Oct 212011
 

You may think that NCS contributor Phro is an American ex-pat living in Japan and splitting his time between teaching English to Japanese and presiding over a vast tentacle-porn industry, but that’s all just a cover. And we’re tired of covering for him. Time to out Phro. Time to reveal THE TRUTH: Phro is a lyricist for Lou Reed and Metallica.

You doubt THE TRUTH? Well, who else could have penned these immortal lyrics from “Pumping Blood” by the infernal collaboration of Lou Reed and Metallica:

“Tied up in leather
Would you take the measure
Of the blood that I pump”

“If I waggle my ass like a dark prostitute
Would you think less of me”

“I will swallow your sharpest cutter
Like a colored man’s dick”

To see all of Phro’s moving lyrics to this tender ode, go past the jump. (If only the music were as good as the words. Actually, to be brutally honest, I know nothing about the music to this song. I would rather have a colonoscopy without anesthesia or shove hot needles up my nose than listen to this song.) Continue reading »

Oct 012011
 

September is behind us. Here in Seattle, it was such a beautiful month that it seemed like nature’s compensation for how late the summer started. Unfortunately, with September’s end, we’re on a short track to the onset of winter, which means about six months of short, cold, grey, ceaselessly wet days. Ain’t that just fuckin’ great?

Well, bitchin’ about the winter ahead won’t change one fucking thing. I prefer to think instead about the deluge of new metal that’s headed our way and try (momentarily) to forget about the deluge of rain on the horizon. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.

You know the drill:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album before August, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. As usual, also feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Jul 052011
 

UK musical comedian Bill Bailey recorded this special message to Metallica during his rehearsals for Sonisphere UK at Knebworth. It made me horn-y:

NCS reader survey question for the day:

What is more metal: Bill Bailey’s performance or St. Anger? Please respond in the Comments.

And, after the jump, you can watch professionally filmed footage of Metallica’s July 3 performance at Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden, which was originally broadcast on the Swedish TV channel SVT. Continue reading »

Jul 012011
 


June is behind us, July lies ahead. Here in the U.S., we’re about to start the long weekend leading up to Independence Day, when Americans celebrate the birth of the nation by buying explosive ordinance wherever fine explosive ordinance is sold and lighting up the night sky (in addition to blowing the shit out of objects and sometimes themselves). People will also be exposing unsightly parts of their bodies wherever sun can be found and eating large quantities of health food prepared on outdoor grills. Our Founding Fathers would be proud of what they wrought!

Because the last month has ended, that means it’s time for another installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album during May or preceding months, we wrote about them in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that we overlooked. Continue reading »

Jun 162011
 

Blabbermouth reported this news this morning:

Metallica’s official web site has been updated with the following message:

“A few months ago our own Kirk Hammett hinted at a new Metallica project that’s ‘not really 100 percent a Metallica record.’ While Kirk may have jumped the gun a little (and has since been properly punished with a series of push-ups!), we are more than proud to announce that we have just completed recording a full-length album that is a collaboration with none other than the legendary Lou Reed.

“Ever since we had the pleasure of performing with Lou at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009, we have been kicking around the idea of making a record together. Some of you astute Bay Area residents may have picked up news of recent Lou Reed sightings in the greater San Francisco area and we have indeed been working at our home studio at [Metallica headquarters in San Rafael, California] on and off over the last few months. In what would be lightning speed for a Metallica-related project, we recorded ten songs during this time and while at this moment we’re not exactly sure when you’ll hear it, we’re beyond excited to share with you that the recording sessions wrapped up last week.”

I’d say this does qualify as news worth reporting. Even though my interest in Metallica has waned significantly in recent years, it’s still Metallica, which means I’ll listen to whatever they release, even though I’ll be holding my breath in anticipation of possible pain. And even though Lou Reed is now about 100 years old, it’s still fucking Lou Reed. First with Velvet Underground and then in his solo releases (and especially Transformer), he broke so much new ground that the word “legendary” isn’t an overstatement.

I’m having real trouble imagining what will result from this collaboration. I doubt it will be metal. I doubt it will be wild. It may be interesting, it may be good, it probably will be awful, but I have to admit I’m intrigued. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 052010
 

Against my better judgment and most of my principles, two days ago I watched the video of the “Big Four” performing on stage together in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 22. In fairness to me, it’s not like I searched for it. I was just scrolling through the latest drivel on Blabbermouth, looking for the occasional item of interest that does occasionally lurk within the drivel, and there it was. All I had to do was click the “play” button.

Still, I paused.   A long time.   For one thing, although I still like Slayer (and “like” is about all the enthusiasm I can muster), Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax have no current relevance to me. The fact that they broke major ground once upon a time doesn’t mean it makes sense for me to listen to their music today, when there are so many other bands I’d rather hear. For another thing, I wasn’t a slobbering fan of most of those bands even when they were current.

And for a final thing, I’ve just grown sick to death of reading about this whole “Big Four” tour. For purposes of this NCS blog, I feel compelled to keep up with current events in metaldom, but to hunt for things that really do interest me, I’ve had to pass through a fecal waterfall of interviews, press releases, and blogger babble about this fucking tour. Enough already!

And for a final, final thing, I knew if I watched the damn video I’d have to see Dave Mustaine.

But I watched it anyway. And as jaded as I am about these bands and this tour, I did get a mild thrill out of seeing all four of them on stage playing together. Certainly not because of the music, because “Am I Evil?” is a forgettable song, and no one in this performance went out of their way to turn it into something better.

That was two days ago. And then yesterday came, and I saw a transcription of an interview Dave Mustaine gave on July 1 in Vienna, and I was vividly reminded all over again why that guy makes me wanna projectile vomit and why I should have passed right over that video without pressing play.    (unfortunately, there’s more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jun 102010
 

Criminal was formed in Santiago, Chile, in the early 90s. They play a blend of thrash and melodic death metal. In February 2009, they released their latest album, White Hell, on Germany’s Massacre Records. In January of this year, they supported Metallica in an open-air concert in Santiago that drew over 55,000 fans.

We’d never listened to Criminal until yesterday, when we randomly decided to check out a new video they’ve released for a song from White Hell called “Incubus”. The video was directed and edited by a Chilean visual artist named Carlos Toro, who has previously worked with Kreator, Vader, Lacrimosa, and Mercenary, among others.

The song itself is pretty good — good enough to interest us in checking out the rest of White Hell. But the video? We’re still trying to make up our minds about it, cuz it’s fucking creepy.

The camera work, special effects, and editing are high-quality. The shots cut back and forth between the band hammering out “Incubus”, some kind of spiraling thing swirling into the air among the band members, and some extremely disturbing scenes of a partially dressed (or totally undressed) old man writhing in agony.

And what’s making him writhe in agony? Someone who doesn’t dig this song might say it’s the music. Or it could be a visual metaphor about the way old people in general react to extreme metal. Or it could be what’s going on underneath this old dude’s wrinkly skin. We’ll let you figure it out for yourselves, after the jump . . . . Continue reading »

Mar 182010
 

Recently, a friend of ours who regularly visits this site gently criticized us for almost never posting a negative album review. He wondered if we’d ever heard an extreme metal album we didn’t like.

The answer to that question is “Fuck, yes!” We just (usually) choose not to spend our limited time verbally peeing all over hard-working bands because their music doesn’t favorably impress us or because their dreams exceed their talent. We get more satisfaction from supporting bands we think are deserving and from suggesting music we think our readers might find worth their time.

Maybe that’s a bad decision. Maybe we should spend more time warning people off craptastic metal. After all, that is what music critics generally do — they praise the good and they criticize the bad.

Except we’re not really music critics. We’re just a bunch of goof-offs who happen to really love extreme metal. We write about it because we dig it, and so it just comes naturally to talk about what rules instead of what sucks. Besides, you can find lots of sites whose writers just can’t wait to tell you what sucks.

There have been times when we’ve had misgivings about this, when we think our credibility could be enhanced by mixing in more scathing commentary along with the panting adulation.

We’re certainly capable of it, but so far we’ve chosen to reserve our invective for select company — not for the struggling bands who are doing their best to create new music because they love it (even if it’s bad), but for the the self-important, the self-indulgent, the overly dramatic. In a word, for the Axl Rose‘s of the metal music world. (more after the jump, if you’ve got the stomach for it . . .) Continue reading »

Mar 172010
 

Did you think we would forget what day it is? For shame! Of course we know. It’s the day when everyone is entitled to be Irish from sun-up until blackout.

We thought about what we might do to celebrate the day (besides getting shit-faced as soon as possible). And then it dawned on us that we had already prepared the perfect St. Patrick’s Day commemoration.We just ran it on this site about two months too soon.

So we decided to just run the fucking thing again, because it is indeed perfect. And because even if you’ve been reading our blather for the last two months, you’ve probably already forgotten the earlier post. You are, after all, metalheads.

And so, to start again. My favorite Metallica song isn’t one that would come to mind for most people. It’s an Irish folk song that’s been around for about 400 years called “Whiskey in the Jar.” It tells the story of a highwayman who robs a military or government official and is then betrayed by his wife (or lover — not clear which) and goes to prison for his trouble. And ain’t that the luck o’ the fuckin’ Irish for ye?

Metallica’s version of the song retains the traditional lyrics and the basic melody, but puts Metallica’s heavy, hard-driving force behind it — and James Hetfield‘s vocals are outstanding.

The song is so catchy and has been around for so long that lots of people have recorded it. A couple years ago I tracked down different versions of the song as kind of a musical experiment, to trace the evolution of music over time, and more specifically to see how different musical genres have made this old song their own. It was a very cool experience, and one worth sharing on this drunken day.

So, after the jump, you can see the lyrics; they vary a bit, and we’re giving you the version Metallica used. And then, moving forward in time, you can stream performances of “Whiskey in the Jar” by this group of legendary bands: Irish folk band The Dubliners (circa 1967), Irish rockers Thin Lizzy (1973), Irish punk band The Pogues (playing with the Dubliners) (1990), and finally Metallica (1998). Hope you’ll get really wasted and give it a try.

And to repeat our appeal from the earlier post: It’s time for a fucking death metal band to record this song!

Continue reading »

Jan 182010
 

Henry Rollins has led an interesting life. In the early 80s, he was the uber-intense frontman of legendary hardcore punk band Black Flag. After Black Flag broke up, he formed the Rollins Band and continued to record and tour, while also releasing a series of spoken-word albums (and won a Grammy for one of them). He’s published multiple books of diaries, essays, and stories, he’s appeared in more than 20 films, and last year he became a running character in the TV biker drama Sons of Anarchy. And he continues to tour the world as a one-man show.

Whenever he opens his mouth, which is basically always open, something interesting usually comes out. A few days ago he touched down in Dublin and gave an interview to TimesOnline (UK), which you can find here. The whole interview is worth reading, but this passage in particular caught our eye:

A couple of years ago Rollins went to see Van Halen on their reunion tour. “And they were good,” he says. “I know all the lyrics. I like those records. But to watch men in their fifties play music they wrote in their twenties, there’s something distinctly sad about that.” A famous friend of his, he says, “sells a gajillion records. But he has to go out and play the same 20 songs each night. He says, ‘Well, that’s what the people want’. That’s one school of thought. I’m more from the Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane school: What they want? Who gives a fuck what they want? The art says we move on. So as I hurtle toward 50 I’m trying to be brave. I want to do stuff that looks like I am. I’ve got grey hair, a leg that kind of thunks around. I’m still mad as hell. I’m just trying to rouse rabble in a different way.”

Seems to us that Mr. Rollins has hit the fucking nail on the fucking head. His words resonated in our addled brains as we browsed the latest metal news on Blabbermouth this morning. There we saw the following reports about the following bands/performers — all on the very first page of Blabbermouth reports. My mood?  Bored shitless. Continue reading »