May 182018


Yesterday I exercised rare restraint and didn’t attend the annual Syttende Mai parade in Ballard, Washington, reportedly the largest celebration of Norway’s Constitution Day in the U.S. So, instead of doing what I’ve done in past years, i.e., getting pleasantly wasted in the company of hordes of actual and pretend descendants of Norwegian immigrants to the Pacific Northwest, I did what I try to do most nights: I crawled through the slag heap of the NCS in-box and scrolled the endless stream of my FB news feed looking for new music that might be worth sharing.

I added links to more than 20 new songs and videos to my ever-expanding list, most of those from albums or EPs that haven’t yet been released. That’s a sign of how much new metal is revealed every day, and that’s not counting stuff I omitted because I suspected it wouldn’t do anything for me. Then I started listening. Some nights that goes faster than you might think; if something doesn’t grab me pretty fast, I skip past it and move on.

Last night the first six songs I listened to are the first six songs you’ll find in this round-up, heard (and seen) in exactly this order (most of them are presented through music videos). And the last item here is an EP I heard right after those six. I never made it to the rest of the list. Obviously, all of this new music grabbed me — though in very different ways. Because it’s such a broad scattering of genre styles, I’ll be surprised if anyone else likes all of it as much as I do. But you might find at least one thing you like.


I really, really, really like how this Hungarian band have evolved over a career that’s now roughly 25 years old. On the occasion of their last album, 2012’s Eternal Recurrence, Natalie Zed’s review at Angry Metal Guy included some lines that I thought were astute in capturing the band’s accomplishments on that album: Continue reading »

Jun 282013

“Came Back Haunted” is the name of the new video from Nine Inch Nails, which debuted not long ago. It’s noteworthy for two reasons. First, it was directed by filmmaker David Lynch. Second, the song is from Hesitation Marks, which is the first album from NIN album since 2008’s The Slip. Hesitation Marks is scheduled for release on September 3.

Trent Reznor has described “Came Back Haunted” (which is now available on iTunes) as “familiar, it’s very self-referential and purposely. I think that’s the most like that there is on that record.” And when you hear the song, you can see the sense in that quote.

I won’t spoil the video for you, other than to say that it’s not exactly straight-forward, but it’s David Lynch, so what did you expect? The video comes with this warning: “This video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised” Watch it next… Continue reading »

May 292013

This post involves breaking news about two iconic figures in the world of heavy music — Trent Reznor and Dan Swanö. The news is that both will have new music coming, and we already have a taste of what Dan Swanö’s new project has been creating, with a song that premiered yesterday.


This appeared late yesterday on the Nine Inch Nails Tumblr:

“I’ve been less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately. For the last year I’ve been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly fucking great. This is the real impetus and motivation behind the decision to assemble a new band and tour again. My forays into film, HTDA and other projects really stimulated me creatively and I decided to focus that energy on taking Nine Inch Nails to a new place. Here we go!”

As we reported back in February, Reznor reformed NIN early this year, bringing King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew, Telefon Tel Aviv’s Josh Eustis, and former NIN touring members Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini, and Ilan Rubin into the fold for touring purposes. Now it appears they will be making a new album. Hallelujah.  Continue reading »

Feb 252013

(photo by Rob Sheridan)

This morning, Pitchfork reported some very good news for fans of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails: Reznor is “reinventing” NIN from the ground up, with a new lineup that will include Reznor, Eric Avery of Jane’s Addiction, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, and Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, as well as previous NIN collaborators Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin. The purpose of this reinvention is to mount a campaign of extensive touring later this year and extending into 2013.

Here is Reznor’s recently released statement:

“Nine Inch Nails are touring this year.

I was working with Adrian Belew on some musical ideas, which led to some discussion on performing, which led to some beard-scratching, which (many steps later) led to the decision to re-think the idea of what Nine Inch Nails could be, and the idea of playing a show. Calls were made to some friends, lots of new ideas were discussed, and a show was booked – which led to another, which somehow led to a lot of shows. Continue reading »

May 252011

This morning brought news of two brand new videos that hit the silver screens overnight, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stay us in the swift completion of our appointed rounds in delivering them to you. Both songs are amazing. Both videos are beautifully made. In other words, these are must-see offerings.

Two weeks ago we posted a feature on the very impressive new EP by Atlanta’s From Exile — a compilation of four covers from the extravagant songbook of Nine Inch Nails under the title Just Like You Imagined. The band have now released a video for one of those songs, the ephemeral, otherworldly “A Warm Place”. Of the four excellent songs on the EP, that purely instrumental piece made the deepest impression on us.

As we said in our review: “From Exile’s take on the song magnifies the rush and power of the sound, and a more flowing, reverberating guitar lead/solo by Emil Werstler (Daath) replaces the isolated keyboard notes of the original. Werstler’s contribution is a superb and all-too-brief piece of instrumental extravagance, thankfully reprised again near the song’s end.” The simplicity of the video suits the song — Werstler standing in an empty upper floor of a church, doing his thing, illuminated by the natural light filtering softly through stain-glassed windows.

The seventh full length album from Sweden’s Shining is called VII / Född Förlorare”, which in English means “Born Loser”. It was released this month on the band’s new label Spinefarm Records, and includes guest appearances from Erik Danielsson of Watain, Chris Amott of Arch Enemy, Peter Bjärgö of Arcana, and Nordman, who is one of Sweden’s biggest pop stars. Shining have now released an official video for the song called “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel” — which is the first video the band have ever released in their 15-year history. The video is expertly filmed and edited, and it’s powerful. And the song — the song is simply fantastic. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

May 102011

Wasn’t so long ago that we had a pair of posts about cover songs (Andy’s special Synn Report on covers and my musings about the pros and cons of covers, prompted by Anachronaeon‘s cover of Iron Maiden). We followed that in short order with news of an awesome-looking cover album by Dying Fetus (here). Seems to be the season for covers, because late yesterday we got word about an EP by Atlanta’s From Exile that we’ve been waiting for, which is devoted to covers of four songs by Nine Inch Nails. It’s called Just Like You Imagined and it’s now available for free download in mp3 or FLAC. We wasted no time listening last night.

So, let’s first review what we discussed in those previous posts and in the accompanying comments about covers: (1) they fail more often than they succeed; (2) there’s no terribly good reason to listen to a cover if it’s just a re-tread of the original, except perhaps for a novelty factor when the normal musical styles of the original and the cover band are poles apart; and (3) the best covers turn the original songs into something new and different, re-sculpting them into new works that stand on their own through variation of the original — but without completely losing connection with the source.

All four of From Exile’s covers succeed, in spades. In both subtle and dramatic ways, depending on the song, they’ve creatively re-shaped the NIN songs, producing music that’s more guitar-driven and more metal. They’ve preserved the spirit of the originals, yet succeeded in adding something of their own, and the results are wonderfully appealing. After the jump, we’ll explore the changes in a bit more detail and juxtapose the originals and the covers for your listening pleasure. Continue reading »

Nov 282009


I’m not really sure this post is metal.  You can be the judge.

The Seattle Times reminded me this morning that actor and martial arts icon Bruce Lee would have turned 69 yesterday but for his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 32.  He was born in San Francisco and grew up in Hong Kong, but he moved to Seattle in 1959 and spent 3 years at the University of Washington where he met his wife.  He’s buried in Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill.

Next to his grave is the grave of his son Brandon Lee.  Brandon died in 1993 at the age of 28 from an accidental shooting during the filming of The Crow, in which he starred as an undead rock musician bent on revenging his own death and that of his fiancee.  (The Crow is a cool movie, by the way, and featured songs from bands like Pantera, Helmet, Nine Inch Nails, and Rage Against the Machine.) Brandon was to be married 17 days after he died.  His tombstone is inscribed with a quote he liked from the writer Paul Bowles, which had been printed on the wedding invitations:

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless…”