Mar 142018


We were told that the Canadian band Witchtrip includes all the members of Winnipeg’s Occvlt Hand other than the vocalist — so, basically the same band with a different singer. That was reason enough to check out the two tracks on Witchtrip’s debut EP, Cosmic Cauldron, because we were big fans of Occvlt Hand’s 2017 album, Not Everyone Deserves A Happy Ending. We gleefully premiered a track from that album, and put that same track on our list of 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

Now, one would expect that Witchtrip’s music would be different from Occvlt Hand’s, despite the significant overlap in members. Otherwise, why choose a different name? And in fact, the music is quite different. And perhaps it should also come as no surprise that the music is nevertheless really, really good — as you’re about to discover for yourselves through our premiere of Cosmic Cauldron in advance of its release on March 16th by Possessed Records.

Mar 132018


(A guest writer, who we shall call Conchobar, and who has been a source of excellent recommendations to our hapless editor, returns to NCS with this review of the new album by the Nova Scotian band Ulvesang, which will be released on March 16th).


If metal has a sense memory, an auditory genealogy that really hearkens and calls upon us almost somatically, subconsciously, its True Name surely falls under the lunar auspice of “folk”.

Despite pretensions of elitism and subgenre supremacism that contaminate a lot of the current would-be politico-rhetoric in metal, this art form, both in composition and inspiration, has always been one built from solidarity in solipsism: we are people, alone, together. These roots are almost proto-human: more than us, beyond us, before us.

That essence, the axiomatic foundation of what draws us in to listen to music by blazing hearths or over beers, has been tapped eloquently and elegantly on Ulvesang’s sophomore album, The Hunt.

Mar 122018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Rivers of Nihil, which will be released by Metal Blade on March 16th.)

For all that we try to always pursue a positive approach to reviewing here at NCS, there’s still something to be said for maintaining a certain amount of critical distance from your subject. After all, there’s a surprisingly thin line preventing a positive critique from becoming what is, essentially, an unpaid press release and, if you’re not very careful, it’s easy to accidentally cross over from one to the other.

Case in point, if you’ve been paying attention to the profusion of hyperbole and half-baked philosophising which has preceded the release of this album you might well have come away with the impression that Where Owls Know My Name is something akin to a cross between the second coming of Jesus and the splitting of the atom.

And while it’s definitely a very good record, statements describing it as “a paradigm shift in Death Metal” or “a watershed moment in the history of the genre” have a tendency to come across as, at best, ingratiatingly insincere or, at worst, shamelessly sycophantic, and often say a lot more about the wilful ignorance or parochial listening habits of the writer than they do about the album itself.

But although the much-vaunted “new” elements on this album aren’t strictly “new” to Death/Extreme Metal – the use of saxophone may be uncommon, but it’s far from unheard of, while Rivers of Nihil are far from the first band to incorporate proggy clean vocals and atmospheric touches into their sound in this manner – what’s most important to focus on here is what these elements represent, which is a band clearly intent on pushing forward and evolving no matter what.

Mar 092018


(Today, Xtreem Music is reissuing the 1993 debut album of the Florida death metal band Killing Addiction, and to celebrate, we’re presenting Todd Manning’s review.)

It’s amazing how an album can transport you back in time, evoking crystal clear memories of your past, especially when you haven’t even heard it before. That’s exactly what happened to me when I listened to Killing Addiction’s Omega Factor, which is being reissued by Xtreem Music on March 9th. By midway through the first song, I was already reminiscing about when my first Death Metal band used to practice in my parent’s garage, and about our first show, which occurred mere weeks before this album originally hit the streets in the spring of 1993.

What these Floridians produced was a great marriage of the Death Metal of their own region mixed with New York Death Metal, full of intense grooves (which would go out of fashion within a couple of years), and a peppering of Thrash-holdover riffs, even sneaking in the occasional blast beat here or there.

Mar 092018


(Today, Debemur Morti Productions releases the new album by the French band Eryn Non Dae., and to help spread the word we’re presenting a full stream of the album along with the following review by Andy Synn.)

A quick google search for Eryn Non Dae. will likely tell you two things.

One, that the band apparently don’t deserve an entry on Metal Archives, despite having two (now three) extremely impressive albums under their collective belt.

And, two, that the most common genre tag applied to their music is that most nebulous of all descriptors, the dreaded “Post Metal”.

But while I can’t do anything about the former (MA’s arcane, and somewhat consistent, criteria for inclusion are beyond my control), I can definitely do something to correct – or at least, amend – the latter.

Mar 072018


(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the third album by the Finnish band Totalselfhatred, which will be released on April 27th by Osmose Productions.)


Depressive Suicidal Black Metal was never going to be the next big thing in metal. It was however a nice dark and emotive break from a steady diet of blast beats. Chances are, if you are reading this review you don’t need a refresher course in this sub-genre. You also are aware that this band from Finland occupied the top tier of the genre along with Shining and Lifelover.

While not pulling the numbers in terms of record sales that Shining has, they are arguably the keenest of musicians when it comes to making this style of music. There is plenty of evidence on Apocalypse In Your Heart (2011) to support this, making it the album against which their newest release is going to be measured.

Mar 062018


Metamorphosphoros is one of those rare splits in which the participating bands collaborated in the creation of a conceptually integrated sequence of songs, in this case a musical vision that’s devoted to “Theion“, the divine fires of transformation — the medium for a purifying immolation of the self, bringing about a Descent into the abyss, and an Ascent and eternal Transcendence through Death.

The participants in this album-length cathartic experience are three underground black metal bands from different countries: Precaria (Mexico), Deathspiral of Inherited Suffering (U.S.), and Dominus Ira (Russia). The album will be released by the distinctive I, Voidhanger Records on March 30, and today we’re fortunate to host the premiere of one of the album’s ten tracks — an offering by Deathspiral of Inherited Suffering (“DIS“) entitled “Bliss Inferno / Le Grand Néant“.

Mar 062018


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Australia’s Mournful Congregation, which will be released on March 23 by 20 Buck Spin (North America) and Osmose Productions (Europe).)

I am noticing a trend in metal this year with bands who are cult icons in their respective sub-genres moving in more streamlined and accessible directions. Perhaps these bands at this place in their careers felt this was needed. This is evident right from the opening melody of this Australian band’s newest release.

This offers a much lighter shade of sonic splendor than what moved Mournful Congregation’s 2011 release The Book of Kings. Their 2011 album is what this album must measure up to for me. The Book Kings caught me up with a more emotional majesty in my initial listen to it. They have offered glimpses of their former glory leading in to this album.

Mar 052018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Houston-based Oceans of Slumber, which has just been released by Century Media Records.)

If there’s one thing that’s immediately obvious about Oceans of Slumber, it’s that they’re an easy band to love.

The band’s intricate but engrossing song-writing style, topped off with the truly awe-inspiring vocals of Cammie Gilbert, and fuelled by the prodigious drumming talents of Dobber Beverley, makes for a formidable formula for success, and the general response to both their previous album, Winter, and their newest release, has been one of almost unmitigated praise.

But while the band’s potent blend of ability, ambition, and peerless passion, certainly makes it difficult to criticise them… it doesn’t make it impossible.

Because, as great as it is, The Banished Heart isn’t flawless.

Mar 052018


Sorg is the debut album of the Danish black metal band Afsky, and it is a penetrating and devastating exploration of varying shades of sorrow. It will be released on CD and digitally by Vendetta Records on March 9, with a vinyl edition scheduled for April 7 — but we have a full stream of the album for you now.

For those who may be new to Afsky, it is the solo project of Ole Luk, who is also a member of the Danish black metal band Solbrud. Fittingly, the name he chose for this project means “disgust” or “detest” in Danish, though as you’ll discover, the emotional resonance of the music embraces other powerful feelings as well.

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