Aug 172019
 

 

It would have been better if I had managed to get a round-up done for yesterday, because fewer people visit NCS on Saturdays than on any other day of the week. Which makes it even more puzzling that I’m planning to present a two-part collection of new music on this Saturday, on top of Andy’s latest Waxing Lyrical interview. It’s not a rational plan, but I can’t help myself.

It happened that most of the music I wanted to recommend today lined up under the giant banner of death metal (though black metal is also in the mix), hence the title of this post rather than the usual “Seen and Heard” moniker. Part 2 (which might have to wait until tomorrow) will include a new album which surfaced yesterday in full, and caught me by surprise, as well as a few other recent selections. There are some surprises in Part 1 too.

PUTRESCINE

Former NCS scribe Joseph Schafer pointed me enthusiastically to the first item in this collection, the just-released debut EP of Putrescine, who claim their inspirations from “the great works of Carcass, Morbid Angel, and the modern hellworld that is the political landscape”. Countless bands have been influenced by Carcass (early Carcass in this case) and Morbid Angel, but this San Diego trio immediately stand out from the pack. Continue reading »

Jul 272018
 


Climate Reanalyzer Global Weather Map – July 27, 2018

 

(Andy Synn has compiled a collection of songs from seven bands suitable for the hell we find ourselves in.)

Depending on where you are right now in the world, there’s a good chance you’re enjoying/enduring (delete as appropriate) the same sweltering heat and blazing sunshine which is currently scorching us here in the UK, and perhaps you find yourself wondering, as the earth around you slowly returns to its molten, primordial state… what albums provide the best soundtrack to my current situation?

After all, while a lot of Stoner Rock/Metal bands have built a career out of an association with lazy, sun-kissed vibes and hazy, weed-fuelled riffs, the majority of the more Extreme/Underground bands we cover here at NCS tend to be more associated with darkness and shadow… heck, about 50% of all the world’s Black Metal bands are obsessed with snow and ice, regardless of where they actually hail from… and there’s a reason we so often use words like “dank” and “cavernous”, “chilling” and “frostbitten, to describe their music – it just fits!

As a result I had to think long and hard about what albums truly capture the sensation of being trapped and tormented by the oppressive weight of the burning sun in all its torrid and terrible glory, before finally settling on the handful of suggestions you’ll find below. Continue reading »

Nov 082016
 

zhrine-tour-2
Zhrine in Seattle

On November 2, the Shrines of Paralysis North American Tour launched in Los Angeles, headlined by New Zealand’s Ulcerate and also including the Icelandic band Zhrine, and Phobocosm from Montreal.

Zhrine was one of the biggest and brightest surprises at this year’s edition of Maryland Deathfest (as we discussed here and here, with photos), and now large numbers of other metal fans are getting the chance to discover what makes Zhrine so special. And so we count ourselves very fortunate to bring you the first in what we hope will be a series of tour reports from Zhrine’s manager Bogi Bjarnason (accompanied by his photos) — though as you’ll discover, it may be the last as well as the first.

You’ll also discover that this particular tour diary displays an articulateness and eloquence that’s rare in observations and musings about the highs and lows of metal tours. So read on, and enjoy. Continue reading »

Jun 272016
 

Ulcerate-Zhrine-Phobocosm tour

 

I don’t do a very good job posting about new tour announcements, even when I’m really excited about them. But I’m REALLY excited about this one, and happened to have a few free minutes to help spread the word.

The name of the tour is Shrines of Paralysis, and that’s a well-chosen name because the tour is headlined by New Zealand’s Ulcerate and will also include Iceland’s Zhrine and Montreal’s Phobocosm. And that is one hell of a line-up.

Several of my NCS comrades and I had the pleasure of seeing both Zhrine and Phobocosm at this year’s edition of Maryland Deathfest, and both were among the true highlights of the festival (as discussed here and here, with photos). In addition, the most recent releases of both bands are outstanding (see our review of Phobocosm’s Bringer of Drought here and our premiere of one of the new Zhrine songs here). Continue reading »

Jun 132016
 

Phobocosm - Bringer of Drought

 

(In this post Todd Manning provides brief reviews of new releases by Dark Descent and Unspeakable Axe.)

Death might just be the overarching theme of 2016, but the tandem of Dark Descent Records and their sub-imprint Unspeakable Axe are certainly spinning this in their favor by releasing a continuous string of remarkable Death Metal albums. While I have already had the opportunity to talk about new albums from the likes of Ripper, Nucleus, and Hemotoxin, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to gush about a few more albums from the label.

PHOBOCOSM

First up is the new album from Montreal-based Phobocosm. Bringer of Drought is the follow-up to their impressive debut Deprived and is nothing short of astonishing. Despite the label’s reputation as being at the forefront of the New Wave of Old School Death Metal, none of these bands seems to be unoriginal or regressive in such a way that causes them to lack their own identity. This is perhaps best illustrated by Phobocosm, who seem to marry the epic feel of classic Neurosis to the Death Metal/Doom hybrid of Inverloch and Disembowelment. Continue reading »

Jun 042016
 

Alewife brunch1
Friday beer/brunch at Alewife with friends.

For those of you just now joining this series about Maryland Deathfest XIV, I’m in the process of highlighting the bands whose performances were the best of the ones I saw and heard in Baltimore beginning on Wednesday of last week.

Rather than doing a day-by-day recap, I’ve organized the bands into four somewhat loosely defined categories. Yesterday’s feature was a “Shades of Black” collection of black metal bands, and before that was one under the heading “Swedish (and Dutch) Death Metal Supremacy”. I’m calling today’s celebration “The Black Death“, not only because that describes the general style of music performed by the following six bands, but also because they all spread a lethal kind of auditory plague.

Presented in the order in which I witnessed the performances over 5 nights and 4 days, and I’ve again included my photos of each band (most of which are gathered at the end of this post). Continue reading »

Apr 112016
 

Shadow Woods Metal Festival 2016

 

As we begin the new week, I have some unfortunate news (at least it’s unfortunate for me). Beginning today and continuing through Thursday morning, I have to bury myself in my fucking day job for one of those day-and-night projects that periodically descends upon me. I’ll make time to post what other writers have sent me, as well as a few premieres I’ve agreed to do, but aside from this round-up and one “Short But Sweet” review I wrote over the weekend, I will be missing in action until sometime Thursday.

Before saying good-bye, I’ve collected a few items that I wanted to share — including, at the end of this post, streams of ten recent videos without commentary (because I’ve run out of time for commentary).

SHADOW WOODS METAL FESTIVAL

I’m late sharing this news, but the news is so exciting that I’m following the “better late than never” mantra. Last year’s Shadow Woods Metal Festival was a marvelous event by all accounts — including this account by our guest Captain Karbon. As I reported in February, organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been planning the second installment of this open-air camping metal party, which will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. They’ve been announcing performers since January, and now the complete line-up has been revealed — and it’s an eye-popper: Continue reading »

Mar 302016
 

Phobocosm - Bringer of Drought

 

With their 2014 debut album Deprived, Montréal’s Phobocosm demonstrated a dawning talent for generating a poisonous, pitch-black atmosphere of dread, pain, and imminent destruction. With their new album, Bringer of Doubt, they have honed that talent, creating music that if anything is even more thoroughly and oppressively saturated with darkness and doom, yet is also even more memorable.

As before, the band have created death metal that’s leavened with elements of doom and dissonant black metal, and the resulting music is unerringly and unceasingly bleak and predatory. The opening track, “Engulfing Dust”, exemplifies the new album’s more prominent use of horrifying doom. It’s a staggering funereal lament that’s cold, desolate, and crushing. The song begins and ends with the sound of wind, rain, and finally distant thunder, and the melody first heard in the slow, sad chords at the start becomes a paean to pain. Continue reading »

Sep 302014
 

 

(Austin Weber reviews the new album by Phobocosm from Montreal.)

A lot of modern death metal is shiny, flashy, and in addition, purely cutthroat. Well, the Montreal-based group Phobocosm are nothing like that. They are relentlessly ugly and unforgiving, often content to stew in misery at a slower pace, entrenched in massive, sickening riffs that churn bowels and cause minds to enter a state of hopeless insanity. If a cutthroat death metal record feels like a physical assault, then consider Phobocosm masters of taking that assault directly into your brain, feeding you clouded questions that don’t lead to any answers, submerging you in a sadness and longing that reeks of perversion. Deprived offers an evil and different take on the death metal sound. Yes, there is plenty of  lively double-bass, and the album has its frenzied moments, but often this is a skulking, wounded beast — preaching a horror beyond gore, beyond death.

An eerie Immolation and Incantation influence is clear — from the riffs to the grooves to the structuring. However, Phobocosm are far from wholly a clone of either group. Besides those two points of reference, the music sometimes calls to mind the approach of Ulcerate, embracing and reflecting in atmospheric reverberations, sometimes by themselves and at other times mixed within the band’s full-throttle moments. The back and forth sway of the songs on Deprived is one of its greatest strengths, frequently manifesting a battle between faster and lurching tempos.

At still other moments on Deprived a black metal undercurrent is injected into the mix and further poisons the music’s already pitch-black feel. In this respect, the album is reminiscent of Deathspell Omega or Mitochondrion, though the blackened coloring occurs largely within a death metal framework overall. Continue reading »

Aug 182014
 

 

Last spring I discovered the existence of a Montréal death metal cult named Phobocosm, who had just recently signed with Dark Descent for the release of their debut album, Deprived. In the spring, one song had been posted for streaming. Its name is “Solipsist”,  and it’s a monster. The dreadful chiming chords that begin the song are like the bells that herald the final doom, and the rest of the song provides a reasonable approximation of that world-ending event. Today we’re lucky to bring you the premiere of a second track from Deprived. This new one is named “Knives In the Senate House”. It, too, is a monster.

The music creates an atmosphere of choking, poisonous miasma with bleak, ripping riffs that grind and vibrate as if emulating the super-heated process of radioactive decay. Huge bass and drum hammers punctuate the storming onslaught with concrete-splitting force, and a sinuous melody slithers through the toxic storm, giving the music character as well as a potent aura of dread and imminent destruction. The drum performance throughout the song is both acrobatic and brutally effective, and the deep, gargantuan vocals enhance the music’s message of utter catastrophe.

Phobocosm are practicing a very dark art, one that displays mastery in the creation of both oppressive atmospherics and sensations of physically compulsive power. Like “Solipsist”, “Knives In the Senate House” heralds the advent of an album that will be a must-listen experience by all true acolytes of lethal death rituals. Continue reading »