Narcotic Wasteland is the brainchild of Dallas Toler-Wade, whom will be familiar to most of you as one of the driving forces behind death metal legends Nile. Far from being a mere side project, Narcotic Wasteland is a technical death metal juggernaut in its own right; their self-titled debut, which was released independently by the band on January 15th, is one of the best albums of the young year, balancing insane levels of musicianship with frightening brutality and gritty lyrics depicting the horrors of addiction. I contacted the band via e-mail requesting an interview, and all four members of the band graciously took time out of their no-doubt busy-as-hell schedules to answer my questions regarding their formation, the unique subject matter of their lyrics, how the debut album came together and beyond…
Hellébore’s Anouof thwo is the second of two cassettes recently unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses by the great Sol y Nieve. Whereas the other release, Nemorensis’ The Lady in the Lake is an exploration of black metal’s earthy, elemental qualities, Hellébore’s take on the genre reaches for the deepest, darkest corners of the universe. Indeed, the giant telescope gracing Anouof thwo‘s cover art is telling, as this solitary project delivers just over forty minutes of raw yet infinitely astral black metal.
Leave it to Caligari Records to make waves with their first foray into full-on death metal by unearthing not one but two of the gnarliest demos out there and cramming them both onto one cassette. The label has already proven with just a few releases under its belt that it has a knack for digging up killer black metal, but this nasty little bastard of a tape proves they’re no one trick pony. In one corner, we have French horde Skelethal and in the other Swedish psychos Inisans; it’s an old school DM battle royal that sees them serving up four tracks each of blood, guts and buzzsaw riffs.
When I offhandedly remarked via social media that I wanted to see more people writing about Metallica’s “crappy albums,” I had no idea that it would lead to the biggest crossover since Marvel vs. DC. But when Jordan Campbell of the mighty Last Rites called me out, challenging me to an inter-site throwdown on Lars and Co.’s dark ages, I had no choice but to put my money where my mouth is for a track-by-track death match. Head on over to Last Rites to read Jordan’s intro and us wreaking havoc on Side A of Metallica (aka The Black Album), and then come on back over to THKD for the Side B carnage below.
Nemorensis is about as obscure an entity as it gets these days; the band isn’t on Metal Archives and their Bandcamp page offers no biographical information whatsoever, with only a “USA” tag betraying their country of origin. As far as I can tell, said page is their only internet presence, making them truly inscrutable in an era where every band no matter how big or small seems to be waging full-on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc war in order to gain listeners. Their music is an equally enigmatic brew of baleful ambience and lo-fi black metal, making The Lady in the Lake, their debut for up-and-coming cassette label Sol y Nieve that much more intriguing.
Kult of Taurus are a Greek five-piece who released their debut full-length, Divination Labyrinths, late last year via the always-reliable Forever Plagued Records. While their home country has an incredibly rich black metal tradition, the band largely eschews the tried ‘n’ true genre tropes in favor of a more dynamic, somewhat experimental approach that’s much closer to latter-day Deathspell Omega than to say, Rotting Christ. Indeed, the quintet’s debut album is a breath of fresh air, but it seems to have flown under most listeners’ metal radars.
I first made mention of the one-man experimental metal madness that is The Sun Through a Telescope as a band to look out for back in 2011, when Bandcamp was just beginning to worm its way into the hearts and minds of metalheads. While those early TSTAT releases skewed toward corrosive, feedback-drenched drone, the project took a drastic step forward later on that year with the release of the Summer Darkyard EP, which saw mainman Lee Neutron beginning to incorporate elements of black metal and electronic/industrial music into its apocalyptic framework. But even that massive evolutionary leap couldn’t prepare me for the all-out insanity of I Die Smiling, which is not only TSTAT’s first full length release but also Herr Neutron’s most compelling and cohesive work to date.