Nov 182017


The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley, and sometimes they’re just naturally daft and glazed, which is a good description of myself this morning.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s round-up, I’m now deep in the heart of Texas for a high school reunion tonight, and spent last night catching up with some old friends over a bottle of whisky. I then slept 11 hours, which I don’t think I’ve done since the year of my high school graduation. And so, this Saturday round-up includes fewer items than I had originally planned.


The first Migration Fest (organized by Gilead Media and 20 Buck Spin), which took place in Olympia, Washington, in August 2016 was fantastic. The next one is now set for July 27-29, 2018, at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And this morning the festival announced the first round of confirmed bands:

Nov 172017


I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with e-mails or occurrences in the interhole the last few days, so I crawled through those fetid swamps last night and came up with a big list of intriguing new songs and videos to add to my previous big list. And then I began exploring what I found. I have a little time this morning to round-up a few of the good things I discovered in my listening, with more to come soon.

I have to fly to Texas this morning (for a high school reunion rather than my fucking day job), but I do plan to finish a further SEEN AND HEARD for Saturday. And unless the reunion crushes too many brain cells (or my soul), there will be a SHADES OF BLACK feature on Sunday before I fly home.


This first item will be regrettably brief — regrettable only in the sense that I have failed to write a review of the new Aosoth album prior to its full streaming debut, which happened yesterday. And so all I can do now (and maybe ever) is to give you a strong push to listen to V: The Inside Scriptures as soon as you can. You won’t regret that decision. The stream is below; the album is being released today (November 17).

Nov 172017


(Not long ago we posted Wil Cifer’s review of the new Morbid Angel album, which will be released on December 1st, and now we present his interview with Steve Tucker.)

With Morbid Angel’s new album Kingdoms Disdained continuing to grow on me, I am beginning to feel it’s their best work since Domination. So I jumped at the chance to talk to bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker and ask about what played into this return to their more vicious sound and what factors in the world today influenced the album’s thematic lyrical tone. Here is what was said.

Nov 172017


Flying in on the heels of their first demo and a split with Vetala, both released earlier this year by Harvest of Death, the debut album of the Portuguese black metal band Trono Além Morte will arrive on the winter solstice, December 21, via the same Harvest of Death. The album’s name is O Olhar Atento da Escuridão. A stream of one track from the album has been disclosed so far, and now we reveal the title track.

We are told by Harvest of Death that, like other of the band’s contemporaries in the Portuguese raw black metal scene, Trono Além Morte have been influenced by the storied Black Legions of France. They are described as “mages of majestic misery”, whose music becomes “a plunge into a medieval dungeon knowing no time nor space”. Although I prefer to come up with my own words — and I have — I quote these because they do ring true.

Nov 172017


(In this post we present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Italy’s The Clearing Path, set for release next month by I, Voidhanger Records, and the premiere of album track “Stargazer Monolith“.)


Way back in the hallowed era known as… 2015… a hitherto unknown artist by the name of Gabriele Gramaglia came out of nowhere to deliver what I still believe was one of the best Black Metal albums of the year, Watershed Between Earth and Firmament by The Clearing Path.

In the two years since its release …Firmament (and its similarly stellar companion EP Abyss Constellation) has remained in pretty much constant rotation in my daily/weekly/monthly listening habits, providing me with a regular dose of frenetic riffing, frenzied drum work, and tumultuous atmosphere that never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

So you can perhaps imagine how excited I was to hear that the band’s second album, Watershed Between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea was scheduled for the release at the end of the year (December 8th, to be exact) and even more excited when the promo for it suddenly appeared in my inbox.

Nov 172017


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the performance by Norway’s Ulver at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on November 15, 2017.)

Despite the fact that Ulver are definitely not a Metal band by any measure (in fact they’ve not been a Metal band for so long that even stating that they’re “not a Metal band” seems utterly redundant at this point), I’m always happy to cover them here at NCS, whether on record, or in the live setting.

When people ask me “why” I keep covering them, particularly in the light of their most recent, shamelessly electro-pop turn, I always answer them in two ways:

Firstly, it’s entirely possible to make “Pop” friendly music which has both depth and substance. Yes, the majority of today’s big sellers may, in general, be the most vapid, soulless examples of “popular” music, but there’s still a rich legacy of acts and artists who have made a very successful career out of twisting and subverting the expectations of their audience in a variety of surprisingly clever ways.

Secondly… well, it’s Ulver, isn’t it? And if any band has earned my trust over the years, it’s them.

Which is why I recently found myself in Islington Assembly Hall watching the band perform material from their latest album, The Assassination of Julius Caesar.

