Oct 242014


Today the Elemental Nightmares project released the fourth of the seven vinyl splits in the series, with a fourth segment (above) of what will eventually become one massive piece of artwork for the series as a whole — and as of today it’s also now available for download on Bandcamp.

I’ve been especially looking forward to this split because it features two old favorites of this site — Canopy and Obitus — as well as two new ones, Harasai and Kall.

Last summer we had the pleasure of premiering the tracks by Canopy and Harasai, and I’m going to include the accompanying write-up below, along with thoughts about the Obitus and Kall tracks. In a nutshell, this is a great quartet of pleasingly diverse songs. Continue reading »

Dec 302013

(Continuing with this year’s edition of Listmania, I again invited Johan Huldtgren of the killer black metal band Obitus to share with us his year-end list, because I’ve consistently found his musical tastes to be solid and interesting. Once again, he agreed. An expanded version of this list appears on Johan’s blog.)

For many reasons 2013 was a musically poor year for me. I was very busy with work, I then changed jobs, I bought a new home, sold an old one, and then moved somewhere else. Hence I’ve not been out there searching for new music or even keeping up with my favourite blogs. As such, when it came time to make my yearly pontifications I realized I had barely heard ten albums, much less liked ten albums this year, so I relaxed the verbiage a bit and settled on “releases”, as this would let me include: EPs, demos, splits, and so on. In the end, most of the selections are albums, but some are not. So without further ado, here is the 2013 list of my favourite releases:

10: VallenduskBlack Clouds Gathering

An album I accidentally stumbled over, and have not been able to let go. Slow melodic black metal, nothing unique but generally well done.

http://pestproductions.bandcamp.com/album/black-clouds-gathering Continue reading »

Nov 292013

I may have mentioned that I’m on vacation through December 8. In addition to not writing much for NCS, I’ve also largely abandoned my daily routine of reading press releases and roaming the web looking for metal news and video or song premieres to feature on the site. However, today some of my NCS comrades gave me a slew of links that together make a tidy package of extremely diverse new things worth writing about.


First, Andy Synn wrote me as follows: “New Kampfar. Put that in your pipe and smoke it”. I tried to smoke it, but the song smoked me instead. It’s name is “Mylder”, and it will appear on this excellent Norwegian band’s new album Djevelmakt, due for release on January 21 via Indie Recordings.

If I could shriek “Helvete!” like Kampfar’s vocalist, I would, because that’s what I want to do when I listen to “Mylder”. It’s an electrifying, dynamic song — with plenty of reaping, roaring, stomping, and jabbing, but also infiltrated with an ethereal flute melody (among other unexpected elements). It’s a great combination of black metal savagery and memorable songwriting. Djevelmakt can’t come soon enough. Continue reading »

Dec 312012

(Continuing with this year’s edition of Listmania, I again invited Johan Huldtgren of the killer black metal band Obitus to share with us his year-end list, because I’ve consistently found his musical tastes to be solid and interesting. Once again, he agreed. An expanded version of this list appears on Johan’s blog.)

I suspect few will be surprised by my choices this year. The list sees the return of many previous candidates, however a few newcomers have managed to make the cut this year, some fairly high up. Samples have been included to give you a taste, so you can either realize how correct I am or question your sanity for even reading this list. Now take it away in the comments.

10: BlodhemnHolmengraa

This sounds and feels just like the early to mid 90’s. There is nothing new here, but for someone who enjoyed the music of that era this certainly brings it back to life.


Continue reading »

Dec 262011

(Continuing with this year’s edition of Listmania, I invited Johan Huldtgren of the killer black metal band Obitus to share with us his year-end list.  And if you don’t know about Obitus, here’s our review of their debut full-length, March of the Drones.)

Like last year Islander graciously asked me to provide my top ten, and who doesn’t revel in the opportunity to tell people how wrong they are and tell them what the top ten really should look like. For those interested in a bit more detail on these albums (and I really mean a bit – I am a man of few words), I have a post on each of the entries on this list on my blog (here).

10. BarghestBarghest

Primitive and nasty USBM.

Continue reading »

Nov 232011

As I write this, it’s very early on a Wednesday morning. I just finished watching Abigail Williams, Hate, Keep of Kalessin, and Mayhem at El Corazon in Seattle. All four bands were excellent. The highlights of the evening were new songs from Abigail Williams (quite different from anything I’ve heard from the band before, and I think the best work they’ve yet done) and an absolutely mind-boggling performance by Hellhammer, the drummer of Mayhem.

The third highlight of the evening was getting to spend time with Fredrik Huldtgren and his girlfriend. Fredrik is the vocalist of a Swedish band called Canopy, which has been a favorite at NCS for a long time, and he happens to be in town visiting, just in time for some truly ass-sucking Seattle weather — somewhat offset by a very badass night of metal.

Spending time with Fredrik put me in mind of three bands, all of whom I like a lot. There’s a connection between them, but rather than explain it, I’d rather let you guess, or simply wonder. The three bands are Canopy, Obitus, and Lifelover. If you don’t know the music of these bands, then there are some worthwhile discoveries for you after the jump.

With luck, I’ll wake up in a few hours and think of something more to bring your way on an NCS Wednesday. And if the site just appears to be frozen for the rest of the day, you’ll know it’s because my bed has swallowed me whole, like a python chowing down on a wayward dog. Continue reading »

Dec 242010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Not long ago, we ran a mini-series about Long Songs that we really liked. The longest, and last, in the series was a powerful, album-length opus by a Swedish black-metal duo called Obitus (our review of the album is here). Through that review, we made the acquaintance of Johan Huldtgren, the vocalist and lyricist of Obitus, and his comments on this site have turned us on to some stunning music.

Eventually, we figured out that Johan was the brother of Fredrik Huldtgren, the vocalist for Canopy — another metal band whose work we had praised earlier in the year. We asked the brothers Huldtgren if they would contribute to our Listmania Week, and they did. In this post, Johan gives us his Top 10 list (it’s more mind-expanding than most lists you will read this year), and a selection of one song from each album. In the post below this one, we’ve got Fredrik’s list.]

10. Ash PoolFor Which He Plies The Lash

Noisy, nasty, primitive, minimalistic, and all around disgusting.

Ash Pool: Holocaust Temple

(the balance of Johan’s list follows the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Nov 282010

You probably thought we were finished with our mini-series on long songs — but no, we’re not finished. We have one more. Well, maybe two more, if we ever get around to the second one in between reviewing the flood of stunning new albums that were released the last couple of weeks. But at least one more, today.

In our previous installments of this series, we reviewed long songs by Hull, Agalloch, Akelei, and Radiance. Today, we’re writing about the longest song yet in this series: It’s an album-length song released last year by a black-metal band called Obitus. The album is divided into seven tracks, but that’s merely to facilitate jumping to favorite passages; Obitus intended the album to be heard as a single, seamless work, more than 47 minutes in length.

Now, in today’s frenetically-paced, attention-deficit-afflicted world, asking music fans to sit still for an entire album’s worth of non-stop listening is like trying to stop a surging river in its course with kind words. But in our heart-of-hearts, we know that unless we slow down and focus, at least every now and then, we will miss out on some valuable experiences. And so it is with the second full-length album from Obitus — The March of the Drones.

Obitus was formed in May 2000 by a couple of Swedes, Anders Ahlbäck (who plays all the instruments) and Johan Huldtgren (vocals and lyrics). Since then, they’ve produced a demo, a split, an EP, a debut full-length that was never released, and The March of the Drones. They took some risks creating an album-length song, testing the patience of a mostly impatient population of metalhead fans. But they clearly poured their hearts and souls into this work — and don’t be misled by the title: It refers to the album’s lyrical themes. Musically, The March of the Drones is a full-body immersion into a surging torrent of dark fire.  (more after the jump . . . including a sample of the music) Continue reading »