Dec 052013

(In this guest post, Booker identifies works of literature that he was inspired to read as a result of metal, along with the specific music that provided the push. If you’ve had similar experiences, we’d like to hear about them in the Comments, along with any thoughts you might have about Booker’s post.)

Well, if you’re reading NCS, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that metal is one of mankind’s greatest creations. When I’m feeling generous I’d even expand that to music in general. You know what one of human beings’ other greatest creations is? Sending humans to an orbiting lunar body in specially controlled atmospheric craft and protective suits? Pfft, no! Using a modified virus to evoke lasting immune responses to deadly diseases? Meh.

What I’m talking about is writing. That’s right, writing, without which those other achievements wouldn’t even be possible. When you think about it, it’s pretty mind-blowing that we can scrawl lines on paper, and now digital displays, and someone else can look at those hieroglyphics and almost instantaneously discern meaning, enabling us to convey ideas and thoughts to someone else without even talking to them! From one side of the planet to another, or even from one mind to another across the abyss of time and the divide of death. Think about that after smoking a few pipes (oh my god, it’s like there’s people reading my mind!… over the internet!… and I’m reading some thoughts from someone who’s dead!… woooaahh).

And with writing came literature (and humorous toilet graffiti).  Not surprisingly, given the vast array of ideas and storylines conveyed by literature, some of those works have in turn inspired musicians to craft musical works covering the same themes, and when metal musicians do it you get what I’d call a veritable orgy of humanity’s greatest creations – metal meets literature, all getting off over each other. That’s what I’m talking about! But what I’m going to cover here is taking this one step further – not just metal albums inspired by literature, but albums/songs/bands that have in turn inspired me to go back to the source and read the inspirational literature in question. Continue reading »

Mar 152011

Your three NCS co-founders, plus friends, spent last night at Seattle’s Studio Seven having our eardrums shattered and our brains pulped by an amazingly good set of performances by four very talented bands. I’m not writing this in order to gloat about getting to see the show. You know how sometimes you get so enthusiastic about an experience that the first thing you want to do is call up or text a friend and tell them about it? Well, that’s sort of what I’m doing with this post, but I do want to report a couple of surprises (at least for me) that might be of interest.

I went to the show mainly to see Darkest Hour (despite the fact that I’ve seen them three times before), though I was also curious to see The Human Abstract. It turned out to be an eye-opening night — especially in the case of Born of Osiris and the music they played from their forthcoming third album. All four of these bands have new releases (the one from As Blood Runs Black debuts today), all four played songs from the new albums, and it was all . . . just . . . awesome.

Studio Seven has a simple layout: There’s a big concrete floor and there’s a balcony that includes a bar. The balcony hangs over much of the floor, with the leading edge not more than 30 feet from the front of the stage below. IntoTheDarkness and I got to the venue early and waited in line almost one hour in a cold wind in order to get a perch at the front of the balcony bar area, which gave us (literally) a bird’s eye view of the stage and what turned out to be a packed, roiling mass of humanity directly below us.

Of course, I forgot my fucking camera, but I’m not sure it would have done me any good since the stage was shrouded in smoke effects most of the night. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Mar 082011

(Our workaholic contributor Andy Synn checks in for the second day in a row, this time with his review of The Human Abstract‘s new release, which debuts today.)


A remarkably divisive band, the career of the collective known as The Human Abstract has had many ups and downs, infuriating their core fan base with various changes in direction, alienating the metal elite with their associations (perceived or real) with many of the more maligned bands and sub-genres of the modern age, and frankly pursuing an altogether contrary and wilfully difficult career path.

Of particular note has been the band’s inconsistent and frequently changing line-up. Since their formation in 2004 the band have accrued a large number of ex-members and existed in a surprising variety of different forms.

The plus side of all this has been that the band have forged a fiercely unique identity within the metal sphere. While they will never be heavy or “legitimate” enough to cross-over with fans of truly heavy death metal influenced bands, they do incorporate some truly abrasive moments of honest to god metallic harshness amongst the neo-classically influenced guitar-work and soaring, prog vocals lines. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »