Nov 262014


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Ireland’s Primordial, with a new video from the band at the end.)

If the world were a fairer place, then I have no doubt that Primordial would be one of the biggest metal acts in the world by now. If the world rewarded raw passion and creativity the way it should, they’d be playing arenas and selling albums by the bucket-load, bringing their majestic brand of misery and majesty to all corners of the globe.

But the world isn’t fair. It seems most metalheads prefer to regress towards the lowest-common-denominator wherever possible, and that most popular music fans prefer things served up to them in lightweight, easily digestible chunks.

And that’s just the way things are. Sex sells, and so does simplicity. But it’s not really adding anything real, or particularly meaningful, to the world, is it? It’s been said many times that “pop will eat itself”. Well pop has eaten itself so many times now that all we’re left with is an endless cycle of eat-defecate-eat-regurgitate that’s sapped whatever little value from the music that it originally had.

We continue to consume, unaware that we’re starving ourselves to death.

It’s why I’m thankful for bands like Primordial. Bands who write and perform not for fame and fortune, and not to please some imagined audience, but for themselves, for the message, for the sheer cathartic joy of creation. Continue reading »

Oct 232014


Here’s the second part of a round-up of new things that I began earlier today, collecting some of the news and music I discovered over the last 24 hours that I thought would be worth your time, because they were worth mine.


Where Greater Men Have Fallen is the name of the new Primordial album, due for release by Metal Blade on November 25. The title track premiered previously, and a couple of days ago Stereogum premiered another song, “Come the Flood”.  It’s powerfully heart-wrenching and melancholy in its atmosphere, driven at first by heavy, thumping drumbeats and a flowing curtain wall of guitars, and later by percussion that sounds like gunshots and a vital lead guitar melody. But at the center of the song is its most arresting feature — Nemtheanga’s  high, soul-stirring, dramatic voice. Amazing.

Listen here (Primordial’s FB page is at this location): Continue reading »

Sep 302014

(Leperkahn introduces the just-released title track from the forthcoming album by Ireland’s Primordial.)

This is pretty late for our normal posting schedule, but when it comes to Primordial, scheduling becomes irrelevant. These guys are my favorite band from Ireland and one of the strongest on the planet, and I’ll be damned if Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill isn’t one of the best vocalists to have ever walked the Earth.

On the heels of their positively euphoric and magnificent Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand, Primordial have just released the title track as the first song premiere from their new album Where Greater Men Have Fallen. True to form of their past efforts, “Where Greater Men Have Fallen” encompasses roughly eight minutes of swelling melodies, epic soundscapes, and the darkly poetic bellows and croons of Nemtheanga. Continue reading »

Aug 072014

Jet-setter that I am, I’m on the road again this week in my old hometown of Austin, Texas. Until last night I haven’t had as much time as usual to check out new music or write about it. I missed a lot, and am trying to catch up before having to leave the world of metal for the rest of today.

I discovered so many things I want to bring to your attention that I’ve divided them into three parts, this being the second (Part 1 is here). The first three items in this round-up are mainly visual.


Those long-running Floridian death kings Obituary have a new album named Inked In Blood coming out on October 28 via Relapse Records, and yesterday the cover art was revealed. As you can see, it’s brutal. The art is by Andreas Marschall. I’m hoping for equally brutal music. Continue reading »

Mar 112014

I have a lot of new discoveries from the preceding 24 hours that I want to share with you today in between the two premieres we have scheduled. I’ve divided them into two of these “Seen and Heard” posts. In this first one I tried to mix things up. Some of what’s here isn’t metal, but it’s all good.


As I previously reported in these pages, Agonia Records will be releasing the 10th studio album by Belgium’s Enthroned on April 15. The title is Sovereigns, and it’s now available for pre-order at this location. Earlier, I featured the first advance track from the album (“Of Feathers and Flames”), and today Noisey premiered another one — “Of Shrines and Sovereigns”. This one is ravaging and rapacious, but it also includes  a somber interlude, something similar to Gregorian chant that transforms into a black metal processional, and it really makes the song.

Enthroned’s Facebook page can be accessed through this link. Here’s the new track: Continue reading »

Sep 062013

(Here’s the third and final part of Andy Synn’s review of 2013’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival in Germany. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here. Once again, Andy provides video that he filmed at the performances.)

The third, and final, day of the festival was a funny one. It seemed (at the time) that this was going to be the day when I only saw a few bands – particularly as I had a long gap planned at one point to do some shopping and eating and such. But, now that I look back on it, I see that I actually watched a good seven full sets, most of them pretty long, five of them from bands I absolutely adore. So, all in all, actually a very, very good day.


Oddly enough the first band of the day was to be Portugese goth-metal masters Moonspell, a band I’m not really a fan of, per se, but whose stellar performance at Inferno earlier this year definitely made me want to check them out again.

Consummate showmen, with an enviable brace of infectious songs and killer riffs, the group managed to turn a brightly-lit early afternoon slot into something of a gothic mecca, their passionate performance crafting a clear and well-received connection with the crowd before them.

