Sep 162015

Otargos-Xeno Kaos


This is the somewhat delayed second part of a round-up I began this morning. The earlier edition featured new videos and songs from some of metal’s bigger names. The music in this one comes from more underground sources, and not all of it is brand new, though all of it is newly discovered by your humble editor. And of course all of it is recommended for your ears.


In his review, Andy Synn summed up the last album by the French band Otargos (2013’s Apex Terror) as music “both utterly devastating and virulently infectious, a truly unique and lethal strain of post-human black metal” — “a visceral, gut-wrenching experience, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality”.

Otargos have now completed a new album named Xeno Kaos that will be released by Kaotoxin Records on November 13. The label recently unveiled a song from the album named “Dominatrix”, and it’s a potent concoction of reptilian melodic grace and unrestrained ferocity. I’m still trying to close my mouth after hearing the drumwork on this song, and I also need to look for a couple of teeth that got knocked out. Probably need a tourniquet too.

Aug 312015

Hordes of Belial-The 6th Verse


My UK-based comrade Andy Synn alerted me to an event and an accompanying music compilation that he and I thought would be worth your attention. First, the event:

On September 26, 2015, a festival called Hordes of Belial will have its 6th Verse — its sixth installment since the festival began in 2010. It will take place at Beat Generator Live in Dundee, Scotland, and it will feature 15 extreme metal and hard rock bands on two stages.

To help promote the festival, its organizers (Critical Events) have released a “pay what you want” digital compilation featuring music by 13 of the bands set to appear this year. The music spans a range that includes thrash, death/sludge, prog, brutal death, doom, and other genres as well.

Jul 302015

Les Acteurs de L'Ombre Productions-Sampler MMXV


I think free (and nearly free) music compilations by metal labels are a great idea. Of course, I say that as a fan and not someone who has ever attempted to operate a label, so I don’t know if they actually help sell music. But from my perspective it sure seems like a good way to expose people to bands they’ve never heard before, especially when the comps include some bands you have heard before and like — at least in my case, that tends to function as a good enticement for listening to the new names.

Over the weekend I discovered three new compilations by small metal labels that I thought would be worth exploring for that very reason, i.e., they include music from some very good bands I already know about, but are dominated by names that are new to me. I haven’t listened to everything in every comp yet, but what I’ve heard so far makes these downloads worthwhile.

I’m also including another excellent compilation from CVLT Nation (also free) that has been out for a couple of weeks, but I only tumbled to it recently.

Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions: Sampler MMXV

This French label recently released a new compilation on Bandcamp. The new compilation includes 11 tracks, and among those are songs by Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Moonreich, Maieutiste, and Mare Cognitum, all of whom are bands whose music I’ve enjoyed. The remaining tracks are by Déluge, Suhnopfer, Darkenhold, Aezh Morvarc’h, In Cauda Venenum, Lifestream, and Profundae Libidines.

Jun 112015

The Dark Descent label has recently released a 10-track sampler of music from the label’s artists that’s available on Bandcamp now (“name your price”). It includes music from recent releases plus previews of unreleased material from Adversarial, Blood Incantation, and Thevetat.

Those three previously unreleased tracks are all great, and for me proved to be welcome introductions to the fascinating, brain-scrambling death metal exuberance of Blood Incantation (their track will appear on an EP named Interdimensional Extinction) and the blood-thirsty death metal explosiveness of Thevetat (their track will appear on a forthcoming 7″ named Desecration of Divine Presence).

I was especially hot to hear the new Adversarial track, “Eonik Spiritual Warfare”, which will appear on their forthcoming second full-length, Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism, scheduled for release in August with album artwork that has again been created by the awesome Danille Gauvin.  The band’s set at Maryland Deathfest this year was one of the event’s high points for me, and I’ve been a big fan of everything they’e recorded to date.

Mar 182015


(TheMadIsraeli provides the following brief introduction to our premiere of the new EP by Tennessee’s Animality — with a link to a free download of the music.)

We posted a premiere of a song by these Tennessean tech death/deathcore bruisers a bit back, and I’m proud to present not only a stream, but a free download of their newest EP. It’s a self-titled one, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s three songs of purely merciless bludgeoning, and Animality are particularly gifted at administering this kind of punishment. I hope you enjoy.

Mar 032015

This is another one of those new-music round-ups that I would normally label “Seen and Heard”, but it happens that everything I’ve collected here is so heavy and dark that “Shades of Black” seemed more fitting, even though the music isn’t exclusively black metal. Perhaps needless to say, I’m really high on everything collected here.


Yesterday, Maryland-based Unholy Anarchy Records released a stunning digital compilation of songs via Bandcamp. It’s a free download, but I’m sure that throwing a few bucks their way would be very much appreciated — and this thing is so damned good that a contribution would also be well-deserved.

Feb 172015


I pride myself on having a breadth of knowledge that is very wide and very shallow. Sure, I could burrow deeply into particular subjects, and then be able to talk about 2 or 3 things in depth. You know people like that, don’t you? They bore the shit out of you, am I right? Broad and shallow, that’s the way to go (except when it comes to metal, about which I of course have near-encyclopedic knowledge).

For example, I know that statisticians have ways of reaching conclusions about large populations of items or people based on a small sampling of data. They have mathematical formulas for gauging the reliability of the conclusions based on their sample size. And that’s all I know about that. If I knew more, I’d probably bore the shit out of you.

I applied a sampling technique to the two compilations that are the subject of this post, because I didn’t have time to listen to all the songs. I’ve concluded that both comps are hot shit. I have no idea whether the conclusions I reached are valid. Fortunately, you can listen to all the songs before deciding whether to spend your hard-drive space on them — and that’s all you’ll have to spend, because they don’t cost money (unless you want to throw some cash at them out of the goodness of your coal-black hearts).

Jan 222015


Today’s e-mails brought news of a just-released digital sampler of music by the reliable Dark Descent label that’s available on Bandcamp for “name your own price” — and it includes a killer line-up of bands on the Dark Descent roster and songs from brand new or forthcoming albums. So, when I label this post “free shit”, I certainly don’t mean to discourage financial contributions toward this label’s praise-worthy work.

After the jump you can stream the entire sampler and find a link to the Bandcamp page where you can acquire this gem for yourself. But first, here’s the line-up of bands, most of whom we’ve previously lauded here at NCS:

Jan 032015


Baltimore-based A389 Recordings is hosting a music festival on January 15-17, 2015, to commemorate its 11th anniversary. The show will take place at three Baltimore venues (Sidebar Tavern, CCAS, and Metro Gallery) and will feature performances by 20 bands. The awesome poster for this year’s festival (above) was created by Human Furnace of Ringworm.

To help promote the festival and to salve the wounds of those who will be unable to attend, A389 has made available a free digital compilation called the A389 MMXI Anniversary Bash Soundtrack with songs from all the bands who will be performing at the festival. The soundtrack includes brand new tracks by Ilsa and Genocide Pact, as well as music from Noisem, Full of Hell, Magrudergrind, In Cold Blood, Weekend Nachos, and many more.

Dec 252014


I used to write an annual Christmas rant at this site. The first one I wrote, creatively entitled “FUCK CHRISTMAS”, still gets a few hundred new page views around this time every year despite the fact that it’s now more than four years old. I haven’t changed my mind about what I wrote four years ago, but I also don’t really have anything new to say. I guess I’ve also mellowed — somewhat — and now spend more time focusing on things that genuinely are worth celebrating during this season instead of things that turn my stomach. And so it will be today.

In an early display of marketing acumen (to be repeated in many other ways, both before and since), the Church created the festival of Christmas by co-opting and incorporating many of the traditions of various pagan celebrations that had occurred around the time of the winter solstice for many centuries before the birth of Christ. Celebrations of the birth of the Sun, for example, became celebrations of the birth of the Son. And in our time, of course, commerce has successfully co-opted the celebration of the Son, drowning it in an orgy of gift-giving.

But putting all that history to one side, we still have things worth celebrating today that have nothing to do with the traditional trappings and calculated origins of Christmas — time spent with family and friends, and of course, metal! And for me, it seems appropriate to celebrate with some excellent pagan metal, plus a compilation of Anti-Christmas music that costs nothing.

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