Dec 172017


On Friday night I returned to Seattle after a very nice vacation that lasted nearly two weeks. Thanks to the efforts of my NCS writer comrades, I was able to keep my promise to my spouse that I wouldn’t blog (much) while on vacation. And as a further bonus, the loris horde didn’t burn the NCS compound to the ground while I was gone, though I did notice what seem to be the bones of a few small children strewn behind their barbed-wire enclosure that weren’t there when I left. That seems like a fair price to pay if it avoided an assault on our headquarters.

As I try to get my head back in the game, I count 14 days remaining in 2017, and I thought I’d give you a preview of what lies ahead at NCS before the year dies and we cremate its remains. And because I detest posting anything here that doesn’t include music, I’m throwing in one new song after that.

Dec 122017



(Like the good cowboy he is, DGR has stepped forward to handle round-up duty today.)

We at NCS are big fans of posts full of genre whiplash, and this roundup of things that caught our eyes and ears last week will likely be one of those. We try to always keep our giant fish net of news-and-music catching open for stuff to fall in and we like to clean it out whenever we get the chance, even though you would’ve figured that last week things should have slowed down just a bit…you would think.

However, just because it’s close to the end of the year and time for everyone to begin writing up summaries of their favorite albums of 2017, and just because our editor managed to escape from the loris horde encircling the NCS compound for a vacation, does not mean heavy metal got the hint and decided to slow down for a bit. We did here in our little comfortable corner of the ‘net, but that doesn’t mean everyone did. And so we go outside to clean off the radar dish and see what landed in the net over the past week.

Dec 102017


I didn’t expect I would be able to prepare this round-up. I’m still on vacation (through December 15), and have been pretty faithful to the promise I made to She Who Must Be Obeyed that I would not blog (much) during this trip. For example, we had nothing on the site yesterday, which is a rarity.

But, I had a small amount of time to myself this morning, and there didn’t seem to be any harm in checking out some new music. I’ve barely glanced at the NCS e-mail box during the last week, so I decided to start making my way through the mail that arrived over just the last two days (more than that would have devoured my limited blog time this morning). What you will hear in this round-up is the result of that limited and hurried survey.

First, however, I want to share a piece of news that I had missed until Andy Synn indirectly led me to it.


On Friday I posted Andy’s list of his favorite 2017 EPs. One of his choices was inadvertently omitted from the text he originally sent me for posting, and when he caught the error, he sent me some further text, and the omission happened to be a 7″ EP called Pesta that Necrophobic distributed during a tour.

Dec 032017


As I’ve mentioned more than once, I’m leaving the country today on a 12-day vacation. I was able to write the two premieres posted earlier today, but ran out of time before I could put together a SHADES OF BLACK feature for this Sunday. As I’ve also mentioned, I made a pact with my wife that I will severely restrict my blogging during this trip. That’s my interpretation of the pact; hers is that I won’t blog at all. This is an ominous misunderstanding.

Before we began the negotiations that led to this pact, I had committed to write three premieres spread over the coming 12 days. I will keep those commitments. I also plan to format and post Andy Synn’s year-end lists, which traditionally kick off our staff’s contributions to LISTMANIA, and I further intend to keep my eye out for the appearance of year-end lists by certain print publications and “big platform” web sites that I usually include in our LISTMANIA series. And I have one more modest goal:

I’m going to attempt to briefly write about one, and only one, new release in order to avoid barrenness on days when we would otherwise have nothing new to post at NCS while I’m gone. It might be a single new song or as much as an entire new album. This post you’re now perusing is an example of that.

Dec 022017


We’re rushing toward the end of the year like an out-of-control car speeding toward a precipice. And I find myself getting a similar panicked feeling, as if it will be a world-ending event for a metal writer and I only have four weeks to finish spouting off about 2017 releases, a task made even more daunting by the fact that I’m leaving on a 12-day vacation tomorrow (as explained here), and by the prospect of all the LISTMANIA stuff we will be doing between now and December 31 as well.

Of course, this is a completely irrational feeling. There’s no law which prevents us from continuing to write about 2017 releases after New Year’s Day, and no doubt we will. Nevertheless, I’m still feeling a feverish compulsion to give as much attention as I can to recent releases (and a few forthcoming ones) before “time runs out”. So I’ve crammed music from five bands into this post, without nearly enough time to say what I want about them, and I also have some hopes of finishing a SHADES OF BLACK post for tomorrow before beginning my 12-day hiatus. Don’t know if that will work out or not….


Thanks to a message from Conor O., and then a subsequent e-mail from the Dutch label Hammerheart Records, I learned that after a 22-year hiatus, Inquisitor have returned with a new album, and it’s an explosive resurrection for sure.

Dec 022017


(We invite you to respond to Andy Synn’s invitation to fill in a certain alphabet…)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll doubtless be aware that a little band called… Morbid fuckin’ Angel… just released their long-awaited and highly-anticipated – albeit with a certain amount of trepidation – new album, Kingdoms Disdained.

And while it’s not a total three-point-slam-dunk-home-run (I don’t know sports…) it’s still a solid album, replete with a bevy of stand-out tracks that go a long, long way towards redeeming the band’s slightly tarnished reputation.

Although I still contend that it should have been called Judas

Dec 012017


Bestialord have already chosen their name, but if they hadn’t, I would have suggested Riff Lord (it seems that “Rifflord” has already been taken). Seriously, if you don’t want to severely strain your levator scapulae, I’d recommend you give them a good limbering up before listening to this new Bestialord song from their debut album, Law of the Burning, because headbanging is pretty much compulsory.

But there’s also some logic in the name this trio did choose for themselves, because their brand of occult horror doom also sounds like it was concocted in the infernal lair of a bestial demon overlord.

Nov 302017

…a photo from a place I’m about to visit again…


I’m never sure how many people make visits to our site a clockwork part of their day, like a piss upon rising, or a morning coffee, or a shot and a beer at the end of the workday, or a way of re-setting the mind before entering the Land of Nod at night. But I like to think it’s more than a few of you, and so in fairness to those people, I’m writing this post.

Today is the last day of November, and so one month remains in the countdown of our completely arbitrary but ingrained measurement of a milestone in our lives — the passage of one more year. Because this is a metal blog, that means we are about to enter, in full force, our year-end LISTMANIA. But this year will be different.

Nov 282017


This is a rare kind of round-up, relative to what I usually pull together. Most obviously, there are only three bands featured in this one. And the other difference, which is related to the first one, is that while I’m including only one song by each band, each of these songs is more than 20 minutes long.

Wait! Don’t leave! I promise you won’t become bored — though your emotional well-being will be assaulted and your sanity may be severely tested. Yes, 20 minutes is a long time to arrest your constantly flitting and dithering mind and apply a little focus. It will be worth the effort.


Actually, Taarna’s track, “Sanguine Ash“, is almost 30 minutes long.

Nov 252017


It seems that the four-day Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. has made mincemeat out of our site’s traffic, and while we don’t depend on traffic for money, it’s not much fun to put a lot of work into a post and then realize that few people will see it. It’s a test of the severity of my own blog compulsion. As you can tell, my compulsion passed the test with flying colors.

These are a few recent things I enjoyed last night and this morning, and hope you will enjoy too.


Well, this is sort of recent. I somehow missed it when it came out 8 days ago. Not sure how that happened, but anyway, I found it last night. It’s a video for a new song named “The Lament” off the next album by Sweden’s Tribulation.

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