Archive for Narcotic Death

Nico’s Highlights of 2013

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Featured with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

So, it’s that time of year when everyone picks out their highlights of the year. I figured that this year, I’ll jump on the bandwagon. So here are my highlights of 2013… Including a few non-metal releases!

Best Albums Of 2013:

1. Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies Of The Night

2. Azylya – Sweet Cerebral Destruction

3. Wretched Soul – Veronica

4. Seduce The Heaven – Field Of Dreams

5. Hecate Enthroned – Virulent Rapture

Best Live Acts of 2013:

1. Re-Armed

2. Azylya

3. Delain

4. The CockRockets

5. Bharghest

Best Yorkshire Bands of 2013:

1. Severed Heaven

2. Bharghest

3. Narcotic Death

4. XIII

5. Skull Branded Pirates

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Best Non-Metal Albums of 2013:

1. Janet Devlin – Hide & Seek

2. Kelly Clarkson – Wrapped In Red

3. Ben Parcell – Expectations

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Ibanez Iron Label RG 7 String RGIR27E

Posted in Featured, Gear Reviews, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 16th October 2013 by vmteam

Specs:

  • 3 piece Maple/Bubinga neck
  • 25.5” scale length
  • Basswood body
  • Rosewood Fretboard
  • Jumbo Frets
  • EMG 707 Pickups (bridge and neck positions)
  • 3 Way Blade Switch
  • 1 Volume
  • Latching Killswitch
  • EDGE-ZERO II Bridge

The Ibanez RG is probably one of the most recognisable and iconic guitar shapes in the long history of the guitar. Its sharp points and beautiful curves give it elegance with a touch of venom. Through its many iterations, the RG has been the workhorse model of choice for guitar players around the world, from jazz to metal. In the metal world it has secured its standpoint by morphing its uncompromising playability to suit the needs of six string players, seven stringers and 8 string djentelmen alike. The range of options is vast on this particular model, with hardtail versions for players who want absolute stability, and vibrato models for those that want to drop bombs and scream the place down.

The Iron Label series has been a welcome refreshment to the ideas of building the shred machine. The series combines all the features and playability of the existing models, the variety of fixed bridge or double locking vibrato units, string count and gorgeous looks with that one thing we all find hard to swallow when we look for our guitars; affordability. Ibanez threw it all on the line and created an affordable, reliable, uncompromising weapon of maximum shred, and have been reaping the rewards.

This particular model, the RGIR27E, is one of two 7 string examples on show within the body shape. Its main feature is the double locking EDGE-ZERO II Floating vibrato unit. The other version of this is a fixed bridge affair, denoted by the F in the model number (RGIR27FE). Both feature EMG 707 pickups for the ultimate sound of brutality, a 25.5 inch scale neck to handle not only the standard six strings with outstanding stability, but cater for the low B string with ease. It aptly manages to retain the string tension, whilst allowing great articulation of the low notes. If you find that low B isn’t brutal enough for you, slap some heavier strings on and tune down to A or G and unleash a fire breathing monster of death and destruction, and it will even hold a low F with a good amount of accuracy, (and a damn good set up job).

The EDGE-ZERO II is a development of the original Ibanez Edge series of double locking vibrato units, and it certainly lives up to the reputation built by it’s forbearers. Because of the unit being double locking (strings lock at the bridge and at the nut of the neck) the system allows extreme changes in pitch, both up and down and tuning stability is rock solid. As the strings terminate at the locking saddle on the bridge, the transfer of vibrations through the bridge to the body is a direct transfer. This allows the guitar to sustain notes whilst being manipulated by the vibrato, and harmonics can be held for extended periods of time. The fine tuners on the bridge allow for precise tuning when the strings are locked down, and allow quick tuning changes if a string slips out of tune. As if that wasn’t enough, the bridge is a recessed floating affair, so the strings can be pulled sharp and allows for all sorts of musical devilry.

The neck on the RGIR27E is fast, flat and wide for all kinds of shred play. The unfinished Maple feels extremely comfortable and rigid, combined with the Bubinga stripe running through the centre to enhance the rigidity and tone of the neck. The older Ibanez necks were a combination of Maple and featured a couple of Walnut stripes and were a multi-ply neck configuration, that were superbly sturdy, and featured some of the thinnest neck profiles imaginable. This particular neck feels ever so slightly thicker, but still feels amazing to play, both from a lead standpoint and a rhythm perspective. With a 400mm radius, the neck is fairly flat, and that allows for lower string heights, so the super low action is a breeze to play with. Some people find these necks hard to adjust to, because they have had to compromise with other necks, which are rounder, fatter and harder to contend with. Ibanez have given the best of both worlds and taken the neck into another dimension. A Rosewood fret board warms up the sharp attack of the Maple, whilst keeping the clarity of the notes. The absence of fret markers can be off putting at first, but take comfort in the fact that the side markers are visible even under stage lighting, so you shouldn’t get totally lost whilst wandering around slaughtering innocent victims with your brutal shredding.

The audio department is covered with the addition of one of the best, if not the best, active 7 string pickups on the market today, the EMG 707. The 707 has been the pickup that companies have tried to emulate for many years now, and some consider it to be the only 7 string pickup worth talking about. EMG asked their line up of 7 stringers what they were looking for in a pickup and almost all of them reported back saying “We want the 81 in a seven string format”. And thus it came to pass that the 707 was an 81 with a bit more, and gave rise to the demonic soapbar pickup that adorns the guitars of some of the best guitarists who utilise the un-natural 7 string guitar with great destructive power: players such as Jeff Loomis, Rusty Cooley, Dino Cazares, Christian Olde Wolbers and many more besides. Because of the ceramic magnets inside the 707, the notes are crystal clear, and have a remarkable bark and bite under crushing amounts of gain. The 9 volt battery that powers these pickups allows for true power, (there is even an 18 volt mod to soak the power and give even more output from the guitar).

When choosing a body wood, most people overlook Basswood as a cheap, undesirable wood. But as many more companies offer Basswood as a body wood choice nowadays, it is becoming a very popular choice among Pros and bedroom shredders alike. Lighter than mahogany, but just as full sounding, but with more emphasis on the lower end with a well defined mid range, Basswood is an excellent compliment to a maple neck. Add in the EMGs and an EDGE-ZERO II Bridge, and you are ready to decimate your audience with the first note.

Finally, we get to the all important bit of price. For most signed artists, endorsements will either pay for, or discount their instruments. For us mere mortals who can’t even get money off our shopping, this is a dream, one that is very rarely achieved. We scrimp and save just to afford a set of strings most times and purchasing a new guitar only happens when a store has a sale, or someone we know has had enough of their axe and wants their newest toy (or needs to buy toys for the new arrival in the form of a screaming, puking firstborn). Quite easily the best thing about the Iron Label series is the price range. The standard fixed bridge 7 string is offered, without it being a sale or having a big discount, for the miniscule price of £515.00 at Andertons music store in Guilford (online prices/store prices may vary). The EDGE-ZERO II version is priced at the tiny price of £599.00 at Andertons (again prices may vary) which is an amazing price for such quality craftsmanship and for a guitar that will rip audiences in two.

And so to recap, the Ibanez Iron Label RG, in either version, is a great addition to your arsenal, whether it’s your first 7 string or just another weapon to use. The Ibanez Iron Label series has you covered.

Dan Eastwood

Narcotic Death part ways with guitarist

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 28th September 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

The grim bastards of the north, Narcotic Death, recently announced their split with guitarist Mass. The band have made it clear that Mass‘ departure from the band was on good terms and that they appreciate his contributions to the band. Narcotic Death also stated that they will commit to all their upcoming shows as a four piece outfit and as such, they are also on the scout for a new guitarist.

Applicants must be willing to commit to two rehearsals a week, have an interest in the music and a willingness to contribute towards songwriting. Applicants must also have competence and confidence with regards to playing rhythm and lead guitar within the death metal genre and must own their own cab and head. Further details can be found here.

Narcotic Death online:

http://facebook.com/NarcoticDeath
http://youtube.com/user/NarcoticDeathMetal

Further three bands to Valkyrian Festival 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16th July 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Already bolstering a line-up that spans from viking metal to industrial and touching on other genres in between, Valkyrian Festival have announced a further three bands to this year’s bill. Confirmed for the Friday are Nottingham’s very own buccaneers of pirate metal Red Rum, who have also recently been confirmed for the Warhorns Festival. Red Rum will be joining Ravenage, Dead Man’s Conspiracy and Scotland’s djentlemen Storm of Embers on the first night of Valk-Fest.

Added to the more extreme metal stylings of Saturday are Leeds-based extreme metal tyrants Lammergeier who will be bringing their devilishly heavy sound which will no doubt go down well alongside the other other extreme metal acts on the bill such as Scottish corporate black metallers Maelstrom and fellow Yorkshire band Narcotic Death whose vocalist can apparently castrate a cat from a distance of 400 yards. And for industrial fans, Sheffield-based industrial duo The Gifted have been confirmed to play the final night of Valk-Fest 2013 with acts such as Spekulus, Powercake, Dakesis and Yorkshire’s most violently brutal band Severed Heaven.

With another four bands to be announced, this year’s Valk-Fest is already shaping up to be its most diverse line-up.

The full Valkyrian Festival line-up is as follows:

Friday 29th November:

Ravenage (Headliner)
Dead Man’s Conspiracy
Red Rum

Storm of Embers

Saturday 30th November

***Headliner TBA***
Nya
Narcotic Death (Special Guests)
Aonia
Old Corpse Road
Lost Effect
Shades of Avalon

Maelstrom
XIII
Lammergeier

Sunday 1st December

***Headliner TBA***
Alice In Thunderland
Innersylum
Severed Heaven
Dakesis
Spekulus
The Antiquity
Powercake

Terra Omnia
The Gifted

This year, Valkyrian Festival is in aid of RapeCrisis. Information on RapeCrisis can be found at this location. Donations can be made direct to the charity via the Valkyrian Festival JustGiving page which can be found here. Weekend tickets can be found at this location for the low price of £5 (excluding P&P).

Valkyrian Festival 2013 is now officially sponsored by online gothic and custom-made jewellery store, The Crypt Of Curiosities.

In related Valkyrian Festival news, Aonia will be headlining a Valk-Fest fundraiser at Shades Nightclub, in Bridlington on 7th September with support from Powercake, Spekulus and Penance, the latter of which [performed at last year’s Valk-Fest. Further support acts to be announced and a lot more bands are still to be announced for Valkyrian Festival 2013. Further Valkyrian Festival announcements and info can be found here.

 

Narcotic Death and Grieve announced for Huddersfield Heavymetalfest

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th June 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Yorkshire death metallers Narcotic Death and Huddersfield/Leeds based metal band Grieve have been announced for the Huddersfield Heavymetalfest which will take place on 12th October at the Parish in Huddersfield. The festival will be headlined by Italian death metal overlords Fleshgod Apocalypse and the line-up also boasts Scottish death metal band Scordadtura, as seen at the North of the Wall Festival in Scotland earlier this year, and Bound By Exile. Limited tickets are available for the event from this location and are priced at £20 (not including booking fees and P&P).

Following recent events, Anaal Nathrakh will not be playing the Huddersfield Heavymetalfest but the organiser has assured that another main support of their calibre will be booked.

The full line-up so far is as follows:

Fleshgod Apocalypse (Headliner)
Bound By Exile
Scordatura
Grieve
Narcotic Death

Huddersfield Heavymetalfest online:

https://www.facebook.com/HuddersfieldHeavymetalfest

 

Interview with Alex Cook [Narcotic Death]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 29th January 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

 

Narcotic Death have left a trail of horror and destruction in the five years they’ve been on the UK’s extreme metal scene and at one point, even boasted My Dying Bride’s violinist/keyboardist Shaun MacGowan amongst their ranks. With their new album, Dies Irae, currently in the works, Narcotic Death‘s vocalist Alex Cook sits down with Valkyrian Music’s editor, Nico, to reveal the grizzly details about the new album and what devious plans the band have in store for the masses.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Narcotic Death?

Alex: The band name is open to interpretation. For me, it illustrates the soothing capacity of euthanasia and a slow, sleeping death through the injecting of narcotic substances. A seduction of the living senses to dying. Death is something that we all fear in mortal capacity, and perhaps it is wrong to do so, because it is through that fear that we hold on too long and subject our bodies and minds to degradation. If we were more accepting, the journey would be easier; life would be more fulfilling, and grieving less painful.

Nico: You’ve been working on the new album, Dies Irae, what are the prominent themes of the album?

Alex: Warped religious ideals, debauchery, cynicism and punishment. Some of the songs on the album are re-workings of religious tales. Rain is about a deluge from Heaven that drowns humankind. The Accuser is about Christ and the Devil discussing how the religious experiment has failed because even Christ himself cannot endure the torments he inflicts on human kind and The Butcher and the Scribe details a plague upon mankind sent by Heaven’s destroying angels. The other tracks, such a Gorgon and Throne of Stars use humanity’s ignorance and worthlessness as themes.

Nico: Dies Irae is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. Why did you choose this to be the title of the album?

Alex: To incorporate the religious themes and also to highlight how humanity has failed itself and awaits some form of punishment. Religion is an excuse, and our ignorance is too for turning a blind eye and idealising our stained living conditions. The title track Dies Irae embodies these themes most obviously by approaching the matter of child abuse within the church and the casual indifference of the masses because of the power religion still possesses. ‘Intelligence insists the absence of religion, the wholesomeness of our existence, chained to our decay. A man that cannot control himself is no longer free. They know this. They have always known.’ Overall, the title is an embodiment of the main notion within the album; that one day soon, our evils will come back to haunt us, and when it does, we will blame others, but it is ourselves who are guilty.

Nico: What song do you feel will be the strongest track on the album?

Alex: My personal favourite is Cainite because it is laden with doom and suffocating misery. You lose yourself in those sweeping riffs, and the lyrics are chant-like in places to illustrate the character’s despair. It tells a biblical story from another point of view, and this is something I greatly enjoyed doing with most of the tracks on the album. You are taught them one way, but when you look more deeply, there is only darkness and a sordid idealism. The Butcher and the Scribe is probably the strongest track, because of its subject matter and crushing, aggressive guitar riffs and drum patterns. Every member shines on that track, but the others all have distinct qualities of their own whether it be an impending sense of doom, visceral terror or disgust and fury.

Nico: Narcotic Death have played a fair share of gigs and obviously with a number of different bands, which bands have you enjoyed gigging with the most?

Alex: Our gigging history is quite a lengthy one, but I think Severed Heaven are a band that we have known and admired for a very long time; we played our second ever gig with them, and our most recent one, so they are a band that we have grown with. They’re a delightful group of ladies, and it is difficult not to be taken in by them and their unique ‘chug’.

Nico: How will Dies Irae differ from previous Narcotic Death releases?

Alex: I think that the new album will show a degree of maturity both with regards to technique and song writing. Our intention is a lot clearer here than it was with the other releases, and I think that makes for a stronger, more memorable impression. The other releases, our EP for instance was honest, but had a lot of different styles on it; there wasn’t a sound distinctly ours, and the first album was more or less the same due to line-up changes. It has taken five years to develop a sound that is true and recognisable as ours, and that has as much to do with people that have left the line-up as the ones that are still here. Everybody left a scar somewhere.

Nico: How has the experience of recording Dies Irae gone so far?

Alex: Very well. Going in the studio is always a daunting time for any musician, but I am proud of what has been accomplished so far. As of this time, I have yet to go and record my voKILLS, but I have been redrafting my lyrics and planning out the different sections so the sound will be visceral and terrifying with a multitude of layers. Appropriate for such layered and traumatic subject matter. I want the music to be felt as well as heard.

Nico: As it’s still early in the year, what lies in store for Narcotic Death throughout 2013?

Alex: More acquaintances to be made, more countries to be seen and more people to be terrified into submission. First and foremost, is to get the album released so we have something to show for ourselves at any future gigs. We are also hoping to shoot a music video for one of the tracks; a Narcotic Death first that will undoubtedly be a great experience, as well as something to show off and express our madness through.

Nico: If you could take any poem or other piece of literature and turn into a piece of music, which one would it be and why?

Alex: Paradise Lost by [John] Milton would be an excellent choice, just for how the tale twists and turns from awe of heaven, to grief and anger at being cast out, as well as wonder and bereavement at walking on earth. It is hopelessly romantic, melancholic and sincere. Imagine soundscapes, maybe with just a few whispered phrases. For a work like that with such power, words are not needed to express what it is trying to say.

Nico: Describe Narcotic Death‘s sound in five or less words.

Alex: Traumatic visceral Swedish-esque near-death experience.

Nico: If you replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Alex: Perhaps one of the Universal classics, such as Dracula or Frankenstein. That era of film was a realm unto itself, and our music would add to their sinister edge, or be complemented by the strange, but beautiful images on screen. 

Nico: Are there any bands you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Alex: Severed Heaven for glorious chugging riffs and painful vocals. Ebony Lake for a surreal, tormenting sound stupor. Nightshadows Lament for classic, doom soaked black metal.

Nico: Do you have anything to say our readers?

Alex: Thank you very much for reading and expressing an interest in our sinister cynicism. I hope that the misery we breed will live on in you, and in turn, infect others. I hope too, that I will be able to meet you at one of our gigs, and that you will be heartily traumatised by all we have to offer.

You can follow Narcotic Death at the following locations:

https://www.facebook.com/narcoticdeath
http://www.myspace.com/narcoticdeath616