Jul 132018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Germany’s Centaurus-A, their first after a nine-year absence.)

Is nine years a sufficient break between releases to call Means of Escape a “comeback” album? Answers on a postcard, please.

Whether it is or it isn’t though, it’s still a significant enough gap that I think most fans (myself included) had essentially accepted that Centaurus-A’s impressive debut, Side-Effects Expected, was going to wind up as one of those underappreciated underground classics whose impact and influence was destined to be appreciated solely by a few lucky listeners who just happened to have been in the right place, at the right time.

And yet, almost out of the blue, the Centaurus-A machine suddenly came back online in April of this year with the announcement that news of their demise had been greatly exaggerated, and that a brand new album was set to be released very soon… a new album which eventually dropped on the 13th of June, exactly one month ago today. Continue reading »

Jul 132018
 

 

Today, the very lucky 13th of July, is the release date for Gold and Rust, the new EP by the one-man, New Jersey-based death metal project Engulf. It comes adorned with a wonderful cover created by Misanthropic-Art, which by itself should be an irresistible invitation to explore this music even if you weren’t already aware of Engulf‘s capabilities, as first revealed through last year’s Subsumed Atrocities EP (which also featured an eye-grabbing cover by the same artist). And those capabilities continue to be strikingly impressive.

All credit goes to Hal Microutsicos, who again proves himself to be a guitar wizard, but one who uses his sorcerous talents in the service of genuinely ferocious death metal onslaughts that get  pulses racing and skulls fracturing, even as they get eyes popping wide over his technical proficiency. Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the just-released new EP by Hatalom from Québec City, Québec, Canada.)

So I’ve decided that this week is going to be a Tech-Death focussed one for me, beginning with my review of the new Obscura disc on Monday, and continuing today with this quick run-down of the debut EP by Canadian quartet Hatalom. Continue reading »

Jul 112018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Today we’ve got a selection of pics from the first day — and Teddie managed to shoot every band that performed; that’s one good thing about the rotation of bands between two stages, with no overlap. You can see every minute of every show as long as your energy holds out (and that hasn’t been a problem, given the caliber of the bands who’ve thrown themselves into their NWTF performances).

So, without further ado, here are Teddie Taylor’s photos from Day 1 at NWTF 2018. Continue reading »

Jul 112018
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by Deafheaven, which will be released on July 13th by Anti Records.)

Like everything after Roads to Judah this new album is going to offend metalheads, especially considering how this time it weighs more heavily on their post-rock side.

The first time I saw these guys they were opening for Alcest and blew them off the stage. The energy seemed very genuine, though it felt more like a hardcore show than a black metal one. I am not going to debate how troo or cvlt they are, but focus on what is actually going with their music as it’s being delivered to us in 2018. Continue reading »

Jul 102018
 

 

We have been bred through evolution to desire order, and to develop the skills for imposing it, because for so many millennia we were at the mercy of chaos in the natural world, and that chaos often brought sudden death. Paradoxically, we also seem to have a taste for chaos, and a talent for creating it — and for inflicting it upon ourselves on a scale that’s unrivaled by any other species.

The manifestation of chaos in sound is a large part of what drives many of us to metal. Metal feeds the taste for chaos, which wars with the instinct for order, and fuels the rebellious spirit that pushes back against someone else’s idea of order. The music of Temple Desecration is that kind of manifestation. It captures the terrifying sensations of destructive chaos, but more than that, the music seems to wish for it, to summon it, maybe even to worship it. Continue reading »

Jul 092018
 

 

(Grant Skelton wrote the following review as an introduction to our premiere of the new two song EP by the blackened death metal band Cryptic Hymn from Louisville, Kentucky.)

Kentucky’s Cryptic Hymn have been known to lurk about the shadowed corridors of No Clean Singing. In 2015, I had the pleasure of reviewing their amazing debut EP Gateways. Now, we are pleased to present their latest bastardized offering, The Vast Unknowing.

Cryptic Hymn christen us first with “Wretched Stimulation,” a title which yields a truly revolting visual in my reprobate imagination. This song is a blistered and ashen frolic that should glut any devotee of death metal. While offering plenty of speed, the track shows that Cryptic Hymn are not the least bit afraid of tempo changes. I could say you’ll find the track stuck in your head, but more than likely it will find its way into your veins. Continue reading »

Jul 092018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the celebrated German band Obscura, which will be released on July 13th by Relapse Records.)

Where to start with this one?

Obviously the name Obscura should be familiar to the majority (if not all) of our readers, as the band – these days comprising creative (and somewhat controversial) linchpin Steffen Kummerer alongside guitarist Rafael Trujillo, drummer Sebastian Lanser, and resident uber-bassist Linus Klausenitzer – have long since established themselves as one of the big names of Progressive/Technical Death Metal.

What they, and you, may not be aware of, however, is that, despite all the line-up changes, intra-band friction, and media-managed drama of the last few years, Obscura have been actively engaged in crafting a ten-year long, four-album deep, conceptual cycle – beginning with 2009’s Cosmogenesis (origin), and then moving through further phases with 2011’s Omnivium (evolution), and 2016’s Akróasis (consciousness) – which is finally about to conclude with the release of Diluvium, representing not only the end of the cycle, but also the end of an era for Kummerer and co.

So, with that in mind, perhaps the real question you should be asking yourself right now is… can this record possibly live up to those lofty expectations, and truly deliver the ending which this saga deserves? Continue reading »

Jul 092018
 

 

(In this post Todd Manning reviews the new release by Seattle-based Regional Justice Center.)

The combination of Grindcore and Powerviolence has always walked a tightrope between Hardcore and Metal, attacking the listener with feral onslaughts both fast and slow, short bursts of frenzied killing punctuated by neanderthal moments of sludgy-goodness. While employing the brutality of Extreme Metal, these acts often have a certain looseness to their sound, giving them their own Punkish charm within the cacophony of violence.

The new self-titled release from Regional Justice Center has all the hallmarks of these genres with short songs and hair-turn tempo changes, but there is no looseness to be found. Rather, everything here takes the form of a quick precision bombing, and while the record only clocks in at around twelve minutes, a single spin will leave the listener gasping for breath before hitting play again. Continue reading »