We were also treated to one of those wonderful “festival moments” when current Tristania singer singer Mariangela Demurtas came out to add her vocals to a fantastic run-through of “Raven Claws” (although her awkwardly sexy dancing and casual clothes felt oddly at odds with the song’s darkly seductive vibe). Continue reading »

Apr 222013

The 2013 edition of the Roadburn Festival took place over the last four days, from Thursday, April 18, to Sunday, April 21, 2013, in Tilburg, The Netherlands. There’s a dude whose web moniker is kkpgijsbers who lives in Tilburg and attends a lot of live shows and films them. He attended the 2013 edition of Roadburn and has been uploading a bunch of videos he shot of performances at the festival.

The audio and visual quality of these clips is generally excellent — kkpgijsbers obviously has good gear and he sets up at balcony-level, front-row vantage points that provide unobstructed views of the stages. So far this morning I’ve watched the film of Lantlôs performing “Intrauterine”, High On Fire performing “Snakes For the Divine”, Primordial delivering “The Gathering Wilderness”, Electric Wizard with “Witchcult Today” and “The Nightchild”, and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats doing “Valley of the Dolls” with a excerpts of Sharon Tate’s appearance in the movie of the same name on the screen behind them.

I’ve embedded those videos after the jump, plus a random selection of other performances by Alcest, Godflesh, and Cult of Luna. You can find more Roadburn clips by visiting kkpgijsbers’ YouTube channel, and it appears that still more will be uploaded today and in the days to come. Continue reading »

Oct 032012

Put this album on your radar screen: The Giants of Auld by Cnoc An Tursa.

As announced today, this Scottish band from Falkirk are the latest signing by Candlelight Records. Their debut album was recorded at Foel Studios in Wales by noted producer Chris Fielding, who has also produced albums by Winterfylleth and Primordial, among many others.

After doing a bit of reading about the band and listening to all of their music I could find this morning, Winterfylleth and Primordial were the two bands I thought of even before learning about Chris Fielding’s participation in the Cnoc An Tursa recording. Both of those bands have drawn on the heritage of their respective nations (England and Ireland) in crafting music that draws on both black metal and folk traditions. Cnoc An Tursa seem to be following a similar path with respect to their native Scotland, though their music differs from those other two collectives.

Cnoc An Tursa have wrapped their music around old Scottish poetry. One song I found, for example, bears the title “Winter, A Dirge”, which also happens to be the name of a poem by Robert Burns. A second song is named “Bannockburn”, which is the title of yet another Burns poem, in addition to being the site of one of the decisive battles in the first war of Scottish independence from England in 1314. A third, “Hail Land of My Fathers”, is the name of a poem written in the 1800’s by John Stuart Blackie. And a fourth, “Ettrick Forest In November”, was the name of a poem by Sir Walter Scott.

From what I can hear in the YouTube clips I found, the songs do appear to take the poems’ verses for their lyrics. Continue reading »

Jul 192012

Still plagued by the annoying intrusions of non-metal life (fuck non-metal life), your stupid friends at NCS have nevertheless found time to gather a few recent items of interest for your amusement and edification.


First item is above, presented to you as a public service, rather than because of my usual self-centered interests, since this tour isn’t coming remotely close to Seattle. But any U.S. tour involving both Primordial and Cormorant is by definition newsworthy. I don’t know While Heaven Wept, but they must at least be interesting or they wouldn’t be along for this ride.

Do pay close attention to the little asterisks, since not all bands will be at all dates.


The next item is also a tour announcement that also happens to be in September and also happens to include Cormorant (look closely at the dates for Sept 16-20 on the following poster) and also happens to be by-passing Seattle. On this tour, the headliners will be YOB and a band called Norska, which features YOB bass player Aaron Rieseberg and his brother Dustin and is described as a “progressive tech-sludge rock band.” Continue reading »

May 042011

(NCS writer BadWolf provides a critique of the new album by Primordial, released April 26 by Metal Blade)

Primordial’s 2011 powerhouse album Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand is the black metal record I would give to my friends who listen to Fleet Foxes, and not merely because this is ‘folk metal.’ Rather, as they have before, Primordial transcends folk metal.

That term is insufficient. It has come to describe bands that shoehorn ethnic instruments and elements into what is, in the end, basically power metal repackaged. I find the practice self-deprecating and highly commercial, resulting in music with more in common with a Nightwish record than any strong sense of cultural identity. That is not Primordial. This record has nothing in common with the work of, say, Eluvite, Tyr, or Turisas, who make themselves into a travelling circus side show.

Primordial have no need of specialized instruments—no Viper violins, just guitar, bass, drums, and voice. The elements that feel meaningful and authentic are transmitted well enough in the tribalism of the drums and the melodies of the guitar. The unique sounds of Celtic folk have been alloyed completely with black metal guitars; there is no separation.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »