Oct 082011
 

I’m the only metalhead I know who subscribes to The New Yorker magazine, though I’m sure there are other metalhead subscribers out there. But probably not many. I usually read the movie and book reviews because the writing is so good, even though I almost never get around to reading the books or seeing the movies themselves. Most weeks, that’s all I can manage to do, usually because I don’t have the time to read more.

Sasha Frere-Jones is the magazine’s pop-music critic (though what he writes about is really more eclectic than the term “pop” might lead you to believe). He’s also a member of bands called Calvinist and Piñata. I usually read his stuff, too, but not because I have much interest in the music he covers; again, I admire the writing.

Today, the on-line version of The New Yorker published a Frere-Jones piece that I read because, for a change, I was interested in the subject matter as much as the writing. The subject is American black metal, with a particular focus on Wolves in the Throne Room and Liturgy. I found it amusing because it’s being written for an audience that probably knows nothing, or next-to-nothing, about black metal, and reading it is like seeing our tiny, extreme genre of music through someone else’s eyes.

Also, remarkably, it doesn’t use the words “fuck”, “fucking”, “brutal”, “pummeling”, or other words most of us are used to seeing (or in my case, using) in descriptions of metal. You can read the article via this link, or you can go past the jump, because I’ve pasted it into this post. Continue reading »

Sep 212011
 

(NCS writer BadWolf was on hand in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month to witness Wolves in the Throne Room live — and he brought with him photographer Nicholas Vechery, whose awesome pics illustrate this review.)

Wolves in the Throne Room are, without a doubt, the best smelling metal band I’ve ever seen. I say that with honesty and seriousness. They smell amazing.

But I’ll get back to that later. First things first, I saw Wolves alongside Thou and local openers Vit at Columbus’ Ravari Room, and thank god the place was empty when I got there so I could get a good look before the floor was completely packed with bodies.

Someone could get lost in that comely place, with its abundance of dark corners. Everything about the bar felt apropos for an underground ritual—burlap-wrapped red and orange lanterns hung from a high wooden ceiling, but the atmosphere was thick and dark. Huge brick arches framed the bar and every alcove. The place could be the remains of an illegal gin distillery from the 1920’s, with all of its vitality and character.(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 032011
 


It’s Labor Day Weekend, August is a thing of the past, and as some people count it, summer is over. School is on the verge of resuming for people still attempting to educate themselves, and a ton of new metal tours are looming on the horizon for the fall. And of course, the fall will be filled with new album releases, too. 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. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Aug 032011
 


July is behind us, and the last month of the summer has begun. Drifting along even more stupidly than usual, I let the first day of the month come and go without posting our usual monthly  installment of METAL IN THE FORGE. So, we’re late with this, but I have a feeling no one was holding their breath waiting for it anyway.

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 July, 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. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »

Jul 252011
 

Two new works of album art caught my eye today, and I thought I’d pass them around. Also, a bit earlier  this afternoon a song began streaming from a band about which I’ve been very curious, because it includes ex-In Flames guitarist and band co-founder Jesper Strömblad, plus veterans of many other bands. So we’ll finish off this post by listening to that song from The Resistance. Evil corporate overlords have forced the removal of that Mastodon song we posted earlier today, so we have to replace it with something, right?

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM

The first piece of album art disclosed today is the cover for Celestial Lineage, the fourth album from Washington’s own Wolves in the Throne Room. The album by these American black metal heavyweights will be released on September 13 by Southern Lord Records. The artwork was created by photographic artist Alison Scarpulla. In concept, it joins the album with its two predecessors, Two Hunters and Black Cascade.

Don’t let the natural setting of the cover image fool you, though. Although WITTR’s music is inspired by mystical thought and by the unique natural setting of the Pacific Northwest, I think it’s safe to assume this won’t be the kind of music embraced by your average plaid-shirted tree-hugger. Expect a flood-tide of eviscerating power.

After the jump, we’ve got the track listing as well as tour dates for WITTR, plus a striking Travis Smith album cover for the latest offering from a band called Redemption — plus that song. Continue reading »

Jul 112011
 

We received a press release earlier today. It made me sit up straight. It elevated my pulse. It may have elevated other parts of my body, but that’s between me and, uh, the other parts of my body. In a nutshell, we now know the release date and name of the next album from Wolves in the Throne Room, plus information about guest appearances on the album and advance news about the band’s touring plans. I’m just gonna lay it on you as I got it:

“After devoting late Winter season to writing and recording, Wolves in the Throne Room are in the final stages of completing their fourth full-length opus of epic, earthen Black Metal ceremony.

“For over six months the Weaver brothers, Aaron and Nathan, have been immersed in the painstaking writing and recording process of their newest album, and this week the process is nearly complete; at press time the album is in its final mixing stages. The Wolves in the Throne Room clan clan have confirmed the title of this forthcoming astral black metal document as Celestial Lineage.

“The transmutation reaches a new level with the completion of the album. In contrast to the bleakly hypnotic architecture of Black Cascade, the lifespan of Celestial Lineage breathes more expansive and visionary life into the duo’s work. The Wolves in the Throne Room trademark long-form approach to arrangement remains intact, but there is a stronger thread of Popul Vuh-inspired underworld synthscapes and star-lit pulse woven with the intertwining guitar figures.

(more after the jump . . .)

Continue reading »