May 042015
 

 

(BadWolf reviews the Seattle date of the Decibel Magazine 2015 Tour, accompanied by exclusive photos taken by Madison Leiren, except where noted.)

This is the third of four annual Decibel Magazine tours that I’ve reviewed for No Clean Singing (I missed the third installment, featuring Napalm Death headlining, due to Maryland Deathfest. I’m not sorry). At this point in time, the mechanics of the tour itself — the way it interacts with coverage in the magazine, the way that the lineup is formed over time, and the way it is presented artistically — are becoming apparent to me.

Rather than simply assess the show I saw itself, it’s important to discuss these deeper factors, because Decibel Magazine wields a lot of market power in the United States, and the US remains the biggest music market in the world even though metal remains relatively unpopular here. In that respect, however, the tour is operating in an easy middle ground between what I would call respect for profits and respect for the metal zeitgeist. They do that by locking in headliners that already have clout and draw, but aren’t going to pursue metal as a full-time activity, and slotting openers who intend to make a career out of music. At least that’s how it’s worked for the past two years.

It seems as though 2014 was a prototype and 2015 was the first successful rollout of a set Decibel Tour formula. The recipe is as follows: Continue reading »

Dec 192014
 

 

(Combined in this post are two different reflections on the live performances by Sólstafir, Mortals, and Pallbearer in Seattle on December 10, 2014, one by BadWolf and one by me (Islander). And for a third, you should also read Gemma Alexander’s wonderful write-up at her own blog — here. Unless otherwise noted, the photos accompanying this post were taken by me on a iPhone because BadWolf forgot his fancy camera.)

REVIEW BY BADWOLF

A band whose time has come.

Those are the only words that suit Icelandic four-piece Sólstafir in 2014. Most musicians never achieve what I’ve witnessed this year in Sólstafir—a moment (well, series of moments) that seem like the culmination of disparate chains of events, causal and serendipitous. In short, a climax. The money shot, one that seems both cathartic and earned, not for Sólstafir’s listeners, but for the band themselves.

The band of black metal cowboys has made music for two decades in relative obscurity, at least in the United States. I first encountered the group while trawling message boards in college, ravenous for progressive metal and finding most of it lacking. Sólstafir were different. Their early tracks came via shady download sites in low bitrates, with files unable to properly display the accent marks in their song titles, but still I found myself enamored of their unique sound, a mix of atmospheric sludge and progressive black metal that strived for beauty, not abrasiveness. Since then the band became a perennial NCS favorite and inked a deal with Season of Mist records, who released their fourth album, Svartir Sandar to a wider audience. Still, conversationally, Sólstafir was a footnote in greater conversations, even though one of their songs debuted at #1 in Iceland. Continue reading »

Sep 092014
 

I’ve collected a bunch of new things I want to write about since the last round-up, but the old fucking day job isn’t going to let me do that at the moment. So I’m picking this one thing to write about, because I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw it.

The news is that Little Rock’s Pallbearer, Iceland’s Sólstafir, and Brooklyn’s Mortals will be touring the U.S. West Coast and certain parts of the country’s midsection together beginning on December 2. (There’s also a Vancouver date on the schedule.)

In the opinion of your humble editor, these three bands are collectively responsible for three of the year’s best albums: Foundations of Burden, Ótta, and Cursed To See the Future, respectively. The chance to see them perform together on one show is a chance not to be missed.

This is especially exciting for those of us on the West Coast because I don’t think either Sólstafir or Mortals have previously performed outside the East Coast. Continue reading »

Jul 072014
 

Here are two North American tours announced this morning that are worth mentioning.

MASTODON-GOJIRA-KVELERTAK

In our first post this morning I included a report from Metal Hammer based on an interview with Gojira’s frontman Joe Duplantier that the Gojira would be touring with Mastodon this October. There were no further details then, but there are now.

In addition to the pairing of Mastodon and Gojira, the tour will also include Norway’s Kvelertak and it will include dates in both the U.S. and Canada. A pre-sale for tickets and a limited number of VIP packages will become available this Wednesday, July 9, at 10 a.m. local venue time. General sales will begin on July 11.

Here’s the schedule (sadly for me, they’re skipping Seattle this time): Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 

Once again I waded through the fetid swamp of the interhole this morning in search of new things worth blabbing about. Once again, I found new riches in the muck. Here are three of them.

SÓLSTAFIR

If you think I’m ever going to get tired of pimping Sólstafir, think again. My pimping energies are endless. The latest excuse for writing about them is today’s premiere of yet another new song from their next album, Ótta, which will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America.

The new song is named “Lágnætti”. From the slow piano chords, the sound of strings, and Adi Tryggvason’s plaintive vocals at the beginning, the song builds in intensity with a driving beat and riffs that moan and claw at the sky. Tryggvason’s voice turns searing, but the haunting melody persists through to the end, the piano and the distorted guitar chords forming a duet that sinks it home. Wonderful.

To stream “Lágnætti”, go to this place (and pre-order the album here, or you and I will be having some words):

http://www.revolvermag.com/news/solstafir-premiere-new-song-lagnaetti.html

Find Sólstafir on Facebook here. Continue reading »

Jun 042014
 

You may have noticed that over the last three or four days I haven’t written as much for the site as I usually do. The explanation, as usual, is my fucking day job. It’s going to continue to impinge on blog time for another day or two. But I find myself with a sliver of free time at the moment, so I thought I’d collect some new things that I discovered over the last 24 hours.

I’ve found so much that I’m dividing the discoveries into two collections, this being the first. With luck, more will come later today. I’m going to start with a couple of album announcements.

PALLBEARER

I really loved Sorrow and Extinction, the 2012 debt album by Pallbearer from Little Rock, Arkansas. I was hardly alone. It was deluged in critical praise and made heaps of year-end lists. Today Profound Lore announced that Pallbearer have completed work on a new album entitled Foundations of Burden and that it will be released in NorthAm on August 19. Continue reading »

Feb 132013
 

On February 11, 2013, the night before Enslaved received their seventh Norwegian Grammy nomination, I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in Seattle at a bar called The Highline, which is rapidly becoming my favorite place in town to hear live metal. Somehow, despite its very small size, it’s booking some really amazing tours. It’s a clean, cozy, comfortable place with cool people working there (Dylan Desmond from Bell Witch was behind the bar this night, and I’m pretty sure I saw his bandmate Arian Guerra helping out, too), and they make some good cocktails.

Enslaved weren’t the only draw for what turned out to be a jam-packed audience. Three bands who had breakout years in 2012 were also along for the ride: Arkansas’s Pallbearer was the direct support, preceded by Ancient VVisdom from my hometown of Austin and Atlanta’s Royal Thunder.

I was somewhat familiar with Ancient VVisdom’s music (having featured them in this post at the end of 2011), but I must be the only metal blogger in creation to have missed Pallbearer’s critically acclaimed 2012 album Sorrow and Extinction, and I think I’ve previously heard a grand total of one song by Royal Thunder. So yeah, I was pretty much there for Enslaved.

Nevertheless, I and my friends got to the Highline early enough to grab places to sit on a raised area that runs down the left side of the floor against the wall. We were so far forward that we were almost — but not quite — on the side of the stage, as you’ll see from the angle of the photos I took. And yes, I’m sorry to tell you that this review, as usual, will include a lot of my amateur concert pics. Continue reading »

Nov 132012
 

Here’s a collection of items that came my way over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing — in addition to all of the awesome posts that already graced the site yesterday.  (I can use the words “awesome” and “graced” without tarnishing my well-known reputation for humility because I’m not directly responsible for any of ysterday’s posts, even though this post will also be awesome.)

TOURISM: MESHUGGAH AND ENSLAVED

I saw via Heavy Blog Is Heavy the rumor that Meshuggah will be touring the U.S. along with Animals As Leaders and Intronaut early next year. The rumor is based on a flyer for a date in Minneapolis that you can see above.Yes please.

That same photo up there also provides evidence of another tour that I read about previously. This one is official: Norway’s Enslaved will be returning to the U.S. and Canada in early 2013 for a headlining, 20-show “Winter Rite” tour joined by U.S. doom metallers Pallbearer and occult rockers Ancient VVisdom (and both of those bands are killers).

The tour begins January 30 in Philadelphia and ends February 22 in New York City. The full schedule can be seen after the jump. And in case you missed our earlier post yesterday, Osmose Productions has just uploaded three older Enslaved albums for streaming and download on Bandcamp for the first time. Continue reading »

Jun 112012
 

I spent so much goddamned time this past weekend researching and writing today’s ridiculously long post about Facebook that I fell even further behind in doing what I like to do best: finding new metal to feature on this site. So, unfortunately, I don’t have much ready for the site today in the way of music. But I’m not totally empty-handed. I have the following collection of musical goodies, which should provide some balance to the site today.

BORRACHO

Borracho are a band based in Washington, DC, who recently made us aware of a new music video they’ve created for a song called “Concentric Circles”, which is the first single from their June 2011 debut album, Splitting Sky. The video was self-produced by the band, directed by their friend Dicky Southcott, and edited by Kevin Bradley. It’s a combination of the band performing the song live, interspersed with film clips of “destruction, atrocity and mayhem” — the band’s words, but quite accurate.

And on top of that, the band have suggested a drinking game of “Boom!” to be played while watching the vid: Every time you see an explosion, chug a beer. Having seen the video, I’d suggest you get a shitload of beer and be prepared to drink fast.

But frankly, you can have a shitload of fun with this video even without a shitload of beer, because the song is irresistible. It’s a high-energy, heavy-assed, rifftastic blast of stoner/doom that will brighten your day and give you a natural buzz. But wait . . . there’s more! Continue reading »

Feb 042012
 

January ended four days ago, so it’s past time for our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. I have to confess that this list is even more spotty and sporadically assembled than usual — which is saying something. Various distractions prevented me from keeping a sharp eye out for news about new releases, so I have no doubt this list is incomplete.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (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, I 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 forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, we probably 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. For example, on this list you won’t see such notable releases as the forthcoming albums from Meshuggah, Enthroned, Unleashed, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Asphyx, Naglfar, or Autopsy, because we’ve mentioned them elsewhere. Or at least I think we did.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »