Feb 212014

Now this is some truly heart-warming news, at least for my black heart. The organizers of PAGANFEST AMERICA PART V have just announced the schedule of dates — which I will share with you in a moment. But first, here are five reasons why this is worth noticing:

Korpiklaani:  They are a band that I think are worth seeing whenever the opportunity presents itself. It doesn’t even matter if their music isn’t in your regular rotation. I’ve seen them twice, and I’m completely sold. Jonne Järvelä is a magnetic, high-energy, infectiously good-natured frontman, the smiling Buddha-like bass-player Jarkko Aaltonen has an epic beard, they sing a lot about drinking, and they know how to rock the fuck out in a live setting.

Turisas: Never seen them, but based on concert videos I’ve watched, I’m betting they will be tons of fun too.

Chthonic: Their last two albums are really good (I hadn’t fully climbed on the Chthonic bandwagon before then), and based on videos, they also look like they know how to put on a kickass show. Continue reading »

Feb 182012

It’s nearly mid-day here in Seattle, but it’s after 9 p.m. on Saturday night in Finland, which means the seventh annual FINNISH METAL AWARDS (for 2011) have just been announced — which we learned through a timely e-mail from our friend fireangel at the Finland-centric Night Elves blog. Lots of countries host annual music awards of various kinds, but since Finland is arguably the most metal country on Earth, these annual metal awards definitely merit an announcement here at NCS.

The awards were presented at a gala event as part of this weekend’s Helsinki Metal Meeting at a place called The Cable Factory. Voting was open to the public through the Imperiumi.net web site, and more than 20,000 votes were cast. There were no nominees, which meant that the voting was open to whoever voters wished to honor. The big winner was Turisas, which is why their comely visages are at the top of this post. Without further ado, here are all the results (continuing after the jump):

01. Turisas
02. Insomnium
03. Nightwish
04. Amorphis
05. Amoral
06. Turmion Kätilöt
07. Before The Dawn
08. Stratovarius
09. Omnium Gatherum
10. Medeia
Continue reading »

Dec 142011

(One of the best things about operating NCS is the chance to make connections with metal-lovers from around the world. Because of our frequent focus on Finnish metal, I’ve made a connection with “fireangel“, one of the two creators of a very informative and entertaining Finland-based blog called Night Elves. I invited fireangel to write a post for our year-end Listmania, and here it is.)

Islander kindly invited me to share my favourites of 2011, knowing full well that my taste oscillates between “No Clean Singing“ and more often its mirror image, “No! Clean Singing!”, as it was so nicely put in the 2-Year-Anniversary-post, and that my suggestions would make a better fit with “Exceptions To The Rule” than the NCS Rule itself. Nevertheless, he thought he could live with that, so maybe you can, too. Even though this post is written by one person, it includes the musical favourites of both Night Elves.

I selected some songs that work as my personal pick-me-up for plenty of situations – feeling tired, sleepless, moody, etc – and can convert me into a decent citizen, at least for a limited time.

In order to test the boundaries even more, this post also includes songs that are not necessarily from 2011, but I listened to them on quite heavy rotation in this year. Continue reading »

Apr 212011

Still short on time, I’m just tossing two videos your way because I like both bands and you might be fans, too, in which case you’ll be curious about these two brand new videos.

Shortness of time means no introductions. I’ll simply say that Turisas has released a video for a song called “Stand Up and Fight”, which is good advice, because I’ve tried to fight while lying on my back and it’s not a recipe for success. The song is the title track from the band’s third album. The video isn’t yet in embeddable form, but here is the link where you can see it.

I will also say that Kvelertak has also just released a new video. “Ordsmedar av Rang” is the name of the song, and it comes from the band’s self-titled debut album, which was released June 21, 2010 via Indie Recordings and then released again in North America on March 15 via The End Records, with six bonus tracks included. You can see that video after the jump. Continue reading »

Dec 112010

There will be running and galloping, the drawing of swords, a rain of arrows. There will be battle axes and torches at night, the cleaving of bone, the wailing of women. There will be longboats on the rivers, blood will be spilled, heroes will be made. There will be kilts and animal skins and war paint. There will be victory songs and anthems to the ancestors. And they will all fucking rock.

Yesterday our installment in this series highlighted two bands that had varying degrees of folk-metal influence in their sound. Today, we’re wading deeper into Finnish folk-metal waters — but not just any kind of folk metal. It’s folk metal with lots of fucking swords.


Ensiferum is the Latin word for “sword-bearer”. The band was founded in 1995, and since their formation, Ensiferum have released four full-length albums, one EP, one compilation, three singles, and three demo albums. We’re not familiar with the full discography, but we know and like the last two albums — Victory Songs (2007) and From Afar (2009). We also got the chance to see them play in Seattle, and they’re even better live than on disc — they know how to whip a crowd into a frenzied, frothing mass of motion.

Ensiferum take the speedy, flashy mix of keyboard- and guitar-driven Finnish melodeath popularized by Children of Bodom and color it with folkish melodies and lyrical themes that speak of legends and myths and heroes with swords. They feature a mix of harsh and clean vocals, epic Viking chants, and fast-as-shit riffing and rhythms.  (more after the jump, including a shitload of music and some exciting tour news . . .) Continue reading »