Jun 302017


I began writing this post on Tuesday, intending to finish and publish it the next day. Events conspired against that plan, and I was defeated again yesterday by technical problems ironically created by malfunctioning software installed in our web-host server by the company we pay to armor us against malware.

I’ve resisted the temptation to make this burly collection even bigger by including more new music I’ve spotted in the days since I started it. I also resisted the temptation to just shove this column into its usual place on Sunday, especially because I’ve taken a few liberties with the usual configuration of SHADES OF BLACK. Posting it today will also me to harness different new audio assaults to char the coming Sabbath.


I stay away from metal message boards for fear of losing IQ points, which as you well know are meager enough already. But I could guess that the people who think they are the trve keepers of the holy black flame are gnashing their teeth all over again because Myrkur has released a new song and soon enough will release a new album. Based on experience, I presume that the readers of this site will take the music as it comes and assess it on its own merits, which is what I’ve done — and I do like what I hear. Continue reading »

Jun 302017


(Our loyal and good friend of many years, Vonlughlio from the Dominican Republic, a man with an experienced and refined taste for brutality in metal, brings us this review of the new album by a group of Colombian slaughterers who call themselves Bacteremia.)

Bacteremia is a Brutal Death Metal band founded in 2006 in Colombia. I discovered the band in 2013 with the release of their debut album Cerebral Wrong Settings. I loved the raw sound, the crazy riffs, the intense drumming, and the powerful vocals. I included it in my year-end list here at NCS.

The current line-up of the band is: Carlos Andres Penagos (Drums), Andres Felipe Soto (Guitars), Sebastian Guarin (vocals), and Oscar Callejas (Bass). Continue reading »

Jun 302017


Here in the U.S. of A. we’re about to begin a long holiday weekend that rolls through Independence Day next Tuesday (except for the poor souls who have to work anyway), and what better way to launch all the shenanigans than with a big heaping helping of Afterbirth!

And to be clear, I mean the band Afterbirth — the New York-based death metal maulers whose ranks include members of Helmet, Artificial Brain, and Buckshot Facelift. Their debut album The Time Traveler’s Dilemma will be released by Unique Leader Records on July 28th, and we’re revealing a track from it today named “Drills and Needles“.

Don’t be misled by the fact that this is a debut album. Though this music is fresh Afterbirth, their first discharges occurred long ago. Continue reading »

Jun 302017

Photo by Alizee Adamek


(The subject of Andy Synn’s 86th SYNN REPORT is the discography of the French black metal band Merrimack.)


Recommended for fans of: Marduk, Enthroned, Watain


Black Metal has gone in a lot of different directions since its inception, expanding its horizons and stretching its boundaries in so many different ways that it’s almost impossible to count them all.

But sometimes you just need a dose of pure sonic sadism. Sometimes you need Merrimack.

Over the course of five albums (the most recent of which came out at the start of this month), guitarist Perversifier (the last remaining original member of the group) and his merry merciless men have unleashed their own particular brand of auditory hell upon the world with little to no regard for those innocents who might end up caught in the crossfire, as well as delivering a live show which often teeters on the edge of “unhinged”.

So if you’re looking for something black as pitch, and just as incendiary, then please… read on. Continue reading »

Jun 292017


You may not have noticed, but we had some nasty technical difficulties at our site today, thanks to an update from the company we pay to keep our server from becoming infected with malware (created by among the lowest forms of human life), said update disabling our ability to edit and publish new posts. I’m normally a calm, patient person. Today, for hours, I felt violently unhinged.

Ironically, the principal casuality of this bizarre takedown by our paid protector was a band whose music actually provides the kind of cathartic release that might have prevented me from trying to throttle the throats of the people who caused this mishap if they’d been within reach of my clutching fingers. Listening to Graveslave‘s album one more time tonight, I feel calmer. It is Sick/Nasty, and as you will discover, it is sick and nasty — but it holds other delights as well. Continue reading »

Jun 292017


Last June, late to the party, I discovered Staražytnaje licha, the debut demo of a Belarusian black/death band named Ljosazabojstwa (which means something like “murder of fate”). The demo was originally released by the band in digital form in December 2015 and was then reissued the following year on CD by Hellthrasher Productions (with a bonus track, the 9-minute opener “Struk u horła chrysta”). I concluded my review in this way: “This is a very, very strong debut with high re-play value that ought to get your head moving (along with the rest of your body).”

Now, Ljosazabojstwa have returned with a new EP (though it’s substantial for an EP, with a 32-minute run-time). This one is named Sychodžańnie, and it will be released tomorrow by the same Hellthrasher Productions that reissued the first one. Today we’re very happy to let you listen to all of it through our premiere of a full stream. Continue reading »

Jun 292017


The first edition of Northwest Terror Fest came to an end late Saturday night, the 17th of June, 2017. The response of both the bands and the audience was so enthusiastic, and the festival went so smoothly, that before the last of the festival organizers had left for the final after party, we put down a deposit on the two main venues for Northwest Terror Fest 2018. And today we can make it official: Northwest Terror Fest will take place again next year in Seattle on May 31-June 2, 2018, at Neumos, Barboza, and Highline.

NCS co-presented this year’s NWTF, and I had the fascinating (and sometimes harrowing) experience of being directly involved in it from the earliest planning stages straight through to helping load out the backline gear on the Sunday after it ended. It was exhilarating to watch everything come together as well as it did — and I still plan in the very hear future to share some more detailed thoughts about that experience.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read the beautifully written show reports (and check out the concert photos) that have appeared this week (here and here) at Invisible Oranges (whose editor Joseph Schafer was likewise directly involved in NWTF 2017 from start to finish). Continue reading »

Jun 292017


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Origin, which will be released on June 30.)

Origin are one of death metal’s most unique standouts from the 2000s-era of death metal. Their brand of chaotically fast, noisy, cosmic, techy deathgrind has never been done better, nor even really emulated properly, and that’s because this band has always had a consistent vision. Or rather, Paul Ryan and John Longstreth have had consistent vision. The Origin sound is unmistakable and it has remained so, to their benefit and at their peril.

Unparalleled Universe is Origin’s best record since new vocalist Jason Keyser joined back in 2011, especially compared to 2014‘s Omnipresent, which was received… not as well as the rest of Origin’s discography. I suspect the Origin guys felt this, and maybe even felt that way about Omnipresent themselves after the dust had settled, because Unparalleled Universe is a step up. It has some of the best songwriting, riff-craft, and consistently belligerent sonic matter obliteration they’ve ever created. Continue reading »

Jun 292017

Thoughts of Ionesco, 1999, in Pontiac, Michigan (photo by CJ Benninger)


(Todd Manning is back, and brings with him a group of recommended releases from a collection of killer bands whose names you see in the title of this post.)

Roughly a year ago, I wrote an article here discussing several hardcore releases and I mentioned how if Black Metal held sway in the winter, I felt Hardcore lay claim to the sweltering summer. But now I am also willing to consider that there are cycles within cycles, and am reflecting a bit on the genre in its longer trajectory.

While nothing really ever goes completely out of style in these postmodern times, I can say with some conviction that Metal in all its forms kind of steamrolled over Hardcore in the first decade of the new century, at least in terms of overall popularity. Sure, D-Beat has certainly thrived in recent times, but those bands are pretty much settled into the same aesthetic as their Metal brethren, and Death Metal and Black Metal bands alike borrow quite liberally from the genre.

But now, I’m starting to feel that other forms of Hardcore are beginning to claw their way back into the conversation, and I wanted to touch on some recent releases that those who care should definitely make an effort to seek out. Continue reading »

Jun 282017


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Arizona’s Winds of Leng.)

Riddle me this, riddle me that… what do you get if you combine the gruesome riffosity of classic Dismember with the merciless melodic menace of The Black Dahlia Murder?

You get Horrid Dominion, the stunning debut by Winds of Leng, that’s what. Continue reading »