Feb 232012

Quite a few news items were delivered to the NCS Island today via carrier pigeons, which are our preferred mode of news transportation. Unfortunately, a few of the pigeons dived left when they should have dived right and landed in the loris compound, where they were unceremoniously converted into squab tartare. We’ll never know what important messages those brave aeronauts were carrying. But the ones who made it safely to the NCS editorial offices revealed the following:


Yours truly can testify that the new Asphyx album Deathhammer is a delicious serving of primal death-doom with more hooks than you’ll find in this guy. But you don’t have to take my word for it, because DECIBEL has started streaming the whole album here.


High On Fire’s new studio album De Vermis Mysteriis has now been scheduled for an April 3 release by eOne Music. It was recorded in Salem, Massachusetts’ GodCity Studios with producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. The album title apparently comes from a fictional grimoire created by Psycho author Robert Bloch and incorporated by H. P. Lovecraft into the lore of the Cthulhu mythos.

According to the press release I got, “The album carries a deeply mystical undercurrent, incorporating fantastical themes and lyrics detailing, among other things, time travel, a serum called liao that is made out of a black lotus, and ‘a Jesus twin who can see the past through his ancestors’ eyes.'” However, portions of the release were obscured by pigeon dung, so I can’t swear I got the Jesus twin thing right. Continue reading »

Jun 012011

Yes, that’s the opdate, right op there at the top of this post — the just-disclosed cover for Opeth‘s next album, Heritage. The artist is the very talented Travis Smith, who has done many other Opeth album covers in addition to cover art for dozens of other bands you’ve heard of.

So, all you album art critics out there, what do you think? With one lingering reservation, I think it’s damned cool. I love the vibrant colors and the arrangement of fantastical images, and the suggestion of the demonic underground feeding life to the green Opethian tree from which an endless line of fans is feeding (or at least that’s how I’m interpreting it).

The lingering reservation stems from those heads of the band members in the tree. It adds to the psychedelic aura of the whole picture, but it’s also a bit campy.

Coming back to the colors, much of what Travis Smith has done for the band in the past has been sombre and monotone (though there have been exceptions). After the jump, I’ve collected all of the cover art he’s done for the band in the past. Take a look — and by all means, let’s hear what you think of this cover.

ALSO, I’ve now got the detailed reactions to this cover of NCS writer BadWolf. He and I each wrote our thoughts without seeing what the other thought. Among other things, he sees this cover as a sign (among others) that Heritage will not be a metal album. Check out what he has to say after the jump, too. Continue reading »