Feb 052019
 

 

Another day, another pair of songs for my list of highly infectious tracks from 2018 releases. Without further ado, here they are (you can check out the preceding installments of this series here):

MIRE

The first track I’m adding today is “Lightless“, from the 2018 album Shed by Denver-based Mire. A choice of something from this album might have seem fore-ordained, since it made Andy Synn‘s “Personal Top 10” year-end list, as well as No. 33 on DGR’s year-end list. But not so. I don’t always agree with my colleagues’ views about albums, and even when I do (as in fact I do here), that doesn’t mean the album will necessarily be home to one or more genuinely infectious songs. But I do think this one is. Continue reading »

Dec 312018
 

 

(DGR is actually turning NCS into a coffee table book, but slowly, one day at a time, from now through Friday.)

About halfway through the year I actually thought I was going to make it through the year-end with a solid Top 30 list and nothing more. For a good chunk of the year, 2018 seemed to move in fits and starts — there would be large batches of album releases and then a couple of quiet weeks, then another small collection, and so on. A lot of the more consistent older guard were on something of an “off year” too, so at first I wasn’t expecting to see a large cast of repeats from two years ago making themselves known. I’ve gotten used to a two-to-three year album cycle, so I half-expected stuff to start pointing towards a real loaded front-half of 2019.

But alas, instead the back-half of 2018 turned out to a be a flood. Not just in bands that I’ve consistently enjoyed either, but a whole bunch of new faces that have either been hammering it out over the years and put out some genuine surprises, or people with some absolutely stunning first-time exposures on my end. Not only that, but who would’ve expected an actually pretty solid -core resurgence, with a lot of groups that had thought to hang it up deciding 2018 would be a good year to resurface and put out some stunningly good releases (at least in some cases).

As a result, 2018 proved to be an absolutely massive year. In some ways I think people’s year-end lists are reflecting just how vibrant the year was for our specific subsection of the musical sphere. While people lament that rock ‘n’ roll is dying or has become lame, heavy metal seems perfectly content to just be the constantly angry and forever roiling collective of music — as if it has found a sort of equilibrium in comparison to the mainstream world outside. Which is how you wind up with stupid shit like this, where I once again have FIFTY (warning ahead of time: if you think this introduction is getting verbose, do I have a surprise for you) albums to talk about in wrapping up this tire fire of a year. Continue reading »

Dec 222018
 

 

(In this week’s edition of Andy Synn‘s series of interviews focused on lyrics in metal, he poses the questions to Jukka Pelkonen, vocalist of a favorite band we never lose interest in — Omnium Gatherum.)

If you’re one of those strange, yet oddly wonderful, people who’ve been reading this site for a while then you’ll probably be aware that the entire NCS crew has been “ride or die” (that’s right, I’m hip) for Omnium Gatherum since at least 2007, meaning that our collective love for the band actually predates the site’s very existence!

And though that love has been tested at times, we’ve kept the faith with the Finnish sextet through thick and thin, and been richly rewarded for our dedication.

So, for the last edition of Waxing Lyrical for 2018, I caught up with OG’s long-serving vocalist Jukka Pelkonen to get the skinny on the in’s and out’s of his lyrics and his writing style over the years. Continue reading »

Aug 062018
 

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, which will be released by Century Media on August 31st.)

Before I kick this review into high-gear, I want to clear something up once and for all… despite sharing some superficial similarities (and, these days, a guitarist), Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium really don’t sound all that much alike, and it would take a truly committed contrarian to suggest otherwise at this point.

Truth be told, regardless of whether you think they ever even sounded all that much alike in the first place, the differences between the two bands have only become more pronounced over the years, as while the latter have spent their time pursuing a moodier, more melancholy sound, the shameless synths ‘n’ solos approach favoured by the OG crew has taken them in a markedly different direction, to the point where their highly anticipated eighth album finds the Finnish sextet now occupying the same sort of highly energetic, audaciously anthemic, niche once inhabited by In Flames in their prime. Continue reading »

Jul 062018
 

 

The last 24 hours brought a big slug of new music from a bunch of well-known bands, and the first four items in this end-of-the-week round-up are among those. I found quite a lot of good new music from lesser-known bands as well, and put one of those at the end of this collection.

ABORTED

To begin I present for your enjoyment the official video for “Squalor Opera“, a new song taken from the next album by perennial NCS favorites, Aborted. Entitled TerrorVision, it will be released through Century Media on September 21st, 2018. Continue reading »

Feb 122016
 

Omnium Gatherum-Grey Heavens

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum.)

As you know, we’re not really in the business of publishing negative reviews here at NCS. In fact I think the very idea of publishing something wholly negative gives Islander heart palpitations.

Still, I have to say that Grey Heavens, the seventh album by Finnish melodeath titans Omnium Gatherum, is, without a doubt, a thoroughly frustrating listening experience.

There are times when it positively crackles with the band’s patented musical magic, driven by the same passion and energy that made The Redshift, New World Shadows, and Beyond such thrilling, electrifying albums, ably accented by characteristic tinges of proggy melancholy and shamelessly extravagant fretboard theatrics.

Unfortunately, there are also times (more than I’m really comfortable with, truth be told) where it limps rather than gallops along, with a much more uneven gait, hamstrung and prevented from reaching its full potential by a nagging feeling of over-familiarity and a sense of “been there, done that” which lingers like a vaguely unpleasant odour.

Like I said… it’s frustrating, fluctuating as it does between utterly stupendous, and unsatisfyingly stock in its delivery. But that doesn’t make it a bad album. Just an uneven one. Continue reading »

Aug 112015
 

Insomnium-Omnium Gatherum split

 

In preparing these round-ups of new songs I usually try to include music from more obscure underground bands in addition to names most of us would recognize. But I didn’t have much time yesterday to wade through the interhole in search of new things, and by chance two of the new songs I heard come from some of the bigger names; the third one has been out for a month, but there’s a reason I’m including it now. And by chance, catchy melody is the common theme for these songs (which is a big reason these three bands are so well-known).

OMNIUM GATHERUM

It’s been over two years since Finland’s Omnium Gatherum released their last album, Beyond. On August 9 they began a North America tour headlined by fellow Finnish melodeath stalwarts Insomnium — who are mounting the tour without growler/bassist Niilo Sevanen, replacing him for this tour with Mike Bear (Artisan, ex-Prototype) from the U.S. And to coincide with the tour, Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium are releasing a 7″ vinyl split, featuring artwork by Olli-Pekka Lappalainen. Continue reading »

Aug 052014
 

We’ve collected here a quintet of new videos for your viewing and listening pleasure. In a rare display of brevity, I’m not going to attempt to describe the sounds or what you’ll see in the videos. I’ll identify the music and provide a band link, and then let you dive into the streams… beginning with an exception to our Rule.

ANATHEMA

Song: “Anathema”
Album: Distant Satellites
https://www.facebook.com/anathemamusic Continue reading »

Jan 072014
 

At long last, we begin our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. This is the fourth year I’ve compiled such a thing. With each year, the list has grown longer — last year I made myself stop only after the list had mushroomed to 56 tracks. I don’t know how long the 2013 list will be, because I’m still working on it. But I know what the first 3 songs will be, and if you continue reading you will know, too.

I will continue posting a pair of songs more or less daily until reaching the unknown end. The songs are unranked and appear in no particular order, because ordering them would be too difficult. If you’re wondering what this list is all about, go HERE.

HEAVEN SHALL BURN

Heaven Shall Burn are what you get when you force Earth Crisis and Bolt Thrower to conceive a child, and then have that child raised by At The Gates and Carcass, while supplementing their intellectual development with a steady diet of Kant, Marx, and Baudrillard.” That’s what Andy Synn wrote when he reviewed this long-running German band’s 2013 album, Veto, and it does make a kind of demented sense. Continue reading »