Aug 232017


The unwelcome intrusion of non-blog life has forced me to truncate my usual verbose reactions to the music I’ve selected in this mid-week round-up (cue the weeping and the gnashing of teeth), but I wanted to be prompt in spreading the word about the following items, all of which appeared either yesterday or this morning.

I picked these five new songs in part because they provide a quite varied array of what metal in the modern era has to offer.


The new Bell Witch album, Mirror Reaper, will be released by Profound Lore on October 20, with an album cover by Mariusz Lewandowski that we won’t soon forget. The album consists of one continuous 83-minute piece that unfolds as a single track.

Aug 232017


Bloodhunter are a melodic death metal band born in the Galician region of Spain in 2008. After a well-received demo in 2013 (The First Insurrection) and a profile-raising first album in 2014 (Bloodhunter), the band signed with the Spanish label Xtreem Music for the release of their second album, The End of Faith, which will arrive in October of this year.

In addition to founding guitarist Fenris, vocalist Diva Satánica, and bassist Éadrom, the new album features the talents of session drummer Marcelo Aires (Colosso, The Ominous Circle).  Today it’s our pleasure to bring you the premiere of a track from the new album named “Eyes Wide Open” — and it is indeed a big eye-opener.

Aug 232017


Here’s the second part of a column delayed from Sunday. I began it yesterday with a news item and then new music from four bands, and continue it today with new music and a new video from five more. From yesterday through today, these items are organized in alphabetical order by band name.


Kadaverdisciplin is a newish band of Swedish black metal slaughterers whose line-up includes a core trio of musicians from Västervik, Sweden (who include members of Zombified and Blodsrit) plus drummer extraordinaire Fredrik Widigs (Marduk, The Ugly). After a couple of digital singles, they have finished a debut album appropriately named Death Supremacy that will be released by Hammerheart Records on October 20.

Aug 222017


The Swedish/Chilean band Corpsehammer (who are currently based in Dalarna, Sweden) released their first EP (Sacrilegio) earlier this year in a limited cassette tape run, and they’ve wasted no time following up on that. Their new EP, Posesión, will be discharged on September 1 by Morbid Skull Records.

Corpsehammer embrace a primitive but electrifying form of black/death savagery, drawing their influences from First Wave black metal and the ferocity of the late ’90s Latin American and Australian extreme metal scenes. There are six tracks on the new EP, and we’re bringing you the premiere of one of those, a song named “Pulse de Saturno“.

Aug 222017


(We have the privilege of helping to premiere a full stream of the new album by Der Weg Einer Freiheit in advance of its August 25 release by Season of Mist, which we introduce with a review of the album by Andy Synn.)

Raise your hand if you’re familiar with Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s phenomenal 2015 album, Stellar?

If your hand isn’t up in the air… shame on you. Shame.

Because you’ve been missing out on one of the most electrifying and emotionally invigorating acts (and albums) in the Metal scene today.

But don’t worry, because the band’s latest record (their fourth) is another opportunity to bask in the glory of their sublime blackened beauty.

Aug 222017


Greetings from western Wyoming. I’m two days late posting this column. I intentionally delayed it from Sunday to Monday because it seemed to make more sense to post this installment on the day of the total eclipse here in the U.S. — a time when actual shades of black would become manifest as the totality approached, and a moment when we could greet a black sun edged with the brilliance of the corona as night triumphed over day.

But I obviously didn’t get that done. After finishing yesterday’s three premieres, I ran out of time before the approach of the black sun beckoned.

I originally chose new music from seven bands for this week’s feature, but with the delay I’ve added two more new discoveries, in addition to one news item, which leads off this column. The new music is organized in alphabetical order by the name of the bands — and because of its length I’ve divided this into two parts. Because I’ll be making my way back to Seattle today, I might not get Part 2 posted until tomorrow.


Yesterday Oration Records and Studio Emissary announced the first group of bands for next year’s edition of the Oration fest in Reykjavík, Iceland, which will take place on March 7-9, 2018, at the Gamla Bíó venue. As you can see from the flyer above, the bands announced yesterday are as follows:

Aug 212017


(Austin Weber brings us his review of the new album by the Boston-based ensemble Ehnahre, as well as the premiere of a full stream of this fascinating new record.)

Ehnahre are one of the most interesting groups in metal, a lot of which is due to how much their music draws so liberally from outside of metal, specifically from classical music, chamber music, jazz, film score music, avant-garde, improv, and beyond, with all of this married to a love for all things experimental and harsh, wrapped inside a doom metal, death metal, and sometimes black metal influenced framework.

They’re a rare group, one whose sound is amorphous and ever-shifting from release to release and from song to song, delivered with a scope and love for long-form compositions that ends up making their music feel like it’s a world all its own. For those new to Ehnahre, both current and former members have spent time playing in fellow avant-garde metal experimentalists Kayo Dot  if you need further evidence that this project is worth paying attention to.

I’ve been following the project for many years now, and finally got around to covering them here at NCS starting in 2016 when we helped Ehnahre do an exclusive early stream of their sprawling double album, Douve. That was followed by a second 2016 release in the form of an EP called Nothing and Nothingness, that I also made sure to cover here at NCS. So I’m happy to continue supporting them here with an early stream of their new album, The Marrow.

Aug 212017


The UK black metal band Dawn Ray’d made a stunning advent last year with their debut EP, A Thorn, A Blight, a collection of six songs that my comrade Andy Synn described as “vivid and visceral”, an onslaught of “pure, refined fury and anguish, stripped down to its most basic, most human, form,” manifesting “supreme confidence and ruthless aggression”. And now Dawn Ray’d are returning with their first full-length LP.

The Unlawful Assembly is the name of this new album, and it’s projected for release in October. It’s divided into two parts, The Wild Service and The Wild Magic, composed of “equal parts malice and spite, and ethereality and exultation”. And today we present the album’s second track, an immensely powerful and multifaceted song called “The Abyssal Plain“.

Aug 212017


It’s likely that after six unique albums and a trio of EPs, Botanist has become known to all discriminating and adventurous metal listeners, of whom you are likely one because you are visiting us now. But in case you are a curious explorer finding your way to Botanist for the first time, we’ll provide a brief introduction before sharing with you the title song from the newest Botanist album — Collective: The Shape of He Who Comes — which will be released on September 1 by Avantgarde Music (CD) and Favonian (LP).

As you will learn, this new album is different from its predecessors in some important ways (though every Botanist album has differed in important ways from its predecessors). And to learn about those differences, and much more about the creative process that produced it as well as Botanist’s future plans, we also present an interview of Botanist’s creator and alter ego Otrebor by an Italian examiner who we’ll call “Mene Frago.”

Aug 202017


I’m still in Wyoming with a bunch of good friends, now one day away from the total eclipse of the sun that we came here to witness together. Last night was another late session of stargazing, boozing, and the kind of unpredictable conversation that boozing under the shine of the Milky Way can produce.

Much earlier in the day NCS contributor Grant Skelton had sent me a link to a song that I had decided to include in today’s SHADES OF BLACK column (which I haven’t even started writing, but will write, I promise — though I might not post it until eclipse day tomorrow). And the name of the band reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in years, and that provoked one of the most interesting conversations under the stars last night.

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