Nov 282018
 

 

(Despite having spent last night in Nottingham running a gauntlet of especially vigorous sonic punishment, our Andy Synn still had sufficient remaining wits about him to deliver this report of the event, with video documentation of the beatings.)

Those of you who know me well, and probably some of those who barely know me at all, will be aware of my general distaste for the whole “brotherhood of Metal” shtick that frequently gets bandied about by certain publications.

Don’t get me wrong, the power of music to bring people together and unite them behind a common cause, a common feeling, still astounds me at times, but the whole cliché about Metal being a “brotherhood” is one that’s too often deployed as a disingenuous disguise for arrogant elitism or a flimsy excuse for chasing the lowest common denominator (and, occasionally, both at the same time).

Still, there are times when even my well-documented cynicism has to be put on hold, and the overwhelming sense of camaraderie and positive energy of last night’s show was certainly one such occasion. Continue reading »

Aug 232017
 

 

The unwelcome intrusion of non-blog life has forced me to truncate my usual verbose reactions to the music I’ve selected in this mid-week round-up (cue the weeping and the gnashing of teeth), but I wanted to be prompt in spreading the word about the following items, all of which appeared either yesterday or this morning.

I picked these five new songs in part because they provide a quite varied array of what metal in the modern era has to offer.

BELL WITCH

The new Bell Witch album, Mirror Reaper, will be released by Profound Lore on October 20, with an album cover by Mariusz Lewandowski that we won’t soon forget. The album consists of one continuous 83-minute piece that unfolds as a single track. Continue reading »

Dec 152016
 

listmania-2016

 

(Andy Synn’s week-long series of year-end lists continues with his personal list of The Critical Top Ten for 2016. Click these links to see his lists of the year’s Great Albums, the Good Albums, and the Disappointments.)

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I always wind-up my week-long retrospective with two lists, the “Critical Top Ten” and the “Personal Top Ten”.

Now the second one is probably pretty self-explanatory, in that it’s just a list of the ten albums I’ve loved, lived with, and listened to the most this year. It’s really just a snapshot of my personal listening habits/tastes over the last twelve months.

The idea behind this one possible needs some explaining though.

You see the “Critical Top Ten” is where I try (as best I can) to remove my own personal biases and downplay any favouritism and instead attempt to name the ten albums (unranked) which I feel honestly represent the best of the best from the last year in Metal. Continue reading »

Sep 142016
 

britain-from-above

 

(Andy Synn turns in a trio of reviews for three recent albums of quite different styles and genres, united by their country of origin.)

Well ladies and gentlemen, here we are again, another opportunity for me to fly my nationalistic colours (which don’t run, let me tell you that) and gab on about a triptych of recent (or recent-ish) releases from my beloved motherland. As is traditional, we’ll be starting off the column with a rousing rendition of “Rule Britannia”, so if you’d all please be upstanding…

All joking aside of course, most of you will know by now that I don’t really care that much for nationalist sentiment or blind patriotism, particularly when it comes to music. I like a band because I like their songs, not because we happen to have been born in the same country or geo-political sphere, and I have very little time or patience for the vagaries of scene politics or the type of person that thinks you have to support a band just because they come from the same place as you.

That being said, however, I do realise that such factors as geographical proximity and general exposure mean I’m much more likely to stumble across bands from the UK who are worth blogging about than someone living elsewhere on this big blue/green marble, so I feel a certain sense of responsibility to cover these bands when they pop up on my radar.

So here we go again, once more, into the breach! Continue reading »

Aug 202016
 

Grand Tetons-Jackson Wyoming-2

 

That stunning vista above these words is what greeted my eyes this morning. I’m on a short vacation in the presence of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I’m not telling you that to be a dick, but only because I know how vitally interested you are in my every movement, except perhaps for bowel movements.

I did tear myself away from awestruck gazing at the horizon long enough to listen to four new songs, one of which comes with a video. I thought all four were good enough that they would make a nice collection for this Saturday morning, saving me the agony of trying to sift through all the other good stuff that came out since my last round-up.

The first two songs are exceptions to our oft-violated Rule, and the last two open up the extremity throttle in very different ways. Continue reading »

Jun 142014
 

Hey motherfuckers, what up? (I feel I can call you a motherfucker because this is a metal blog and about half the metal bands I’ve seen on stage call me and everyone else in the audience a motherfucker at least a dozen times per set.) I’ll tell you what up with me.

I’m not watching the World Cup, because if I wanted to watch dudes run around for 90 minutes trying to score, I’d rather go to a bar. (I read that on the internet.) Or I’d go outside and set an ant bed on fire (they’d run around faster, though no more intelligibly, and it would all be over sooner). What I’ve been doing is crawling through the interhole finding things to write about on a Saturday morning. In particular, these things:

PANTHEON I

I saw the recent news that this Norwegian band have prepared a new album named From the Abyss They Rise and have signed with Non Serviam Records for its release on August 11. In fact, it’s already available for pre-order (here). From what I read, it appears the album will be a compilation, beginning with an EP’s worth of new songs and ending with music from their first demo. This is their first work in four years, and based on what they’ve done before, it should be worth checking out. Continue reading »

Oct 282013
 

Oh joy! Rapture! Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in ’t!

Okay, I’m just trying to put a good face on another goddamn Monday that blows, like a noxious wind coming off a tire fire. At least we still have beauteous metal, flights of fallen angels to sing us to our rest at nightfall. Here’s a collection of things, in no particular order, seen and heard over the last 24 hours.

MASTODON

I saw that on December 10 Warner Bros. Records will be releasing Mastodon Live At Brixton, a digital-only recording of the band’s live performance at London’s O2 Academy in Brixton on February 11, 2012. That show was part of the band’s world tour in support of their last album The Hunter. I caught another stop on that tour in Seattle, and it was a powerhouse performance.

Interestingly, the digital-only release (which will be sold through Amazon and iTunes) will come in two versions, one that’s audio-only and one that’s a live video version of the 97-minute show. Here’s the set list: Continue reading »

Nov 022012
 

I was all set to go with this post, all set to call it “BRUTALITY!”, because that was the unifying theme of the new music videos I found from Weapon (Canada), Unfathomable Ruination (UK), Antropofagus (Italy), and Katalepsy (Russia). And then I saw a new official live video from Dordeduh (Romania) — not really brutal, but it still grabbed me. So I’m including it at the end and dropping the “BRUTALITY!” post title.

There are so many videos I want to share in this post that I’m doing my goddamned best to pare down my own verbiage. Here we go . . .

WEAPON

Weapon’s new album Embers and Revelations is out now on the Relapse label. We haven’t reviewed it yet, but it’s well worth your time — a fusing of first wave black and death metal with melodic touches that recall the Bangladeshi origins of the band’s leader, Vetis Monarch.

Yesterday Relapse premiered a lyric video for a brutal Weapon track named “Crepuscular Swamp”. Here it is: Continue reading »

Oct 012012
 

Earlier today I collected a handful of items I saw and heard in my catching-up time last night, but since posting that round-up I’ve discovered even more new metal that’s worth passing around. The bands featured in this post are: Encrust (U.S.) Trepalium (France), Klone (France), and Unfathomable Ruination (UK).

ENCRUST

Okay, first thing you should do is click THIS LINK to see a bigger copy of that stupendous cover art up there.

Is that not killer? It’s the cover for From Birth To Soil, the debut album by a Chicago quintet who call themselves Encrust. The artwork was created by Ryan Kasparian (whose work we’ve featured elsewhere on NCS) and Chris Angelucci. Not coincidentally those two happen to be one of Encrust’s two guitarists and the band’s vocalist, respectively.

From Birth To Soil was released by Density Records last week, and on the same day the band premiered a lyric video for one of the album’s tracks, “Engine of Deceit”. I only caught up with the video today, and I’m really digging the music and the lyrics. The song is a big, swaggering, brawling hybrid of sludge/stoner riffs, pile-driving percussion, and death-metal vocals. There might be some way to avoid headbanging to this song, but it would probably require severing all the nerves to your neck muscles. Continue reading »

Sep 172012
 

You may have noticed that we’ve had fewer than the usual number of posts on the site over the weekend and again today. This is because your humble editor has (a) been devoting extensive time to other extracurricular activities that involved (i) heavy drinking, and (ii) screaming himself hoarse at an NFL game; and (b) hacking into his mother-in-law’s new computer, while recovering from (a)(i) and (a)(ii), in order to reset a password that she must have mis-typed when doing the initial set-up.

All of this proved to be a significant diversion from the demands of NCS. Things should be at least somewhat back to (ab)normal around here by tomorrow. However, I did want to add one more post today to share a few items I saw and heard over the last 24 hours. Fair warning: the shit I found will peel back the skin from your face like a bloody onion.

UNFATHOMABLE RUINATION

This London-based band is a delicious new find for me. This past spring, they recorded their debut album, Misshapen Congenital Entropy, at 16th Cellar studios in Rome with Stefano Morabito, who has produced albums for bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour of Penance, Vomit the Soul, Inherit Disease, and Blasphemer. It will be released on October 1 by Sevared Records, and limited edition pre-orders are now being accepted at this location.

Recently, the band have uploaded two songs for streaming — “Carved Inherent Delusion” and “Edges of Disfigured Atrocity”, which features Konstantin Lühring from Defeated Sanity and Despondency as a guest vocalist. (Giulio Moschini of Hour of Penance also provides guest vokillz on the album.) Both songs are available as “name your price” downloads on Bandcamp. Both songs will also smash your cranium into tiny little fragments and chop up the goo inside like minced garlic. Continue reading »