Jan 072014

Your humble editor is behind (or is A behind, depending on who you talk to). Behind on reviews, behind on news and new song premieres, behind on the vaunted list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, and behind in posting things that our staff and guests have written for publication. There are many reasons for this tardiness, but I’d rather not dwell on them. Instead, let’s look ahead to the future.

As far as NCS is concerned, we do have a few late-breaking year-end lists to post. Honestly, I’m somewhat amazed that these lists continue to draw as much interest as they have, given how many we’ve posted during this year’s LISTMANIA extravaganza, but even our most recent ones have attracted strong interest. So, we’re not calling a halt to them just yet. And just as that series is finally winding down, another one will begin: Finally, I’m going to start rolling out the Most Infectious Songs list later today, with the first three picks.

I also expect to resume our usual features now that the holiday season is over, beginning with the following round-up of news and new music. And we begin with…


Two and a half years have passed since Origin released Entity, and yesterday brought the welcome news that the band are about to begin recording their next album, which will be entitled Omnipresent. Continue reading »

Jun 212012

(Andy Synn gives us examples of reverse-Eye-Catchers.)

In between reviews (at the moment I have pieces on the new Vintersorg, Gojira, Ihsahn, and De Profundis in gestation) and work on future editions of The Synn Report (for which I have a vague outline of what bands I want to cover, and in what order), I’d like to drop in little columns on bits of metal culture tangentially connected with the music. It’s fun to do, and it gives me a bit of breathing space and a place to clear my head.

Now, while I have a long-running piece on metal lyrics and the art of writing them (and then setting them to music) in the works, I thought for now I’d do a short, irreverent piece on metal artwork.  More precisely, bad metal artwork.

Ok, so clearly I could have filled this entire list with bad black metal artwork… although similarly I could easily have filled it with bad death metal artwork (any number of covers featuring zombies, rape, or zombie rape would do) or bad thrash artwork (robots, tanks, robot-tanks, etc). But I’ve gone for a cross-genre approach to make things a little fairer, and to allow me to fit in some real stinkers.

All these examples have been chosen from my own collection, and I’ve selected a few pieces of artwork that have unfortunately been latched onto otherwise great albums. Not all of them are utterly terrible, but none of them do justice to the music contained within. Continue reading »

Jan 162012

I’m almost to the point of buying a Scion car just to express my gratitude to Scion A/V.  Almost.  Unless you’ve been living in a cave (or the loris compound at the NCS Island), you probably know that Scion A/V has been releasing free EPs and videos from badass metal bands.  But they’re doing more than that.

What I just discovered is that Scion A/V has been enlisting certain metal labels to round up a selection of their artists for performances in Los Angeles before live audiences, professionally recording the shows, and then prepping audio of the performances for free download.

The first team-up was with Nuclear Blast, who helped arrange appearances of Exodus, All Shall Perish, Origin, and Decrepit Birth at The Roxy in West Hollywood on November 12 of last year. As of today, the digital album of those live performances has become available for free download. Here’s the track list, which happens to include many of my favorite songs from each band:

1.  Decrepit Birth: “Metatron”
2.  Decrepit Birth: “The Resonance”
3.  Decrepit Birth: “Polarity”
4.  Origin: “Banishing Illusion”
5.  Origin: “Evolution of Extinction”
6.  Origin: “Swarm”
7.  All Shall Perish: “Wage Slaves”
8.  All Shall Perish: “Procession of Ashes”
9.  All Shall Perish: “Gagged, Bound, Shelved and Forgotten”
10. Exodus: “Beyond the Pale”
11. Exodus: “Blacklist”
12. Exodus: “Metal Command”
Continue reading »

Jan 012012

This is Part 7 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. Each day until the list is finished, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.


Carnival Is Forever wowed a lot of the folks whose year-end lists we’ve published at NCS. The Demonstealer (Demonic Resurrection) wrote: “The album is brilliant, the guitar playing is phenomenal, and so is the drumming. For me this album sets the benchmark for audio production, it is brutal as fuck but yet so organic.” Exo (Noctem) called it “the result of a brutal procreation between old Decapitated and Meshuggah.” Tamás Kátai (Thy Catafalque) ranked it No. 6 on his list, finding it much better than the band’s older work.

Our own Andy Synn named it one of the year’s Great Albums and rated it No. 5 on his Critical Top 10, writing that it “stands as one of the finest and most intriguing experiences I have had with modern death metal in a long time.” The album also made TheMadIsraeli’s Top 15 for the year and he summed it up this way in his NCS review: “This kicks ass. This destroys universes. This is the purest, blackest, weightiest form of sonic nihilism laid to audio I’ve heard all year.”

The album is indeed deserving of all the praise it’s received here and elsewhere. It’s technical, progressive, brutal, and heavy-grooved all at once. It includes two songs that I put on my “master list” of possibilities for this MOST INFECTIOUS series — “United” and “404”. Continue reading »

Dec 122011

(The time has come.  What time is that?  Why, it’s the time when we begin publishing our own series on the best metal of 2011 — lists created by our writers, guest contributors, and members of metal bands who we’ve specially invited to share with us their lists.  And what better way to start than by turning to Phro for the kick-off?)

Ahhh . . . 2011, how quickly you came and . . . went?  Are going?  Let’s just stick with came for now.

What a year it has been!  I think.  I don’t really remember it.  I think there was something to do with tentacles and a few zombie girls.  Seriously, someone please make the whole zombie/vampire/werewolf thing stop happening.  Please.  I’m begging you.  I can only take so much pithy teen angst foisted upon poor hapless creatures of the night.  GIVE THEM BACK THEIR BALLS, DAMNIT!!!

Seriously.  And wizards, too.  Enough of that shit.

Oh, right, and there was music, too.  Particularly metal music.  Particularly good metal music.  (Anyone who ever utters the words, “It’s been a bad year for metal,” should go out behind the chicken chopping shed and punch themselves in the throat with a rooster.  You fucking lazy scum fucker.)  But it`s the end of the year, and it’s not enough to simply say there was a lot of it.  You people from the Internet want proof all of the sudden!  You freaks with your memes and your porn and your meme porn and your porn memes.  And your rules!!!  So many rules!  Well, I have a new rule for you.  Rule number 0.5.  It states, quite clearly: anything that can be made into furry-rape-scat porn should be made into furry-rape-scat porn and then broadcasted on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC until foxes look sexy.  (But only when they`re covered in poop.)

Poop, poop, poop, poop . . . poop . . . poooooooooooooop . . . Continue reading »

Jun 072011

(Our buddy Phro, who many of you will recognize from his “distinctive” contributions in our Comments sections, was so fucking excited about the new Origin album that he dived right in . . . though he didn’t realize that his music player was on shuffle as he listened to the songs. We’re happy to publish his “real time” listening experience right here, right now. Brace yourselves . . .)

This is a true account of my experience listening to Origin’s new Entity album. Listening experiences may (probably won’t, though) vary. This is based on a totally true story.

I was sitting, listlessly, in the staff room on my entirely too short break. Staring blankly at the wall, I played with my tepid, tasteless lunch. I had bought it at the 7-11, but if I hadn’t actually read the label, it would have been a completely indefinable…mush. Sighing dejectedly, I hazarded a glance at the calendar. Then, something caught my eye. June 7th. June…7th? OH, SNAP! JUNE 7th!!!

How I could have forgotten this illustrious day? I have no idea, but forgotten it I had. With nary a moment to lose, I whipped out my phone and pulled up the Amazon MP3 app. Typing madly—nay, furiously—I soon found what I was looking for. Artist: Origin. Album: Entity. Now available for down-fucking-load! I fist pumped! Then I turned red and looked around sheepishly. Thank Dio! The room was empty. I pressed download and….and…AND!!!! Waited. Goddamn slow fucking 3G cockshitting wireless. Fine, I’ll wait, I thought. Continue reading »

Jun 022011

Thanks to Streaming Chaos, I just discovered that Guitar World has premiered a new song by Origin from their new album Entity, which will be released on June 7. This album has been one of our most-anticipated releases of 2011, and the new song validates all our barely pent-up enthusiasm. It’s called “Saligia” and its a tour-de-force of technical death metal. It’s not just blisteringly fast and technically jaw-dropping, it’s loaded with unexpected, brilliantly inventive guitar leads and solos. Guitarist Paul Ryan is simply mind-blowing on this song. Mind. Blowing.

And if the drumming of John Longstreth doesn’t cause your jaw to hang down like the gape of a drooling cretin, I’ll be very much surprised.  Not that you’re a cretin. If you were a cretin, you wouldn’t be visiting NCS, because the kind of discrimination in your reading and listening habits that brings you here requires supremely high intelligence. I’m just talking about a momentary resemblance to a drooling cretin, which will last only as long as it takes you to finish this song.

I’m serious. Expect jaw-dropping, eye-popping, and sloppy salivating, maybe accompanied by soft moaning when you hear this. The player below will probably be restricted until Guitar World’s exclusivity expires, so to hear the song now, visit this location. UPDATE: The web-world being what it is, the song is now up on YouTube, so although Guitar World has a nice interview with Paul Ryan in addition to the song stream, we embedded the YouTube player for the song here at NCS — after the jump.

Origin “Saliga” by GuitarWorld

Oh, and also after the jump we’ve got a clip that will allow you to hear 30-second samples from every song on the album. Continue reading »

May 022011

What the hell is that big yellow thing up in the sky? It looks vaguely familiar, but it’s appeared so rarely here in The Emerald City over the last six months that we’re having trouble placing the name. Well, maybe the name will come to us. The great wheel of the seasons surely must continue to turn someplace, but in Seattle it seems to have been stuck on Winter since, like, forever. In some parts of the world, April showers bring May flowers, but here, April showers will probably bring . . . May showers.

Okay, enough whining. At least we don’t get tornados dropping from the sky like atom bombs and wiping whole towns off the map. And even though the weather hasn’t been our friend, we have metal to make up for the cold shoulder — and there’s a bunch of new metal headed our way.

What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. Continue reading »

Apr 302011

The weekend is upon us. Don’t know about you, but I’m fucking ready for it. Tonight I’m going to see Between the Buried and Me, Job For A Cowboy, The Ocean, and Cephalic Carnage, which is certainly one of the more diverse touring line-ups of the year, so far. I’ve seen three of those bands multiple times in the past, and they do not disappoint, and I’m very curious about the fourth, who I’ve never heard on stage — The Ocean.

I hope you’ve got something to look forward to this weekend, too. But even if you plan to wallow in misery because life decided to burn a bag of shit on your front porch, we can at least give you some new tunes to brighten the weekend outlook. Not knowing what kind of metal you may be into, I tried to round up a mix of styles, while staying with the theme of new music.

Maybe you enjoy having your face clawed off by demon spawn. If so, we’ve got yet another new piece of otherworldly scariness from Malfeitor (Sweden). Maybe that’s not enough, and what you really want is music that will leave your flesh so scavenged that even hyenas will lose interest in your carcass. We have an answer for that, with a compilation from CVlt Nation. Maybe you get your rocks off from technical guitar wizardry, with music that transports you into a sublime plane which makes you feel connected to something larger than your own feeble soul. If yes, then you’ll want to hear a taste (two tastes, actually) of the solo release from Christian Muenzner (Obscura).

And maybe you want something in between, something that captures the emotion of your life, with every high and low, from the rocket-ship into the stratosphere to the utter desolation of your worst depression, from the sunrise to the bottomless pit. Yeah, we have that too, from Germany’s Ära Krâ. But before that we have a brand new song from Origin, and we really shouldn’t have to explain how many kinds of awesome that means. Stay with us, after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Apr 032011

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to Nervecell’s debut album Preaching Venom since I got my hands on it in 2008. In the sophisticated journalist jargon we use here at NCS, it’s fucking awesome. Nervecell’s second album, Psychogenocide, has already hit the streets in the Middle East (Nervecell is from Dubai in the UAE). It will be released via Lifeforce Records on April 29th 2011 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and on May 2nd 2011 in the rest of Europe & the UK.  I don’t yet know the plans for distribution in NorthAm.

As we learned through that most excellent metal blog Metality, the band have posted a new song from Psychogenocide for streaming. I had planned to spend my day listening to other things, but this song has trashed those plans. I suppose I’ll eventually tire of pressing “play” over and over again, but I’m not there yet.

The song is called “All Eyes On Them”. If you’re a fan of bands like Nile, Origin, Behemoth, or Deicide, I can pretty much guarantee this song is going to love you long time, or vice-versa. It churns and blasts in a tasty fusion of death metal and thrash, but it also includes a slower-paced instrumental breakdown with a nice little Eastern-flavored guitar solo. And speaking of Nile, Karl Sanders provides guest vocals on a song called “Shunq”, which will include both English and Arabic lyrics, and it appears that Psycroptic‘s Dave Haley laid down the drum tracks for the album, as he did on the band’s debut. The album cover is rad, too. Check out the artwork and the song after the jump.

Oh, and speaking of Origin, we have the cover of their next album — and a release date — also after the jump. Continue reading »