Apr 182019
 

 

(On April 11th our Atlanta-based contributor Tør returned to The Masquerade venue to take in Finnish-heavy performances by Children of Bodom, Swallow the Sun, Wolfheart, and local openers Summoner’s Circle. He sent us this report, along with a large batch of his own excellent photos from the show, most of which appear after the review.)

The traffic makes me want to ditch my car in the middle of I-75 and move to Europe. I get to The Masquerade customarily late but manage to catch a bit of the openers, Summoner’s Circle.

On their Facebook page the Knoxville outfit describe themselves as “a six-piece theatrical metal band that blends elements of doom, death, black and progressive metal into what they refer to as simply Epic Metal”. While genre-blending is not my cup of tea, I am pleasantly surprised by the solid display on stage. These guys are serious about what they do and the costumes and imagery match the grandiose sound they produce. Check out their first full-length, Tome, if you haven’t already done so. Continue reading »

Feb 042019
 

 

This is another instance in which I consciously paired songs for this list because I thought they sounded good together. In fact, the second one helped me decide on the track I chose from the first band’s album (a choice that had become an intractable mental struggle).

To check out the previous installments of this still-expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.

WOLFHEART

This really was a tough call for me. After listening to Wolfheart’s latest album, Constellation of the Black Light, I had no doubt that something from it would be on this list, I just didn’t know which track it would be.  The album came hot on the heels of 2017’s Tyhjyys, but as DGR noted in his review, it nevertheless continued the band’s impressive level of consistent quality, delivering a blend of fast-paced, explosive hammering and brooding, wintry melody with an often epic atmosphere. Continue reading »

Dec 312018
 

 

(DGR is actually turning NCS into a coffee table book, but slowly, one day at a time, from now through Friday.)

About halfway through the year I actually thought I was going to make it through the year-end with a solid Top 30 list and nothing more. For a good chunk of the year, 2018 seemed to move in fits and starts — there would be large batches of album releases and then a couple of quiet weeks, then another small collection, and so on. A lot of the more consistent older guard were on something of an “off year” too, so at first I wasn’t expecting to see a large cast of repeats from two years ago making themselves known. I’ve gotten used to a two-to-three year album cycle, so I half-expected stuff to start pointing towards a real loaded front-half of 2019.

But alas, instead the back-half of 2018 turned out to a be a flood. Not just in bands that I’ve consistently enjoyed either, but a whole bunch of new faces that have either been hammering it out over the years and put out some genuine surprises, or people with some absolutely stunning first-time exposures on my end. Not only that, but who would’ve expected an actually pretty solid -core resurgence, with a lot of groups that had thought to hang it up deciding 2018 would be a good year to resurface and put out some stunningly good releases (at least in some cases).

As a result, 2018 proved to be an absolutely massive year. In some ways I think people’s year-end lists are reflecting just how vibrant the year was for our specific subsection of the musical sphere. While people lament that rock ‘n’ roll is dying or has become lame, heavy metal seems perfectly content to just be the constantly angry and forever roiling collective of music — as if it has found a sort of equilibrium in comparison to the mainstream world outside. Which is how you wind up with stupid shit like this, where I once again have FIFTY (warning ahead of time: if you think this introduction is getting verbose, do I have a surprise for you) albums to talk about in wrapping up this tire fire of a year. Continue reading »

Nov 052018
 

 

(DGR reviews the latest album by an NCS favorite, Finland’s Wolfheart, which was released by Napalm Records on September 28th.)

A quick preface for this one: We’re still hacking away at backlogs here and in case you missed out, that’s meant quite a few ‘shorter’ review archives with a handful of grouped bands together. This review was born of that experiment but unlike the Beyond Creation/Chthonic/Benighted jam that I unleashed upon the world last week, we were quickly able to recognize that the length of the next multi-band review collection was getting out of control, and so we’ve carved this one out to stand alone.

Increasing wordiness tends to happen when it’s a band you enjoy, and even though the short gap between this group’s most recent releases can look scary at first, Wolfheart manage to stick to a very consistent level of quality this time around. Continue reading »

Sep 072018
 

 

It’s been one of those weeks, one of those weeks when for various reasons I just haven’t had time to compile any round-ups of new music. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of those weeks when a ton of new songs and videos have premiered (in addition to those we’ve premiered ourselves). I’ve picked a couple handfuls of those, and divided the collection into two parts. This one includes better-known bands, presented in alphabetical order. The next one will include more obscure names.

ARSIS

James Malone sports a shaven head in the Arsis video that appeared overnight, but still screams like a banshee and is obviously still capable of cooking up some tasty riffs, while the people around him help put the spurs to this galloping, groove-some new song and spice it up with a bit of occult aroma, too. Speaking of which… Continue reading »

Aug 162018
 

 

Here we are, four whole days into the week without a round-up, which of course means there’s a whole hell of a lot to round up. So, we’ll have a two-parter today, along with a couple more premieres.

HATE ETERNAL

Well, of course I’m going to lead with Hate Eternal‘s new track, because of course I’m not going to squander the opportunity to put another Eliran Kantor masterpiece up at the top of our page. In fact, I’m going to do it again after the jump, this time with the album title and logo in place: Continue reading »

Aug 032018
 

 

We probably won’t have as many posts at NCS today as we usually do. I’m on my way to Sea-Tac airport for a flight to a top-secret location in New Mexico where I’ll be engaged in various nefarious activities until Sunday night. I have an even longer trip next Tuesday that will take me away for that entire week, and posts will be scanty then as well.

I know we will have a very enticing premiere today, because I’ve already written it, and beyond that we might not have anything else. But before I zoom off into the clouds I thought I’d share a new video, two new songs, and a new item.

WOLFHEART

The news item makes those of us at our putrid site happy and hungry even though there’s no music to share yet: Finland’s Wolfheart will be returning with a fourth album on September 28 via Napalm Records. Its name is Constellation Of The Black Light. Continue reading »

Jan 232018
 

Oslo 05072017. Photo: Marius Viken

 

I guess it’s not a bad time to take stock of where we are in the rollout of this 2017 edition of our Most Infectious Song list, since this is the 10th Part. With the three songs I’m adding today, we’re up to a total of 32 tracks. I had planned to finish the list by the end of this month, so we can finally close the book on last year (or mostly close it) and focus our time more exclusively on the flood of new metal that’s been coming our way in 2018. If I follow through on that plan, it really just means I’ll be calling an arbitrary halt… because I’m still just figuring this out as I go along.

I suppose if I really feel that calling a dead halt on January 31 would leave too many gems behind, I might edge into February, but on the other hand, that could become a very slippery slope. I do have 8 days left in the month, and if I knock out an average of three tracks per day, I can make it to 56 songs… which would be about 20 fewer than usual for this series. We’ll see. Continue reading »

Jun 012017
 

 

(KevinP returns to NCS with another edition in his series of brief interviews, this time talking with guitarist Mikka Lammassaari from the Finnish band Wolfheart, a perennial NCS favorite whose latest album Tyhjyys was released earlier this year and reviewed here.)

 

K: This is now the 2nd album you’ve been a part of after Tuomas [Saukkonen] handled all the duties himself in the debut, Winterborn. So has your role changed since Shadow World?

M: This is a pretty common misconception, since I was already contributing the guitar solos on Winterborn. On Shadow World my role expanded a bit as I wrote a couple songs and was more involved in the guitar recordings.

On the new album Tyhjyys, I had to step back a little bit because my little baby boy was born and I wanted to shift focus more towards life at home. I still managed to squeeze in the founding of one song and got to write the guitar solos, so I´m very pleased with that.

So my role actually got a bit smaller on the new album, but Tuomas did amazing work writing the songs and recording guitars, so all went well. Continue reading »

Mar 272017
 

 

(DGR reviews the new album by Finland’s Wolfheart.)

Tyhjyys, the new album by Finland’s Wolfheart, is a moody album, shrouded in fog, happy to stew in cold and detached misery. It has actually shown itself to be an excellent soundtrack for the rain-drenched and fog-shrouded drives home from work in the month since its release, the perfect encapsulation for grey skies and dense mist rolling in off the water.

Tyhjyys also marks the third album for founder Tuomas Saukkonen’s Wolfheart project — his name should be at least somewhat familiar as the founder of many an NCS-covered band: Before The Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, to name two — itself having since evolved into a full group as of 2015’s Shadow World album.

It is also a disc of transformation — one that sees Wolfheart traversing from one genre to another, finally giving into their gloomier leanings and going for the melodeath/doom hybrid that the region traffics in so well. And it does so organically across eight songs, starting out with music that feels like it is picking up right where Shadow World left off and slowly getting colder and colder from there before finally landing on its title song and overall theme of the album. Fitting for a release whose title translates to the word ‘Emptiness’. Continue reading »