Oct 082013

Here’s a collection of recent items that seemed worth sharing with our esteemed readers, as well as you.


I know we have thrash heads in the audience, and for you we present as a public service a new song from Denmark’s Artillery. For those of you born after 1982, Artillery have been recording music since before you were born. For those of you who don’t look both ways before crossing the street, they may still be recording music after you have left this veil of tears. Their seventh album, Legions, will be released by Metal Blade in the US on November 26, and on somewhat earlier dates elsewhere. It features a new vocalist, Michael Bastholm Dahl, and a new drummer, Josua Madsen, along with original guitarists Morten and Michael Stützer and longtime bassist Peter Thorslund.

Yesterday, an advance track was made available for streaming. The introduction to “Chill My Bones (Burn My Flesh)”, with its hand drums and exotic melody, is a surprise, and an immediate hook into the rest of the song. Thrash lives or dies by the power of the riff, and this song has got some good ones going on. I’m also told by a long-time fan of the band that the new vocalist is reminiscent of former vocalist Flemming Rönsdorf, last heard from on the band’s fourth album in 1999. Continue reading »

Sep 162013

Interview subject, with new friend Al Weiwei at The Ocean’s September concert in Beijing.


(Our man BadWolf had a long chat with The Ocean’s main man Robin Staps just prior to the release of Pelagial this year, and we have it for you here.)

Robin Staps comes across nothing like his music. Soft-spoken, and eloquent as he is lithe, Staps appears as some sort of scholarly outdoorsman. Which is true.

However, he’s also the composer/lyricist/lead guitarist and all-around mastermind behind cerebral genre interlocutors The Ocean, and in that capacity he is anything but soft. His early records, the instrumental Fluxion through the sprawling Precambrian, compose some of the strongest post-whatever music put to disc, mixing sludge, hardcore, and progressive metal with orchestral music and jazz. His subject matter—the food chain, the literature of Dostoevsky and the gradual cooling of the prehistoric earth’s crust—is arch as all get out. You could say he innovated the high-concept album. And what albums they are. The last two, conjoined twins, Heliocentric and Anthropocentric, form a literate, scientific, and absolutely burning indictment of Christianity.

“There is no alternative to the theory of evolution.” Staps insists through frontman-as-avatar  Loïc Rosetti.

Those albums may present a larger existential threat to organized religion than the entirety of black metal put together. Witchcraft destroys minds, but The Ocean changes them.

Earlier this year, Staps released his followup to the -centric albums, Pelagial, and it’s another doozy—a one-hour trip from the surface of the ocean to its floor. It begins delicate and ends crushing, and along the way dabbles in new territory. Hell, parts of “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny” sound almost like a down-tuned Queen, but still work in the album’s greater context.

From his music’s time signature to its instrumentation, conceptualization, packaging, and presentation, Staps pushes every aspect of his art to the extreme. He Skyped me just prior to the release of Pelagial to talk about what drives him, the way Pelagial was made, and the source of his inspiration—the ocean. Yeah, the interview took a while to get up. Sorry, Robin. Continue reading »

Jul 022013

(DGR wrote this.)

Begin: SHOW FADES in to reveal office door, sign on door says NOCLEANSINGING.COM. Door opens to reveal small room with single fan spinning overhead. One corner appears charred black as if set on fire. Camera pans over to reveal a single table up against wall with four computers, a typewriter, a telegraph, and a cage with a pigeon sitting in it by the window. Camera turns to show another table with people sitting around it. Three long-haired guys, one headless guy, and one with short hair.

DGR: It’s nice to have a bit of downtime between releases, we’ve basically run through everything that’s come out within the past couple of months.
Islander: Yep
Israel: Yeah
Andy: Oi; don’t you think I’m worth more thought than a cheap British accent for this gag?
DGR: Nope.
Islander: *nervously* Actually, we still have a couple sitting in the backlog after all. Apparently no one has done The Ocean yet.
DGR: Seriously? No one? That album had a lot of heat behind it, they were the critical darlings for a little bit there. Islander?
Islander: Don’t look at me, I’m busy with work….and trips for work…and stuff.
DGR: Andy?
Andy: Busy, playing a bunch of shows. Also that album came out, like a month ago.
DGR: Israel?
Israel: Don’t ask me, working on ways to write a review for the Amon Amarth album.

Cut to blackboard with “It is an Amon Amarth album” scrawled over and over on it. Continue reading »

Mar 122013

(NCS writer DGR brings us a round-up of new music from The Ocean and Robots Pulling Levers.)

Here’s a couple of things that caught my eye over the weekend and yesterday.

A couple days ago The Ocean premiered a new song off of their upcoming two disc album Pelagial (one with vocals – the other an instrumental version) entitled “Bathyalpelagic II: The Wish in Dreams”, and it is a solid piece of metal for those who enjoyed the group’s heavier aspect from their two-part release Heliocentric/Anthropocentric back in 2010.

It’s been three years since those two discs hit, and so far this intro song proves that the band have not decided to rest on their laurels during this passage of time. It’s not as moody and introspective as the stuff on Heliocentric – instead going for the much more straightforward bombast and powerful chorus work of something like “She Was The Universe”. Continue reading »

Sep 152011

(NCS interviewer deluxe BadWolf turned in this revealing interview of Robin Staps from that mind-bending multinational collective The Ocean.)

The struggles that met The Ocean on their 2011 Spring tour supporting Between the Buried and Me and Job for a Cowboy have been well-discussed, but perhaps not well-documented. This interview I conducted on the Toledo date of that tour on May 28 supplies a missing piece of the puzzle.

Now that The Ocean are returning to the U.S. next month with Devin Townsend, it’s the perfect time to bring the mind of The Ocean’s mastermind, writer/guitarist Robin Staps, to light.

Do yourselves a favor and SEE THAT TOUR. The Ocean are a heady, proggy band, but they put on a visceral stage show with stage diving and, apparently, an intense light show which wasn’t present at Headliner’s in Toledo. Staps and his friends deserve your support!


BadWolf – This is the first time you’ve played this part of the country [Toledo].

Robin Staps – We played Chicago last time, I think.  We were here three years ago with Kylesa, Lair of the Minotaur and Withered.

d00shc00gr [Badwolf’s compatriot] – Man we should have seen that one!  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Nov 122010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan, who apparently is now called The Artist Formerly Known As Dan. Dan is an American temporarily transplanted to Adelaide, Australia. He has a list for you.]

So, I realize it’s cliche to make one of these lists (and maybe a bit premature?), but they’re usually useful for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows me to shamelessly plug the bands I like and push my agenda on you.  Secondly, it allows you to post lists of the records I forgot and tell me why my first list was wrong.  I can then subsequently go back to the records I may have forgotten or never owned in the first place.  Everyone should theoretically win here, since there is always music overlooked or forgotten about throughout the year.  So, let’s begin.

10. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Technical, but so brutal.  A perfect recommendation for someone who listens to too much vanilla-breakdown deathcore (and, for some of you, “too much” implies listening to any deathcore at all).  I highly recommend seeing them in concert; they bring tons of energy.  Yippie-Kay-Yay-Motherfucker.

(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »