Jul 242014

The people at A389 Recordings may have temporarily lost their minds, but their lost sanity is our gain. First, at the A389 webstore all orders are 25 percent off this week with the following code: A3892014MIXTAPE. Second, all downloads at the label’s Bandcamp site are set to free/pay what you want for the week as well.

And third, A389 has released a free mixtape that includes more than 50 tracks by a host of excellent bands — and many of the tracks are brand new.

I don’t recognize the names of all 50+ bands, but I sure do recognize a lot of them, and it’s a great list — the kind of list that makes you eager to explore the names of the bands you don’t know.

May 202014

In our continuing efforts to make you aware of high-quality free metal, we bring you new free shit from the dependable Hells Headbangers label. Today, the label made available on Bandcamp a free digital compilation of music from 21 bands, including brand new and upcoming songs from these groups:

Midnight
Children of Technology
Gouge
Barbatos
Nunslaughter
Cemetery Lust
Sacrocurse

Fans of the underground arts will also recognize many other names on this vile offering (the track list is at the end of this post), including bands as diverse as High Spirits and Inquisition.

May 182014

For those who may be unaware of Misantrof ANTIRecords, it’s a nonprofit organization headed by Daniel Vrangsinn of Carpathian Forest that among other things distributes music for free download, allowing the artists to keep all rights to their own music. Misantrof’s latest release is Oriental Flavors, a free compilation of songs by 19 metal bands from countries across the Middle East. The comp was assembled in collaboration with Middle Eastern Mayhem and Mohareb Records, and it’s also available from Misantrof as a limited 2-CD set for fans who prefer a physical format.

Making extreme metal and getting it noticed is a challenge almost everywhere, but as Vrangsinn observes in his introduction to Oriental Flavors, doing that in certain parts of the Islamic world can be downright dangerous to the welfare of the bands. But as this comp demonstrates, metal lives and grows in even the most inhospitable places.

The music is described by Misantrof as a mix of black metal, death metal, thrash, “and other kinds of lovely extreme metal from extreme people, for extreme people!” Of the bands on the comp, I was previously familiar with only one — Tunisia’s Barzakh, who were included in a series on North African metal that I wrote almost four years ago (here).

I only discovered the existence of Oriental Flavors this morning (it has just been released), so I haven’t had a chance to listen to all of it yet. But I have taken the liberty of uploading three tracks to our Soundcloud so I can stream them for you here, as a sample.

Apr 302014

Your humble editor has fallen down on the job. Due to a variety of personal and work-related interferences I haven’t been as diligent as I would like in spotting and writing about new developments in the wide world of metal over the last couple of days. With luck, I can do some catching up today, beginning with this collection of items that I thought were worth your attention.

INCANTATION

How many times have you seen Incantation’s name as a reference point for releases by new death metal bands? Dozens of times? Hundreds? I know I’ve used them many times myself in attempting to capture a certain kind of sound in writing about the music of more recent groups. And now we have new music from Incantation themselves.

But before getting to that, is that album artwork cool or what? It’s by the phenomenally talented Eliran Kantor, whose work we’ve praised frequently at this site. We’ve obtained a hi-res version of the cover, which you can see in all its glory by clicking on the image above.

The album’s name is Dirges of Elysium and it’s due for North American release by Listenable Records on June 24. The song that premiered yesterday is named “Carrion Prophecy”, and man, it’s a monster — monstrous pounding riffs that ooze radioactive sickness, monstrous abyssal growls, and an atmosphere of monstrous menace. When the song begins to gallop and race, heads will bang hard, and when it descends again into a pit of decay and depravity, you may feel tumors begin to thicken your organs.

Apr 092014

MISCELLANY is probably the most irregular of the regular features at NCS.  Though I’ve found that it’s a good way to discover new music, I often let weeks or months go by before revisiting the series. But this week there will be an unusual burst of activity. I have the 65th edition today, and both the 66th and 67th editions are in various stages of completion. With luck, I will post them over the next two days — three in a row!

Here’s how the game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups whose names I’ve never heard before either. The selection process is random; for these three editions of the series, I tended to focus on bands who’ve written us recently. I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad). For this listening session I investigated the music of three bands.

NIHILO

Nihilo are from Switzerland. They’ve released three EPs, as well as a previous full-length (2010′s Concordia Perpetua). In March of this year they released a new album entitled Dum Spiro Spero, which features cover art by Paolo “Madman” Girardi, and was a promising sign, all by itself.

Mar 212014

(In this post DGR takes us on a globe-hopping tour of recent releases that fall within the varied realms of doom.)

It’s hard to believe that it is already March. Of course, I say that every year because February feels like a bullshit month with its short amount of days, but still. Sacramento has decided to park its hot ass right at about eighty degrees for the next week or so, yet I still find myself feeling bleak and down. Maybe it was the promise of grey skies and rain, but I found myself surfing the web seeking out doom in all its various forms and today I’d like to share with you some of the discoveries that I made.

A couple were found by just wading through circles on Facebook and by the random band button on Metal-Archives, which is always an interesting experiment in its own right. You could probably do a whole feature on that some day with the right amount of time and investment. As I wrote this over the past week or so, I kept adding more and more bands that I was coming across and wanted to talk about, so I apologize if this gets a little too verbose, but I figured it might be worth it to concentrate a bunch of smaller reviews into a post than spread out a bunch of giant tomes on a group of really good EPs.

Plus, maybe we’ll expose people to multiple groups in this one post. On top of that, I’m going to add in a little mini-review of an artist we’ve covered before in one of our ‘free music’ updates — as they released a new album earlier this year and it’ll be a good change of pace from all the roiling waters and restless seas you’re about to get dragged through. If anything, the tempo change will probably be appreciated.

Mar 082014

I’m still away from home doing job-related stuff that has left almost no time for searching out new metal, listening to music, or blogging.  I will be going home tomorrow, with hopes that NCS life will return to normal after that. I’m about to dive back into another day-long bout of job-related stuff, but before doing that I thought I’d throw a few things your way.

CVLT NATION FREEBIES

CVLT Nation has recently unveiled a series of free compilations that are well worth exploring. The first, which was released two days ago, is a compilation of Black Sabbath covers: Seven different bands perform the eight songs on Sabbath’s 1971 classic, Master of Reality. The bands are:

Primitive Man
Rorcal
Cult of Occult
Bongripper
Graves At Sea
Albino Python
Usnea

Feb 252014

Well, for reasons previously explained, I thought we would only manage two posts for today, but this news item is quick to describe and easy to recommend: The French label Kaotoxin Records has just released a “pay what you want” sampler of music from the label’s artists entitled Weapons of Self-Dectruction, Volume 2 – and it’s a hell of a compilation. Check out the line-up of the 17 bands whose songs appear on the sampler:

Anal Penetration
Antropofago
C.O.A.G.
Colosus
Darkall Slaves
Department of Correction
Eye Of Solitude

Jan 162014

I know for many of you Discharge require no introduction. For others, allow me to provide this synopsis from The Font of All Human Knowledge:

Discharge are a British hardcore punk band formed in 1977 by Terence “Tezz” Roberts and Royston “Rainy” Wainwright. They are often considered among one of the very first bands to play hardcore punk…. The band’s 1982 debut album, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, went to number two on the UK Indie Charts and number 40 in the UK Album Chart…. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing paved the way for thrash metal, black metal, crust punk, grindcore and various extreme metal subgenres. The musical genre of d-beat is named after Discharge and their distinctive drumbeat…. Many bands that followed Discharge’s stylistic approach, primarily in Sweden, began using the “Dis-” prefix and “-charge” suffix in their names….

With that preamble, here’s the point of this post: CVLT Nation has assembled a free compilation of the Discharge songs on Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, as covered by a hellacious (and diverse) line-up of bands that include the likes of Unru, Plagues, Absvrdist, Dephosphorus, and Occultist, just to name the ones I already know about and like. The full line-up is after the jump, along with a link where you can find out how to download this beast.

Dec 252013

I have my own opinions about Christmas and the whole holiday season surrounding it, the kind of opinions that used to provoke an annual rant on this site (such as this one, which still receives new visits at this time of year despite its age). But there will be no rant this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t changed my opinions. However, it has dawned on me that spewing vitriol about the holiday is somewhat inconsistent with what we stand for at NCS. Life delivers more than enough frustration, aggravation, hurt feelings, pain, sorrow, loneliness, parking tickets, and bad food without us adding to the negativity. I like to think that what we’re about at NCS is delivering things that make life better, e.g., some daily metal and generally good-humored prose.

Despite its shortcomings, Christmas does make life better for some people (though certainly not all). Some people hold the holiday as a sacred occasion. It gives some people an occasion to enjoy the company of family and friends. For others, it evokes warm memories of years gone by. Some simply enjoy the pretty lights and the chance to stuff themselves with yummy eats. In general, I think it’s wrong to put down activities that make people happy, as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others in the process, even if such activities don’t do much for me. So, this year I won’t be complaining about Christmas.

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