Mar 022013

Nothing has changed, my blog time is still restricted by paying work, but I still have a few discoveries from the last 24 hours to spread around.


These Finnish icons have a new album named Circles that’s coming from Nuclear Blast on April 19 (EU), April 22 (UK), and April 30 (US). Yesterday they premiered a lyric video for a new single that’s being sold right now. The song’s name is “Hopeless Days”. It will be welcomed by die-hard Amorphis fans.

What the song has: Morose lyrics, a captivating melody, a memorable chorus, heavy chugging, a climactic guitar-led finish, and Tomi Joutsen hitting the clean notes cleanly with his distinctive delivery. What the song doesn’t have: Bite. Continue reading »

Feb 242013

Here are a few things I saw and heard this morning. I hope you enjoy them. And by “enjoy” I mean “whimper fearfully and moan miserably”.


I was bowled over by this Connectuicut band’s 2010 debut album, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), and I wasn’t the only one. It has received plenty of attention and critical praise.  You can peruse my review of the album here, and check out a revealing interview of Pristina’s mainman Brendan Duff by using this link.

I have really been looking forward to Pristina’s second album, Hopeless•Godless, which is now scheduled for release on February 26 through The Path Less Traveled Records. I’ve made my way through it once . . . but needed time to recover and hear it again before attempting to make notes for a review. It’s just utterly crushing and searing. I felt like a raw steak that had been tenderized with a mallet and then char-broiled over a hot open flame. Continue reading »

May 152011

Since the end of last week we’ve accumulated some small collections of new music that we think are very sweet. In a way, they’re all teasers for longer and grander things to come from some very good bands. Consider us well and truly teased. But this isn’t like getting all hot and bothered with a chick in the backseat of your car and then being denied the payoff. No, this is a good kind of tease.

Late last week we featured the first of these brief releases — a three-song EP from Swedish black-metal behemoths, Marduk. Today, we’ve got two more: New music from Pristina (U.S.) and Pandemonium (Poland).


We were bowled over by this Connectuicut band’s 2010 debut album, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), and we weren’t the only ones. It has received plenty of attention and critical praise.  You can see our review of the album here, and our revealing interview of Pristina mainman Brendan Duff by using this link.

We heard from Brendan a few days ago with some very welcome news. First, Pristina has recorded three new songs that will only be made available as a limited edition EP at the band’s live shows, though one of them is available for streaming now (we’ll get to that).  Second, Pristina have finished writing their next album and plan to begin recording it shortly.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 032011

Trendkill Recordings is an up-and-coming French record label that we discovered through its signing of Pristina — a U.S. band whose 2010 album The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow) we thought was awesome. (Read our review here.) Since then, we’ve discovered more of the bands in the Trendkill stable, and it’s a remarkably varied and remarkably good group of artists.

Recently, we got the chance to conduct an e-mail interview of Virgil Palazzolo, the founder and impresario of Trendkill Recordings and Trendkill Entertainment, and a musician in his own right. If you want a bit of insight into the mind of a dude responsible for signing a wide range of bands to recording contracts, distributing a diverse catalogue of albums, and organizing tours and shows in Europe — and who’s on the verge of opening a U.S. office in 2011 — then you ought to read what follows.

Our interview covered topics such as his perspectives on the music business in the Age of Download, what he looks for in potential Trendkill signings, his label’s plans for the new year, and new Trendkill releases on the horizon, among others. We thought it was a damned interesting conversation, and hope you will, too. So read on . . . after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 182010

The music comes first. The people who make the music come second. That’s just the way it is. But when the music strikes a chord, you want to know more about the people who make it, and how they make it, because sometimes, it opens a wider window into what you hear. And sometimes it doesn’t. Like we’ve said before, musical talent doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with being able to express yourself in other ways.

We got an advance listen to Connecticut-based Pristina‘s forthcoming album on Trendkill Recordings, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), and were blown away. We posted our review of the album yesterday. In connection with our review, we asked vocalist/bassist “Evil” Brendan Duff if he would answer a few questions, and he foolishly agreed.

What started as a small handful of e-mailed questions to fill in a few blanks in our review turned into a mini-interview, and as more questions occurred to us, Brendan continued to answer (instead of telling us, “fuck off already!”), and it became something more full-fledged.

More than that, it was one of those genuinely window-opening conversations. We learned, among other things, about how this stunning album came to be, about some unusual aspects of how it was recorded, about how Today Is The Day‘s Steve Austin can come to resemble the demented shark-hunter in Jaws, about how the lyrics emerged from Brendan’s struggle to get clean from heroin, and about where this band is headed in their future music. In other words, we had a few of those days that make creating this blog truly worthwhile.

Our interview with Brendan Duff follows the jump, along with a few more tidbits of information about the band and the music. Continue reading »

Aug 172010

Pristina‘s first full-length album, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), is fascinating in its diversity. It crushes like a slab of granite dropped from a high place, and it’s also searing in its unbridled, hardcore ferocity. It’s salted with unnerving vocal samples and electronic noise, and it also delivers galvanizing riffs. It grinds like a lumbering, blood-drenched tank through a landscape of sludge, and it erupts like an out-of-control flamethrower.

The Drought is raw and uncompromising, and it’s one of the most riveting collections of music we’ve heard this year.

The album consists of only five songs. Four of them range in length from about 3 1/2 minutes to about 8 1/2 — and then there’s the closing title track. It’s a 23-minute piece of mind-bending inventiveness that overcame our instinctive trepidation about songs of that length: It neither drones nor drags nor bloats its length with instrumental wankery. It is instead an ingenious, multi-phased beast that’s worth every minute of attention it demands.

The opening track, “Moonshiner”, begins with an extended sample from one of Henry Rollins’ spoken word albums, accompanied by the repetition of crushing chords and a methodical drum rhythm. Following that bruising yet hypnotic intro, Pristina erupts with Brendan Duff’s acidic screams and shuddering jackhammer riffs. The crusty sludge of those opening minutes and the more febrile blasts that replaced it then alternate, with brief interludes of acoustic guitar sandwiched in between.

That opening track sets the stage for what follows. It’s drenched in fuzzed out distortion, anchored by a dominant rhythm section, and propelled by remarkably inventive, expertly executed drumming.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 142010

With apologies for the delay in finishing this post and getting it up on the site, here’s another installment of MISCELLANY. If this happens to be your first visit to NCS, here’s what MISCELLANY is:

About once a week I browse around the webz checking out music from metal bands I’ve not heard before. Picking them is mainly a random process, based on things like news items we’ve seen or e-mails we’ve received or MySpace friend requests that come our way or promos that show up in the mail. And in these MISCELLANY posts, I just describe what I heard and/or what I saw, pretty much as it happened, and provide the music or the videos for you to check out, just as I did.

Because I haven’t heard the music of the bands when I start browsing, I have no certain idea whether it will turn out to be good or just a waste of time. So, no guarantees for me — or for you. But most of the time, it turns out these explorations reveal at least a few gems. And that certainly happened today. Today’s finds, which once again have an international flavor: Canopy (Sweden), Purified in Blood (Norway), Man-Eating Tree (Finland), and Pristina (U.S.).


My first stop of the day was a Swedish band called Canopy (that’s their photo at the top of this post). Something of a convoluted story about how this band hit our radar screen: Earlier this week, we posted our review of the debut album by a kick-ass Montreal band called Incarnia. That album was released by a Montreal label called Panoptic. Panoptic and a sister label called Disconcert Music are run by a dude named Stéphane Paré (former vocalist for a Montreal melodic tech-death band called Quo Vadis).

I got an e-mail from M. Paré that led me to Disconcert’s web site, and there I found Canopy — and man, was that a good find.  (much more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »