Oct 252015

Rearview Mirror


(This Sunday, DGR steps forward with our weekly look back at metal from yesteryear.)

I’ve been waffling a bit with the idea of contributing more often to the series of Rearview Mirror posts that we’ve been doing here at NCS. I genuinely love the idea of being able to deep-dive on a song at random, but I’ve also wanted to let other folks share their hidden gems out there without me vomiting my taste all over the site, especially as my own archive of ideas consists pretty much of bands I’ve already taken a healthy opportunity to write about on this lovely page.

However, there is one group that has been haunting me, that I’ve been thinking about a lot as of late, and that is Australia’s The Amenta. If you’ve been following NCS for a while, you’ll know that I’m a pretty unabashed fan of the band. Tim Pope gave me one of my favorite interviews ever, and the group’s 2013 release Flesh Is Heir ranks among my favorite discs — it is a noisy, harsh, and abrasive listen that seemed just slightly ahead of its time, especially as now it seems like more groups from Australia are breaking out into the limelight. Continue reading »

Jan 272014

Here we have Part 12 of 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.

Today’s installment of the series is brought to you by the NCS Department of Bombastic Brutality, with an assist from the Division of Wretched Excess. Those segments of the NCS bureaucracy are just full of suggestions, but as much as I like bombast and excess, I find that although such forms of metal expression are fun in the moment, they often lack that contagious quality that’s necessary for selection to this particular list. But today’s two songs are both infectious AND capable of causing epileptic seizures.


I’ve been such a slobbery fan of these Italian maestros that I had a running joke in my posts years ago that I would pay them enough to come live with me and serenade me whenever I wanted, just as soon as those Nigerians who were always offering me bags of gold dust and stacks of cash paid up on their promises. Except I wasn’t joking. Continue reading »

Sep 142013

(DGR brings you a collection of goodies from The Amenta (Australia), Death I Am (Japan/US), and Exhale (Sweden).)

THE AMENTASoundtrack To A Hidden Earth

In my mind, The Amenta are one of the most interesting and challenging bands out there right now. They play an industrialized style of black metal and write songs that challenge even the most traditional metal listeners. They’re probably doing the most metal thing you can do by presenting music so unlikeable and abrasive in its sound that even though the music underneath is actually pretty approachable, it still causes people to shy away.

I thought their release earlier this year, Flesh Is Heir, was pretty good, so if you haven’t had the opportunity to check these guys out, this is not the article to do so with, go read that. However, I do find what the band posted earlier this week fascinating, and if you’re looking for stuff that definitely isn’t music and is mostly a collage of distorted sound that would go perfectly in a horror film then continue on – because the band is giving away a (formerly) rare five-song collection from their very early days of writing music known as Soundtrack To A Hidden Earth. The band explain on their Facebook page:

“Soundtrack to a Hidden Earth” was originally released on the initial pressing of “Occasus”, the debut album by The Amenta, released by Listenable Records in 2004. The tracks were hidden in the data encoded on the disc.

The recordings were experiments in sound destruction and contextualization of sounds. These experiments led directly to some of the methods used in the follow up album, “n0n”.

Few people have heard these tracks. Continue reading »

Jun 162013

(DGR provides this round-up of artwork, new music, and new videos.)

Apparently nobody else got the memo that last week was E3 week and, goddamnit, that I was going to be away from the computer, because holy crap did the news updates come fast and furious throughout the week of June 10th. A lot of these bands are going to look very familiar to readers of the site because a lot of them are in fact the same groups featured in my last round-up. However, here at NCS we try to stick with really substantial stuff since a tracklisting usually means dick to the reader unless it has something attached to it.

This week, these bands delivered in spades – some with cover art, most with new songs or videos, one with a whole new release. Regardless, it was a smattering all across the board if you love music and love shit just being heavy as hell. I’ll attach my thoughts along the way, of course…otherwise this article is going to look all sorts of wacky.


That picture you see above is artwork for Mechina’s upcoming Xenon release, which the group stated in this here post would be hitting on 1/1/14. Continue reading »

Jun 072013

At the end of this post are two metal videos. You should watch them and listen to the music.

The first one is for the song “Lesser Men” by Norway’s Darkthrone. It appears on the band’s latest album, The Underground Resistance, which is out now via Peaceville. For my tastes, the song is one of the best that Darkthrone have produced in the last five years. It’s part black metal, part punk, part thrash, and heavy as hell. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s the kind of song that you’ll have trouble getting unstuck from your head.

The video is damned cool, too. Directed by Lowe Seger, it’s a black-and-white montage of urban images. The film has no story or footage of a band performance, but it somehow suits the music.

The second offering here is a lyric video from The Amenta (Australia). The song is “Sewer” and it appears on the band’s 2013 album Flesh Is Heir. In the words of the band, it “shows off the creepy, dirty side of The Amenta. These lyrics are one of two songs written by vocalist Cain Cressall and describe the use of sex to obliterate the self.” Continue reading »

Apr 092013

(DGR interviews Timothy Pope of Australia’s The Amenta.)

