Jan 292014

Here we present Part 14 our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

You may have noticed that some of the fun I have in compiling this list comes from decisions about how to group together the 2 or 3 songs presented in each installment. Today, for example, the unifying theme is the “formula” that each band uses in its music (and I put that word in quotes because the music is far from formulaic):  Riffs + Poison


I like to think I’m very egalitarian in my outlook about most things, including metal. But every now and then I find myself instinctively falling prey to the disease of “metal elitism” — something to which I’m usually immune. For example, when I saw Inquisition’s 2013 album appearing on one after another year-end list from the so-called “big-platform sites”, I grumbled to myself, “they’re just doing this in an effort to prove they’re cool”.

And then I remembered: The riffs on that album are about as close as you can get to an orgasm without someone rubbing on your nether parts. Anyone can appreciate that! Continue reading »

Oct 292013

In this post we bring you three globe-spanning videos that premiered either yesterday or today, with our performers hailing from the exotic locales of Ohio, Taiwan, Iceland, and Japan.


The lyrics to the title track from Serpents Unleashed tell you a lot about what you hear in the song: “Demonic, defiant, eyes of burning chaos / With darkness at our side / Evil at our command / Crush the weak and feeble, their place within the dust / Rain fire from the shadows / Striking hard and fast / Vomiting the blackest hate / The spawn of wickedness…”

The new video for the song strikes hard and fast, too. Rapidly strobing between shots as the band deliver the goods, the film makes effective use of light and shadow, slo-mo interludes, and split-screen views. Check it out next: Continue reading »

Oct 112013

(Andy Synn offers some thoughts, and some questions, about why we do what we do here. The artwork above is a new piece by Sam Nelson, and it’s here not because it resembles Andy Synn but because I like it.)

Something that comes up occasionally, both online and out in the real world, is the question of what a review is really for? What is it trying to achieve… what is the point… heck, why even bother?

So I thought it might be interesting to put down a few thoughts about why we here at NCS – or at least, me personally, since I’m not aiming to speak for anyone else really – do bother writing, blogging, and putting our thoughts and opinions out there.

Although I’ve had this column in my head in a vague form for a while now, just recently a couple of (minor) incidents have helped me start to crystallise this question of who/what we are writing for, who our audience might be, and – notably – who our audience definitely isn’t. Continue reading »

Oct 092013

 (BadWolf reviews the new album by Skeletonwitch, which is slated for release on October 29 by Prosthetic.)

Hopelessness lives in Ohio. I was born here. My world is flat, industrialized, and divided by thirds into fields of GMO crops, seemingly bombed-out factory complexes, and dilapidated ghettos. (Very well, I’m being harsh to my home, but follow me.) Ohio’s metal scene stands in equivalent disarray, with a few notable exceptions—and the most notable is Skeletonwitch.

Hailing from college town and bar hopper’s paradise Athens, Skeletonwitch bring a home-grown and fun-loving attitude to their puree’d blend of old school heavy metal, thrash, death, and black metal. Their short albums and shorter songs pack in screeched vocal hooks and twin guitar leads at blitzkrieg tempos. Since roughly their 2007 album, Beyond the Permafrost, Skeletonwitch have been the little band that could, plowing uphill with a tireless work ethic and a knack for good songwriting.

They know their strengths—frontman Chance Garnett and furious guitar duo Scott Hedrick and Nate Garnette—and only modify their formula incrementally from album to album. Cynics might call it  a lack of imagination, but I call it good branding, and Serpents Unleashed will cement that brand for even more fans. After four years of replacement drummers and studio experimentation, this record feels like the defining moment for the band, the most assured record in their catalog next to 2009’s Breathing the Fire. Continue reading »

Sep 172013

Skeletonwitch has just premiered a new song and video, and if you like what you hear, you can get the song immediately.

If you hadn’t heard yet, Skeletonwitch have a new album on the way. Entitled Serpents Unleashed, it was recorded earlier this year at GodCity Studio with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Trap Them, High on Fire) and it’s due for release in North America on October 29 (October 28 EU/UK, October 25 Germany). It features delicious cover artwork by John Baizley (Baroness, Kylesa, Kvelertak), who last created album art for the Witch on 2007’s Beyond The Permafrost.

We previously featured the first advance track from the album, “Burned From Bone”, and the new one is called “I Am Of Death (Hell Has Arrived)”. Black thrashing mayhem anyone? With a sing-along chorus? And a little open heart surgery in the forest? You got it. Continue reading »

Sep 162013

I wet myself a little bit when I was informed of this tour, announced not long ago. Okay, to be honest, my bladder completely loosened and I’m now swimming in the processed fluids of last night’s beer. It’s such a good feeling, because seriously, look at that line-up.

Amon Amarth, Enslaved, and Skeletonwitch will be touring fortunate parts of the U.S. during January and February of 2014. Tickets are on sale now at this location.

My bladder-loosening enthusiasm is tempered only by the fact that neither Seattle nor any other city in the Pacific Northwest are on the schedule. Looks like San Francisco is as close as this bladder-loosening extravaganza will come. Fuck, there may be an SEA-SFO plane ticket in my future, though the airline would have to upholster my seat in plastic, or maybe I’ll finally have to splurge on some personal care products.

In case you have trouble seeing the dates in the tour flyer, you can find them listed after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 142013

I’m still catching up on what has happened in the world of metal since yesterday. Here are a few more items worth talking about.


A bit earlier today I wrote about the latest artwork, news, and music concerning the new Skeletonwitch album. If I’d just waited an hour, I could have included the fact that Skeletonwitch are embarking on a North American tour this fall with The Black Dahlia Murder (as the headliner) and Fallujah. And on selected dates, that group of miscreants will be joined by Wolvhammer (who are vicious killers in their own right) or Noisem (also murderous).

This is going to be one very fine evening in the pit of musical hell. Unfortunately, it appears I will have to get in the car to visit hell, because the tour isn’t going to hit Seattle. To see if it will threaten your town, check the schedule after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 142013

After a night of debauchery and a half day of painfully early work, I’m finally able to start catching up on what I missed in the world of metal since yesterday afternoon. This post is devoted to two things that caught my eye right off the bat.


Is that album cover up there awesome or what? It’s recognizably the work of John Baizley, and I think this may be my favorite cover he’s ever done. The fact that it graces the new album by Skeletonwitch just makes it all the more killer. The complete artwork was unveiled yesterday, along with more info about the new album — Serpents Unleashed.

It’s now scheduled for release on October 29 in NorthAm (a day earlier in the UK and most of the EU, and October 25 in Germany). It was recorded earlier this year at GodCity Studio with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Trap Them, High on Fire), AND there’s a song from the album that’s being given away for free: “Burned From Bone”. Continue reading »

Dec 172012

(BadWolf and friends took in the show at Detroit’s Magic Stick co-headlined by Corrosion of Conformity and Skeletonwitch on November 16 and provides this review, with pics by Nick Vechery.)

I go to so many concerts that I forget live music is a celebration. When a band plays, the audience takes on a responsibility to express great feeling—vocally, physically, and of course through liver deterioration. It is easier to have a good time at a show not only when the bands are good, but when there is an occasion to celebrate. In the case of Corrosion of Conformity and Skeletonwitch’s co-headlining show, my wolf pack and I had much to celebrate.

My longstanding photographer and concert partner, Sir Nick Vechery, just celebrated his one year anniversary with his wonderful Significant Other, Whitney. [HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, GUYS!] Her gift to him? Skeletonwitch tickets. At the same time, we celebrated our first year of reporting for No Clean Singing. We loaded my car up with some Pabst and Toledo arts reporter Ian Hubbard, and trekked to The Magic Stick.

The Magic Stick boasts a fine bar, plenty of room, a loud stereo, and a huge second-story smoking patio with a gorgeous view of metro Detroit. The venue sits on top of a bowling alley, another bar, and a snack shoppe (the pizza was quite delicious, if a bit greasy). It stands as one of the finest venues I’ve ever visited, and I highly recommend that any NCS readers with the opportunity to spend money there do so. In the past two months I’ve seen four concerts there and cannot wait to return. Continue reading »

Dec 142012

(In this post, NCS writer Andy Synn provides another installment in his “Five of My Favourite” series, with five killer b-side tracks from Himsa, Satyricon, Setherial, Skeletonwitch, and Marduk.) 

Ah, the humble b-side. The bonus track. The Japanese exclusive. How they toy with our emotions and loyalties. How many copies of an album are you willing to buy to get just the right track-list? How completest/obsessive are you? Is that itunes bonus track worth the extra dough? Have the band offered up these extra tracks for free download (some do, you just have to look for them)? Is there ANOTHER Roadrunner digipak re-release on the horizon, scraping the archives for all that they’re worth???

Anyway, recently I’ve started a slow but steady purge of my itunes library, removing the b-sides, bonus tracks and covers which I don’t consider worth the bit-space. This comes after several years of obsessive-compulsive trawling of the internet for downloadable versions of these extra special bonus tracks, or (even worse) buying up another, “better” copy of a cd I already own, just to have the completist’s wet-dream of an exhaustive track-list.

After several intense bouts of therapy I’ve made the first step in getting rid of these superfluous extra tracks that do nothing but clutter up my library and, at their worst, detract from or disrupt the intended track-listing of some of my favourite albums.

But it has also given me a chance to appreciate those b-sides which deserve their time in the spotlight – the very best of which I can’t help but wonder WHY they didn’t make the final cut, in many cases as they’re better than some of the actual album A-sides! So here we are, five of my favourite non-album b-sides. I’ve purposefully excluded covers and re-recordings, and just focussed on five original tracks that honestly deserved to be on an album! Continue reading »