Feb 182013

(Below, NCS writer TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Suffocation.)

Suffocation are THE pinnacle of technical death metal.  Every single moment of music they’ve written from Human Waste on has been full of eviscerating brutality, technical instrumentation brought together by one of the best senses of songwriting in the entirety of the genre, and the signature trademarks of Frank “The Tank” Mullen’s vocals, Terrance Hobbs’ indescribable but instantly recognizable brand of riffing, and in this particular case David Culross’s drumming (I think his approach on Despise The Sun was unique, and it definitely sounds like him here). So, the chance to review Pinnacle Of Bedlam was something I leaped at.

In addition to Vader and Dying Fetus, Suffocation are at the head of my trinity of brutality.  No one has EVER matched up to this band’s body of work, not even close.  They define the three things that make a great band: Consistency, legacy, and relevancy.  I don’t think anyone would dare have the nerve to say Pierced From Within sounds old; at least to my ears, that album is as musically current as it ever was, which may raise some questions about the state of modern metal.  What does it mean when many newer bands out now sound older and outdated while certain old school stalwarts still manage to sound not only relevant, but still ahead of the times?  To this day, Suffocation still maintain a commitment to excellence and a standard of quality that exceed that of most other bands.

Pinnacle of Bedlam is the shit.  That’s the essence of what I’m trying to say.  Continue reading »

Jan 142013

As reported in my last post, I’m still droning away at my day job.  But I decided to take another quick break, and lo and behold, look what I found!  Another new song from Suffocation’s next album, Pinnacle of Bedlam, which is due for release by Nuclear Blast on Feb 15 in Europe and Feb 19 in North America.

The new song is called “Cycles of Suffering”, and you can hear it below. It’s a techy flurry of knife-edged riffs and battering drums, with a very cool guitar solo. And Frank the Tank sounds . . . brutal.

To hear the first track released from the album (“As Grace Descends”), go to this page, where the song can also be downloaded.

Dec 142012

As previously reported, the almighty Suffocation have a new album on the way in February via Nuclear Blast. It’s name is Pinnacle of Bedlam. Today, NB began streaming a track named “As Grace Descends”.

I am so damned happy to hear this track. It fulfills fervent hopes. It’s music that both strips flesh from bone and invigorates the mind with a flurry of technical wizardry, interesting drumwork, and a beautiful solo.

Also, Frank Mullen.  Listen:

Nov 302012

Feast your eyes: The artwork for Suffocation’s next album, Pinnacle of Bedlam.

Created by: Raymond Swanland (who did similarly awesome deeds for the likes of Deeds of Flesh and Psycroptic)

Projected release date: Sometime in February 2013

Label: Nuclear Blast

Me:  Having some wood right now.

Is that too much information?

Here’s a nice Suffocation band photo: Continue reading »

Jun 142012

Of course you’ve heard of the forthcoming summer blockbuster movie I Spill Your Guts, directed by James Balsamo and headed your way from Acid Bath Productions, though not to a theater near you.

No?  You haven’t?  Seriously?

Huh.  Well, it includes appearances by Frank Mullen (Suffocation), Oderus Urungus (GWAR), Skeletonwitch, and Andrew W.K.

Still not ringing any bells?  Okay.  Well, the soundtrack will include music from 40 bands, including Suffocation, Ghoul, Cannibis Corpse, and Immersed.

Still clueless?  Well, don’t worry.  The movie looks clueless, too.  But the soundtrack might be cool.  Check out a recently released (revised) official trailer for the movie after the jump, which includes some nice metal, along with a few more tasteful posters. Continue reading »

Apr 262012

That, my friends, is Happy Metal Guy wearing the NCS Fucking Good Pancake Tour shirt with none other than Frank Motherfucking Mullen and Terrance Motherfucking Hobbs of the almighty Suffocation, and the photo was taken in motherfucking Singapore, no less. And that’s not all — not by a long shot.

After the jump, you’ll see photos of Happy Metal Guy, once again looking just smashing in the old massive wall of penis, with members of Nile and Psycroptic. Yes, HMG collared all of these bands yesterday in advance of  the Diablo Open Air Festival in Singapore, which took place on April 26 (Singapore time). He is covering that festival for Teeth of the Divine, and I understand he’ll be meeting up with Arch Enemy by the time you read this. Of course, I expect he will have the same exemplary culinary taste when he dresses for that meeting. UPDATE: HMG did get a quick meet with a few Arch Enemy members, and there’s a pic of him with awesome drummer Daniel Erlandsson and new guitarist Nick Cordle after the jump.

If you don’t immediately recognize the name “Happy Metal Guy”, that’s the pseudonym he uses when he writes for Angry Metal Guy, but he has other names, including a couple he has used when he contributes posts here at NCS (including the “Keyboard Warrior” interview series). He also writes for a bunch of other sites, too — the dude just plain gets around, y’know? But he made me proud wearing the NCS shirt for his meetings with all those big-name metal bands half a world away from where we run this site. So fucking cool.

Also, very fucking cool that none of these bands had HMG ejected from the premises after they saw that shirt.

More fucking cool pics after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Mar 302012

(Andy Synn witnessed the Derby, England stop of the Reborn of Death Tour and apparently was so skull-rattled by the experience that he thought he was at the movies.)

What a line-up, am I right? It’s like a 6-round pummelling before that final knock-out blow. Each band softening you up for another vicious beating by the next. So, still feeling a little punch drunk from the experience, how am I going to manage to review the show for you fine folks?

Through the works of one Mr Sylvester Stallone.

Chronologically speaking, Carceri are the Rocky Balboa (Rocky 6, for those not in the know) of the evening. Definitely the newest act on the block, with a large legacy to live up to. Thankfully, much like their filmic counterpart, they manage to take familiar elements and give them just enough of a modern shine to justify their position. Playing cuts from their new album The Good Must Suffer The Wicked, with a backdrop of dizzying, morbid imagery scrolling and warping behind them, the group deliver an electrifying blend of punchy, mechanical riffage, bone-rattling blast-beats and massive death growls that deftly bears up under the weight of their Oscar-winning legacy.

Unfortunately, the position of Rocky 5 is occupied by Cerebral Bore tonight, as their brain-mangling death-grind has all the familiar elements and hits all the expected story-beats, but somehow lacks the inherent character and heart in its delivery. The vocals are utterly monstrous, but the drums have an overly-triggered sound that robs them of their brutality, and the bass and guitar never fully lock in correctly. The actors are all present, but something about the story is lacking. Close to the end of the set, however, the band debut a new song that shows real promise, picking up the pace in time for the closing credits. Continue reading »

Dec 292011

(Andy Synn provides an unexpected SYNN REPORT, seizing upon the imminent calendar change to discuss the re-recording of 12 songs by 12 tremendous bands — and of course we’re including the music, which means 24 tracks. Fuck, this would be a mixtape that KILLS.)

So here it is, a surprise Synn Report to finish off the year. Arbitrary though the distinction may well be, the end of the year provides a perfect excuse to attend to a similar theme, the transition from the old to the new – re-workings and re-recordings.

Are they better? That’s an argument for the ages? Are they necessary? Hell, that’s probably an even worse argument to start up…

Primarily, re-recordings serve a twofold purpose – 1. to reinvigorate songs that might otherwise not be getting the set-time they deserve, and 2. – to royally piss off a band’s fan-base. Although there’s a chance that the second isn’t entirely intentional. Still, the re-recorded album courts controversy like almost no other, whether it’s a varied collection of songs that are chosen to receive the treatment, or a full re-recording of an entire album.

The full re-recording of an entire album is clearly the most contentious option, while single track re-recordings are often a much more successful and welcome proposition, most often appearing as b-sides and bonus tracks for the avid collector. The full-album re-recording, however, remains exceptionally and unequivocally divisive, alienating as many old fans as it attracts new ones.

So here’s a list of some of those renewed tracks that I think definitely have something to offer the listener, both old and new. I’m sure I’ll have to turn in my kvlt card after this, for promoting something so new and shiny, but ah well… Continue reading »

Oct 162010

When you mentally strip away all the small and large luxuries of life, you are left with the basic rudiments of existence, the core elements necessary for subsistence — food, water, shelter, and in our case, death metal. Nothing fancy, mind you, just the stripped-down, fuzzed-out, palm-muted, drop-tuned, guttural-voiced, percussive approach of the old school, preferably played at a galloping pace.

Rhythmic dynamics and squalling guitar solos are plus factors. Melody is not required.

Eye-catching album art is also a plus, like that busy piece of black-and-white ghoulishness up above by an Indonesian underground artist who calls herself “Oikwasfuk“, depicting the Virgin Mary being impaled by a flying-v guitar while five zombies eat her alive. You know, fun for the whole family! Bring the kids!

Yes, when the band wrote us, they cleverly used that piece of art to hook our attention, like fish caught in a gill net — that, and the band’s viciously cool one-word name. But that was only the beginning. The art and the name only lured us into the music, which in this case (to persist with our commercial fishery metaphor) works like a processing plant — removing the head, guts, and pin bones and then blast-freezing the carcass.

The band is Carcinogen, the album is a five-song EP called Unholy Aggression, and the very satisfying sound is death/thrash of the old school. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 022010

Sometimes you can admire the idea of beauty from afar, even when you have no chance of experiencing it for yourself. It’s a melancholy kind of fantasy. It’s sublime, and it’s wistful at the same time. It makes you wish, for a moment and maybe longer, that you were someone else, in some different place.

We had that moment today. We have that moment almost every day, prompted by one thing or another. But it passes, as it must, because life must go on, and no good comes from pining too long over what might have been.

Today’s moment was provoked by finding out, finally, about where the following metal tour would be stopping in North America. It will be called THE DECIBEL DEFIANCE TOUR 2010. It is a thing of immense and terrible beauty. It features these bands:


The thought of this tour transports us into flights of ecstasy, as if soaring high above the earth with all of creation spread before us for the taking. In other words, for our tastes, it’s the most fucking skull-rattling, ass-kicking, intestinally perforating tour of the fall.

It’s also a very melancholy discovery. For all the flights of mental fancy, it brings us very low. At the end, it’s an excrutiacingly suck-tastic discovery. Can you guess why?  (more whining after the jump, of course . . .) Continue reading »