Jan 222012

I’ve been catching up on metal news today and came across news of three upcoming U.S. tours that are . . . newsworthy, to say the least.

I’m guessing this first one will be old news to many of you, since it surfaced on Friday, but it has sure produced some tumescence in your humble editor’s loins today. BehemothWatainThe Devil’s Blood, and In Solitude will be hitting the road for The Decibel Magazine Tour, a 26-date trail of wreckage across the U.S. starting in April. It will be the first Behemoth tour for Nergal since being diagnosed with and beating leukemia. That’s a cool tour flyer by Justin Bartlett up there, too.

More details, including tour dates, venues and ticket info, will be announced at www.decibelmagazinetour.com on January 24th.

But that’s just for starters. Mastodon’s Troy Sanders recently confirmed that his band plus Opeth and Ghost will be embarking on a North American tour of their own. During a recent interview at a Belgian radio station, Sanders stated: “We go to Australia to take part in the Soundwave Festival, which is going to be lovely, take a short break. Do a North American tour with Opeth and Ghost. And then take another break and come back over here for the European festival season.”

I have a feeling a few people will buy tickets for that tour. No further details are available at this time. (found this news via Loudwire)

And that’s not all. Would you believe a 30-date tour of the U.S. this summer by Agalloch?!? Continue reading »

Jan 142012

It seems like many “best of the year” lists include a category of “honorable mentions”. I don’t know how artists feel about being included in an “honorable mention” list. I would guess they feel pretty meh about it, or maybe even worse than that. The list-maker is sort of saying, “this was good, but not as good as the 10 or 20 albums that I thought were the best.” Thanks a fucking lot, you douchebag!

I have an honorable mention list to accompany our list of 2011’s “most infectious” extreme metal songs, which I finally finished rolling out yesterday. But this isn’t the typical “honorable mention” list. These aren’t songs that I omitted because I didn’t think they were quite as good as the ones on my list. They were on my “master list” of candidates, and I omitted them only because I decided I couldn’t honestly say they were “extreme metal songs”. Maybe some of you will think I already violated that rule with other songs on the list and I’m therefore acting inconsistently. Could be.

Anyway, consistent or not, here are four songs from the master candidate list that I thought were mighty infectious and mighty good, but not extreme enough to make the final cut.


This band’s 2011 two-disc album Svartir Sandar has blown up their profile far beyond the shores of that place of ice and fire they call home. In a word, the album is amazing. It’s full of ice and fire, too, but it also includes slow, melancholy, emotionally powerful songs like “Fjara”. Continue reading »

Nov 302011

I bet this will sound better than Loutallica.

According to a comment by Mastodon’s Troy Sanders, the band will collaborate with a Canadian singer named Feist on a limited-edition 7-inch single due next year. According to this article from The Guardian, the Canadian singer was introduced to Mastodon on a BBC TV show called Later … with Jools Holland and thought “these two worlds [should] collide”.

“We’re going to do everything we can to work with Feist and have a split 7-inch to support independent record stores,” Sanders told MTV Canada . The next international Record Store Day will take place on April 21, 2012. “The idea is for Mastodon to cover a Feist song and throw some hair and dirt on it. [Then Feist will] take a Mastodon song and pretty it up a little bit.”

According to reports, the two acts got the idea in late October, when Feist performed songs from her album Metals and Mastodon performed some of their songs on that BBC show. Feist told HitFix: “[Mastodon frontman] Brent [Hinds] and I were nodding at each other, and he’s like, ‘Nice riff,’ and I’m like ‘Nice tone,'” she said. “So backstage I’m thinking about letting these two worlds collide, how they should collide, so I’m like, ‘How about Metals meeting metal?’ Brent was like: ‘Well, I do like that “Bad in Each Other” song, I could see that.’ Maybe now I will look into learning to cover “Oblivion” or anything off [The Hunter]. That album’s amazing.”

Hmmm, two worlds colliding. When has that happened recently? Will this be a Loutallica-style train wreck or something that can actually be heard without experiencing a wave of nausea? In an effort to anticipate the answer to that question, I watched the video of Feist performing that song “Bad In Each Other” on Later . . . with Jools Holland. Continue reading »

Oct 102011

(NCS writer BadWolf provides his take on Mastodon’s new album, The Hunter.)

A whole lot of misconceptions are flying around about Mastodon’s The Hunter. There is so much bullshit coming from so many remote corners of the metalliverse that conversation about The Hunter matches the album—scattershot.

People, including Mastodon themselves, would have you think The Hunter is some sort of radical departure from their past. It’s not. It doesn’t even break the ‘element’ theme Mastodon has been using—the cover art is a wooden structure, and many songs mention plants, wood, or the woods in general.

The press has called it a pseudo-successor to Remission, but those people have got to be on the brown acid. The Hunter resembles Blood Mountain more than anything. Both records take their predecessors as templates and run them through a million experiments. Traditional rock structures save these various experiments, otherwise they would spiral into incomprehension.

And the greatest insanity—people are calling this a bid for radio success. Yes, it’s an album of singles, especially “Curl of the Burl,” but there is a distinct schizophrenia to Mastodon that mainstream America just won’t accept. The album is an insane jumble of mellowness and aggression, electronic and organic. EG: “Thickening,” where delicate melodies play over turgid downbeat sludge. The choruses have gotten more decipherable and feel-good, but the verses are still abstract. Without an overarching storyline to anchor them, individual songs flicker from genius to batshit and back. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 242011

Most of the time I act on impulse and the rest of the time I over-think things. Yesterday or the day before, both Mastodon and Opeth released new music videos for songs from their new albums. I had already posted new videos yesterday from The Devin Townsend Project and Dark Tranquillity, but because Mastodon and Opeth don’t use the initials “DT”, I decided to skip them.

Actually, I decided to skip them because, by the time I found out they had been released, I figured that anyone who cared about those bands had already seen them via some other metal blog or elsewhere. I think that qualifies as over-thinking things. Both videos are good, some people who visit NCS don’t read other metal blogs, and just because I was going to be late to the party doesn’t mean I should ignore the party, so . . . both videos are now viewable the jump.

Mastodon’s is for a song called “Curl of the Burl”. The song is okay, with a nice stoner riff running through it, but it probably isn’t going to join my list of Mastodon favorites. The video is freaky to watch, though. I especially liked the boobs shining as bright as headlights. And if anyone can figure out what that backwoods cretin is snorting in his cabin, please clue me in.

Opeth’s video is for “The Devil’s Orchard” and, like the Mastodon video, it appears to be a drug-induced dream. Some of the psychedelic images are cliched, but the video as a whole is still very well done and fun to watch, and it complements the song quite well. I just wish I liked the song more. Continue reading »

Sep 202011

Thanks to Heavy Blog Is Heavy, I just found out that Mastodon has released a video that includes the entirety of Hunter, their new album scheduled for release next Tuesday. You can view it after the jump.

I decided not to delay this post by listening to and watching the stream. Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think. My fucking day job is probably going to stop me from immersing myself in this until tonight. So, let me know: Should I do that or should I watch the premiere of X Factor instead? Continue reading »

Sep 172011

As a public service, I thought I’d let you know about two North American tours I just noticed yesterday, plus two others announced earlier but not previously mentioned at NCS. The first of the newer ones is advertised by the poster above. What caught my eye, in addition to the name Korpiklaani, was the fact that Russia’s Arkona is on this tour. Arkona is a recent discovery for us here at NCS, thanks to our friend Trollfiend, who provided a guest review of the band’s new album Slovo. Also included on the tour are Polkadot Cadaver and Forged in Flame. I don’t yet know anything about those two bands, but I’m very tempted to see this show simply because of Arkona (though I like Korpiklaani, too), especially because the Seattle stop will be at a relatively small club.

The second tour is the 2011 edition of Thrash and Burn. This has been a summer tour since its inception, but it was a no-show in the summer just past and now appears to have emerged as a re-branding of Winds of Plague’s fall headlining tour. Following in the footsteps of Summer Slaughter, Winds of Plague and the promoters of this tour nominated a group of bands to fill the last tour slot and let fans vote for a winner. A couple days ago, the winner was announced, and it’s Volumes. Interestingly, Volumes was also one of the nominated bands on the Summer Slaughter ballot, but didn’t make the cut that time and instead were included on the Slaughter Survivors Tour. Volumes has a new album called Via that’s getting some buzz, though I haven’t heard it yet.

The rest of the bands on this version of Thrash and Burn are Chelsea Grin, As Blood Runs Black, For the Fallen Dreams, Upon A Burning Body, In the Midst of Lions, and Like Moths to Flames. In other words, the tour should be renamed Deathcore and Burn. No tour schedule has yet been announced.

I must admit that among the fall tours we haven’t yet mentioned at this site, I’m personally more interested in the Mastodon/Dillinger Escape Plan/Red Fang tour and the Mayhem/Keep Of Kalessin/Hate/Abigail Williams tour (which will be joined by Woe on 13 dates not yet specified). The schedules for the Korpiklaani tour and those others I just mentioned are after the jump. Continue reading »

Sep 062011

Here are four things that got my attention earlier today. I’m betting that everyone who reads this will be interested in at least one of these items. And, just in case that’s a bad guess, we have porn after the jump.


I don’t think I have to do anything but excerpt these quotes from the Metal Blade press release. It was enough for me.

Cannibal Corpse has begun recording their twelfth studio album at Sonic Ranch studios in Texas with producer Erik Rutan. The band has spent months writing the album and has recorded at Sonic Ranch in the past, but never with Rutan at the helm. More details on the album, including art, songs, title and more will be revealed in the months to follow. For now, the band is hard at work forging their next death metal offering.

Erik Rutan worked with Cannibal Corpse for both Kill (2006) and Evisceration Plague (2009) and is returning for a third time. Rutan explains further: “I am super excited to work with Cannibal Corpse for our 3rd album together. We are determined to make the best album we possibly can. Everyone is very focused and the new material is awesome. There is a great blend of classic, old school CC with a newer, more heavy, dynamic and aggressive approach. I look forward to the challenge of making one heavy as hell record!”

(more after the jump, including porn . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 252011


Up above? Those are the lyrics to “Black Tongue”, a song from Mastodon‘s new album, The Hunter. And just below is the song itself, which was copied earlier today from a radio stream and spread like wildfire around the web. According to Mastodon’s Facebook page, more about the album (including more music?) was to be revealed at www.mastodonrocks.com at about 9:00 PST tonight. And sho’ nuff — now we have an actual official Mastodon video for “Black Tongue”:

Jul 072011

Can you guess what the update is? Go ahead, make a guess! I’ll even give you a hint. It involves three mouths, four sets of ears, scales, and horns.

Yes! It’s the just-revealed cover art for Mastodon’s next album, The Hunter. It’s not your typical metal-album style of artwork, and it’s not the work of Paul Romano, who was the artist behind all of Mastodon’s previous cover art. Instead, it was created by AJ Fosik, a wood carver who’s also responsible for the backdrop the band uses in their live shows. 

I think it’s damned cool, not only in the composition, but also in the use of vivid colors. You can see some of AJ Fosik’s other work at this location. It’s damned cool, too.

Mastodon is currently in Europe for a summer-long tour that includes all the dates on this year’s Sonisphere festival as well as the Rock Im Park, Rock Am Ring, and Roskilde festivals, among others. The band is also scheduled to play a one-off show at The Gorge near Seattle on July 30, with Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age, and the venerable Meat Puppets.

Speaking of the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, after the jump we’ve got some quality fan-filmed video of Mastodon’s July 1, 2011 performance there. Continue reading »