Feb 232019


I’m going to regret this. Hell, I already regret it, mainly because the critique I’m about to present will drive more clicks to the article I’m criticizing (whose main purpose was obviously to attract clicks in the first place), but also because the full back-story leading to the points I want to make is only slightly shorter than War and Peace; tedium might be the only victor in this exercise.

So why am I writing this despite those regrets? I’ll come back to the reason in due course. But first, the back story, which I’ve slightly condensed in an effort to combat tedium-induced catatonia. Continue reading »

Nov 022011

NCS is planning some boffo coverage of the inaugural Metal Suckfest sponsored by MetalSucks, which is set to begin at New York’s Gramercy Theater on November 4. Our roving reporter BadWolf will be on site along with talented photographer Nick Vechery, and we’re expecting cutting-edge show reports, band interviews, scene commentary, and pics of back-stage carnal activity unmatched by any other organ of responsible metal journalism. Whether BadWolf and Nick survive for their return trip home to Ohio remains to be seen. As a prelude to all the carnage, BadWolf managed to snag some quality time with MetalSucks’ co-creator Axl Rosenberg.

-Could you give me a narrative of MetalSucks’ origin story — it’s often alluded to but seldom divulged.

Sure. It all started when my mom met my dad, and discovered the hard way those discount birth control pills she’d been buying from the “doctor” who lived in the van down the block, were, in fact, Tic Tacs. Then —

Oh, you probably want me to skip ahead a bunch. Okay. So basically Vince and I have been friends since we were five years old. And one night we got really stoned — hard to believe, I know — and went to this Children of Bodom/Amon Amarth show in Times Square. And I can’t for the life of me remember what inspired this conversation, but at some point in-between sets, Vince turned to me and was like, “Hey, you know those music blogs like Pitchfork and Idolator?” And I was like, “Yeah.” And he was like, “Why isn’t there one for metal?” And I was like, “I dunno.” And he was like, “Wanna start one?” And I was like, “Okay.”  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Dec 162009


Metal Sucks is currently streaming the debut release from New Jersey’s Binary Code. But they say they’re only doing it for 24 hours — and they started streaming yesterday. So time is flying. Which is why this post is so short. We wanted to help get the word out before the freebie disappears and you actually have to spend a little money to listen. And why do we care? Because we’ve listened to that stream, and this shit is amazing. Technical death metal that will knock your socks off. And because we’ll get the chance to see these dudes live in Seattle on Jan 26 (check out our NW Metal Calendar).

Do it! Go here now! You won’t be sorry.

Dec 052009


Someday we’ll write about a band we don’t like. Promise. But not today. Today is a day to write about Disfiguring the Goddess. We really like Disfiguring the Goddess. And irresistable cosmic forces dictate that we write about DTG today. Why?

Well, first, earlier this week the band made 3 “new” songs available for free download here. Second, soon after that, following a long hiatus, the nearly perfect Metal Sucks website relaunched the “Completely Unreadable Band Logo of the Week” contest. Check it out here. And guess whose logo they chose to use for the re-launch? Well, I mean that’s the point — you’re supposed to guess. But we’ll save you the trouble. The logo featured on Metal Sucks was a cropped version of the image above, the same one you’ll find on the MySpace page for — Disfiguring the Goddess.

Your superstitious Author decided he could ignore this kind of cosmic alignment only at his peril. Besides, this band deserves our Authorial attention here at NCS. DTG is unsigned. Its only available body of work consists of a 6-song promo EP (available on iTunes), a 4-song demo you can scrounge from net download sites, and a few “vocal videos” on YouTube. And as far as we know, DTG has never performed even a single live show. Yet it has developed a large cult following, largely on the strength of Cameron “Big Chocolate” Argon’s vocal prowess and his ability to create music that’s “outside the box” — which is saying something in a musical genre that’s itself way outside the box. The inimitable Sergeant D has written over at Metal Inquisition that Argon has produced “the most brutal, crushing, guttural slamz on Earth.” Gotta agree. Continue reading »

Nov 212009

Welcome to the launch of No Clean Singing and thanks for wasting spending some of your time with us.  Here’s an explanation of what we’re about, who we are, what we plan to do to for you, and what we want you to do for us.  Because this is our opening salvo and mission statement, it’s way too fucking long a bit longer than will be typical:

First Principles (What We’re About)

According to the Font of All Popular Learning, “in philosophy, a first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.”  Here are our “first principles” for this site:

  1. Almost all “popular” music sucks.
  2. Metal doesn’t suck, unless it’s metal with clean singing, which mostly does suck.
  3. Some metal with clean singing doesn’t suck, but that’s an exception to the rule.
  4. Some metal with no clean singing also sucks, but that’s also an exception to the rule.

