Jul 162018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but now we want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’ve been fortunate to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. You can see her pics from Day 1 here and Day 2 here, and what follows are shots of the performances on the festival’s final day.

P.S. As of today, full pro-shot videos of almost all the performances at NWTF 2018 are now live, thanks to our ally Max Volume Silence Live, and you can find all of them HERE. Continue reading »

May 242018
 

 

The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic New Orleans-based music photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. You can find her photos from Day 1 here, and Day 2 here. Continue reading »

May 012018
 

 

The powerful Louisiana sludge/doom band Thou dropped a surprise yesterday… the first in a series of releases that the band have planned as a lead-up to their first full-length (entitled Magus) since 2014’s Heathen. The lack of any advance promotion or track streams isn’t that unusual for this band, but it seems to be a phenomenon that’s growing more widespread.

This new album-length EP, The House Primordial, is something of a departure from Thou’s main line of sound. Because you can obviously listen to it now, I don’t have a thorough review for you, just some reactions based on one play-through (which was enough to make me buy it). You could think of it as a preview of what you’ll be getting yourselves into if you choose to listen. Continue reading »

Aug 142016
 

Capitol Theater-Day Two

 

This is the second part of a three-part recap of the first Migration Fest in Olympia, Washington. For the first installment, covering the pre-fest show on August 11 and Day One on August 12, go here.

The first day of Migration Fest proved to be a very strong start to what I selfishly hope will become an annual tradition. If anything, Day Two topped it, in large part on the strength of a history-making performance by Saturday’s headliner — Panopticon — that was simply stunning.

At the end of this post I’ve embedded five videos from Panopticon’s 90-minute set, and I’ve got one video of Vastum in here, too. By tomorrow, I also plan to update this post (and yesterday’s recap of Day One) with videos of additional bands. For now, I’m including the best of my crappy cellphone photos, and some words of course. Continue reading »

Jul 282015
 

Black Breath-Slaves Beyond Death

 

I’m kind of rushed, so I’ll skip the usual preamble and save the words for these things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that maybe you’ll get as excited about as I have.

BLACK BREATH

I’m beginning to think the day will come when Paolo Girardi will have created at least one painted album cover for every metal band in the world — though that assumes all metal bands have good taste, and of course they don’t. But Seattle’s Black Breath and Southern Lord do, because as I discovered today, they engaged Mr. Girardi to create the cover for Black Breath’s new third album Slaves Beyond Death.

Interestingly, although I did receive a press release with details about the album and a related Black Breath tour, it didn’t include the artwork. I saw that instead for the first time at the Metal-Archives listing for the album, which a friend linked on Facebook today. Very exciting, because in addition to being an obvious fan of Girardi’s artwork, I’m a big fan of this band, too, and am anxious to hear this new album. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

Adam Bartlett and Thou — photo by Shane Stornanti

Part 1 of this report is here; Part 2 is here.

Yesterday was the third and final session of the GILEAD FEST at the Masonic Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and it proved to be a day of megaton doom bombing mixed with strafing runs of blackened hellfire. It also featured two of the most emotionally searing moments of the entire festival and a final encore at the end of the night that was both surprising and eminently appropriate — and a whole helluva lot of fun.

Once again, the event was blessed with a beautiful day. Once again, the event planners and volunteer staff pulled everything off smoothly. Once again, all the bands I saw were wonderful — though I’m sorry to say that I spent so long toiling over yesterday’s report that I missed the first two groups, Northless and Alraune. We arrived not long before Seidr took the stage…

SEIDR

Seidr’s massive double album Ginnungagap was released by Bindrune last fall. It was the first of the band’s music I had heard, but it was enough — the chance to hear Seidr live was one of the paramount reasons why I made the trip to Oshkosh. Continue reading »

Jul 192014
 


 

Part 2 of this report is here; Part 3 is here.

The three-day Gilead Fest organized by Gilead Media began yesterday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at one of the three locations pictured above.

The first night was indeed loaded with power, and by the end of the evening there was certainly plenty of work available for a coroner, but if you guessed the Oshkosh Masonic Center, give yourself a pat on the back. Continue reading »

Feb 212014
 

Thou’s new album, Heathen, has range, but it’s something like the range between the horror of death and an almost peaceful acceptance of its inevitability, between the looming cataclysm and a halting spiritual perception of something that will outlast it — or at least the lesson learned that the finite minutes we have now are worth seizing for all they are worth, and that it is pain which grounds us in what is important.

Heathen is this Louisiana band’s fourth full album and the first since 2010’s Summit. They haven’t been idle during the years in between, producing an assortment of EPs and splits along the way. But Heathen is a monolithic effort — an hour and fifteen minutes of music. It’s a lot to take in, and not simply because of the time required. It taxes your well-being. It drags you down. It’s so crushingly dark, so heavy, and so wholly engulfing in its doomed atmospherics that it ought to come with a warning to the emotionally fragile.

And yet just when you think you’re going to sink beneath the waves, Thou throw you a life preserver, a little something to lighten the load, if only briefly. The immaculate weaving together of those two strands — the sense of drowning and the grasp of a lifeline to the surface — that’s what makes Heathen such a compelling experience. Continue reading »

Feb 142014
 

This has been one hell of a week for new songs and videos. I have a list of good new things as long as my… arm… and although I’ve been doing my best to round up the best of what I’ve noticed, I’m still coming up… short. Although I won’t be able to cover everything before the week ends, I do have this one final collection of head-wreckers. Happy Valentine’s Day motherfuckers. If you’re sad about being alone on V-Day, just gaze into the eyes of that cat, and remember… we love you.

THOU

Heathen — the forthcoming album by Thou from Baton Rouge, Louisiana — is on my list of highly anticipated 2014 releases.  It is due to arrive from Gilead Media on March 25 and is now available for pre-order here. I discovered this morning that while I wait for that apocalyptic monstrosity, I will have something else from Thou to while away the hours. Specifically, Thou have made available for free on Bandcamp a compilation entitled Ceremonies of Humiliation. It collects all of the band’s musical output from split releases prior to the release of 2010’s Summit.

Ceremonies of Humiliation will also be released as a triple-LP set, though I haven’t yet seen a projected release for that. After the jump, you can gaze upon the Ceremonies cover and stream the entire collection. There is no love in it. Continue reading »

Dec 172013
 

Before this morning I was already excited about something coming our way in 2014 from Gilead Media, that oh-so-tasteful little label run by Adam Bartlett in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I’m talking, of course, about the 2014 GILEAD FEST coming next July 18-20. I’m planning to go, in part because one of my favorite co-workers is actually a native of Oshkosh and seems interested in attending the show even though he’s not a metalhead (though he has an amazing array of other musical tastes, with that one glaring omission). I’ll remind you after the jump who is scheduled to play at that festival.

But the point of this post is to provide additional reasons to be excited, because today Adam provided a full rundown of the Gilead release schedule for 2014. And man, there are a lot of gems on the line-up. For example, on February 25, Gilead will be release Heathen, the fourth album from doom titans Thou. And on the same day, Gilead will be releasing a self-titled 12″ from Geryon, the bass-and-drum death metal project of Nick McMaster and Lev Weinstein (which I’ve already had the pleasure of hearing, and it’s great). You can see the cover art for both of those after the jump.

And there’s more. Here’s the rest of the Gilead release schedule following those two lead-offs for 2014, along with Adam Bartlett’s notes about each one: Continue reading »