Jul 242017


The 16th edition of Maryland Deathfest will take place in Baltimore on May 24-27, 2018. In June, MDFannounced the first round of confirmed bands for the festival. A few hours ago the organizers announced a further list of 19 bands to join that first group of 25:

Cripple Bastards (Italy)
Defeated Sanity (Germany)
Gateway to Hell

Jul 222017


I started working on this post a month ago, but kept shoving it off to the side due to more urgent commitments. As time passed, I found a few more tracks to include. But still, I haven’t had time to write what I intended to write about each of the releases included here, and I’m not sure when that time would come. So I’ve decided to let the music mainly speak for itself, and I’ve picked out only one song from each release for this playlist, though in most cases you’ll be able to hear the full release if you’re interested.

All of the releases in this compilation are crushers — doom crushers, to be precise. But they’re not all cut from the same cloth. Some are apocalyptic, some are narcotic, some have harsh vocals, some have clean singing, and one has no singing at all. So get ready to travel in the low and slow lane, and if you have an eggshell skull it might be better to strap on a protective helmet.


The first track I’ve chosen comes from the second album by Morbid Evils, a Finnish band that includes vocalist Keijo Niinimaa of Rotten Sound. Entitled Deceases, it examines the subject of death from various perspectives, blending elements of sludge, doom, drone, and black metal. The album will be released on August 25 by Svart Records.

Jul 202017


As forecast in yesterday’s SEEN AND HEARD post, I’ve accumulated enough new things of interest since the end of last week to justify posting a round-up today and tomorrow as well as yesterday. Because of the delays occasioned by goofing off last weekend, some of the items I’ve gathered together aren’t as “hot off the presses” as I’d prefer, but they still may be new discoveries for some of you, especially as I dig a bit deeper into the underground for Friday’s post.


Dyscarnate was the subject of a SYNN REPORT back in 2016 in which my colleague Andy reviewed their discography as it then existed, culminating in 2012’s And So It Came To Pass. But nothing has come to pass from these death metal titans since that stunning record, until word began to spread last spring that the band were in the studio recording a new full-length (and that news landed them on a list of Andy’s most anticipated releases for this year). Now, more details have surfaced about this new Dyscarnate effort.

Jul 192017


I had a great weekend, thanks for asking. I devoted it to visits by out-of-town family and a two-day picnic, and NCS took a distant back seat, which is why there was no weekend round-up and no SHADES OF BLACK column. We avoided going dark only though the valiant efforts of Andy Synn and DGR.

Predictably, I now have a big list of new songs and videos to share around, too many for one post. We’ll start with offerings from five bands, and I’ll have at least one and probably two more round-ups this week. Might get one more done today, but maybe not. A meteor strike could decimate my home, the chime on a dryer could alert me that it’s time to get the clothes out, I might feel like chasing a passing car, the lorises might commence war games again. The crystal ball is cloudy.


The new Keres EP (released July 12th) is an exception to the (admittedly porous) rule in our site’s title, but it’s a slam-dunk exception: Justin Helvete’s voice is a truly remarkable instrument. And everything else about these three songs is also remarkable.

Jul 142017


Well, that didn’t last long. Two days ago, when I posted the last SEEN AND HEARD round-up, I announced a plan to post other shorter-than-usual compilations of new music both yesterday and today. Having failed to post one yesterday, that means I’m now back to serving up a more typical groaning smorgasbord of new stuff, enough to challenge the most gluttonous of listeners. Et voila, music from nine bands!


Poison Blood is a collaborative effort by Jenks Miller (Horseback) and vocalist Neill Jameson (Krieg), the latter of whom is a valued contributor to NCS. We’re told that these two came together as fans of each other’s work and a mutual appreciation for Beherit’s classic Drawing Down the Moon LP and the experimental deathrock of cult UK act Rudimentary Peni“.

I confess that I haven’t yet listened to all of their self-titled debut EP — which will be released on August 11 by Relapse — but I’m really enjoying the two tracks that have surfaced so far in the run-up to the release date. The first of those is “The Scourge and the Gestalt” and the second is “Deformed Lights“.

Jul 132017


(Our friend and long-time NCS supporter Booker from New Zealand prepared this guest post about an unusual new band from NZ named Alien Weaponry.)

New Zealand is a strange place; trust me, I live here. It refers to itself as “God’s own” country, and sees itself as an idyllic little egalitarian (supposedly) land at the edge of the earth, filled with natural beauty, and sparsely populated with easy-going sports-loving people. And yet, behind this idyllic facade it hides a dark past – and hides it well. But as readers of this site know, the hidden, darker side of human nature just happens to be something of a favourite theme for metal. All too often society seems to act like the evil queen in Snow White, only wanting the mirror it holds up to shower it with platitudes and reflect the good. But metal holds up the mirror which flatters not.

Not surprisingly, then, eventually a New Zealand metal band would come along which would dare speak openly of the country’s past. But what would be a surprise, is that it would take a band whose members are still in high school to do it – and in what seems to be a world first, do it with lyrics in Te Reo, the language of the indigenous Māori people. Welcome to Alien Weaponry.

Jul 132017


The Ohio bands From the Hellmouth (Cleveland) and Mutilatred (Toledo) are two slaughtering death metal groups whose music we’ve praised before at our putrid site. In 2015 we reviewed and premiered a full stream of From the Hellmouth’s self-titled debut EP, and that same year we reviewed and premiered Mutilatred’s debut album, Dissecting Your Future. And now both bands have re-surfaced with a new split release that will be detonated on limited-edition tape (and digitally through Bandcamp) by Redefining Darkness Records and Seeing Red Records on August 4.

To help spread the word, we’re hosting the premiere of a video teaser. And although it’s only one minute long, it’s a very delectable taste of the obliterating monstrosities that both bands dish out.

Jul 092017

Amenra photo by Stephan Vanfleteren


As I mentioned in yesterday’s Overflowing Streams round-up, my plan was to pull together another compilation of recent recommended music under the SEEN AND HEARD header. By the time I finished, I realized that almost everything I had picked came in the form of a video, and the one exception was close enough that I decided to change the heading for this post.

I arranged these videos to achieve a kind of flow, or an arc — not seamless, to be sure, but in a way that made sense to me. Things begin in very dark fashion with the first three videos, then we have some death metal necrophilia as a transition (necrophilia is always a good transition, right?), and then a trio of high-energy tracks that have ethnic musical elements mixed in with otherwise diverse sounds, and then we go out in an explosive bonfire. And with that, let’s begin…

(P.S. My usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK feature will be posted on Monday.)


The Belgian band Amenra are returning with a new mass, five years after the last one. Mass VI will be released on October 20 by Neurot Recordings, a date that seems very far away, but at least it’s on the calendar now. The video below isn’t a full song (sadly), but it’s a very effective teaser for the new album nonetheless.

Jul 082017


I’ve been recovering from a concussion I suffered last Sunday night. Based on the experience so far, my advice to you is this: Never get a fucking concussion. Between the persistent headache, the nausea, and the general feeling of debilitation that forces me to nap in a dark, quiet room as often as I can, it has put a real dent in my usual scouring of the interhole and our e-mails for new music to recommend. Just in case you were wondering why there were no round-ups this week.

I’ve been feeling (slightly) better over the last 48 hours, so I’ve been looking at what I missed — and damn, did I miss a lot. I’ve picked a trio of things to stream and comment on specifically, and a lot more things to just point you to. I’ve also included two new worthy label samplers. I also plan to write a SEEN AND HEARD post to cover a handful of other new songs and videos.


I haven’t heard the new Paradise Lost album, Medusa, but a couple of trusted friends who write for print zines have heard it, and they have a high opinion of it. The album comes out September 1st on Nuclear Blast. Yesterday brought the debut of the first single from the album, “The Longest Winter“.

Jul 012017


Happy Saturday to one and all. My original plan was to take the day off, but I began to experience that needling feeling of urgency, the one I can’t ever completely suppress — sort of like that feeling you get in your bladder soon after drinking a gallon of beer, except in my case it’s the urge to post new music at NCS.

But it’s late in the day or well into evening for most people who might read this, and later than usual for a Saturday post here in the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to hurry this along by just posting two new songs. I decided to pick music by bands I didn’t recall hearing before, and I decided to make the selection a random one, like a roll of the dice. And so these are the first two good songs I heard this morning by bands I hadn’t heard before.


When I saw this band’s “verb-the-noun” name I guessed they would be a deathcore or metalcore group and nearly skipped past them. I’m glad I didn’t.

When I saw Dan Seagrave’s album art, I realized my guess based on their name was most likely wrong, and the music definitely proved me wrong.

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