Jul 022015


(Austin Weber reviews the new EP by Indiana-based Kossuth.)

The last time I wrote about Kossuth here at NCS, it was when I helped premiere “Plains Of The Soaring Dagger” before the release of the full EP on which it resides. Now that Mictlan has been released, it’s high time that you check it out, and find out why it’s important that you do so. Okay, so maybe that’s a bit presumptuous of me to say, but it’s hard not to get hyperbolic when we’re talking about technical death metal as good as this.

For those who missed my prior post, the band has several current/former members of Dawn Of Dementia in their ranks, which is reason alone to check it out. While a sonic comparison to the technical-meets-melodic stylings of Dawn Of Dementia can easily be made, beyond the current/former members’ connection, Kossuth have more of a progressive mindset to their songwriting on Mictlan than the first Dawn Of Dementia EP had.

Jul 022015


(DGR reviews the new album by Author & Punisher.)

If you’ve been reading the site for a bit you’ll have noted the name Author & Punisher coming up from time to time, usually by way of my loud mouth. I’m a relatively recent convert to the Author & Punisher school, yet in that time the releases out of this project have quickly rocketed up the charts into ones that I look forward to the most — in large part buoyed by the fact that I find this project absolutely fascinating.

It’s been great seeing the Author & Punisher profile increase over the years, even in the limited time I’ve been following it since my review of Women And Children (having heard stuff before, but never fully exploring until that disc). More people seem to be discovering this odd bit of machination turned into music — but lo and behold, who would’ve predicted that the next Author & Punisher album was going to be produced by Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Down, and Superjoint Ritual fame?

For those who are still wondering what it is the hell I am rambling about, Author & Punisher is a San Diego-based musical project belonging to artist and engineer Tristan Shone. Over the past few years, he’s been making a sort of slow-moving, suffocating, industrial, and heavy form of doom that is already pretty left-field to begin with, likely to be much discussed in dark, smoky rooms by people who probably finish half their sentences with, “You might not have heard them”.

Jun 302015


We’ve known there was something special about Amiensus ever since my co-writer Andy Synn brought the band to our attention through his vivid review of their 2013 debut album Restoration. In the years since then, the band have released a small number of individual songs that proved to be equally impressive, but I still don’t think even that track record of excellent releases could have fully prepared us for the band’s new album Ascension – which will be released tomorrow. In a word, it’s astonishing.

Attempting to capture the tremendously multi-hued character of the music in mere words is probably a fruitless goal. It’s true of most music, but undeniable in the case of this album, that there is no substitute for experiencing it yourself. It’s ambitious, it takes risks, it lays bare the emotional intensity of the musicians and vocalists, and it vividly reflects the creativity of their songwriting ideas. They should all be immensely proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Ascension is a folk-tinged, genre-crossing amalgam of black metal, melodic death metal, and progressive rock. It’s sweepingly atmospheric and it’s warlike. It’s massively heavy and as fragile as snowflakes. It’s doomed and it’s defiant. It’s drenched in sorrow, it’s explosive in its ferocity, it’s panoramic in its epic reach, and it’s often sublimely mystical. And frequently, it’s all of those things within the space of a single song.

Jun 292015


For those of you who happened to come across a review I wrote of the new album by Toronto’s Megiddo in mid-June, I have to apologize — because I later discovered that what I wrote about The Holocaust Messiah was not based on the complete version of the album. I based it instead on what was then available for streaming on Bandcamp, and that stream did not include the Intro and Outro tracks, nor did it include the title song — which may be the strongest track on the album. After making that discovery, I ordered the CD version of the album from Barbarian Wrath, and now I’ve heard it as it was meant to be heard, in its entirety. So, allow me to begin again….

Roughly 13 years have passed since Megiddo last put out an album, and aside from a trio of splits in 2003, I don’t think there’s been any new music from the band at all since then — until Barbarian Wrath released The Holocaust Messiah this month. It consists of seven tracks, plus an intro and outro — and it’s a gem.

Jun 292015


(DGR prepared this review of new songs and albums from four bands.)

These Sifting articles are ones that I like to hammer out from time to time, as I have a habit of discovering so much new music in an effort to feed the NCS readers’ gullets that I absolutely cannot cover it all, much less dedicate a huge review to each discovery. However, I also feel like I’m doing the bands wrong by simply going, “I’ll try to get around to it”, because a lot of these groups are quality musicians who deserve a chance to get out there. So, Sifting was born — a series of articles in which I dig through the various recent collections of music I’ve accumulated and try to get some shorter summaries up to share out with people.

Of course, as I am prone to do, I still get stupidly wordy, and some of these summaries are longer than the reviews we run on this site — but still, its all about the thought, right? So sit down with me, as we travel the world and I blather on with more long-winded phrases and stupid similes to share with you about quite a few different bands, bouncing across the US and then over to Europe and back again.


Fun fact: I have never for a moment toyed with the idea of joining the military — but were I ever drafted or forced into it, the one thing that I could see myself doing would be trying to join a drum corps.

Jun 282015


Negative Mantra is a new band, but its members are well known from other projects over a period of many years. When I saw those names — as well as the name they chose for their band — I had a high level of confidence that their just-released debut EP A Hymn To Disappointment would be heavy, grim, and hard to forget. I wasn’t wrong.

Here’s the line-up:

John Porada (Terminate, ex-Nachtmystium) – Vocals, guitar, bass
Jeff Wilson (Abigail Williams, Wolvhammer, Chrome Waves) – Guitar
Charlie Fell (Abigail Williams, Cobalt, ex-Lord Mantis) – Drums

The EP emerged last week on Bandcamp without any fanfare. No press release, no advance dribbling out of teasers or song excerpts. One day it wasn’t there, the next day it was. I discovered it only because I noticed brief Facebook posts about it by a couple of people in the band, mentioned almost in passing. But word of this release needs to be spread around, because it’s very good.

Jun 262015


(Andy Synn delivers another long-overdue installment in his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music, of course.)

Wow, so, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s been almost a year since I did one of these?

How time flies when you’re having… fun…



Shot through the heart. Pink

Floyd’s to blame. Norwegian prog

Has a damn good name

Jun 262015


We had a busy day at the site yesterday, and I thought I wouldn’t have time to explore new music. But my wife decided to strand me at home last night while she went out and whooped it up with some friends of hers, and so what was I to do? I damn sure wasn’t going to venture into the loris compound by myself; my wife’s good with a knife and she usually has my back, but without her I’m not getting close to those devious fuckers. So instead I decided leave the loris ninjas to their own devices, hunker down at the computer, and drown myself in new metal. Here is a collection of new stuff from four bands that helped me pleasantly pass the time.


Let’s first have a round of applause for Juanjo Castellano, because goddamn, is his cover art for the new EP by Avulsed the absolute shit, or what?

Jun 252015


(Andy Synn wrote the following first impressions of Kataklysm’s new album — and there IS a summing-up at the end.)

So I’ve decided to do something a little different for this review. Instead of my usual over-wordy, over-intellectualised stream of self-congratulatory bullshit (quality bullshit, of course) I’m going lo-tech and lo-fi with this one!

So after the jump you can follow my first impressions in a semi-live manner, as I note down my random feelings and musings from my first listening session to the band’s new album.

Ok, so, here we go… pushing play…

Jun 252015


(DGR reviews the new album by those French titans in Kronos.)

Since Unique Leader has come into prominence over the last few years, the label has been the overseer of a tech-death explosion, one that has seen them dredging up all kinds of different groups from the rubble and ash piles of local scenes while at the same time ensuring that in the wake of their roster of bands there would be absolutely no notes left for anyone else to play on guitar.

As something of a genre-label, Unique Leader have acquired a sound — the type of noise where you can see their logo on a group’s album and more often than not usually guess what they will sound like. Not to knock them, of course, as the label has been the savior of the Nor-Cal death metal scene up here, picking up some of the most highly technical and underrated bands and at least giving them a shot after they’ve been scrapping it out for years.

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