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.


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 »

Jan 112013

Awesome artwork by Michiel Eikenaar

(In this post, guest writer Utmu sheds some light on underground bands who deserve a higher profile.)

I’ve been listening to some bands lately and I really like them. I also wanted to write another article, so I just decided to combine the two. I don’t know how obscure these bands are, although the music they make is great and they should be recognized for that.

The first two are bands who may be well-known in certain circles, but to anyone who merely scratches the surface of those circles (like I often do with different scenes) I think they’re more obscure. Again, I don’t really know how well-known these bands are, so don’t hold me to the “this band doesn’t get enough attention” mentality. I enjoy them and I don’t hear about them often. The third section in this article is about a creative band from my region who I think should get way more recognition than they seem to get.


Here’s a band that’s been on my radar for a while. Ever since Invisible Oranges released that mix-tape containing Aosoth and Infestus, I’ve remembered Urfaust because they have a really unique sound, and more recently I’ve put time into really listening to their music — it was a great decision to do so. Continue reading »

Sep 212011

(NCS writer BadWolf was on hand in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month to witness Wolves in the Throne Room live — and he brought with him photographer Nicholas Vechery, whose awesome pics illustrate this review.)

Wolves in the Throne Room are, without a doubt, the best smelling metal band I’ve ever seen. I say that with honesty and seriousness. They smell amazing.

But I’ll get back to that later. First things first, I saw Wolves alongside Thou and local openers Vit at Columbus’ Ravari Room, and thank god the place was empty when I got there so I could get a good look before the floor was completely packed with bodies.

Someone could get lost in that comely place, with its abundance of dark corners. Everything about the bar felt apropos for an underground ritual—burlap-wrapped red and orange lanterns hung from a high wooden ceiling, but the atmosphere was thick and dark. Huge brick arches framed the bar and every alcove. The place could be the remains of an illegal gin distillery from the 1920’s, with all of its vitality and character.(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »