Dec 082016



On January 6, Werewolf Records in cooperation with Hells Headbangers will release the debut album by a Mexico City black metal trio who call themselves Mordskog. The title of the album is a Roman numeral — XIII — and from that album we bring you the premiere of a hellish track called “Mors Est Vitae Essentia“.

The riff is king on this song — or more accurately, the riffs are kings. Anchored by a driving drum rhythm and bursts of double-bass thunder (with nary a blast-beat to be heard), the song moves from one infectious piece of poisonous black guitar magic to another. It only takes one listen for the song to get stuck in your head.

Dec 082016



(Andy Synn returns to his occasional series focusing on new releases by UK bands, with a trio of reviews and music streams.)

Just squeaking in under the wire before next week’s massive round-up, The Best of British is back once again with three killer cuts of prime metallic meat for your delectation.

Now you might be surprised to know that I still sometimes get accused of “not supporting the scene” enough, mostly in cases when Joe Douchebag is angry that I either haven’t covered his favourite band, or when I’ve had the temerity to suggest that his favourite band really isn’t all that good.

I suppose it doesn’t help that, despite playing in two bands myself, and writing for a couple of different publications, I still don’t really think of myself as part of “the scene”, which often tends to be too cliquey and insular for my tastes, with an unfortunate predisposition towards applauding bands just because they happen to be from the UK, and/or because they know the right people.

But I do feel that since I have my ear a bit closer to the ground than our other contributors (for obvious reasons) when it comes to up-and-coming acts from the UK, it’s important to use this knowledge to single out the bands who I feel really are deserving of praise and of wider exposure.

I’ve always felt that if you really want to “support the scene” then you should be asking, and expecting, more from it. You should be more, and not less, discriminating. If you want your scene to grow – rather than simply stagnate, producing the same interchangeable crop of bands year in and year out – you need to throw your support behind bands who can truly hold their own on the world stage.

And that’s the purpose of these columns. To bring these bands to a wider audience as best I can.

Dec 082016



The cover art for the new album by Kratornas could hardly have been better conceived. Like the artwork, the music pours sulfurous satanic hellfire down upon the damned (and everyone else) in a superheated torrent. The album’s name suits the music as well: Devoured By Damnation. And there’s no reason to just take our word for it, because below you’ll find our premiere of a full album stream to coincide with its release today by Grathila Records.

Kratornas began in the early ’90s as the solo project of a musician in the Philippines named Zachariah — though the debut album of Kratornas didn’t appear until 2007. In 2011, after the release of the second Kratornas album, Zachariah moved to Canada. And here we are, roughly 7 years after the last album, ready to be scorched by the new one. For this album, Zachariah is accompanied by a human drummer, GB Guzzarin, though he continues to handle vocals, guitar, and bass by himself.

Dec 082016



As part of our year-end LISTMANIA series, we bring you lists of the year’s best metal from a few print zines with wide circulation and from some cross-genre web platforms that get orders-of-magnitude more eyeballs than we do. In the case of most of these other lists, we do this as a way of peaking at what the wider world sees, since our world is very narrow and subterranean. In this post, we’re looking at Rolling Stone and NPR. It won’t take you long to read the metal names on these lists.


Last week, the venerable Rolling Stone magazine posted on their web site a list of the 50 Best Albums of 2016. This list isn’t limited to metal. In past years, Rolling Stone has published a separate list of the year’s best metal, but I’m not sure if they will do that this year. So what I did was to scroll through that “50 Best” list and carve out the metal names, which I’m listing below along with their rank on the list.

The full article appears here, with accompanying explanations for the choices:

Dec 082016

NCS The Best of 2016 graphic


Here’s another entry in the part of our annual LISTMANIA orgy where we re-post lists of metal from “big platform” web sites and print zines — the kind of places that get a lot more eyeballs on them than festering little metal-only hovels like ours.

To justify our selection of Noisey for this part of the series, consider these statistics: Noisey is the on-line music channel of Vice Media, which began as a Montreal-based print magazine in 1994 and has expanded into a global media presence. Noisey was started in 2011 and now has 1,132,220 Facebook followers and (according to this site) receives about 839,500 unique visitors and 1,477,520 page views per day.

Yesterday Noisey published its staff’s list of “The Best 100 Albums of the Year“. By my count, 10 of those albums are metal. Nine of those 10 appear to have made the list as a result of recommendations by Noisey editor Kim Kelly, whose by-line appears on the mini-reviews that accompany those 9 picks. The 10th one is Devil Is Fine by Zeal and Ardor, and a different author’s by-line accompanies that feature.

Dec 082016



As part of our LISTMANIA 2016 series, we’re re-posting a list of the “20 Best Albums of 2016” published by Revolver magazine yesterday.

Revolver bills itself as “the No. 1 hard-rock and heavy-metal destination in the world”. Their online site boasts 13 million page views over the last year, and the ad rate sheet for the print publication claims a total monthly reach of 300,000 readers.

Dec 072016



(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Sahg from Bergen, Norway.)

I have something to confess. Something that’s probably going to cut deep into my well established metal cred (ha!). You see, I don’t really like Black Sabbath.

There, I said it. Let the shaming begin.

It’s not that I actually dislike them. Far from it. As a matter of fact I enjoy them whenever I hear them (particularly the Dio era), and fully respect the band’s timeless legacy (more on that in a moment).

But they’re just not the sort of band whose albums I’d ever spin for my own enjoyment.

However, in the same way that although I’m not really much of a Slayer fan (there goes the last of my credibility), yet still absolutely love many bands who count them as a major influence, there’s a number of artists in my collection who cite Sabbath as their prime reason for being, and who can trace the roots of their sound right back to the Brummie masters (of reality).

And one of those bands is Norwegian doom-groove quartet Sahg.

Dec 062016



Oneironaut is the new album by Crimson Moon, this project’s first full-length in more than a decade and only the third since its inception in 1994. The album is an imposing, hour-long work, with five of its six tracks exceeding 8 minutes in length, including the closing title track, which nears the 20-minute mark. But it’s also one of the most captivating, most multifaceted, and most compelling black metal albums you’ll encounter this year, even as it comes when 2016 is about to gasp its last breaths.

Oneironaut is being released today by W.T.C. Productions, and to help spread the word of its advent, we have a full album stream for you.

Dec 062016



The song you’re about to hear bears numerous hallmarks of skull-cleaving brutality even before you hear a single note. The song’s name is “Horrific Existence“. The album’s name is Horrific Existence. The band call themselves Cranial Engorgement. And feast your eyes on that album art up there by the renowned Pär Olofsson. The message comes through loud and clear, doesn’t it?

But all of those hallmarks still may not prepare you for the traumatic effect of the music itself, which we’re bringing your way through an official music video, or for the album as a whole, which is this California band’s debut full-length, scheduled for release on February 10 by Gore House Productions.

Dec 062016



NekroRegime is the second album by the Swedish black/death band Omnizide, and it will be released on December 16 by Carnal Records in Europe and Daemon Worship Productions in the U.S. The album’s title track has already surfaced, and now we bring you another one, a massively infectious dark beast named “Deathwomb“.

Omnizide was originally created under the name Belzen by AE and Nox in 1995. A few years later, it split up before releasing any recordings, with AE moving on in the band Avsky and Nox becoming the frontman for Craft. Years later the two joined forces again under the banner of Omnizide, and with additional allies in the line-up they released a debut album named Death Metal Holocaust in 2014.

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