Feb 092016

Shadow Woods flyer


This has turned out to be an exciting day for U.S. festival announcements. In addition to the news that Panopticon will be one of the headliners at the Migration Fest on the west coast, the Shadow Woods Metal Festival also made some announcements about the second edition of their cool event, coming this fall on the other side of the country.

As was true last year, Shadow Woods will be an open-air camping metal party that will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland, the same location where the first edition of the fest was held last year.

Organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been announcing performers since January, and six more bands were named today. So far, 21 bands are confirmed to perform, and more are still yet to come. Here’s what it looks like as of today:

Feb 092016

Migration Fest-panopticon


In late January we very excitedly spread the word about an official announcement we’d been waiting on for months — that two of America’s most respected underground labels, Gilead Media and 20 Buck Spin, would be collaborating to present a metal festival on August 12-14, 2016, in Olympia, Washington: the first Migration Fest. And today we bring you more tremendously exciting news: The festival headliners will include the first-ever live performance of Panopticon.

Migration Fest’s official announcement follows, along with a statement by Panopticon’s Austin Lunn about his decision, at long last, to perform Panopticon’s music live, the people who will be on stage with him, and some other interesting news….

Also below, we’re including the festival’s announcement about when early-bird passes for the fest will go on sale .

Feb 082016

Amiensus art


As regular NCS readers know full well, we’ve been following and supporting Minnesota’s Amiensus for years, because they’ve been consistently delivering such fine music. Last year they released their second album Ascension (reviewed here), but they will have even more new music for us in 2016, and we’re giving you some tantalizing tastes of it below.

The band tell us that they have plans to release a new split in the first part of the year, then an EP in September, followed by another split in December — and in the player below you can check out excerpts from three of the new songs, with music that ranges from jolting, to majestic, to mystical.

Feb 052016

Beastwars 2016


This week’s flood of scintillating new metal hasn’t crested yet. The last 24 hours brought even more electrifying new songs. I’ve collected five of them here for your listening pleasure.


I’m afraid I’ve reached a slavish level of devotion to the music of New Zealand’s Beastwars. I couldn’t be happier that 2016 will bring us a new album. The new one is entitled The Death Of All Things, and it’s the last installment in the post-apocalyptic trilogy the band have been constructing through their music.

Feb 042016

Mantar-Ode To the Flame


Those who set their clocks by the appearance of our first morning posts are going to be late all day today, because we’re getting a late start on this Thursday. In fact, I’m still not finished with what I had planned for our first post. But to tide us over until I’m finished, I have something else of great interest to share:

The German band Mantar have completed a new album named Ode To the Flame that will be released by their new label Nuclear Blast on April 15. As you can see, they decided to go in a very simple direction with the cover art, especially by comparison with the eye-catching and indelibly memorable cover art for their debut album Death By Burning. They do have an explanation for that:

Jan 292016

Robb Flynn calls out Phil Anselmo


We don’t spend time writing about metal scandals, metal gossip, or other forms of salacious but largely time-wasting subject matter (aka click-bait). It’s not that I blame anyone for reading that stuff — I do it myself from time to time. It’s just not part of our mission.

But this video is powerful, no bullshit, from-the-heart stuff, and I thought it was worth sharing. And I’m posting it despite the fact that I tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to noxious ideologies and hateful speech by members of metal bands, as long as it doesn’t hit me right in the face through the music itself — which I will probably continue to do. Besides, preaching to people about what is or isn’t suitable content for what they should be listening to isn’t part of our mission either. But I still think this is worth sharing.

Here’s Machine Head’s Robb Flynn getting some important things off his chest. If you happened to have missed out on the recent controversy he’s addressing, you’ll find out about it in the first seconds of the video. Your comments, as always, are welcome.

Jan 282016

Criminal-Fear Itself

The flood of new metal, which has been especially torrential over the last 10 days, continues unabated. We’re really not even keeping our heads above water, despite posting a slew of round-ups since the weekend, but I think we’ve at least got our nostrils in the air.

With welcome help from Grant Skelton on today’s second item, I’m again collecting lots of very good and very diverse metal discovered over the last 48 hours. A second part of the collection will appear later today.


There’s a really long, twisting and turning story behind the name Criminal. I’m sure it’s a name well-known to many of you, so I’m going to severely truncate the history lesson before moving to what really counts — a new song from a new album.

Jan 262016

Migration Fest 2016


Today brought an official announcement I’ve been waiting on for months, ever since hearing early hints that it would be happening: Two of America’s best underground labels — Gilead Media and 20 Buck Spin — are collaborating to present a metal festival on August 12-14, 2016, in Olympia, Washington — the first (and we hope not the last) Migration Fest.

The initial line-up of confirmed bands announced today is, in a word, fantastic. It primarily showcases bands from each label’s roster, but also includes “other affiliated and respected artists, highlighting the distinct and contrasting styles that makes each label stand out”. Check this out:

The Body & Krieg collaborative performance
Christian Mistress
Dead To A Dying World
Full Of Hell

Jan 252016

Amon Amarth-Jomsviking


On March 25, those Swedish vikings in Amon Amarth will release a new concept album named Jomsviking, and just an hour ago they premiered a video for the first advance track, a song named “First Kill”. And on top of that, they announced dates for a North American tour that begins in April, with Entombed A.D. and Exmortus along for the trip. Before that, the band will play album release shows in four European cities.

First Kill” tells the story of a son’s banishment by his father after he takes his first life, leading him on the bloodstained path of a lone warrior and outcast. The song offers no surprises — it’s another galloping Amon Amarth ear-worm that makes me want to reach for my axe and drinking horn, though not in that order. I have no doubt it will quickly become a live staple, because it will get people fired up at shows in short order. The video is fun to watch, too.

Jan 232016



I’m still catching up on the flood of new music and videos that appeared this week, in part because I spent so much time on the flood of new tracks we ourselves premiered since Monday. Because I’m short on time this Saturday, I’m mainly going to let the music speak for itself. Unless I damage myself too badly tonight at a big party I’m attending, I’ll have another collection of recommended new streams tomorrow. But before we get to the music, I have one news item.


In mid-December I posted the news that Norway’s Ragnarok would at long last be releasing a new album named Psychopathology. This week, further details were disclosed, as well as the cover art (above) by Marcelo Vasco (Slayer, Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir). The album will include 11 tracks and will be released by Agonia Records on March 25 in a variety of formats, including a limited-edition CD box set that will include a bonus compilation CD entitled Chaos and Insanity between 1994-2004, which features all of the band’s early demos and EP’s (the compilation will also separately be released on vinyl).

No music to share with you yet, but you can be sure we will as soon as something becomes available for streaming.

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