Dec 202014


Here is a collection of recommended items from the blacker end of the metal spectrum that I spotted and heard yesterday; I have some others that I’ll feature tomorrow. I wrote most of this last night, just before the alcohol-soaked holiday party hosted by the place where I work. The parts that don’t make any sense were written this morning as I began the long road to recovery.


Yesterday brought additional details from Profound Lore about the next album by Leviathan: As previously disclosed, the album’s title is Scar Sighted; it will be released March 3 digitally and on CD; it was produced, engineered, and mixed by Billy Anderson; and it includes nine tracks. There was also this info about the album’s packaging, with a reference to the artwork I’ve included at the top of this post:

“Scar Sighted” will be packaged as a boxed CD edition (the only version of the CD this will be available as) which will come with eleven two-sided inserts featuring exclusive paintings by Jef Whitehead himself (one of them being the one pictured, LEVIATHAN logo watermarked specifically for online purposes, there is no actual front cover for “Scar Sighted”). The vinyl edition, to be released a month or so after the CD/digital version will also be specially packaged and will be released via the artists’ own Devout Records imprint (in which we will directly update you on its progress in due time).

This is an album I’m eager to hear, in part because I have a feeling it will include some surprises (see this interview of Wrest for reasons why I think that). This is the track list:

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 152014


(TheMadIsrael reviews the debut album of Hone Your Sense from Japan.)

The Japanese produce some fucking titanic metalcore and deathcore.  It’s one of their exports that has stuck out to me consistently.  Hone Your Sense is a metalcore/deathcore hybrid that doesn’t fuck around in the slightest.  They have riffs, attitude, intensity, and they beat you to death without the slightest inch of mercy but with an overwhelming amount of class.

Absolute Senses is the debut full-length of these dudes, following a rather killer EP, Tri-Jolt.  They take their influences from the more technical, bruisier, and ballsier side of their metalcore sound in particular.  You’ll think Unearth, Bleeding Through, and Himsa while listening, and the result is a debut free from fluff, bullshit, or meandering.  Their sound is that same fusion of hardcore brawn, thrash speed and technicality, and death metal bludgeoning the previously mentioned bands were known for to one degree or another.  I’m pretty in love with this record, have been since I discovered it a few months ago.

Dec 142014


Here and there, Ain Soph Sur is adorned with the trappings of ecclesiastical music — angelic choirs and near-operatic male vocals, monastic chants and Latin verses, an overarching aura of mysticism and stately grandeur. In these moments, you can almost smell the aroma of incense wafting from a swinging thurible, and I half-expected to hear the chords of a cathedral organ (actually, I think I do hear them on one song).

But if the album sometimes brings to mind the musical accompaniment to a mass, it is a Luciferian hymnal, a celebration of the coming of the light-bringer. In Qabbalistic philosophy, “Ain Soph Aur” is an aspect of the Absolute —  the limitless or eternal light; in this album, it burns like a conquering fire.

Dec 102014

(Guest writer Booker returns to NCS after an extended hiatus with this review of the new album by Intervoid from the wilds of northeast Ohio.)

There are those who follow, and then there are those who take another path. We probably all like to think that the world of metal is made up of people who fit into the latter group. Maybe you like to think you’re part of that group, too, and that this bent in your character has made you take the red pill and set in motion a series of events that has led you, inexorably, here. But there’s an even more extreme group who throw all semblance of caution to the wind, raise middle fingers to the gods, and have the temerity to… release an album in December.

I can hear you screaming in disbelief, “Who would do such a thing?!”. Yes, who would… who would violate the sacred sanctity of the year-end list, which now has spread into November like an out-of-control blob consuming ever more months in an ever-increasing race to be first. Maybe these people know something we don’t? Maybe they’ve just got better things to do than to schedule their musical creations around the whims of the internet metal nerds? I have another idea – they are not human. And this brings us to Intervoid, whose debut LP just dropped as a late-breaking treat to top off the year.

Dec 072014


(DGR brings us some ugly ass music for the end of an ugly ass week.)

Allow me to be short and succinct with this opener: Work has kicked my ass these past two weeks and the holiday music is really starting to get to me. Long story short: Here’s two recent discoveries of sonic destruction that I’ve been using to sandblast my brain smooth so as to forget all forty thousand versions of Little Drummer Boy that I have to listen to each night while working on these projects/messes. Both albums are currently name your own price and conveniently enough, came out in October of this year.


When it comes to grind releases, for me it’s a tossup as to whether or not I’ll truly enjoy it. Part of the reason is that there are subsections of grind that feel like the ultimate pick-up-and-play genre — just slam around on your instruments for a while and about five minutes later its guaranteed you’re going to have, well, something.

Dec 042014


(Austin Weber reviews the new album by Downfall of Gaia, out now on the Metal Blade label.)

While my metal tastes are not as honed in on the ongoing post-metal wave as on other genres, I can always respect and love a band of any stripe who go beyond the tropes and usual containments of a style to find their own identities, alone in a place none have gone before. Bands like that are worth the investment of time in what they have to say about the world and themselves.

That’s precisely how I feel about the new Downfall Of Gaia album, Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay. The only other reference that might give you a ballpark idea of their territory is Agrimonia — both have perfected a blend of post-metal and crust-punk woven into a swirling, multi-genre template that retains an aggression lost in most post-metal, although Downfall Of Gaia thread in a lot of menacing black metal, full of killer riffs, into their tapestry, with many more aggressive moments than in Agrimonia’s music.

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.

Dec 032014


You may not be familiar with the name Shed the Skin, but chances are you’ll recognize the names of some of its members.  This Ohio-based band is new, but the line-up includes drummer Kyle Severn (Incantation), guitarist Matt Sorg (Ringworm), vocalist/guitarist Ash Thomas (Vladimirs, Faithxtractor), bassist Ed Stephens (Ringworm), and Brian Boston (ex-From the Depths) on keyboards. Hells Headbangers will soon be releasing their debut two-song EP and today we’re bringing you a stream of the first track:  “The Skaphe of Christ / Rebirth Through Brimstone”.

Shed the Skin took shape when Sorg and Severn played together in a tribute to Cleveland’s Blood of Christ at a memorial show for their friend Tom Rojack (Blood of Christ’s 1993 promo EP included the song “Shed the Skin”), and then decided to forge ahead by recruiting the rest of the band’s impressive line-up.

Dec 022014


(Wil Cifer reviews the debit album by New York City’s Vorde, released last month by Fallen Empire.)

Fallen Empire Records keeps their streak of great black metal alive with Vorde. Vorde are not strangers to the scene, with members in Fell Voices and Ruin Lust. The album opens with  the kind of dark ambience  commonly found with projects on the label’s roster. When the metal erupts it’s fairly straightforward black metal, until the vocals come in.

The vocals are a distant, gurgled moan that hovers over the faster riffs. It sometimes rises into something closer to singing, accented with a punchy rasp. The use of clean vocals set against the dissonance and airy bleakness called forth is similar to Urfaust. At times the singer’s delivery is not unlike Attila’s, as opposed to the singer from Urfaust who has slightly more command to his vocal tone.

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