Jan 192018


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the Austrian band Harakiri For the Sky, which will be released by AOP Records on February 16th.)

If you’re a long-time follower of the site you may have picked up on an ongoing war of words between some of our writers about how to properly categorise the music of the Austrian duo Harakiri for the Sky.

And while I agree that how you choose to describe their sound doesn’t directly affect the quality of their material one iota, I still think it’s important that we use the right terms and the right language when writing about the band (or any band), as it can definitely have an effect on how people judge and perceive them.

All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that Arson is one damn fine slab of punchy, pulse-quickening Melodeath… and I won’t hear a single word to the contrary!

Jan 172018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Spanish metal band Neter.)


Legacy… that’s a word which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The legacy that some bands leave, and the legacy to which all bands belong.

And it does seem, from my admittedly limited perspective, that the idea of legacy is considered to be more important in the Metal scene than most, what with our differentiation and delineation of “Old School vs New”, and our preoccupation with categorising various genres (and sub-genres) into historical “waves”.

Not that any of this is a bad thing, by the way. If anything it always helps to know where you come from, in whose footsteps you might be following, and on whose shoulders you currently stand.

It’s why pretty much every Metal band, no matter how “extreme” they might be, owes a significant debt to Slayer or Metallica, and are part of a legacy tracing its origins not just from Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, but also from Blues and Rock and Roll and from a host of other acts and artists and musical styles down through the ages.

Jan 152018


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Norway’s Horizon Ablaze, which will be released on February 17th by Leviatan/Diger.)

Ever since Emperor first semi-reformed for their ongoing series of reunion shows people have been asking them about the possibility of a new album. And while this, in itself, isn’t all that surprising, the band’s forthright comments about how that’s never going to happen have been rather refreshing.

As Ihsahn himself has said multiple times, any new album would have to be a product of both his and Samoth’s different writing styles, and the two of them have since diverged so much – one leaning more and more towards pure Prog, the other delving ever deeper into more deathly waters – that finding some sort of consensus or common ground that still actually represented the Emperor sound, would be almost impossible.

But… if they ever did produce a sequel to Prometheus I would imagine it wouldn’t sound a million miles away from the extravagant, expressive extremity of The Weight of a Thousand Suns.

Jan 122018


(The solo artist behind the Swedish black metal band PanPhage has declared that the new album Jord will be the last Panphage record (for reasons discussed in this interview). It is being released today via Nordvis Produktion, and here we present Norway-based Karina Noctum’s review.)


Panphage is a Black/Folk one-man band from Sweden. Jord, the latest album, and the last one, comes two years after the release of the full-length Storm. The cover picture of Jord is from some Swedish autumnal landscape. The title of the album translates to “soil”. Most of the song titles are related to the soil/earth theme, e.g. (as translated), “Silent mountain ridge”, “Unsown shall the fields grow”, all revolving around heritage and the earth’s cycle of life and death.

The beginning of “Odalmarkerna” (cultivated fields) reminds me a bit of Iron Maiden actually. But as the album develops, the folk elements become more and more blackened. The album has an atmosphere, an old one. Especially the guitar and drum sound bring the ’90s black metal feeling back quite often. The Bergen scene comes definitely to mind here.

Jan 092018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the debut EP by The Predecessors from the UK.)


It’s a simple fact that not every band knocks it out of the park on their first try. And, in today’s high-speed, high-attrition digital world – where a thousand new releases are just a few keystrokes away, and new bands have to crawl and scrabble and claw for even the merest scrap of attention – it’s all too easy for an otherwise talented young band to slip between the cracks simply because they don’t quite have all their pieces in the right place yet.

Which is very nearly what happened with Nottingham quintet The Predecessors and their debut EP, Rot.

Jan 052018


The sounds of Doom are as manifold and multi-faceted as a garden of night-blooming flowers, some alluringly beautiful and some poisonous, some that tower and some so seemingly incorporeal that your hand might pass through them as if through a mist. The sound of the French band Mhönos, as captured in their new album LXXXVII, is the sound of nightmare, the sound of oppression and paralysis, the sound of derangement and death in a freezing void. It is the incantation for an unsettling trance that haunts the mind for hours after its final silence.

The album is being released on CD and DLP by Dead Seed Productions and on tape by Zanjeer Zani, and today we are premiering the album through a stream from Bandcamp, where it is also now available.

Jan 052018


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Portuguese band Sinistro, released today by Season of Mist.)


Is it just me or… are we undergoing something of a Doom renaissance right now?

I may be somewhat late to the party in acknowledging this – explicitly at least – but it definitely seems to me that the last 6-12 months have seen a real resurgence of interest in the style, bolstered by a plethora of truly spectacular releases running the gamut from the more gothic end of the spectrum, all the way to the groaning weight of the most crushing Funeral Doom, via the brooding misery of the always-welcome Peaceville sound…. with little sign that this slow-moving tide is starting to slacken off or ebb.

But, with albums as good as Sangue Cássia still coming out, why would we want it to?

Jan 052018


Hellish God may be a relatively new name in the annals of death metal, but one need not be clairvoyant to predict that it’s a name which will spread like wildfire, much like their particular brand of musical brutality blazes like a hellish bonfire. Their debut album is The Evil Emanations, and it’s set for release on Monday, January 8th, by the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records — but we’re giving you a chance to hear all of it today. If you were thinking of blasting your weekend to smithereens and burning what’s left of it to the ground, you’ve come to the right place.

Hellish God’s line-up includes current and former members of such bands as Antropofagus, Imposer, and Mindful Of Pripyat, and this new album (which follows their 2016 EP, Impure Spiritual Forces) is conceptually focused on the Qlipoth — “metaphorical shells which represent evil spiritual forces in the Jewish mysticism”. The music embraces a particular kind of old-school death metal sound that’s recommended for fans of Azarath, Rebaelliun, Centurian, Krisiun, and Abhorrence.

Jan 032018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Watain, which is slated for release on January 5 by Century Media.)


There once was a band named Watain
Whose music and gimmick became
Extremely divisive
They dressed up like bikers
And from it reaped “fortune” and fame

Ok, so the above limerick may not be 100% accurate, but I think it gets the broad strokes right for the most part. But perhaps, for an album as important (and potentially provocative) as this one, some more context is needed?

Jan 022018


This is the second part of a post I began here on the last day of the old year, delayed by one day so that I could recover from a cataclysmic hangover produced by unforeseen New Year’s Eve revels; the old year died, and then I felt as if I had, too.

I’ve collected streams of six albums here, all of them released in December or November, accompanied by nothing that would justify the term “review”, only a few inadequate words of description and praise that I hope will induce you to explore the music. This won’t be the last of my efforts to catch up with music released last year, though inevitably we’ll start paying increasing amounts of attention to the march of metal in 2018.


Andy Synn already included this record on his listing of 2017’s “Great Albums”, and it recently appeared on Brendan Sloan’s list (here) as an Honorable Mention — but only because he thought it would be greedy to put more than one Alex Poole project in his Top 17 list (the other being Chaos Moon). Yet despite this attention, both at NCS and elsewhere, I wanted to give my own nudge to those who haven’t yet heard Without Veil, Nor Self.

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