Feb 042010

Yesterday, in the first of a two-part feature, we posted our review of the new album by Living Sacrifice. Today, we’re posting (for want of a better word) a meditation on these questions: When there’s no clean singing in extreme metal, do the lyrics really matter? And if they do, how do they matter?

THE MEDITATION: Think about songs in which you can hear the words. Sometimes the lyrics can be important. Beautifully crafted lyrics can tell a story that sticks with you, or they can express ideas or emotions in a way that resonates like poetry.

That kind of lyricism can combine with the music in a way that produces something more powerful than the sum of the parts — the words enhance the music and vice-versa, and each makes the other more memorable.

Of course, those things are possible only if you can hear the words. In extreme metal songs with no clean singing, you can’t hear all the words or sometimes any of them.  It’s rarely the content of the lyrics that contributes to the emotional appeal of those songs. Instead, what matters is the sound of the singer’s voice, which functions mainly as another instrument.

As a consequence, the songwriter’s ability to create memorable lyrics is often pretty unimportant in this subgenre. On those rare occasions when I look up the lyrics to a metal song I like, I’m not surprised to find that usually the lyrics suck – and I don’t really care that they suck because they don’t matter much to what I hear or how I feel about the music.

I suspect that lyrics rarely play an important part in the creation of extreme music either. Most bands seem to work out the riffs, the rhythms, and the melodies first (if melody happens to be a part of the band’s sound), and the lyrics are added later.  By definition, the words aren’t inspiring the sound; if anything, the reverse is true. Sometimes, the words seem to have nothing at all to do with the feeling that the music conveys. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 032010

We’ve been fucking around with cruise ship jokes the last few days, but it’s time to get back to what this site is really about – the music we live by. And we’re getting back to it in a serious way.

This is an album review, but it will be followed by a meditation on the lyrical content (or lack thereof) of extreme metal and the connection (or lack thereof) between the lyrical content and the music. And what prompted that meditation is the album we’re reviewing — the new full-length release from Living Sacrifice. So, today, the album, and tomorrow, the meditation.

THE ALBUM: Last week we traveled to distant lands and wrote about some ear-catching performers from Greece (Gux Drax), Costa Rica (Sight of Emptiness), Italy (Vomit the Soul), France (Eryn Non Dae, DOPPLeR, Zubrowska), and Sweden (Valkyrja). But today we’re back in America — really back — discussing the best release yet by a powerfully influential band from Arkansas.

Living Sacrifice originally came into being in 1988, broke up in 2002, and reunited in 2008 with a six-week US tour (“Stronger Than Hell”) headlined by Seattle metalcore band Demon Hunter. That’s when I became a Living Sacrifice convert. I caught the “Stronger Than Hell” tour when it passed through Seattle, and in my opinion, LS stole the show. Not even a close call.

Of course, I had to go get oriented with their whole catalogue, and that only made me a more devoted fan. So I’ve been waiting impatiently for The Infinite Order. And it’s finally here — the band’s seventh release, and the first full-length of all-new music since 2002’s Conceived in Fire.

Years of working can produce staleness or lazy repetition of comfortable formulas. But this album is powerful and vibrantly alive. In the case of Living Sacrifice, the fire within has not gone out and the years of experience reveal themselves in superior song-writing and impeccable musicianship.  (more after the jump, including a track to stream  . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 172010

It’s Sunday. A perfect day to jack your headphones or earbuds into a computer somewhere and let the music stream into your synapses. Why would you want to do that instead of listen on your personal music player so you can move around and take care of other shit at the same time? Because we’ve got some recommendations that, for the moment, you can only stream.


Living Sacrifice has slowly been releasing new songs from its forthcoming album The Infinite Order for streaming on its MySpace page.  The band has now made the entire album available for streaming here. The album will be available for purchase on January 26. We’ll provide our review of the album in the near future, but for now we’ll just say that this mutha is a headbanging jewel. Here’s the track listing:

01. Overkill Exposure
02. Rules Of Engagement
03. Nietzche’s Madman
04. Unfit To Live
05. The Training
06. Organized Lie
07. The Reckoning
08. Love Forgives
09. They Were One
10. God Is My Home
11. Apostasy

We’ve got two more recommendations after the jump, so don’t stop here! Continue reading »

Jan 122010

Yesterday Living Sacrifice made available for streaming the fourth song from their forthcoming new album The Infinite Order. The song is called “They Were One.” It’s packed with groove-oriented riffs, and the band’s thrash influences are really in evidence. This is one hellaciously infectious tune and (if possible) makes us even more stoked for the full album when it drops on January 26.

The band begins a 19-state tour on January 15, co-headlining with War of Ages. You can listen to “They Were One” and find dates and places for the tour by going here.

Dec 222009

Two weeks ago, influential death/thrash band Living Sacrifice released “Rules of Engagement,” the first song from its forthcoming new album The Infinite Order (scheduled for a January 26 release), and we slobbered over it.

One week ago, Living Sacrifice released a second song from the album, called “Nietzsche’s Madness.” More slobbering here at NCS.

This week: another new song? Not quite. But today the band premiered a video for “Rules of Engagement” at AOL’s Noisecreep site.  The video intersperses band performance with a story about a psychologically damaged young soldier dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. To read guitarist/singer Bruce Fitzhugh’s thoughts about the video and the making of it, go here.

To watch the video, simply look below: