Apr 192018


I’ve been meaning to do this for about a week, and finally found time. I came across all of the following music in the course of surveying new releases for a SEEN AND HEARD round-up here at our putrid site, and thought it would make sense to package them together for extra catastrophe.

The music ranges from catastrophic funeral doom to catastrophic death metal with a heavy doom component, to something doom-centric but less easily describable at the end. I arranged the music in a way that would provide a bit of back-and-forth flow, so your blood doesn’t completely congeal and your heart doesn’t completely slow to a stopping point.

While I was writing this I thought about Andy Synn telling me that he’d come across a metal forum in which NCS was criticized by one or more idiots people for concentrating on “mainstream” metal. Yeah, right. Mainstream this right up your bungholes:


I’ve written frequently about this German band, who’s usual stock-in-trade is an amalgam of sludge and black metal (and some other ingredients). But for their latest EP, null., they decided to give the funeral-doom treatment to two of their previously released songs, and I’ll be damned, it turns out they’re just as strong in this other genre as they are in their main line.

Apr 182018


The Ottawa band Endemise, whom we’ve covered at NCS before, have a new name — Serene Dark — and a new album in the works which is projected for release in the fall of 2018. And what we have today is the premiere of a lyric video for a new single named “Dualitatem“, a song that integrates elements of black, death, and symphonic metal to create an emotionally powerful experience.

After 12 years operating under the name Endemise, the band had undergone so many line-up changes and alterations of musical direction that the time seemed right for a new name. The band chose their new moniker, as guitarist Dale Sauve  has explained, to reflect the band’s current musical approach — it “can be soothing and melodic at times, and dark and heavy at other times, so Serene Dark was a perfect fit.” He also shed some light on what lies ahead on the new album:

Apr 182018


The last forced conscription of young men into the United States military ended in early 1973, not long after the cessation of active U.S. ground operations in the Vietnam War. Since then, enlistment has been voluntary, but the time could come again when young men (and perhaps women) will be forcibly pulled from their lives and thrown into peril in a foreign land.

The song “Drafted” by the Alabama melodic black/death metal band Oracle addresses that history and that prospect, but also uses the experience as a metaphor for more ever-present situations in which we all have found ourselves. And in that song, they set those themes to music that’s dark, hard-hitting, and quite memorable.

It’s only one fine track out of many on their new album Into the Unknown, which was released by Naturmacht Productions on April 1, but it’s not surprising that it was chosen as the subject of the music video we’re premiering today.

Apr 182018


(Andy Synn has compiled reviews of six new releases in this mid-week post.)


Despite our best efforts to the contrary, there still remains a certain cadre of people convinced that there’s some sort of nefarious motive or hidden agenda behind the work we do here at NCS.

So, in the interests of clarity and transparency I’d like to begin this piece by restating a few things.

For one, you should be aware that we don’t host any ads here at the site, take in any money from bands/labels, and don’t receive any kicks for clicks. This place is entirely independent and self-funded, and it’s going to stay that way.

Similarly we’re not beholden to record labels for access or coverage, nor do we favour “big” releases over less well-known ones. We’ll write about them, sure, if we feel like we want to, but the general ethos of this site has always been to focus on less well-known and less widely-covered, bands.

And while we have built up a good relationship with certain labels/agents over the years, this has largely been based upon a reputation for scrupulous honesty. We won’t host a premiere, conduct an interview, or write a review, unless we actually like the band/artist in question, and while we always try to accentuate the positive, we’re not afraid to provide (constructive) criticism when it’s warranted.

As a matter of fact we’ve actually been blacklisted or downgraded by certain agents/agencies in the past simply because we weren’t nice enough about their bands…

Anyway, all of this preamble is really just a long-winded way of saying that the following collection of reviews hasn’t been paid for or solicited in any way. It’s just a bunch of albums I’ve stumbled across in the last few weeks/months that I felt like writing about and recommending to you all.

Apr 182018


If you put lyrics aside, which is not difficult to do when they are in Swedish and you’re own meager understanding is limited to English, the emotions conveyed by a human voice in the throes of intense expression become subject to changing interpretations, depending on the music behind it. That thought occurred to me (though not for the first time), as I listened to the new album by the Swedish black metal band Svederna, which will be released this Friday (April 20).

J. Holmberg’s burning howls, savage shrieks, and raw-throated yells are undeniably intense, a full-force outpouring of emotion. But the emotions the listener feels may change dramatically depending on what his talented bandmates are doing behind him. They can be heard to convey violent fury, or terrible anguish, or wild cries of defiance, simply because of how the music changes. Of course, he does his own part to change the mood, too, especially when uttering spoken words in somber tones.

And the moods do change across the eight songs on Svedjeland. Indeed, they change within every song, because Svederna are obviously interested in, and quite adept at, crafting their vibrant brand of melodic black metal with alternating ingredients and energies.

Apr 172018


And with this I bring to a close today’s four-part round-up of new and newly discovered music. Unlike the pairings in the first three installments of this column, there’s not much that ties these two together, other than my own liking for them.


I liked the hell out of this Oakland band’s last album, 2015’s Wound Empire, so much so that their new one, Cinereous Incarnate, has been high on my eagerly-anticipated list. I had been holding off writing anything about it until there was a full song that I could share (which is supposed to become available sometime next week), but what the hell. I might as well make sure this is on your radar, because it has the earmarks of something stupendous — and at least I have a video album trailer created by Chariot of Black Moth if you haven’t caught it yet.

Apr 172018


I’m continuing today’s four-part round-up of new and newly underground sounds with two more selections — two bands widely separated in geographic terms but both very adept at putting a megawatt charge straight into your spine.


I first encountered the music of Seattle’s Oxygen Destroyer early last fall, when their single “Vanquished by the Unrelenting Devastation of the Celestial Behemoth” sucked the air out of my lungs with the speed, ferocity, and obliterating power of its assault. As I reported then, they were at work on a debut album, and now it’s out, having been released on April 5th. Its title is Bestial Manifestations of Malevolence and Death, and it’s one hell of a rocket ride.

Apr 172018


In August of last year we premiered a video for “We Are the End“, a tremendous new single by the electrifying Colorado death metal band Skinned. As we reported then, the song was to appear on Shadow Syndicate, the forthcoming fifth album in this band’s slaughtering career, which dates back to the mid-’90s. But the months passed, and the album didn’t arrive….

But now it finally has a label (Xenokorp Records) and a release date — May 4th – and today we get to bring you another video for another single from the album, this one called “As Their Bodies Fall“, which features guest vocals by Josh Welshman of Defeated Sanity and lyrics by Paul McGuire of Cerebral Bore, who also directed this lyric video.

Apr 172018


In November of 2015 we premiered an album named FVCK by Slovenia’s The Canyon Observer. As I wrote then: “It will fuck you up. It’s almost unremittingly intense — as heavy as a pile of corpses, as hallucinatory as a drug-induced nightmare, chaotic, deranged, and powerfully disorienting. It’s also spellbinding, a descent into a subterranean demolition zone that proves to be as hypnotic as it is harrowing.”

Today, we again find ourselves in the fortunate position of premiering an album by the same band. This new one is named NØLL, and it will be released on April 20 by Vox Project (France) and Kapa Records (Slovenia). For this new album, the band haven’t completely left behind their post-metal influences, but the new album amplifies the elements of sludge and doom in their sound, mixes in a variety of disturbing experimental textures, and even more dramatically increases, to truly stunning levels, their propensity for inflicting violence.

Apr 172018


Collectively, the founding three members of the Louisiana band Excommunicated have more than 75 years of experience in the metal underground. When you add in the balance of the line-up on their new album Death Devout, the combined experience goes well over the century mark. They’ve been involved in numerous other groups across a range of extreme genres, but it’s clear that they all have one passion in common, one that’s reflected in this new album’s title — a devotion to death (metal).

Excommunicated’s 2011 debut album, Skeleton Key, was a collection of 10 original songs conceptually making up “a dark treatise on the medieval Catholic Church; centering on corruption, abuse, as well as strange and ghoulish habits”, and they have plans to record a sequel in the near future, with the tentative title of The Exterminating Angel. But what they’ve done in the meantime, with Death Devout, is to pay homage to a pantheon of death metal greats. This is an album that consists mainly of cover songs, and we have the premiere of one of those covers today in advance of the album’s April 20 release date.

But before we get to that premiere, let’s take a look at the track list:

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