Sep 262017


(Andy Synn reviews the new self-titled album by the newly named Vattnet, an exception to the Rule in our blog’s title.)

Let’s get down to brass tacks right away, shall we? Just because a band changes their sound doesn’t make them sell-outs/traitors/false… but, by the same token, when a band you love does decide to change their sound, there’s no rule that says you have to like it.

I know that statement might seem painfully obvious to most of you, but I felt like it needed stressing again, as I’ve lost count of the amount of sweeping generalisations and wild accusations I’ve seen thrown around by the various factions of fans (and ex-fans) of this band in response to the release of their new, eponymously-titled, album.

It’s definitely a fact however that Vattnet (formerly Vattnet Viskar) have radically reinvented their sound here, in a way that I imagine a lot of their old fans might not appreciate…

Sep 262017


(Today Austin Weber begins a multi-part series focusing on 2017 releases that we haven’t previously reviewed. Parts 2 and 3 will follow tomorrow and Thursday, and further installments are expected next week.)

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.


Once again, I have the fine folks at Mathcore Index to thank for showing me another band I felt compelled to cover, and this time it’s Retail Monkey.

Sep 252017


To be honest, I’d seize on just about any excuse to plaster Adam Burke’s stunning artwork for Firebreather’s self-titled debut album on our page again. It was his art that first drew me into the music of this Gothenburg trio, and their heavy-as-hell brand of sludge and doom kept me rooted in place as I listened to the album’s first single (“The Ice Lord“) early last month. Now I find myself in the fortunate position of bringing you the premiere of another track — “Fire Foretold” — in advance of the album’s October 13 release by Suicide Records.

You gotta love guitarist/vocalist Mattias Nööjd’s introduction of the song:

“‘Fire Foretold’ is straight-up a song about this warrior who grabs his big fucking sword and rides out into battle, slaying everything and anything in his path. The lyric, ‘The raging wolf’s head, hangs at my side / I took the red glow, I took the roar’? That’s how badass he is. This is the opening track and it’s setting the tone for the album, it’ll take you to dark and violent places.”

I ask you, who doesn’t love a song about a big fucking sword (and the sorcery of a raging wolf’s head)? I mean, other than the person on the receiving end of it?

Sep 252017


I’m a relative latecomer to the music of Golden Bats, a distinctive one-man mauling machine from the vicinity of Brisbane, Australia. The first release I heard was the Falling Sparrows EP that surfaced last spring. It made an impact, something like a grenade going off inside my skull. I’m now keeping a close watch on what Golden Bats is doing.

Today Golden Bats has revealed a new two-song EP named Superplateau, which I had the shivering pleasure of hearing in advance of the release, and I’m helping spread the word about it… because it’s very good.

Sep 252017


Even if you’re not familiar with the previous releases of the Portuguese band Annihilation, you wouldn’t need to be clairvoyant to foresee that they are a death metal band and that their music is likely to be obliterating. Their name, after all, is Annihilation. And yes, ruthless brutality is indeed a key part of their sound. But that’s true of scores of death metal bands. What makes this one special?

I do think Annihilation stand out from the brutal death crowd with their new second album The Undivided Wholeness of All Things, and the qualities that make their music interesting as well as… annihilating… are powerfully demonstrated in the song we’re presenting through a lyric video in this post. Its name is “Universal Dismal Collapse“.

Sep 252017


I realize this is the third day in a row when I’ve compiled a round-up of new music. Some of you who don’t check in with us over the weekends are going to find a truckload of new tracks that have appeared since the end of the day Friday. Moderation, however, has never been our thing. I guess you could say we’re extreme in more ways than the music we tend to prefer.

It also gives me ghoulish pleasure to say that we’re not pausing after this: Three track premieres will be following this round-up today. And  there will be another round-up tomorrow (which will be my effort to complete the SHADES OF BLACK collection that I began yesterday but couldn’t finish due to a vicious hangover).


To begin, I have a nearly 12-minute song from the debut album of Cryptic Fog, which at the time of this recording was a two-man operation consisting of guitarist/bassist Dave Bennett and drummer/vocalist Dan Klein. The name of the album is Staring Through the Veil, and the Swedish label Blood Harvest will release it on October 27.

Sep 242017


The word for the affliction I’m suffering today begins with “hang” and ends with “over”, preceded in this particular instance by the word “vicious”. The timing is unfortunate because I had plans for a gigantic SHADES OF BLACK post, but it has taken me so long to claw my way back to a functional state that I’ve had to abandon those plans. Due to the lateness of the hour, I’ve only written about music from three of the eight bands I had originally intended to say something about.

I have a faint hope that I can write about the others early in the coming week, but things tend to get very busy around the NCS compound once Monday arrives. Time will tell, as it always does….


We showered praise on this Polish band’s last album, Near Death Revelations, with one writer calling it “a landmark release that has a huge helping of everything… complex, on-point, and refined as hell,” yet also “primitive and crushing”, while another at our site lauded it as a “home run” — “you are surely going to get your blitzkrieg black metal assault in spades”, but “they know when to practice restraint and inject atmosphere/melody for maximum affect”. I also called the music “a really excellent offering of dynamic black metal with galvanizing riffs and a doomed atmosphere”.

And so we welcome with open arms the new Blaze of Perdition album, Conscious Darkness, which will be released on November 3 by Agonia Records and includes cover art by Karmazid.

Sep 242017


Руины вечности (whose name translates to “Ruins of Eternity“) look like a small army, one based in Krasnoyarsk in Siberian Russia. Their music is a fascinating cornucopia of sound that reflects the diverse contributions of all those members gazing at you from the photo above. As a demonstration of that, we present the premiere of a song named “Танк” from their forthcoming debut album Шёпот забытых холмов (“The Whispers of Forgotten Hills“).

The album represents the culmination of a decade-long journey which saw an original trio of musicians (bassist Zubarev Arseniy, guitarist Clindukhov Ivan, and drummer Terentyev Konstantin) expand their musical ambitions and draw additional creative people to their side, which resulted in further changes to the band’s evolving sound. That has resulted in a stylistic amalgamation that isn’t easy to sum up, but could be said to incorporate elements of doom, melodic death metal, and gothic metal, with the compositions displaying a certain avant-garde flair at the same time.

Sep 232017


I wrestled with myself over how to arrange the songs I’ve chosen for this Saturday round-up, trying to figure out the best flow from one track or video to another. No two of them are in the exact same genre space (although three of them do incorporate elements of industrial metal), and that complicated the endeavor. Eventually I gave up and arranged them in alphabetical order by band name.

This is one of those times when every band whose music is represented here was a new name to me when I checked out the songs. But it’s all good shit.


Our president was in Huntsville, Alabama last night, congratulating himself and riling up a crowd of people who don’t seem to realize he’s done nothing for them, calling black NFL protesters sons of bitches, basking in the glow of “lock her up” chants, continuing to brand Russian election interference a “hoax”, and promising to “handle” the “Little Rocket Man” in North Korea (the master plan apparently consists of name-calling). The crowd ate it up.

The two members of Calques live about three hours away in Montgomery, Alabama, but I’m guessing they didn’t make the drive for that rally. “All you get from Calques,” according to the Sentient Ruin label, “is the misery and oppression, the shortcomings, the failures, the ugliness, and the unappealing blight of the southern reality vomited on you through a swarm of shattered glass, mangled nerves, and razor wire.”

Sep 222017


There’s nothing clean or pure about Sacroscum. Not their name, not their outlook on life, and definitely not their music. They revel in deviltry and filth. And even though they don’t know you, they’d probably be happy to read your obituary, as long as the cause were listed as alcohol poisoning.

Listening to the music won’t make you feel clean either. More likely, it will make you feel violated. But goddamn, it sure is a hell of a lot of vicious, desecrating fun. Take “Skin Canvas” as an example.

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