Apr 112013

I’m really slow in spreading the word about this event — my man Vonlughlio tipped me to it the day it happened. In a nutshell, Suffocation, Exhumed, Jungle Rot, Rings of Saturn, and Adimiron performed live at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY, on the night of April 5. That was the second night of the Despise the World 2013 North American Tour, which is still in progress. The Saint Vitus show was webcast live, as it happened, on Gander.tv.

But the show was also recorded as it was happening, and the entire thing can still be streamed.

Even better, the stream of the live performance is embeddable, which means I can stick it right here at NCS for as long as the stream lasts — all 5 hours of it.

I don’t know how many people would choose to watch the entire show — I skipped around, myself — but it’s pretty damned cool just to have it available. Also, Exhumed played a new song called “The Rotting” from their next album, which should be out in the summer. Check out the show right after the jump. Continue reading »

Oct 312012

(We welcome guest writer Tyler Lowery back to NCS with the second of two reviews we’re publishing of the unexpectedly just-released second album by Rings of Saturn. You can find our other one here.)

 When I heard the intro of the new Rings of Saturn album, I had it set in my mind that this would mark their descent into a tired deathcore outing. The almost Whitechapel-esque guitar intro riff that led into the viciously fast riffing and quick-bursting blast beats for the first few moments left dread in my heart. I was expecting the worst to happen at the drop of the bass, leading into a meaningless and redundant breakdown. To my very pleasant surprise, this never occurred.

What did follow was a very well-organized trip through some of the most brutal and technical riffs this side of Obscura’s Omnivium. Rings of Saturn have completely refined and tightened their sound since their debut release in 2009. Focus has pushed all that pure aggression into tight boxes that, once released, wreak utter devastation. In doing this, guitarists Lucas Mann and Joel Omans have spent more time relating their mastery of their art in fine passaging and provocative soloing. The guitars are still top notch, though, and do not flinch for a second. The leads switch often between a very tech-heavy smear of notes and sharply rooted melodic tremolo picking to heavy churning and crushing riffs.

While this is a very fast, very technical album, there is still a good bit of space in between for well-placed and patient guitar work. I wouldn’t call the playing transcendent, but it is certainly very impressive. The first track, “Objective to Harvest”, has an almost spaced-out midsection. “Faces Imploding” breaks for a few phrases toward the end of the track with a Faceless-tinged clean passage that leads into one of the first prevalent breakdowns on the album, which thankfully doesn’t overstay its own welcome. And probably one of the tastiest excerpts is toward the end of the album on “Fruitless Existence”. The song closes with a very groove-oriented clean outro, almost waving goodbye to a passing battlefield. Continue reading »

Oct 312012

(Today we have not one, but two reviews of the new album by Rings of Saturn, and this one comes to you courtesy of TheMadIsraeli. Check out the second one here.)

Speaking of Br00tz rank, Rings of Saturn just got promoted to fucking grandmaster general McFuck you up prestige levels.  It’s shitty what happened with Dingir getting leaked, so I figured I’d do my part by showing my support for this album, because it’s fucking good. It’s rather odd, considering that I admittedly didn’t think the band’s first album was all that impressive.  Dingir, however, is a monster.  A tentacle raping brain scrambling “oh fuck I think I’ve been sonically anally probed” monster.

Technical deathcore, like deathcore generally, gets as much of a bad rap as anything -core, and usually for good reason.  It’s often just breakdowns with sweeping in between.  Much of it sounds boring as fuck-all to me (the style doesn’t really lend itself to dynamics very well), so it means something that I’m actually reviewing this.  The fact this album has legitimate riffs helps its case quite a bit.  The breakdowns and chugs are here, for sure, but that’s balanced by a plentiful amount of tech-riffing that hits the spot.

Some people might still find this album unsatisfying, because like most tech-deathcore, it isn’t dynamic — but this time that’s not a drawback.  There is a definite intensity going on here that is rather unmatched, except maybe by Infant Annihilator (sans ass-fucking in the woods). Continue reading »

Oct 272012

In June I included the stupendous cover art you’re looking at (sans the band and album names) in a post about new metal artwork.  Then, I didn’t know who the artist was, but now I do:  Mark Cooper (a/k/a Mindrape Art). He created this piece for the cover of a new album by Rings of Saturn named Dingir (din-jeer), and that leads us to a sordid tale of woe, the moral of which is a reminder that the community of metal still includes people with no morals.

In June, when the album art was released, the band’s label (Unique Leader) also provided a teaser clip of samples from the album and a tentative release date: November 20. The recording and production work on the album was apparently finished. What remained was the promotional run-up to the release.

And then Dingir ran into some potholes on the road to its release. First, as disclosed by the band last night, undisclosed “legal issues” arose which led to a delay in the album’s release from November 20 to February 5. I’ve seen no explanation of these issues. Undoubtedly, that extra two months of waiting for release was a source of frustration for the band.

But second, and more important, an unfinished, unmastered, pre-production version of Dingir leaked yesterday, apparently appearing across a variety of metal blog spots and torrent sites, as well as on YouTube. And that drove the band to take unplanned action to limit the damage. Continue reading »

Jun 222012

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I suppose people in our community have as varied a set of tastes in artwork as the rest of society at large, but when it comes to album art in particular, we’re off in a world unto ourselves. What we find “beautiful” in album art tends to fall on the ugly side of things. I think that’s because we look for album art that represents the dissonant, frequently voracious, often bleak sound of the music.

But even within the realm of extreme metal album art, there’s good and bad. Today I came across a collection of new artwork for forthcoming albums that I’d put on the good end of the scale . . . plus some works in progress by a well-known metal artist for album covers that are in the making.

The first example is the one you see above. It’s the just-disclosed artwork for the next album by long-running Swedish death metal band Grave, who happen to be one of my perennial favorites. The next album will be their 10th and is titled Endless Procession of Souls. It’s due for release in Europe on August 27 by Century Media. The artwork is by Costin Chioreanu, who also created the art for Grave’s last two albums. If you know anything about Grave’s music, you’ll appreciate how perfectly appropriate this creation is for their style of music. Beautiful. Continue reading »

Oct 152011

Last night NCS co-founder Alexis and I went out to Seattle’s Studio Seven and met up there with our friend Travis for a bit of vigorous headbanging. There were massive attractions on the bill, starting with one of our favorite combines of local dudes, Blood and Thunder (whose new album we’ll be reviewing shortly). In talking with them after their set, we learned they’re recording a new song and we got a look at a new piece of artwork that will likely appear on future merch — it’s a huge eye-catcher, and I hope to splash it all over NCS soon.

And then we got the chance to see another Seattle band who I’ve heard good things about — black metallists Funeral Age. Their set was killer and I’ve now got their latest album, which I’m looking forward to ingesting. More likely, it will ingest me.

After that was a surprise — Rings of Saturn from California’s Bay Area. I didn’t know these maniacs were part of this show (they weren’t listed on the Studio Seven web site), but man, I’m glad they were. They’ve now got a new 7-string bass player and a new man-mountain of a drummer, and they delivered a high-energy blast of technical death metal. The calculatingly dead-pan stage banter of their frontman Peter Pawlak was also funny as shit.

And then came the band Alexis and I really were there to see — Fleshgod Apocalypse, who were making their second Seattle appearance of the year, after their all-too-brief set on the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour stop. We moved up close to the stage for this one and just got completely mind-blown. We weren’t the only ones. The floor crowd was clearly eager for this set and exploded at the same time as the band’s first song exploded. So, in addition to getting mind-blown, we got treated to non-stop body slamming until the set ended. It was fucking spectacular. I didn’t think it was possible for me to become any more enthusiastic about FA than I already was, but yeah, it happened.

And then, we sort of lost the rest of the night’s music, missing out on Decrepit Birth and Decapitated, because we got engrossed in conversation at the tour bus with FA guitarist Cristiano Trionfera, later joined by Francesco Ferrini (keyboards), frontman Tommaso Riccardi, and drummer extraordinaire Francesco Paoli. More about that after the jump, plus another jaw-dropping Francesco Paoli drum-cam video that SickDrummer released yesterday from FA’s performance on October 11 in San Francisco. Continue reading »

Aug 032011

I just saw the news about a new tour beginning at the end of September, and I was so excited it nearly gave me heart failure. Our friends at MetalSucks are sponsoring the 2011 CARNIVAL IS FOREVER NORTH AMERICAN TOUR, headlined by Decapitated and including Decrepit BirthFleshgod Apocalypse, Rings of Saturn, and The Haarp Machine.

For my tastes, that is just a stupendously strong line-up. Though I haven’t yet heard The Haarp Machine, I will now hunt down their music with interest, and as for the rest of the bands, well I’m not going to make reference to boners or cum because that would be inconsistent with my previously expressed opinions on the use of such words in metal writing. I will just say that something wet has happened and I am unable to stand up.

After the jump you can see the schedule. I believe it is a fine schedule, because it includes a stop in Seattle. Continue reading »

Dec 012010

November is now in our rear-view mirror. December lies ahead of us: A perfectly good stretch of road marred by the speed bumps of the cataclysm that is Christmas. And on the other side of those speed bumps is the end of the year – the roadkill that is New Year’s Eve. And you know what the run-up to year-end brings — year-end lists. It’s already started, but the coming weeks will bring us a slew of Best of 2010 album lists. We’ll probably do our own Best of 2010 list — not the best albums of the year, but, as we did last year, the most infectious extreme metal songs of the year.

But we’re not quite ready to launch that list. Instead, we’re looking off into the future, not backward at the music that’s rattled our skulls over the past year. Yes, it’s time for another monthly installment of METAL IN THE FORGE, in which we cobble together a list of forthcoming new albums, cribbing like rag-gatherers and lint-pickers from PR releases and metal news sites like Blabbermouth in order to construct a line-up of new music that we’re interested in hearing.

All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. After the jump, of course . . .

Continue reading »