Around the time we posted about The Amenta’s music video for the song “Teeth” and subsequently reviewed their album Flesh Is Heir, we were given the opportunity to sit down with one of the group’s founding members (well, sit down as much as we can through the magic of the internet) and really talk about the group’s latest releases –  as well as get a general overview of the band throughout the years.

Synth/keyboardist/general technology wizard Timothy Pope has been with the band from its foundations and has seen it through various incarnations and sounds. As you can all see below – the man has a thing or two to say about a thing or two and really helps give a picture of what happens when the group sits down to write music, as well as the general philosophy of everything that goes in to the band. He even graced some of my sillier questions with serious responses.

This one is a good, long read so beware that it’s a time investment, but it’s also fascinating to see the inner gears of a machine like this turning, and get a glimpse of what went in to each song. It also functions as a hell of an introduction and tutorial to who these guys are and what they are about. Continue reading »

Mar 262013

(DGR reviews the new album by Australia’s The Amenta.)

It has been a long and interesting wait for fans of Australian group  The Amenta – whose new disc Flesh Is Heir was just released a little bit earlier this week (and is streaming here). Officially it’s been almost five years between the group’s full releases, although the band have kept up a steady stream of EPs and singles (such as the VO1D EP which was released in 2011 and is still available on Bandcamp as pay what you want) in between n0N and now. However, even between VO1D and now, three years have passed with only a couple of small releases in between. The group’s releases were becoming very promising and mature, too, so when time came for the official release of Flesh Is Heir, it was easy to assume that it was going to be a big time in the band’s history — and so it has proven to be.

Flesh Is Heir is a massive and incredibly dense album packed into forty-five minutes, with moments ranging from calculated ferocity to sheer chaos in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t sound polished; it sounds distorted and disgusting. Man, what it does offer though is a crushing bit of extreme music that whiplashes from industrial, to death metal, to black metal, to every spectrum the band could come up with in between – so long as they could blast and scream over it. Continue reading »

Mar 142013

(DGR has a few things to say about the new video from The Amenta.)

If there were a list of bands I had to come up with who I think sounded like the apocalypse, The Amenta would easily rank alongside groups like Behemoth, Xerath, Zonaria, and Ulcerate. They’ve got a really good grip on that loud and hollow sound that one would imagine emanating from a group playing at the end of the world.

Their music has a very loud machine quality that sounds like the grinding of gears on top of a heavy blast of death metal, with the occasional black metal shriek and blast. I personally came in late in the game with this group of Australians back when they made their EP Void avalable for download. Now they have released a music video for their new song ‘Teeth’ that you can view at the end of this post, which they have released ahead of their new album Flesh Is Heir – which hits toward the end of this month.

The way the video plays out is that, well, unfortunate things happen, and a large part of it winds up being a creepy long-haired dude crawling all over a lady with enough chains and grime to have been cleaned out of a prop shop. We must be early in their relationship by the time the video for “Teeth” was filmed because after awhile I imagine she’d probably just have about a half hour set aside for ‘creepy dude to crawl all over me with chains and what not’ as part of her day. Continue reading »

Apr 302012

I’m a big fan of Australia’s The Amenta. So how I missed this news is mystifying, but better late than never: They will be digitally releasing a new EP called Chokehold sometime in May via Listenable Records. It will include two new songs —  the title track, “Chokehold”, and a cover of “Christ Bait Rising” by Godflesh. The band reports that both songs were recorded and produced “with a modern take on GODFLESH’S influential Street Cleaner album’s sound and aesthetic.”

The EP will also feature two live tracks taken from the bands 2011 V01D Australian Tour, as well as a remix of the track “V01D” from their last album.

As you can see, the cover art for the EP is done, and therein lies a tale. Apparently, the band tried to set up an ad on Facebook to publicize the EP, and Facebook rejected the ad because the cover art was considered “too extreme”. I guess Facebook has drastically different standards for advertising than it does for what people can put in their profiles and photo albums.

I like the picture of vocalist Cain Cressall up there — nice and metal — but it’s really not very extreme. No intestines are hanging out, no human organs are being consumed, no veins have been opened. Go figure.

I’m not positive how this EP relates to the band’s next album. In March they announced the new album’s title — Flesh is Heir — and a track list, and at that time they were finishing up the recording work. Doesn’t look like the new songs on the EP will be on the album. Of course, I’d be happier than a pig in shit to get an EP AND an album from these guys in 2012.

Two more pieces of news, including a new video, are after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Nov 032011

October is over, except for Halloween, which continues to go on and on here at the metallic island that NCS calls home. Your humble editor spent the end of the month and the beginning of this new one grinding away at his fucking day job, which explains why this installment of METAL IN THE FORGE is late. It also explains why it’s more than typically incomplete, but more on that later.

Here’s the deal:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album before September, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier.

This month’s list begins right after the jump. I fell down on the job of monitoring the interhole and press releases to catch news about new albums that looked potentially cool to me, so I know I missed announcements of new releases that should be included here. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about! Continue reading »