May 222017


Originally formed circa 1972, the California heavy metal band Cirith Ungol released four albums between 1980 and 1991 before disbanding, and in the process amassed an ardent world-wide fan following. The band reunited in 2015 for the Frost and Fire festival, and are continuing to forge ahead with festival appearances — and writing new music as well.

Greek writer John Sleepwalker of returns to NCS with this interview of Tim Baker, Greg Lindstrom, Jimmy Barraza, and Rob Garven leading up to Cirith Ungol’s performance at the Up the Hammers Festival in Athens, Greece, on May 27, 2017.


First of all, what made a Cirith Ungol reunion possible after all these years? I think there was quite some interest from Greece too, for quite some time, but the band was very negative until now…

Rob: Jarvis Leatherby from Night Demon lives in our home town and he told me that when they traveled to Europe on tour they would see many fans wearing “Cirith Ungol” shirts, and patches, and many there knew of our band and music. I had sworn a blood oath that I would never play drums again, so I had always told him very politely that I was not interested. Everything changed at the “Frost & Fire” festival in 2015. Oliver Weinsheimer from the very famous and exclusive “Keep It True Festival” had come over for the show. Jarvis and Oliver asked to speak to the band alone.

May 192017


L.A.-based Dylan Furr began making music as a solo artist, releasing two instrumental albums under his own name. For the third album (Juxtaposition) he added his own vocals, but then re-recorded it with new vocalist Elijah Arnold. Because the band is now no longer a completely solo effort, the project has taken on a new name — DFB.

On July 7, Famined Records will release a new DFB EP named Perspective, and what we have for you today is a lyric video for a song from Perspective named “Domino“.

May 172017


Stardust is the debut album of the Romanian band The Thirteenth Sun, released last week by Aural Music. In multiple ways, the album represents a journey of exploration, using an escape from the confines of earth and a venturing into the limitless night sky as a metaphor for an exploration of one’s self, free of the constraints of routine and any settled expectations about the possibilities of what may lie ahead. The name the band chose for themselves and the title they picked for the album manifest the concept, as does the striking and memorable cover art by Costin Chioreanu. But of course the concept is reflected most strongly in the music itself.

The music on Stardust is not all the same, although there are unifying ingredients that pass through the album. The album’s own journey begins with a track named “Universus“, and it’s the subject of an animated video created by Costin Chioreanu that provides a fascinating visual companion to the music, and we’re delighted to premiere it below.

May 092017


Imperator was the third album of Norway’s Dødsengel, but it is the album that will set all expectations for their new record Interequinox. Those who were undaunted by its length and who immersed themselves fully in the wonders of those two and a half hours of music discovered a band who were driven by belief, who honored traditions, but who were also rebels — nonconformists in their art who carved their own magical path in an often rigidly defined domain.

Imperator may unavoidably set the expectations for Interequinox, but if you made the twisting journey through Imperator, then it should come as no surprise to learn that Dødsengel’s sensual left-hand path has led them to altered states of musical expression, though crafted with as much care and spiritual devotion as the esoteric opus that preceded it.

May 032017


I’ve done this before, I’m sure I’ll do it again. Sometimes I listen to new music by bands whose music I haven’t heard before, and by complete coincidence it lines up. That’s what happened here — though this particular listening experience also included a revisiting of an EP I’d heard before.

By chance, I listened to all the music in this post back-to-back a couple of nights ago, and it was not only very good from beginning to end, it also seemed to flow in an interesting and connected way despite the dramatic differences in the music of each band. The wind blew with a chill… and that’s the best way I’ve come up with to capture the sensation of the experience.


I love a lot of things about this first song, and the video that accompanies it, but the bagpipess are a huge reason. And now that I’ve mentioned that instrument, I’m sure that some of you will want to run from the song like wolves are on your heels, which I suppose is one reason why some cultures have used them as war instruments. Everyone else, please read on… and listen.

Apr 302017


The three songs I’ve collected here are off our usual beaten paths. I would consider all of them metal, but they are all twists on convention, and for that matter they’re all kind of twisted in other ways. Obviously, I found myself liking all three quite a lot or they wouldn’t be here. And because I thought they would make an interesting feature grouped in this way, I’ve separated them from a bunch of other new songs that are included in Part 3 of the SEEN AND HEARD post that’s coming later today.


There’s a big article at The Font of All Human Knowledge devoted to Detroit-based Thoughts of Ionesco. As I write this, however, it’s missing one important fact, though the hive mind responsible for The Font’s content will undoubtedly update it soon. The missing fact is that Thoughts of Ionesco have reunited and will be releasing their first new material since 2001. In fact, they’ve already released something new.

Apr 292017


I suppose you could sum up the sound of Dead Season’s new album, Prophecies, as melodic death metal with abundant prog metal flourishes and a mix of harsh growls and soaring clean vocals with a power-metal vibrato. I prefer to think of the last scene in Thelma and Louise, when Louise punches the accelerator on that ’66 Thunderbird and they go rocketing off the cliff in a cloud of dust… but only if you could then imagine the car turning some acrobatic somersaults above that vast canyon and then zooming off into the clouds.

Along with some European sites, we’re helping to premiere three tracks from Prophecies today, three tracks out of the 12 that make up this hour-long album. And we’re also throwing in a video for a fourth track that debuted yesterday. All four of them make for a hell of an exhilarating ride.

Apr 242017


(Reverend B., a metal musician from Siberian Russia, introduces our premiere of the new Solitude Productions album by his compatriots in Evoke Thy Lords, whose previous works we’ve also enthusiastically covered at this site)

Evoke Thy Lords are a name, as one would say, widely recognized in narrow circles. They are one of the oldest doom bands in Siberia, and they started off as followers of the doom/death wave that was still strong in Russia in those days, but with a twist — they used a flute very prominently in the music. Since those days, one could argue only that flute remained, as they had a very drastic change of sound they’ve been following for several releases now — stoner doom with a focus on the psychedelic aspects of the genre. First Drunken Tales, then Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!, and today, the plainly-named Lifestories reaches us.

Apr 232017


I whittled the great limb of blackened music I found over the last week down to a spear, but it was a spear with 10 barbs. I organized the music alphabetically by band name and decided, as I stared at what I’d done, that music from 10 bands was too much for a single post. So, I’ve divided it into two parts, while maintaining the alphabetical ordering. I haven’t finished writing Part 2, so not sure if it will come later today or tomorrow (but probably tomorrow).


Of Forsworn Vows is the debut EP of a two-man project named ÆRA (the creator of all the music seems to be from Chile, the vocalist from Missouri). It was digitally released in February, but it’s now available on tape through Desolated Woods Records, and it appears that Aeternitas Tenebrarum plans to make a CD release (the Bandcamp download has been updated so that the tracks now consist of the CD masters).

Apr 202017


(Greek writer John Sleepwalker of returns to NCS with this interview of Chelsea Wolfe conducted in advance of her appearance in Athens on April 29 at the Smoke the Fuzz Fest with Amenra, Oathbreaker, and Skull & Dawn. )


Your style has reached out to audiences unfamiliar with experimental sounds, thanks to its remarkable accessibility. Do you believe diversity can be an obstacle when aiming at new horizons, and how much do you see your sound further developing? When should we expect a new full-length release?

CW: I think sometimes being difficult to define can hold an artist back from certain opportunities, but I’ve been really lucky to still have support from a lot of really great people despite being sort of in-between genres. When I’m writing a new album I just follow my instincts and pay attention to what my bandmates and I are writing naturally, and then we hone in on that and refine it. We actually just finished recording a new album and if all goes well, it’ll be out later this year.

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