Mar 152018


For want of a better term, some of us refer to certain kinds of songs as a “journey”, because the music changes as it proceeds. Abrupt and unconnected changes wouldn’t normally bring that term to mind. There must instead be some sense of purposeful movement from a starting place to another, different place — a feeling of evolution and progression, even if the movement might ultimately become a circle that ends where it begins.

That notion of a musical journey comes to mind in listening to the new song by the Australian band Cancer that we’re bringing you today through the medium of a music video. The song, “Modus Operandi“, is the first single from the band’s forthcoming debut album, Into the Heartless Silence, which is expected for release in June via Throats Productions. The album builds upon the musical explorations revealed through the band’s 2016 debut EP, Terminal.

Mar 152018


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Judas Priest.)

I have now given this album time to sit with me. My first concern about a Priest album at this point in their career is how is Rob’s voice going to hold up? We might be able to live without KK, but as the Ripper Owens years proved, Rob’s  voice is one of the defining traits of this band.

The first two songs are pretty much dialed-in versions of their former arena-rock classics. Think closer to Defenders of the Faith, which found  the band trying to replicate the massive success of Screaming For Vengeance. While the ghost of Priest past might haunt some of the songs, it is without a doubt a better album than Redeemer of Souls. It has the up-tempo aggression that influenced the thrash bands that would follow. “Lightning Strike” has more of a gallop than the opener. The over-dubbed vocal layers that show Halford’s upper range are pretty convincing.

Mar 152018

Anthony Pilon: “The Fevered Sycophant”


(Andy Synn goes on a rant.)


I don’t know about you guys, but the amount of fawning hype I’ve seen being bandied about with regards to certain bands recently has begun to make me feel a little green around the gills.

It’s not so much the fault of the bands in question either – both Rivers of Nihil and Conjurer (to name but two) have produced new albums recently which, while overhyped to a frankly ridiculous degree in places, richly deserve the praise they’ve been getting – nor do I blame them for capitalising on it, but the general lack of any sense of professional ethics or detachment and the perceived unwillingness (or inability) to even try to be even semi-objective on the part of many of those who call themselves “reviewers” has really started to get my goat.

And I realise I may be putting the cat amongst the pigeons here, nor do I contend that NCS is entirely innocent in this regard either, but the fact of the matter is that a large number, maybe even the majority, of the reviews that I encounter these days tend to read more like unpaid press releases than an attempt at any sort of critical analysis/assessment.

Mar 142018


The music of “It Has Become” is deeply unnerving, coiled with a tightening tension that springs open into eruptions of unhinged violence. It provokes the kind of adrenaline surge of a flight-or-fight response, but maybe more likely to send you running as fast as you can. And now the song has been matched with a video that’s equally unsettling and electrifying.

The song is one of many excellent tracks on The Path Towards…, the second album by the Bay Area death metal band Oblivion, which was released last November by Unique Leader Records. And for those of you who might not have discovered it so far, this new video that we’re bringing you today provides a vivid reminder that this is an album you should get into without further delay.

Mar 142018


With a 2012 demo (Mosaic of the Distant Dominion) and a 2015 EP (The Three Appearances) behind them, the Italian doom/death band Assumption are returning with a strikingly good debut album. Entitled Absconditus, it will be jointly released on April 20 by Everlasting Spew Records and Sentient Ruin Laboratories. And today we have a couple of firsts for you — the first disclosure of the album’s memorable cover art by the talented Lauri Laaksonen (Convocation, Desolate Shrine), and the first song premiere from the album, which happens to be the expoansive opening track, “Liberation“.

At more than 15 minutes in length, it is indeed a sprawling saga, but one that draws the listener ever deeper into its powerful spell as the minutes pass. Losing interest isn’t a risk here… but losing your bearings on what passes for the reality around you definitely is.

Mar 142018


We’ve already raved like lunatics about the first song released from the new album by Chicago’s Cardiac Arrest, and now we have an excuse to rave some more because we’re premiering another track from their monstrous new album, A Parallel Dimension of Despair. The album will be released on April 23rd by the Spanish label Memento Mori.

This is Cardiac Arrest’s sixth album in a career that began in the late ’90s, with original guitarist and vocalist Adam Scott still at the helm. The years have passed, other members have come and gone, but it’s obvious from this new album that the spirit of morbid, rotting death is alive and well in the black souls of the four slaughterers who are now continuing to carry the torch forward.

Mar 142018


We were told that the Canadian band Witchtrip includes all the members of Winnipeg’s Occvlt Hand other than the vocalist — so, basically the same band with a different singer. That was reason enough to check out the two tracks on Witchtrip’s debut EP, Cosmic Cauldron, because we were big fans of Occvlt Hand’s 2017 album, Not Everyone Deserves A Happy Ending. We gleefully premiered a track from that album, and put that same track on our list of 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

Now, one would expect that Witchtrip’s music would be different from Occvlt Hand’s, despite the significant overlap in members. Otherwise, why choose a different name? And in fact, the music is quite different. And perhaps it should also come as no surprise that the music is nevertheless really, really good — as you’re about to discover for yourselves through our premiere of Cosmic Cauldron in advance of its release on March 16th by Possessed Records.

Mar 132018


I returned to Seattle last night after more than a week in Iceland, which was glorious in all sorts of ways, from the music at Oration Fest to our day trip on Sunday around the Golden Circle (which included stops at the Þingvellir National Park, the geothermal area in Haukadalur, the Kerið volcanic lake, and the stunning Gullfoss waterfall pictured above).

I’m trying to get back into the usual swing of things at NCS, but it hasn’t been an easy transition. I catch myself just staring into space and day-dreaming about the trip. The fact that metal didn’t obligingly stand still while I was gone makes the transition even tougher. I think it’s hardly even worth trying to catch up with all the new music that emerged since I left Seattle roughly 10 days ago. I decided it would be less stressful just to focus on some of the music I discovered this morning.


I’m leading off this collection with the song I heard most recently this morning out of all of these — a new track by the Mexican death metal band Zombiefication, who have been favorites of ours around here for many years. The new track is “Blood Falls“, and it comes from a new album entitled Below the Grief, which will be released later this year by Doomentia.

Mar 132018


The rage and disgust displayed in the trappings of the new De Profundis album are palpable, from the album title to the song titles, from the cover art by Alex Tartsus to the band’s own explanation of the album’s conceptual focus: “The Blinding Light of Faith is an album about three of the most merciless and bloodthirsty institutions in human history. There is no nation or people on this earth who haven’t suffered under the savagery of at least one of the Abrahamic religions and to reflect that suffering we have made the heaviest, most aggressive record of our career.”

That sense of condemnation and anger are right up-front in the title of the song we’re bringing you today: “Bastard Sons of Abraham“. And it is indeed a heavy, aggressive song. But it’s not a brooding or bitter piece of music. To the contrary, it’s so supercharged with speed and sparkling vitality that it’s likely to inspire a kind of fierce, fist-pumping joy in those who hear it. It’s also the kind of song that will make guitar nerds slobber uncontrollably.

Mar 132018


(A guest writer, who we shall call Conchobar, and who has been a source of excellent recommendations to our hapless editor, returns to NCS with this review of the new album by the Nova Scotian band Ulvesang, which will be released on March 16th).


If metal has a sense memory, an auditory genealogy that really hearkens and calls upon us almost somatically, subconsciously, its True Name surely falls under the lunar auspice of “folk”.

Despite pretensions of elitism and subgenre supremacism that contaminate a lot of the current would-be politico-rhetoric in metal, this art form, both in composition and inspiration, has always been one built from solidarity in solipsism: we are people, alone, together. These roots are almost proto-human: more than us, beyond us, before us.

That essence, the axiomatic foundation of what draws us in to listen to music by blazing hearths or over beers, has been tapped eloquently and elegantly on Ulvesang’s sophomore album, The Hunt.

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