Dec 192014


(We bring you the premiere of a new song by New Jersey’s Apocrophex, with an introduction by Austin Weber.)

Earlier this year at NCS, I wrote about a two-man technical death metal group called Apocrophex. They are a new band, having just released their first material in February of this year, a two-song EP entitled Wheels Within Wheels that I discussed in that earlier post. Hot off the heels of that introduction to their world, they are giving NCS the opportunity to showcase a tantalizing new song, “The Grey”, as a teaser to their upcoming debut full-length, Suspended From The Cosmic Altaar (featuring cover art by Raul Gonzalez).

While they only have two members, with Justin Buell handling the guitar, bass, and drum programming and Pete Colucci providing the vocals, their music really does sound like the expansive and multi-faceted work of a full band, which is a testament to both their skill and their songwriting craft. I was already hooked on them from their first EP, but figured they still had untapped potential that would keep us interested in what their future might hold. Well, “The Grey” shows them tapping into that potential.

Dec 182014


(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a new song by a Connecticut band named Archaic Decaptator.)

2014 isn’t over just yet. But I am already on to 2015 releases, earlier than normal I might add. While getting a break would have been nice, when good metal music beckons, I try to answer its demented siren call and spread the word. Which is why I needed to write about Archaic Decapitator, a Connecticut-based death metal group, one who are fairly new to me.

I found out about the band because technical death metal badasses Formless quite recently posted a link to a newly released song of theirs, “Sublevels” (which I will embed below). I suspect they did so because their bassist, Craig Breitsprecher, is in both bands, and also does backing vocals in Archaic Decapitator. I’m pretty happy to have heard this audio recommendation, as this turns out to be yet another underground band worthy of championing.

I struck up by the idea of a song premiere, leading to this newly released eargasm, “Ethereal Aspects”. The impeccably badass song serves is an early teaser to the band’s upcoming EP, The Catherine Wheel.

Dec 172014


Bloodmoon released their debut album Voidbound near the end of last year on CD and tape, but it has now been remastered by James Plotkin for re-release on vinyl via Black Voodoo Records. I missed the album when it first came out, but have now had the chance to hear the vinyl remaster. The music is really unusual and really impressive, so much so that we’re happy to provide a platform for everyone else to hear the album as well.

The record is only three songs long, but the first two of those are monsters — with “Voidbound” coming in at nearly 18 minutes and “Back World” at more than 13. Even the shorter closing track “The Singing Flame” tips the scales at more than 7 minutes.

Unusual song lengths of this kind are often a sign of great ambitions. Unless your specialty is droning loops, filling such extravagant spaces with music that captures and holds the listeners’ attention is no mean feat. As an artist, you have to have something to say — something that merits all that time — and you have to say it well. There’s no question Bloodmoon are musically ambitious, and there’s also also no question they’ve got talent to match their aims.

Dec 172014


Twenty-five years on since their spawning in some Finnish hell pit, Archgoat are as bestial, as primordial, as blasphemous and unrepentant as ever. The proof is in their new album, The Apocalyptic Triumphator, from which we bring you the premiere of a barbaric new song: “Congregation of Circumcised“.

For a band whose roots in the underground go back a quarter-century, they have recorded only two other full-length albums, 2006′s Whore of Bethlehem and 2009′s The Light-Devouring Darkness. (their last EP, reviewed here, was Heavenly Vulva (Christ’s Last Rites) in 2011.) This was due in part to the band’s decision to become dormant for almost 11 years, submerging in 1993 and resurfacing in 2004. But if their releases have been few and far between, every one of them has made a mark. The new one may be the best yet.

As you’ll hear on this new song if you’re unfamiliar with the band, Archgoat have a distinctive and relatively unusual sound for a black metal group. Their strength is in mid-paced and even crawling tempos, and the mood of the music is often shrouded in a heavy cloak of doom. Angelslayer vomits forth his lyrics in deep, noxious croaks and grunts. Sinisterror’s drumming rarely reaches pyrotechnic levels of speed.  Their brand of ferocity shares almost as much DNA with death metal as with black.

Dec 162014


(We interrupt our seemingly endless series of year-end lists to bring you a video premiere by a band whose 2014 album is cropping up on many of them — with an introduction by Austin Weber.)

Let’s be honest, as far as metal releases go in 2014, few have been as praised and visible throughout numerous year-end lists as Artificial Brain’s Labyrinth Constellation. Thus, the remainder of this year shall be renamed The Year of the Brain. And for good reason! Getting to see them live this year was a mind-blowing experience for me.

While I don’t want to re-hash what I said in my review, I can sum it up as a highly creative album that keeps aggression and white-hot intensity at the forefront in spite of its progressive nature, keeping things oddly catchy while making sure each song has its own identity, effortlessly worming its way into your skull. A lot of metal critics pussy out on putting death metal releases on year-end lists, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw that Labyrinth Constellation has already appeared on so many. Not only that, but another big reason this is The Year of the Brain is because the band were featured in a clip on the CBS show Elementary; and hell, even Lucy Liu says the band’s name in the clip!

Dec 112014

photo by Semen Turkowski

Embrional’s 2012 debut album Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors was a strikingly impressive debut, a death metal barrage that was equal parts suffocating old-school brutality and technically impressive high-speed chaos. This Polish band have now recorded a follow-up album entitled The Devil Inside that shows every sign of being just as powerful, distinctive, and attention-grabbing. But judge for yourselves — you are about to hear our premiere of the album’s first advance track, “In Darkness”.

The song sounds absolutely monstrous, with a grit-caked, grinding tone that bespeaks a mountain of skulls being ground into splintered fragments — yet the production is also clean enough to ensure that every scalpel-sharp note and destructive drum strike hits home with unerring accuracy. The grim, serpentine melody in the song’s early minutes oozes an atmosphere of suppurating illness and inhuman malice, but the music also eventually explodes in a flurry of blazing fretwork and a barrage of drum munitions that is both frenetic and surgically precise. Fittingly, the vocal tirade is tyrannical and caustic.

Dec 112014


(Austin Weber brings us the premiere — and a free download — of a new song by The Universe Divide from Atlanta, Georgia.)

In their heyday, Canvas Solaris were an instrumental act of considerable skill and prowess, taking a death metal, jazz, and prog-infused path of constructing instrumental metal music that was far ahead of its time. It’s been a few years since that group bit the dust in 2011, though the band is writing new material, but that is a long ways away from coming to life.

What people familiar with that group may not know, is that two of its members, guitarist Chris Rushing and bassist Gaël Pirlot, have been crafting a new instrumental metal vision in their latest group, The Universe Divide. The band previously released an impressive EP in 2011 called Dust Settles on the Odontophobes, and they certainly carry over some of the aggressive nature of Canvas Solaris that is missing from a lot of instrumental metal.

Dec 102014

Bewitcher is a two-man band from Portland, Oregon, whose third demo release — a three-song offering entitled Midnight Hunters — will be coming your way on January 5, 2015. A few paragraphs from now, we’ll give you a chance to sample the demo as we premiere a stream of one of the new songs, “Speed ’til You Bleed”.

As you’ll soon find out, that’s an apt title for the song. It’s a rocking blast of thrashing blackened speed metal, a dirty, alcohol-fueled homage to the spirits of Venom and Motörhead that will get its hooks in you right from the get-go. The production is gritty enough to ooze old-school heavy metal vibes but not so rough as to obscure the shotgun drumming, the shine of the cymbal smashes, the spitfire soloing, the abraded filthiness of the raving vocals, or the sing-along compulsiveness of the lyrics.

Dec 102014


Sweden’s Chalice of Blood announced their arrival in the occult realms of black metal with a three-song demo in 2005 (Angelus Diaboli) and followed that with two split releases, including their excellent 2014 split with Israthoum on the Daemon Worship label. Early next year Daemon Worship will release the band’s most accomplished work yet, a five-song EP entitled Helig, Helig, Helig, and today we bring you the first taste of the new music through our premiere of a track entitled “Shemot“.

Those in search of “atmospheric” black metal or sweeping melodies that tug on the heartstrings will have to look elsewhere. “Shemot” is red of tooth and claw, a predatory assault that’s more interested in ripping out the heart and devouring it. Driven by relentlessly blasting drums and the buzzing whir of fiery tremolo riffs, the music radiates venomous energy, its dark melody full of malevolent threat, the cracked-glass vocals uttering hateful proclamations with bestial vehemence.

Dec 042014


When I first learned that Vault of Dried Bones would be releasing an album-length split by Adversarial and Paroxsihzem, entitled Warpit of Coiling Atrocities, I simultaneously experienced both a thrill and a chilling sensation, like a burst of adrenaline as the blood started freezing in my veins. I haven’t yet heard the complete results of this destructive alliance, but I have heard two of the songs on Warpit, and I got the thrill/chill all over again, big time. Now you’ll get a chance to hear them, too, as we  bring you the premiere of one song by each band from the split.

Both of these Toronto bands’ last releases came out in 2012 — Adversarial’s split with Antediluvian (reviewed here) and Paroxsihzem’s self-titled debut album. Both of them were hellholes of violence and depravity, which is to say they were excellent. So are these two songs.

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