To elaborate:  In our evolution as metal fans, your Authors have reached the point where  we want to vomit when otherwise promising metal songs with good riffage and crushing drumwork are interrupted by an attack of clean crooning, particularly the breathy, whiny, upper-octave kind of excretions that used to characterize a lot of metalcore but still pops up in even the most unexpected places.  If you know what we mean, then you’ve come to the right place.  If you don’t, then please fuck off move right along.

So, this site is mainly about metal music, but not all metal music.  What we love and what we’ll spend most of our time writing about is extreme metal.  To be clear, what we mean by “extreme metal” is metal with No Clean Singing (“NCS”).  Mostly, we like it fast, punishing, cathartic.  Purely instrumental metal, if done right, fits the NCS bill.  But if someone opens his or her mouth in a song, what comes out better be growling, screaming, or squealing.

Within the realm of NCS Metal, we likes all kinds of shit.   We like brutal, old-school death metal, melodic death metal, tech death, grind, black metal, viking and folk metal, deathcore, progressive metal, doom – and hundreds of other sub-genres that would be too boring to catalogue at length.  (Who thinks up all these genre classifications anyway?)  Your Authors have got their own individual preferences, but as a group we pretty much cover the waterfront.

We even like some extreme metal that is occasionally punctuated by clean singing (see First Principle No. 3 above).  We can’t just cast bands like Opeth and Mastodon into the shit pile, can we?

And we’ll write about a few topics other than extreme metal, too.  More on that below.

Who We Are

Your Authors are three metalheads who live in the Seattle area.  We span a pretty broad range of ages, experiences, interests, and activities.  We’re also related to each other by blood.  One of us is a woman and the other two are guys.  We listen to a lot of extreme metal, but our tastes within the genre are not the same.  We go to lots of metal shows in the Seattle area, including lots of national tours.  None of us has yet spent time in prison.

As you’ll see, we also write with very different “voices.”  (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the older boring guy.  The other two, whose occasional edits to this post I’ve deleted, are, how shall we say, more out there.)

What We Plan To Do For You

We’re going to do our best to add posts to this site every day.  Some of these posts will be regular features – reviews of new music releases and music videos, concert reviews, metal news, and random observations about the scene, among other things.   Every now and then, we’ll write about Exceptions to the Rule (see First Principle No. 3).

Because we live in Seattle, some of what’s on this site will be geared to what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest, but most of the content won’t be limited in that way.

Here’s one thing that will be Seattle-focused:  We’ve created a page called NW Metal Calendar, which will always be linked on the home page.  On this page we’ll collect in one place a listing of NCS Metal performances scheduled in Seattle, and sometimes elsewhere in the Northwest – bands, dates, and venues – and we’ll update it as we learn about new shows.  Your Authors don’t agree completely about which bands are worth listing, but we’re listing all bands that any of us think should be on there.

Our focus will be extreme metal, but we care about other stuff too, and we’ll write (occasionally) about some of our other interests – movies, video games, and books.  We’ll also have a feature called Mosh Pit — random observations about what’s happening in the non-metal world (we hate to venture out into that world, but as someone said, life ain’t fair).

And, because we care about you, we’ll have a feature called IQ Reduction – stuff you could read, watch, or listen to that would make you stupider if you did it.  We know some of you don’t have much IQ to spare.

What We Want You To Do For Us

One thing that sets metal apart from most other music is the sense of community.   Let’s be honest:  most people hate extreme metal and can’t begin to understand why anyone likes it.  Fuck them.Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.  The fact that so many people form bands in this genre, record music, tour, and throw themselves body and soul into this scene despite the fact that the fan base is relatively tiny and there’s no money in it still blows our minds.  To use a cliché, it’s us against the rest of the deluded, rapacious, ass-sucking world.  Really.

We want to bring that sense of community to this site, and to do that we need to hear from you.  We want your comments.  We want to read what’s on your minds.  And if you’ll speak up, we’ll respond.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

There’s a shit-ton of metal blogs and web sites out there.  Most of them suck.  We may suck, too.  I’m sure you’ll tell us if we do.

But there are two metal sites that definitely don’t suck:  MetalSucks and Reign in Blonde.  Those sites are in a league of their own.  Great writing, interesting perspectives, timely content, cool personalities.  They are what we aspire to.  They provided our inspiration.  If we could copy them without being sued be a West Coast version of MS/RIB, we would.

Having said that, we’re under no illusions about what we can pull off here.  Your Authors have all got “day jobs,” we don’t have the near-encyclopedic knowledge of metal that the writers on MetalSucks and RIB have, and we certainly don’t have their contacts and connections in the industry.  But we hope to make this endeavor good enough to draw you back here.  Horns up!