Mar 122018
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Rivers of Nihil, which will be released by Metal Blade on March 16th.)

For all that we try to always pursue a positive approach to reviewing here at NCS, there’s still something to be said for maintaining a certain amount of critical distance from your subject. After all, there’s a surprisingly thin line preventing a positive critique from becoming what is, essentially, an unpaid press release and, if you’re not very careful, it’s easy to accidentally cross over from one to the other.

Case in point, if you’ve been paying attention to the profusion of hyperbole and half-baked philosophising which has preceded the release of this album you might well have come away with the impression that Where Owls Know My Name is something akin to a cross between the second coming of Jesus and the splitting of the atom.

And while it’s definitely a very good record, statements describing it as “a paradigm shift in Death Metal” or “a watershed moment in the history of the genre” have a tendency to come across as, at best, ingratiatingly insincere or, at worst, shamelessly sycophantic, and often say a lot more about the wilful ignorance or parochial listening habits of the writer than they do about the album itself.

But although the much-vaunted “new” elements on this album aren’t strictly “new” to Death/Extreme Metal – the use of saxophone may be uncommon, but it’s far from unheard of, while Rivers of Nihil are far from the first band to incorporate proggy clean vocals and atmospheric touches into their sound in this manner – what’s most important to focus on here is what these elements represent, which is a band clearly intent on pushing forward and evolving no matter what. Continue reading »

Mar 052018
 

 

(This is the third and final part of DGR’s round-up of selected new songs and videos that appeared over the last couple of weeks. You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.)

 

Venom Prison – Devoid (Live)

The last time we checked in with Venom Prison was in late January, to spread the news of the February 23rd Prosthetic Records re-release of their 2016 album, Animus, and the group’s music video for the song “Immanetize Eschaton”. That deluxe edition of Animus is now out with five live songs added to it as a bonus disc, and the group unveiled a live-shot video for one of those songs, “Devoid“, right around that time. Continue reading »

Feb 062018
 

 

I’m continuing to parcel out new and newly discovered music as time permits today, almost all of it displaying cyclonic ferocity in different ways, hence my decision to give the “SEEN AND HEARD” title a rest in favor of something more connected to the sounds.

RIVERS OF NIHIL

We’ve been writing about Pennsylvania’s Rivers of Nihil since January 2012. I count 14 posts featuring them since then, including album reviews, song premieres, and live concert reviews. I guess you could say we’re fans. And now they’ve given us a reason to add Post No. 15 to the list.

On March 16, the band will release a new album entitled Where Owls Know My Name, and today the first advance track from the album appeared on Bandcamp. “The Silent Life” is the song’s name, but it isn’t a quiet and contemplative piece of music… though surely no one would have expected that anyway. Continue reading »

Oct 272016
 

obscura-flyer-sheffield

 

(Andy Synn turns in this review of the live performances by Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation, and Rivers of Nihil in Sheffield, England, on October 24, 2016 — along with videos of the performances.)

Our readers in the UK who play guitar or bass will probably have noticed something rather peculiar over the last couple of days. Riffs that they used to be able to play turning into a mangled, lumpen soup of glitches and errors… Fluid solos that they used to rip out with ease skittering away from stumbling fingers… even, in the most extreme cases, a complete inability to even lift their instrument anymore, as if they were no longer “worthy” to wield its power.

And I know why.

You see on Monday night I was there when Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation, and Rivers of Nihil selfishly used-up the entire country’s supply of notes and riffs, leading to a crisis of near biblical proportions amongst the string-slinging section of the UK metal community.

Thankfully, however, I’ve been informed that a fresh shipment is being piped in from the mainland, and so normal proceedings should be resumed by the weekend or thereabouts. Continue reading »

Feb 102016
 

Khemmis-Absolution

 

It’s conceivable that there are people out there who actually noticed that notwithstanding my earlier promise about posting one of these installments every day this week, I failed to do that yesterday. In between other posts that were more urgent and interference from my fucking day job, I just couldn’t manage it. So, to keep on schedule, I’m posting two installments today!

In case anyone happens to stumble on this post with no idea what I’m talking about, this is my year-end list of 2015’s “Most Infectious Metal Songs”, which will come to an end on Sunday, and there are 20 previous installments you can inspect via this link.

KHEMMIS

I am so damned happy that Khemmis‘ 2015 album has been so damned successful. Lots of people knew how good they were before I had my first taste of their music at the 2014 Denver Black Sky festival, but I still like to think I was at least hanging around the launching pad before the rocket took off. Continue reading »

Aug 042015
 

Ares Kingdom-The Unburiable Dead

 

I’ve been distracted by a combination of personal obligations and the demands of my fucking day job. As some of you may have noticed, we didn’t post anything on Sunday, which was only the seventh calendar day in five and a half years when that has happened, and we had only two posts yesterday. So great is the daily flood of metal that even a few days of distraction means that we get very far behind in our attempts to keep up with all the new music. Catching up would be a herculean task, but in this post I’ve made a modest effort to round up some (and only some) of the good new music and video streams that have surfaced since the end of last week.

This collection is incomplete, but it’s still a long playlist of recommendations — presented in alphabetical order by band name, with a rare paucity of words from me about the music. Your thoughts about these sights and sounds will be welcome, as always.

ARES KINGDOM

Roughly two years after the release of their last album, Veneration, Kansas City’s Ares Kingdom are about to drop a new one. The name is The Unburiable Dead, and the CD release is projected for early September on Nuclear War Now!, with LPs to follow. The album cover, which I think is wonderful, is based on a piece by the German artist George Grosz (1893 – 1959) called “The Pit“. When a friend of the band told me about the cover, he included this quote by the artist, who led a fascinating and tumultuous life: Continue reading »

Jul 272015
 

Rivers of Nihil - Monarchy

 

(Austin Weber reviews the new album by a band we’ve been following since early days — Rivers of Nihil.)

While it’s only been two years since Rivers Of Nihil dropped their fantastic debut, The Conscious Seed Of Light, the band are already about to release their sophomore follow-up, Monarchy, at the end of August. It’s been interesting to see the band’s evolution from their more stripped-down beginnings to the truly top-shelf act they’ve become. After even a single listen to the record, it becomes clear that Monarchy is a big step up for their sound, achieving the potential that in some ways they only hinted at on The Conscious Seed Of Life — and I say that as someone who is a massive fan of their debut.

Their growth from then until now manifests itself in different ways, but arguably the biggest change is that the atmospheric quality present in “Mechanical Trees”, “Rain Eater” and “Airless” from the last record has become the direction the band have pursued throughout Monarchy. They have done this tastefully, overall adding an epic extra sheen to the music that contrasts well with whatever segment it’s paired with. Often it lends moments of pure esoteric beauty, not something you’d normally find in furious, technically-leaning death metal. Continue reading »

Jul 082015
 

Rivers of Nihil - Monarchy

 

(Andy Synn introduces our premiere of the title track to the new album by Rivers of Nihil.)

I absolutely loved Rivers of Nihil’s debut album, The Conscious Seed of Light. Though it’s not a perfect release, it is very, very good (particularly for a debut full-length), and absolutely packed to the gills with nascent potential.

Potential which they’ve fully realised on their new album, Monarchy.

From start to finish it’s an intensely heavy, stunningly technical (though always in service to the greater themes of the song), and viscerally passionate album, that sees the Reading, Pennsylvania quintet capitalising on the momentum gathered by their debut in order to really expand the scope and breadth of their sound. Continue reading »

Aug 112014
 

Collected in this post you will find news of three U.S. or North American tours. News about the first two is still somewhat incomplete, and I’m a bit late reporting on the third one. All three are enticing.

“IN THE MINDS OF EVIL”

Last month news surfaced about a tour to be headlined by Deicide, named after their most recent album, In the Minds of Evil. Last night Inquisition posted an announcement on their Facebook page about the tour, which was interesting because when the tour was announced last month Marduk was named as one of the support bands, but now it appears that Marduk are out and Inquisition are in. In addition, Abysmal Dawn have been added to the line-up. Here’s the complete list of bands:

DEICIDE
SEPTICFLESH
INQUISITION
ABYSMAL DAWN
CARACH ANGREN

An updated official tour flyer hasn’t been released yet, so I decided to use a photo of an embryo of the short-tailed fruit bat (embryonic stage 19).

Inquisition also included an initial schedule of dates in their FB post, while noting that more dates will be added. Here’s the schedule so far: Continue reading »

Oct 102013
 

(In this post guest writer Austin Weber reviews the new album by Rivers of Nihil.  He also took the live photos included with the review.)

For the last few years, Reading, Pennsylvania’s own Rivers Of Nihil have seen their profile continue to rise through a combination of excellent EP releases and a lot of dedicated touring. Last year all that hard work payed off as Metal Blade Records decided to sign them, and now that October is upon us, their full-length debut The Conscious Seed Of Light arrives.

While Rivers of Nihil began as a hybrid of rich old-school and new-school death metal influences, they’ve wisely developed their sound further. On this debut the band have matured and are just as comfortable easing back on the aggression and letting reflective atmospheric moments develop and flourish. Unlike some other bands who have incorporated these kinds of sounds into their death metal framework, Rivers Of Nihil never allow them to become the focus for whole songs. They merely let those moments flavor and enhance parts of most tracks. So in the end you still get the experience of being bombarded by an angry wall of sound, and the songs don’t lose any aggressive appeal. Then, as an added bonus, their sorrowful excursions lend a gnawing melancholy to the music that is quite emotive. Continue reading »