Feb 042015


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Venom.)

One of those bands whose name alone makes them legends. They often get credited for creating black metal, due to an album called, well… Black Metal. As a kid I took down their poster upon realizing they only used satanic imagery as a gimmick, like Slayer (and finding out Slayer were not satanists was like finding out Santa Claus wasn’t real). So this album puts Venom in the hot seat as it’s time to once again prove themselves.

The last album I paid attention to was Prime Evil which came out in ’89. This had “Demolition Man” on it rather than Cronos. So Venom really came to an end after Resurrection, and this is more of a Cronos solo album than a Venom album. The rest of the band is Danny Needham, who also bangs the skins for Tony Martin, and guitarist Stuart Dixon from Order of the Black Sun. Of course, using the Venom name is smarter than calling this Cronos. No one will buy a Cronos shirt, but you better bet they will be buying Venom shirts. Continue reading »

Jan 212015

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth


I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.

In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post. Continue reading »

Feb 022013

On April 2, 1986, the seminal British metal band Venom played a gig in Trenton, New Jersey, at a punk club called City Gardens. Also on the bill: Black Flag, as then fronted by Henry Rollins.

Legend has it that a Black Flag roadie recorded the entire show — and then cut out all the songs in Venom’s set except a few nano-seconds of the guitar intros and outros, leaving behind the between-song stage banter of Venom’s frontman Chronos. The only part of that story that’s legend is who did it — because someone plainly did.

This 8+ minute bootleg montage of Chronos communing with the punks, metalheads, and assorted refugees from the law in the audience was subsequently released as a seven-inch “single” on the Ecstatic Peace label. Somehow, I’d never heard this until a good friend sent me a link to an mp3 of the single yesterday.

Let’s just say it’s not the finest example of metal stage banter, but let’s also say that it’s representative of the majority of metal stage banter, which is to say that it’s a caricature of itself. It’s dumb, meaningless, and unintentionally funny, but also kind of endearing. To quote one blogger who wrote about this in 2009, “There’s a lot of Spinal Tap in so much heavy metal…” Continue reading »

Nov 012012

I learned through a post this morning by Full Metal Attorney that today — November 1 — is the 30th anniversary of the release of Black Metal by Venom. Here’s my own story about discovering the album.

I came to Black Metal very late in my education as a metalhead — as in about four years ago. I had only recently started listening seriously to black metal (the music genre, not the album), after having failed to appreciate the music when I first dabbled in it. At some point during my black metal explorations, I learned that the roots of the genre name could be traced back to Venom’s 1982 album.

So I listened to the album, and became confused — because it didn’t sound much like the black metal bands whose music I was exploring at the time — bands such as Immortal, Emperor, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, Satyricon, and Rotting Christ. It was rough and raw and filthy enough, but much of it sounded like a mix of speed metal and punk with sneering growly vocals, the kind of music that seemed more connected to the development of thrash and more in line with Motörhead-style heavy metal, or even Morbid Angel-style death metal, than what I thought of at the time as “black metal”. I was missing the connection.

I also didn’t love the album. I tend to agree with Full Metal Attorney’s assessment — that it’s a real hit-and-miss affair. I’m sure my reaction was influenced by the fact that I was hearing the album so long after it made its early mark, but a lot of it sounded cheesy as hell, even annoying. As Full Metal Attorney writes in his post, “It is absolutely essential, but listening to the whole thing is not”: Continue reading »

Oct 182011

To start today’s festivities here at NO CLEAN SINGING, I have four songs for you, two of which take the form of new music videos. Instead of cramming them together into one long post like I did yesterday, I’m splitting them up — one song per post — and I’m dribbling them out. But I’m only letting 30 minutes pass between dribbles.

Why am I doing this? I’m not completely sure. Maybe it’s because I think each of these songs deserves its very own post. Or maybe I’m worried that your attention spans are like mine, and that your minds will wander before you get through 3 songs in a single post. Or maybe I’m just fucked up.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the first of three songs. This is the one that isn’t a video, but it’s by motherfuckin’ Venom. Thirty years have passed since their debut album, Welcome To Hell. They have a new album (Fallen Angels) set for release on November 28 via Spinefarm and Universal Records. Until yesterday, I was not looking forward to it. Yes, they are legends. Yes, they are given a large share of credit for spawning black metal. But really now, 30 years is a long fucking time, and honestly, they’ve done nothing in ages that provides much reason to think their new output will be worth the time it takes to listen.

But yesterday they released the first single from the new album, and I’m now interested. (Following a few more burblings from me, the song is after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Oct 012011

September is behind us. Here in Seattle, it was such a beautiful month that it seemed like nature’s compensation for how late the summer started. Unfortunately, with September’s end, we’re on a short track to the onset of winter, which means about six months of short, cold, grey, ceaselessly wet days. Ain’t that just fuckin’ great?

Well, bitchin’ about the winter ahead won’t change one fucking thing. I prefer to think instead about the deluge of new metal that’s headed our way and try (momentarily) to forget about the deluge of rain on the horizon. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.

You know the drill:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album before August, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. As usual, also feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Apr 072011

Liz is 25 years old. Two years ago, Liz had 40 songs on her iPod and “a graveyard of abandoned projects”. She found a book called 1001 Albums You Should Listen To Before You Die. The book starts with a Frank Sinatra album called In The Wee Small Hours from 1955 and goes up to 2007. On a day 516 days ago, Liz decided to start listening to all the albums in that book. She listens to one album each day, from start to finish, and then she writes her impressions in a blog. On May 6, 2012, if she keeps this up, she’ll have listened to someone’s idea of the best 1001 albums in history.

What caught my eye was that this list of 1001 albums includes some metal. I haven’t made my way through very many of Liz’s posts, but on April 2 (Day 513) she listened to The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden and on March 26 (Day 510) she listened to Black Metal by Venom. By her own admission, Liz was in a “tiny music bubble” when she started this project. Whatever music was in the bubble with her, it’s fair to say that it didn’t include anything like Iron Maiden or Venom.

I like imagining how non-metalheads react when they listen to metal. Reading Liz’s take on these albums, seeing them through the eyes of someone who is new to the genre but is clearly doing her best to keep an open mind, is kind of fun. Of course, she hasn’t been converted — yet. It would have been better if she had found a list of the 1001 best extreme metal albums of all time and forced herself to do that for 1001 days, though she might have been hospitalized before finishing. Also, I’m not sure there are 1001 great extreme metal albums.

After the jump, you can see what she wrote about The Number of the Beast and Black Metal. You can also hear a brand new track from the Swedish band called Shining (not the Norwegian one by the same name) from their next album. I’m wondering how Liz would react to this beast of a song (it’s a fucking killer). Continue reading »

Apr 022011

Technically, we should have posted this yesterday, but yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and people might have thought we were making up some of this shit. But it’s all true, and nothing happens on April 2 to plant doubt about truth. Except for what causes doubt to be planted about truth on any other day of the year.

Here we are at the beginning of the second quarter of 2011 — the time when for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is supposed to spring.  Where I live, spring has apparently been victimized by a brutal street mugging and is hospitalized at the moment.  A few plants have been deluded into thinking it’s spring, but for the rest of our local world, it’s still fucking winter.

Fortunately, the change of the seasons have fuck all to do with the release of metal. What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last 30 days (or in this case, the last 31 days) about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming New Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. There’s some awesome shit on the way. Dive in after the jump. Continue reading »