Nov 012019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Swiss band Schammasch, which will be released by Prosthetic Records on November 8th.)

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped the attention of our readers that there’s been a lot of discussion recently about what constitutes “art” – what art is, what it “should” be, who should be allowed to call themselves an “artist” – when it comes to cinema.

And, obviously, this is an issue which extends to the music world too.

I know many people are particularly concerned with what role the intended audience should play in the creation of any piece of art.

Should an artist remain totally disconnected from the wider world, focussing on their own thoughts and feelings, to the exclusion of all else, with no thought to who their viewers/listeners will be?

Or should they consider how people will engage with and interpret their work, and aim to play with the perceptions and expectations of their audience as a way of provoking a certain reaction?

One of these approaches treats art as a form of “pure” expression, the other as a form of “deep” communication, and though both have their defenders and detractors, the truth is that they have both led to the production of some great works of art over the ages.

Which brings us, finally, to Hearts of No Light. Continue reading »

Sep 272019
 

 

I did promise there would be a third Part to the SHADES OF BLACK column I began last Sunday. Only thing is, I made the promise three days ago. It’s been one of those weeks.

Since I originally chose the music for what evolved into this Part 3 (choices I made last weekend), a lot more worthy black metal has surfaced, creating some decision-making difficulties. To cut that Gordian knot I just decided to stick with my original choices and add only one thing that emerged this week, which is the first item below. I’ll save everything else for the regular Sunday SOB feature this weekend, and do my best to keep that one from morphing into another multi-part week-long form of musical cell division.

SCHAMMASCH

Perennial NCS favorites Schammasch are following their titanic 2016 album Triangle with a new one named Hearts Of No Light. It’s not as sprawling an album, and undoubtedly will present other signs of change, since that’s been one of the band’s hallmarks as they’ve evolved. I suspect we’ll have a review in the near future, but today the subject is the first “single”, “Rays Like Razors“. Continue reading »

Jan 142018
 

 

There won’t be a SHADES OF BLACK column today. I’ve had a very busy but fun-filled weekend with Ms. Islander, one of her sisters, and my brother-in-law, whooping it up in Las Vegas. Lacking the time to write any more than one post for this Sunday, I felt it would be better not to miss another day on the rollout of this list. I’ll try to do some catching up on new music tomorrow.

But although there won’t be a SHADES OF BLACK column today, I did decide to focus on black metal for this episode of the Most Infectious Song list.

ASAGRAUM

I’ve been a big fan of “Carried By Lucifer’s Wings” since I listened to it the first time before agreeing to premiere the song last August. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s one of eight tracks on Potestas Magicum Diaboli, the debut album by Asagraum, a band whose line-up (as of the time of this recording) consisted of Dutch guitarist/vocalist Obscura and drummer T. Kolsvart, who is Canadian but lives in Norway. Continue reading »

Jun 212017
 

 

(DGR once again takes over round-up duty, compiling a selection of nine items for your listening and viewing pleasure, culled from the last week.)

 

Clearly nobody got the email that we sent out announcing that we would be incredibly busy late last week Northwest Terror Festing, and therefore decided that it would be a good time to flood the heavy metal world with news. You wouldn’t know that by visiting NCS, because we slowed to a crawl, with writers Gorger and Andy Synn coming through as the heroes keeping the fortress guarded whilst the rest of us rotated between drunk and exhausted.

Now, though, DGR has come to collect his dues, so I have compiled a round-up with every single thing that I kept notes on from Thursday of last week ’til now, and I guarantee you that I’ve still missed a handful of things. Still, though, this collection of music videos, lyric videos, and live performance(s) is gigantic in its own right and it is certified NCS “Fresh”, which means it should only mildly smell like rotting beef carcasses.

Abhorrent Decimation – Conspire

When I first saw the artwork by Karmazid for the upcoming Abhorrent Decimation album The Pardoner, I declared that if the music on that disc could be half as cool as the artwork it bore or the concept behind it, then I would be a happy camper. Well, with “Conspire“, Abhorrent Decimation have shown that they are in good standing on that front — releasing a monstrous six-minute brutalizer. Continue reading »

Jun 082017
 

 

Not for the first time, I had a discussion with a few of my NCS comrades at Maryland Deathfest about how much stuff I post most days. I think their feeling was that 4 posts a day at NCS should be considered adequate, and that more tends to result in reader/listener overload. While I think this is good advice for my exercise of editorial discretion, and undoubtedly would help relieve the frenzied stress levels of my daily existence, the sad fact is that I… just… can’t… fucking… help myself! I see or hear something that gets me excited, and I feel an apparently irresistible compulsion to share it.

And so, while today I’ve already posted an album review and plan to post three premieres (one of which is a full album, accompanied by a review), I also decided to compile this round-up. On the bright side, two of the following 10 items(!) only consist of artwork and news — and I could have made this soooo much longer, but I’m saving some new discoveries for this weekend.

INCANTATION

I was gob-smacked the first time I saw Eliran Kantor’s artwork for the cover of Incantation’s new album. Even now, seeing the piece with the band’s name and the album title on it, my gob is still smacked. The first single from the album has also proven to be a gob-smacker. But before we get to that, here’s Eliran Kantor’s explanation about the inspiration for his painting on the cover of Profane Existence: Continue reading »

Apr 292017
 


Schammasch – photo by Andrea Stoppa

 

Happy Saturday. I’m continuing an effort to catch up on things I spotted over the last week but didn’t have time to write about. For this Part 2, I decided to include mostly news items, and leave a lot of the remaining new music I’d like to recommend for Part 3. Not sure when I’ll get Part 3 done, maybe in time to post later today but most likely for tomorrow.

The first three items here are announcements of new albums, with artwork. The last three are new tape and CD releases that provide reminders about very good releases that originally appeared last year or early this year. And sandwiched in the middle is a bit of recommended new music.

SCHAMMASCH

Here at NCS we’re big fans of the Swiss band Schammasch. And so it was exciting to see the band’s announcement this morning that they plan to release a new trilogy of records as the follow-up to last year’s Triangle trilogy. The new series will be entitled The Maldoror Chants, and the first album — The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite — will be released on the 9th of June. Here’s the cover art, along with the band’s description of the new trilogy: Continue reading »

Oct 232016
 

Schammasch

 

This Sunday’s edition of Shades of Black is quite large, but I nevertheless decided not to divide it into two parts for fear that I’d get diverted by something and never finish Part 2.

The first two items are new videos for songs from previously released albums. The next three are new songs from forthcoming albums. And the last three items are all songs from releases that have been out for a while but that I only discovered recently.

SCHAMMASCH

Andy Synn wrote a special three-part review (collected here) for Triangle, the new album by Schammasch, calling it “a true triumph of ambition and creativity”: “[A]ny listener who embraces the experience of Triangle on its own terms, with their eyes, their ears, and their mind open to the spiritual signals it transmits, will find their decision rewarded ten-fold.” Continue reading »

Apr 292016
 

Schammasch-Triangle

 

(We present the third part of a three-part review by Andy Synn of the new triple album by the Swiss phenomenon Schammasch, which is being released today. Part One is here; Part Two is here.)

The third and final part of Triangle is bound to be the most divisive and most hotly debated segment of the album, showing a very different third face of the band which (almost) entirely eschews the metallic menace of Part I and instead finds the band taking the esoteric progressivity of Part II to its logical conclusion, delving deep into a metaphysical void of moody, ambient minimalism, one which is punctuated here and there by exotic instrumental passages and hypnotic drumming rhythms.

It’s the sort of album designed to either be loved or hated – there’s no middle ground here – and it’s also the sort of album that will potentially take more than a few listens to fully appreciate and come to terms with as well. Continue reading »

Apr 282016
 

Schammasch-Triangle

 

(We present the second part of a three-part review by Andy Synn of the new triple album by the Swiss phenomenon Schammasch. Part One is here; Part Three arrives tomorrow.)

As it was written, so let it be done… I said I was going to write this review in three parts, echoing the construction of its subject matter, and with the publication of Part I yesterday it seems I’m now committed to this three-part treatise on the esoteric wonders of Triangle.

Now, as much as I foresee a certain amount of wailing and wringing of hands about it, the triple-album format of this release really does give the band a chance to fully indulge their more atmospheric ambitions and progressive proclivities while still retaining a sense of continuity and over-arching identity across each separate segment.

Apropos of this, with Part II you can really feel the doomier, proggier side of the band coming through, although this neither downplays the doomy touches already making themselves known during Part I, nor the blackened bite that many of the songs on Part II still possess. It’s simply an acknowledgement that for Schammasch this is yet another step onwards down a path of their own choice and making. Continue reading »

Apr 272016
 

Schammasch-Triangle

 

(We present the first of a three-part review by Andy Synn of the new triple album by the Swiss phenomenon Schammasch.)

It’s no secret that Contradiction, the second album by Swiss occultists Schammasch, is one of my all-time favourites. But where does a band go from a massive, potentially life-changing release like that?

Well, apparently you push things even further with a triple-CD release, split up into three distinct movements concerning the process of death, detachment, and transcendence, comprising some of the most ambitious, progressive, and creative compositions you’ve ever put together.

For such a mammoth undertaking it only seemed fitting to address each distinct part of the album separately, so for the next three days, leading up to its physical release on Friday the 29th of April, I’ll be publishing my thoughts on each sequential segment of Triangle, beginning with Part I: The Process of Dying. Continue reading »