRALLICE AND VJESHITZA

This news item is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, U.S. black metal band Krallice are spending a week in the studio this month recording three songs for a forthcoming split release. According to one of the band’s guitarists, the awesomely talented Colin Marston (also in Gorguts and Dysrhythmia), “all three songs we are recording are shorter than usual for us and perhaps display more diversity. One of the Mick [Barr]-initiated songs is potentially our busiest, ‘progiest’ song yet, whereas his other song is our most restrained and simple piece. My song for this recording is part three of a loose series begun on Diotima—”Litany of Regrets” being part one and “Telluric Rings” being part two. It’s on the dronier, more meditative side, but features very active bass parts. We should end up with a pretty compelling small collection of songs, and then … who knows!?”

Intriguing, no? But the second part of what Colin Marston had to say is equally interesting:

Continue reading »

Jun 292012
 

Yes, I’m still trying out titles for these posts in which I collect metal news, new videos, and new music that I’ve seen recently. I mean no disrespect to any of the bands featured in this post. In my lexicon, “riff-raff” is a compliment, plus I really wanted some alliteration; otherwise I probably would have called this “Rounding Up the Motherfuckers”.

Yesterday I saw and heard a lot of things worth passing on, so I’m dividing this collection into two parts, with the second part to follow a little later this morning. In this Part 1 are observations involving new albums from two excellent bands —Results by Murder Construct and Cold of Ages by Ash Borer — plus a recent live performance by In Mourning caught on film, plus a from-the-horse’s-mouth report on a potential Mastodon collaboration with Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt and In Flames’ Björn Gelotte.

MURDER CONSTRUCT

This band is a super-group of sorts, featuring Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan on vocals, Exhumed/Phobia/Impaled’s Leon del Muerte on guitar and vocals, Intronaut/Uphill Battle’s Danny Walker on drums, Bad Acid Trip’s Caleb Schneider on bass, and Fetus Eaters/Watch Me Burn’s Kevin Fetus also on guitar. The name of their game is death-grind, and I fuckin’ loved their 2010 self-titled debut (described here). Continue reading »

May 092012
 

(We welcome NCS reader Mike Yost with his first guest post for our site, prompted by his experience at the recent Denver stop of the OpethMastodon tour. This post also appears as of today on Mike’s own blog, which you can find here.)

Mastodon finishes shredding the frenzied crowd.  The drummer tosses his sticks into the throng.  The lights go up.

It’s between sets, so I sit with my back against a metal barrier that separates me from the larger crowd below.  I shove in a pair of earbuds, turning up “Black Rose Immortal.”  A twenty-minute Opeth piece of metal magnificence and mayhem that chokes out the white noise of conversations around me.

There’s something about heavy metal that’s primal. Cathartic.  A juxtaposition of raw, exposed animosity eviscerated and dismembered by beauty herself, left on the dusty ground in a pool of blood to die—with a smile.

The lights drop, and I jump to my feet.  I yank out the earbuds.  The crowd stirs.  The only illumination comes from the Fillmore Theater chandeliers hanging from the ceiling—glowing purple.  Movement on the stage.  The crowd starts yelling in anticipation.  I join in.  Blue lights grow bright to illuminate that signature O.  Mikael Akerfeldt walks onto the stage.  Metal ensues. Continue reading »

May 022012
 

On Monday night, April 30, 2012, a group of friends and I eagerly made our way into Showbox SoDo in Seattle to watch and hear Opeth, Mastodon, and Ghost. By the end of the night, we all agreed that it had been an excellent show from start to finish. The acoustics and sound quality in this venue were superb, and each band was firing on all cylinders.

I brought my Samsung TL500 camera with me, which in my clumsy, untrained hands is still more of a mystery than a comfortable tool. Nevertheless, I took pictures of each band — though not for long, because I wanted to immerse myself in the sights and sounds rather than fuck around with the camera. But the damned thing is nearly idiot-proof, and I got some decent pics, considering who took them. The best ones decorate this post.  You can imagine how bad the others look.  But first, a few notes about the performances.

GHOST

I saw this Swedish band a few months ago in a smaller venue, and this performance was virtually a carbon copy of the previous one — except this time I didn’t get to hear them play their cover of “Here Comes the Sun”. After that earlier show, half-drunk and fully delirious, I posted a status on our FB page that to this day has received more “likes” than any of our notices about NCS content: “Any band who can make ‘Here Comes the Sun’ sound evil deserves a blowjob.”

That’s really Ghost’s trick in a nutshell: They write and perform these really catchy, quasi-psychedelic pop-rock songs that would have been right at home when Flower Power was king (except with a heavier low end), yet make them sound infernal. Their costumes and stage presence and the lighting really underscore that satanic aura in a live setting. The visual display is just a kick in the ass to watch. But make no mistake — whoever these dudes are, they are talented musicians, and the Pope has a killer set of pipes.

I don’t know how many people in this packed audience knew what Ghost was about before this show, but I heard lots of grinning metalheads talking about them throughout the night. Continue reading »

Apr 202012
 

(BadWolf brings us the news!)

In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow, April 21st, is Record Store Day, when all sorts of super-cool (mostly) vinyl releases will be available at record stores across the country for one day only.

In fairness, Record Store Day is some hipster shit—the vast majority of these releases are Pitchfork-approved independent releases, or classic rock re-issues. BUT!!! Participating stores will have two Mastodon split-7” records available, one with psych-rockers The Flaming Lips, and one with lo-fi loving singer-songwriter Feist

So far, the split with Feist has been hyped the hardest on metal blogs as well as indie blogs. And now, it’s streaming!

Behold: Continue reading »

Jan 242012
 

“Dude, gimme another huff a that embalming fluid.”

“You wanna go easy on that shit.  Will fuck you up somethin’ fierce.”

“Fuck you man, just pass it over here.”

“I’m serious, you huff too much embalming fluid, you’ll start to see some weird shit. Teeth and eyeballs and skulls and shit.  And space.”

“Yeah, well that would be better than what I’m lookin’ at now.  Just shut the fuck up and pass it over.”

“Okay, moron, your funeral.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

(The song is from The Hunter (one of the best on the album, I think.) The video was directed and animated by Tim Biskup and just premiered at boingboing. Go easy on the embalming fluid.)