Apr 242018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Berlin-based band Age of Arcadia.)

All of my reviews this year are probably going to come some time after an album’s release.  I’m really looking to emphasize what sticks with me long-term, that just won’t let me go no matter what.  Today I want to talk about a band who’s gone very much under the radar, shamefully so, whose debut is quite possibly one of the best thrash albums ever conceived in the 2010‘s.

Age Of Arcadia are from Germany, but their music at least on this album has a very pronounced Hellenistic thematic approach, based on the song titles, lyrical content, and album art, while musically capturing the mythic titanic might of Greek mythology.  Their debut Eleysis (Έλευσις) is one of the best albums I’ve encountered this year so far, although it’s technically a re-release according to the band despite the fact I can find no record of any previous releases. Continue reading »

Apr 232018


(Lonegoat, the man behind the necroclassical music of Goatcraft, provides this guest review of the new release by Plutonian Shore from San Antonio, Texas.)


In Alpha et Omega, Plutonian Shore invokes the axiological Logos of black metal and confronts the gentrification and stagnation brought about by indie rockers and scenesters. Their circumspection is fine-tuned and pierces through the music scene’s ruses of an abundance. Never deserted is the energetic imaginativeness which overwhelms the nondescript bottom line of reality via mind and solar plexus, woven in fierce, inexorable abstraction. Weakness is cast aside. The soul is forever athirst for unbridled power. Dalits need not apply; this is music from the dream-mind of a slumbering Brahmin. Continue reading »

Apr 232018


In 2016 the mysterious Dutch black metal band Elfsgedroch made a very impressive debut with Op de beenderen van onze voorvaderen, and now they have made a truly triumphant return through a new release named Dwalend bij Nacht en Ontij, which has been branded an EP but is 44 minutes long.

The “EP” was inspired by particular places and events, by aspects of the culture and folklore of the northwest coast of the Netherlands. But the music summons emotional experiences that are unlimited by place or time, but are instead fundamental to human existence, and it does so with enthralling power. Continue reading »

Apr 202018


Deads, the new album by the Danish band LLNN, is a sonic super-weapon, one that operates on multiple levels, inflicting both psychic and physical trauma on a shattering scale. It fires the imagination on multiple levels as well, bringing to mind terrifying vistas of apocalyptic obliteration as well as unnerving diaphonous visions that gleam with astral light. Not surprisingly, given the vast scale of the music and its relentless intensity, the band have explained: “The overall album theme of Deads is about births and downfalls of civilizations in other worlds throughout the universe, from creation to final decay, the depletion of the host….”

Pelagic Records will release the album on April 27th, but we have a full stream of it for you today, preceded by some further thoughts about what LLNN have accomplished on this staggeringly powerful record. Continue reading »

Apr 192018


(Grant Skelton wrote this review of the debut album by the Greek/Finnish melodic doom metal band Aeonian Sorrow, released on March 28th.)


Aeonian Sorrow is the name of a new doom metal band masterminded by vocalist and songwriter Gogo Melone. Thanks to some networking via No Clean Singing’s ally Daniel Neagoe (Eye Of Solitude, Clouds), I had the pleasure of hearing Aeonian Sorrow’s debut, Into The Eternity A Moment We Are, prior to its release. With this album, fans of more melodic strains of doom metal are in for a gem. Also, make a point to behold the stirring wreckage depicted in the album’s art. Melone designed all of the band’s logos, and handled the album layout as well.

Joining Melone’s melancholic menagerie are drummer Saku Moilanen (Red Moon Architect), vocalist Alejandro Lotero (Exgenesis), guitarist Taneli Jämsä (Ghost Voyage, Hukutus), and bassist Pyry Hanski (Mörbid Vomit, Before the Dawn). From this creative collective were sewn seeds that would bring forth an entire orchard of languishing delights. Continue reading »

Apr 192018


I’ve been meaning to do this for about a week, and finally found time. I came across all of the following music in the course of surveying new releases for a SEEN AND HEARD round-up here at our putrid site, and thought it would make sense to package them together for extra catastrophe.

The music ranges from catastrophic funeral doom to catastrophic death metal with a heavy doom component, to something doom-centric but less easily describable at the end. I arranged the music in a way that would provide a bit of back-and-forth flow, so your blood doesn’t completely congeal and your heart doesn’t completely slow to a stopping point.

While I was writing this I thought about Andy Synn telling me that he’d come across a metal forum in which NCS was criticized by one or more idiots people for concentrating on “mainstream” metal. Yeah, right. Mainstream this right up your bungholes:


I’ve written frequently about this German band, who’s usual stock-in-trade is an amalgam of sludge and black metal (and some other ingredients). But for their latest EP, null., they decided to give the funeral-doom treatment to two of their previously released songs, and I’ll be damned, it turns out they’re just as strong in this other genre as they are in their main line. Continue reading »

Apr 182018


(Andy Synn has compiled reviews of six new releases in this mid-week post.)


Despite our best efforts to the contrary, there still remains a certain cadre of people convinced that there’s some sort of nefarious motive or hidden agenda behind the work we do here at NCS.

So, in the interests of clarity and transparency I’d like to begin this piece by restating a few things.

For one, you should be aware that we don’t host any ads here at the site, take in any money from bands/labels, and don’t receive any kicks for clicks. This place is entirely independent and self-funded, and it’s going to stay that way.

Similarly we’re not beholden to record labels for access or coverage, nor do we favour “big” releases over less well-known ones. We’ll write about them, sure, if we feel like we want to, but the general ethos of this site has always been to focus on less well-known and less widely-covered, bands.

And while we have built up a good relationship with certain labels/agents over the years, this has largely been based upon a reputation for scrupulous honesty. We won’t host a premiere, conduct an interview, or write a review, unless we actually like the band/artist in question, and while we always try to accentuate the positive, we’re not afraid to provide (constructive) criticism when it’s warranted.

As a matter of fact we’ve actually been blacklisted or downgraded by certain agents/agencies in the past simply because we weren’t nice enough about their bands…

Anyway, all of this preamble is really just a long-winded way of saying that the following collection of reviews hasn’t been paid for or solicited in any way. It’s just a bunch of albums I’ve stumbled across in the last few weeks/months that I felt like writing about and recommending to you all. Continue reading »

Apr 172018


(On February 14th of this year, Vaelmyst released their debut EP, with cover art by Travis Smith, and now we present DGR’s review of this promising first release.)


This will always be something of a private entertainment given my residence in California, but sometimes the location of a band and the music they play can prove to be equal parts interesting and amusing. When you think of Southern California, oftentimes you get the gussied-up, made-for-tourism brochures-picture of the area in your mind. The usual checkboxes: nice weather, attractive people, palm trees galore, and glorious views of miles-long beaches. What you don’t expect are the heavy metal groups that appear from time to time with a distinctly European flavoring.

While that region doesn’t have a monopoly on the sound, you’d be forgiven upon listening to Vaelmyst’s first EP, Earthly Wounds, for assuming their location is somewhere a little bit more melancholy and with a whole lot more snow, rather than the wide concrete expanse of Los Angeles.

The new band, which counts amongst its members Ronny Lee Marks, Tom Warner, Jeff Martin, Jonathan V (artist-behind-the-curtain in a variety of Fredrik Norrman projects, the recent October Tide, for instance), and session drummer Mike Ponomarev, traverse multiple spheres within the melodeath genre on Earthly Wounds, with each of its five songs drawing from different inspiration than the one before it. Earthly Wounds has a solid through-line, but the different prongs of it point in multiple directions, which gives the sense that Vaelmyst are still trying to zero in to one overall sound. Continue reading »

Apr 162018


Without meaning to denigrate the music of bands whose music goes straight down the middle of specific metal genres, there’s an unusual level of interest (at least in my case) that’s consistently provoked by groups whose ambitions lead them to create intersections of multiple traditions, like audio Venn diagrams. Such amalgamations probably fail as often as they succeed, but when they do succeed, they can provide the kind of exciting surprises that really stand out. And that’s what the Portuguese band Scarificare have accomplished on their new album, Tilasm, which we’re premiering today with a full stream.

This is the band’s third album, but it reflects the work of a new line-up, with guitarist Quetzalcoatl (also the vocalist an keyboardist on this record) being the only mainstay since the band was formed; here, he is joined by bassist Eligos and drummer Luis Leal. And what they’ve done on Tilasm is to draw together elements of black metal, death metal, doom, and (for want of a better term) epic heavy metal to create a wonderfully dark and multi-faceted sequence of songs that are both atmospheric and explosively powerful. Continue reading »

Apr 142018


Andy Synn’s creation of the Waxing Lyrical series as a regular Saturday post has freed me from the compulsion to cook up NCS posts for these days, which I think was part of the reason why Andy proposed to make the series a Saturday fixture (there is indeed a soft heart that beats beneath that rough exterior). The problem is that my compulsion continues to gnaw at my brain even under the easiest of circumstances. And so here I am, posting something of my own on Saturday again.

I suppose the only compromise I’ve made with myself in this instance is to somewhat truncate my usual verbosity. My main aim here is to recommend that you to listen to these two releases, which you can easily do in the case of one, and which you’ll be able to do fairly soon in the case of the other. (There was going to be a third EP in this collection, but at the last minute a guest writer volunteered to do the review, and so that one should be coming early next week, and should be interesting to read.)


We were highly appreciative of this Polish band’s 2016 debut album, Black Storm. My colleague TheMadIsraeli described the music in these words: “Of course, coming from Poland, Thunderwar know how to write pretty fucking pristine death metal. They take that trademark imperial might for which the scene has always been known and mix it with the frigid, brittle melodic tendencies of Dissection and the power groove of Kataklysm. The result is a sound that’s difficult to say no to, both in its heft and in its emotive power.” And I had a few things to say about it, too.

The new Thunderwar release, following up on that impressive debut, is an EP named Wolfpack that’s also hugely impressive. It consists of five original tracks and a cover of Darkthrone’s “The Winds They Called the Dungeon Shaker”. Continue reading »