Aug 182017


In April I came across the first single from Burning Torches, the debut EP by a Spanish black/death band named Krossfyre. I was eager to hear it partly because the line-up includes members of Sheidim, Graveyard, Körgull the Exterminator, Insulters, Suspiral, and Morbid Flesh, and in part because the press announcement made references to classic Nifelheim and Vomitor, early Tribulation, later Desaster, Gospel of the Horns, Bestial Mockery, and Nocturnal Graves.

That first song, “Fire Solution”, was as good as I hoped it would be, and definitely earned its name. The whole EP turns out to be a fire solution to whatever might be ailing you. It will be released by the ever-tasteful Hells Headbangers on September 15 (CD, 12″ MLP), and today we have the premiere of the title track.

Aug 182017


Death is deathless, in Japan as in most places. I’m referring to death metal in particular, and even more particularly to the Japanese death metal band Necrophile, whose music we’re premiering today.

The band’s origin story takes us back to 1987, which certainly qualifies them as one of the first Japanese death metal bands. They recorded two demo tapes in 1988 and 1989 ( The Terminal Derangement and Beyond the Truth) and then produced two further releases in 1991, the Dissociated Modernity and a split LP with Singapore’s Abhorer. And then, as happened to so many extreme metal bands from those formative years, they drifted away — but not forever.

Aug 182017


And so we come to the end of another work week. Three days have passed since the last round-up of new music I pulled together, and those have been eventful days for the release of new metal, not even counting the many excellent premieres we introduced ourselves. I’ve had to resist the temptation to cram a big mountain of them into this post (instead of a small mountain), in part because I’m off to the airport again for a long weekend in the Rocky Mountains, capped by the coming of a black sun on Monday.

I hope you’ll enjoy the picks I’ve made for this truncated round-up, and that you’ll enjoy the two more premieres we’ll be bringing you later today. I think I’ll have time to pull together some more new music this weekend despite being away from the forested NCS fortress near the Puget Sound.


I’m beginning this collection with a new single by Minnesota’s Astral Blood, in part because it gives me the opportunity to post not one but two pieces of artwork by Luciana Nedelea that will cover the front and back of the album from which it comes. The album is named SYZYGY, and the front piece is above. This is the piece for the back cover:

Aug 182017


(We are very happy to welcome Kaptain Carbon back to NCS with this feature on a series of forthcoming 2017 releases by a label known as VrasubatlatKaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)

This is not the first time I have written about Vrasubatlat, nor do I believe it will be the last. Over the course of these past years, I have become enamored with the output from this Pacific Northwest label. Aesthetic is important in heavy metal, and the bands that revolve around the universe of Vrasubatlat all seem to be circling the same themes. While each of the bands represented on the label has its own personality, the general tone of spiritual violence, existential ruin, and transcendental obliteration seem to make a solid foundation.

I have decided to wait until now to discuss the recent and future releases from Vrasubatlat. Perhaps I can only experience this type of music in segments, as too much would leave me inverted and eviscerated. Through this showcase and review, I will most certainly be using flowery and colorful descriptions. Part of this is just a writing style, but the other is to express the immersion into unsettling waters. Vrasubatlat is certainly not the end of harsh and dissonant sounds but they are certainly a label with an energetic spirit for it and a lack of caring for others.

Below are a list of releases and new demos from new projects from 2017. I feel fortunate to hear these demos before their release date like some sort of chosen prophet who sees imminent doom in the stars. What I can tell you is that this label, while already ornery and antisocial, has found new ways to describe disgust.

Aug 172017


In the last half-dozen years we’ve witnessed the rebirth of numerous death metal bands who got their start in the early ’90s, far more than you could count on the fingers of both hands. This has been a mixed blessing — participating in the birth of a movement is no guarantee that you’ll still be able to light a fire under people more than two decades later, and some bands honestly would have been better off if they’d been content to leave their fans with good memories rather than new music that doesn’t live up to their reputations. On the other hand, some of these resurgent bands seem to have become even more powerful with age, and Purtenance is one of those.

This Finnish band, who released their first demo under the name Purtenance Avulsion in 1990, recorded two enduring works in their 1991 EP Crown Waits the Immortal and their 1992 debut album Member of Immortal Damnation. And then the band became inactive for a long stretch of years before their revival in 2011.

Since then they’ve released two powerhouse albums in 2013’s Awaken From Slumber and 2015’s …to Spread the Flame of Ancients. Now, Dave Rotten’s Xtreem Music label is set to release the newest Purtenance work — an EP entitled Paradox of Existence — and we have the premiere of one of its four tracks for you today in advance of the EP’s September 12 release. This one is called “Vicious Seeds of Mortality“.

Aug 172017


New York musician (and music writer) Chris Voss took some chances when he embraced Necrolytic Goat Converter as the name for his solo metal project. On the one hand, it’s such an off-the-wall moniker that once you see it, you won’t forget it. On the other hand, it’s so ridiculous that there’s a chance people will leap to the conclusion that the music is a joke, or maybe dismiss it as an offensive skewering of sacred black metal cows.

I’m here to tell you that either reaction would be a grievous mistake, because this debut album, Isolated Evolution, is really, really good. I’ll explain why I think that, and why the album has quickly become a personal favorite in a year already filled to overflowing with outstanding new albums, but you’ll also get the chance to decide for yourselves — because we’re premiering a full stream of the album in advance of its August 18 release.

Aug 172017


The name chosen by the Ukraine-based black metal band Nabaath for their new EP could easily be an alternate name for the band: Firestorm Bringer. It’s as close to a sonic hurricane of hellfire as one could hope for — utterly ferocious, completely electrifying, and immediately addictive.

Firestorm Bringer is also an archetype of how the EP format can be used to supreme effectiveness. There are only two songs here, both of which are themselves compact, plus an outro track that both contrasts with and complements the flamethrowing ferocity of those two songs. The three tracks don’t feel like a scattering of stand-alone pieces thrown together for want of a better place to put them; instead, they make for a cohesive representation of a particular kind of power, and if the EP had been longer it might well have lost some of its impact. It’s over almost before you know it, but it may still leave you wide-eyed and slack-jawed (as it did me).

Aug 172017


(In this long post we have not one but two extended reviews by DGR, one focusing on the 2017 album by the Greek band Nightrage and the second dwelling upon the 2017 album by the Dutch storytellers in Carach Angren.)

If there is one thing I’m a big fan of doing throughout the year, it’s the inevitable dive backwards into the earlier part of the year in order to play the increasingly desperate catch-up game, to write about releases I’ve been listening to, but never took the time out to say anything about. I’ve got a handful of those, and now that I have a little bit more free time from the day-job (which will be brief, let me tell you, the holiday season approaches) I can finally talk about two pretty constant spins from 2017 that NCS hasn’t had the chance to cover yet, completely glossing over the fact that I’m the guy at the site who will usually wave the flag for both bands.

The two this time around are melodeath stalwarts Nightrage and their seventh (!) album, The Venomous, and the latest batch of supernatural symphonic shenanigans from Carach Angren and their album Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten.

Nightrage – The Venomous

Without descending too much into an image of me in a room with newspaper articles and photos all connected with string in so many ways that I can barely move around inside of it, disheveled with a half-drunk cup of coffee that has somehow managed to turn semi-solid, screaming that “there has to be some sort of connection here!”, I’m starting to think that the melodeath crew of Nightrage have developed a pattern. It’s one I hoped that with the March release of their album The Venomous, the band would manage to break.

Aug 162017


There’s a movie out in theaters now that includes the name “Valerian” in its title, and it seems that more than half the people who’ve seen it think it’s terrible. Because the name isn’t one you see every day, some people reading the title of this post might make an association, but let’s be clear: This song has nothing to do with that movie.

This “Valerian” is a stunningly good song by Seattle’s Old Iron, and it comes from their second album, Lupus Metallorum. Emblazoned with unforgettable cover art by the band’s own guitarist/vocalist Jesse Roberts, it will be released by Good to Die Records on August 18, just days from now.

Aug 162017


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the debut album by the UK death metal band Vacivus, set for release by Profound Lore on September 22nd.)

Here’s a seemingly simple, but actually incredibly complex, question – why are some bands good and other bands… less so?

Or, to be more specific, what makes some bands capable of spinning fresh gold out of a well-worn sound, while others are doomed to wallow in their own mediocrity?

This is something I’ve been wondering about quite a bit recently, after I came across a pair of Death Metal bands from the UK, both of whom have been receiving a fair bit of hype and attention online, whose albums couldn’t have more clearly represented the opposite ends of this spectrum.

You see, whereas one of these albums (whose name has been withheld out of respect to the victims) turned out to be one of the most painfully unoriginal and uninspired records I’ve heard all year, the other captured a certain freshness, a viciousness, a certain sense of drive and urgency, which made it an absolute joy to listen to.

So whatever this particular attribute, this special x-factor is, it’s clear that Vacivus definitely have it.

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