Nov 172017


(Our New Zealand friend Craig Hayes (Six Noises) brings us his review of the new album by NZ’s Stalker, which will be released today by Napalm Records.)

The pressure’s definitely on speed metal trio Stalker to step up and deliver with their first full-length, Shadow of the Sword. The Wellington, New Zealand band have already made a huge impression, selling around 1,000 copies of their neck-wrecking Satanic Panic demo in 2016. That’s obviously a significant achievement for any band in this day and age, let alone one based in a far-flung corner of the world. There’s clearly an audience hungry for Stalker’s music, which explains why Napalm Records snapped the band up. There are a number of reasons why the band have proven to be so popular, and why the expectations for Shadow of the Sword are set so high.

Reason #1: Stalker’s guitarist, Chris Calavrias, once played in (the now defunct) high-speed power metal band Razorwyre. That name might not mean much if you’re a full-time guttural grunt aficionado, and Stalker certainly aren’t Razorwyre under a new guise. But Razorwyre’s blistering full-length debut, Another Dimension, met with a rousing reception at home and struck gold in Europe too.

Stalker also features ex-Razorwyre drummer Nick Oakes, whose meteoric percussion also added substantial power to much-loved NZ metalpunks Numbskull. Joining Calavrias and Oakes is powerhouse vocalist and bassist Daif King. And King’s pummeling bass and soaring Halford-worthy falsetto seals Stalker’s 666% TRVE METAL deal.

Nov 162017


You’re about to hear a heavy dose of foul, festering death metal. The vocalist sounds like he’d like nothing better than to have your throat in his teeth. The riffs themselves resemble the cruel ripping and gnashing of demon teeth. The flickering leads are pure fiery derangement. The rhythm section seems hell-bent on beating your skull into a pulpy mush.

The thing is, strange as it might seem from what I just wrote, the song is also a romping, rollicking, battering joy ride. The tempos and drum rhythms change frequently — the music scampers, seethes, rampages, jackhammers, and staggers. And it’s boiling with vitality.

The song is an OSDM gem named “Vomits of A Demonic Infestation“, and it comes from a new EP named Caro Data Vermibus by the Spanish band Come Back From the Dead, which will be released digitally and on CD by Transcending Obscurity Records on November 30.

Nov 162017


The heavy Hungarian band Nadir’s roots extend back into the mid-90s. Inspired by such groups as Bolt Thrower, Entombed, and Crowbar, they’ve released five albums since 2005, along with a handful of shorter releases. And now their sixth full-length, The Sixth Extinction, is set for release on December 4 by GrimmDistribution (Belarus) and NGC Prod (Hungary). Two singles from the album have previously premiered, and now we bring a third one, in the form of a lyric video: “Fragmented“.

Nadir’s last album, 2015’s Ventum Iam Ad Finem Est, was a concept album, and the new one is as well, and could be considered a continuation of the themes developed in the last one, which itself concluded with a song called “The Sixth Extinction”. The new one addresses “the present massive, human induced wave of extinction of species on Earth”, citing “environmental destruction, pollution, diseases, invasive species and overhunting as its main causes”.

Nov 162017

Convocation photo by Kammio Visuals


In August I discovered Convocation, a relatively new Finnish band with an auspicious line-up consisting of L.L., who writes the music and performs all the instruments, and M. Neuman, who handles the lyrics and vocals. L.L. is also the main man behind Desolate Shrine, whose recently released 2017 album Deliverance From the Godless Void (reviewed here) is one of this year’s stand-out records, and Neuman is also the vocalist for the wonderful Dark Buddha Rising.

At the time of that August discovery (but no longer), the Convocation Bandcamp page was populated with unmastered versions of four tracks, all of which had appeared just days before. I was particularly taken with “Ruins of Ourselves“, a staggeringly heavy union of funeral doom and death metal. It was punishingly crushing, with titanic, gloomy chords and gut-punching percussion that together made the earth seem to quiver. Spectral guitar melodies, eerie ambient layers, and Neuman’s own haunting clean tones gave the music a ghostly atmosphere — though most of the time his vocals were terrifyingly craggy. And in addition to being stunningly heavy, the music was mesmerizing.

Just based on that one song, I was quick to write that Convocation would be “a brilliant new entry into the annals of doom/death”.

Now I’m very happy to announce for the first time that Convocation’s debut album, Scars Across, has been mixed and is ready for mastering — and that the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records will be releasing it by the spring of next year. AND we are also premiering a teaser of music from the album, to whet your appetite.

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