Feb 052016



(KevinP reviews two Florida shows this week by Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris as part of their in-progress U.S. tour.)

I always bemoan the fact that Florida gets the shaft when it comes to tours, whether it’s from US bands or groups from the rest of the world. So when Ne Obliviscaris announced they were coming to Florida, for not 1 but 2 shows, I was tickled pink (to say the least).

Anyone who has known me for more than 5 seconds is aware I have no interest in Butcher Babies or Cradle of Filth, but hey, you can’t really expect a new band on their first US tour flying over from Australia to do a headline jaunt right off the bat.

Upon further inspection of the tour dates, there was a gap in the schedule, conveniently due to the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise leaving out of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, February 4th, and returning on Monday, February 8th.

Feb 032016

Defeated Sanity tour


(Austin Weber provides this review of performances by Defeated Sanity, Iniquitous Savagery, and Iniquitous Deeds in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 1.)

Seeing as this was the first metal show I was able to attend in 2016, I figured I should cover it. While I didn’t have my usual NCS photographer pal Nik Vechery with me, or a borrowed camera as I’ve used before, the photos my friend and I got of a few bands at least gives you something to look at. I mainly just wanted to discuss my impressions and thoughts about my two favorite bands of the night.

I had to pick up a friend on the way, so we ended up missing Abominant and most of Cryptic Hymn. I know NCS contributor Grant Skelton is really into Cryptic Hymn, and I thought they sounded pretty good live! But I didn’t get a picture of them either. So the review will sort of start with the third band to go on, Iniquitous Deeds.

Jan 202016

Black Dahlia Murder European Tour 2016


(Andy Synn reviews the performances of The Black Dahlia Murder and Benighted in Nottingham, England, on January 17, 2016.)

Sunday night did not quite go as planned for me this week. As I’m still a bit under the weather after my recent travels and travails in Central America, my original intention was just to have a quiet night in to rest and recharge my batteries. However, out of the blue I received an invite from my good friend Gary (of Bite Radius Designs fame) to come out and see his boys in Benighted supporting The Black Dahlia Murder. Originally I was going to demur, but after I received a message saying “you’re on the guest list”… well, it would have been rude not to go!

To be fair, although I’m a bigger fan of TBDM than I am of Benighted, I definitely enjoy both bands a hell of a lot and, in hindsight, I would probably have severely regretted not going if I’d wussed out and stayed home.

So this review goes out to Gary and Julien for getting me off my ass and out to the show. Much appreciated guys!

Jan 192016



(Wil Cifer reviews the Atlanta stop of the “Chaos Raids Tour”, featuring performances by 1349 and Tombs.)

Cvlt Nation’s “Chaos Raids” tour is the darkest metal line-up on the road so far this year. Featuring two bands I have wanted to see for some time, Tombs and 1349, served as enough of a motivating factor to force me out of the house, since this fell on the day David Bowie died. It served as catharsis, as all good metal shows should.

We got to the Basement in the hipster-infested East Atlanta Village a little late, so we missed the local opener, blackened death metallers Vimur, and Full of Hell, who I had already seen with Mutilation Rites.

Dec 212015

Gorgoroth show Sound Control


(Andy Synn wrote this report on the recent live performances of Gorgoroth, Kampfar, Gehenna, De Profundis, and The Negation in Manchester, UK.)

Precisely one week ago today (or just over one week ago, depending on when this get published) I was lucky enough to see the legendary Gorgoroth, Kampfar, and Gehenna play as part of a triple-header of True Norwegian Black Metal, supported by rising progressive extremists De Profundis, and up-and-coming French nihilists The Negation (whose new album, Memento Mori, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about).

To say this was a stacked line-up would be an understatement, particularly considering that both Kampfar and Gorgoroth are riding high on the back of a pair of killer new albums. The only downside to the evening was the early door time (5pm?!) to allow for sufficient time for all five bands to strut their metallic stuff.

But ultimately that was a small price to pay for an evening filled with such a smorgasbord of diabolical thrills!

Nov 302015


(Wil Cifer penned these reviews of three November shows in Atlanta, Georgia.)

Here’s a snapshot of metal onstage and in the flesh. Over the course of the past week I caught three different metal shows at three different venues with the genres spanning from industrial to thrash to black metal.

The first of these was almost on the periphery of what most might consider metal when Author & Punisher played The Earl, a hipster dive bar with a venue in the back.

We arrived just in time to catch the Portland duo Muscle and Marrow. Never really gave their last studio album The Human Cry the time to immerse myself in it, but their live show changed the way I think of them. There are metal elements to what they do, but I would not call them a metal band. Even then, of the three shows, I would say they were the most emotionally heavy band of the week. This was channeled in a very honest physical manner. Singer/ guitarist Kira Clark’s voice goes from an almost black-metal-like scathing scream to a vulnerable soprano. The duo implemented samples and layers of vocals triggered from a laptop off stage, but in comparison to Author & Punisher they were very organic.

Nov 132015

Damnation Festival 2015


(Andy Synn provides this report on the 2015 edition of Damnation Festival in the UK.)

It’s been a few years now since I last attended Damnation Festival, the annual celebration of all things dark and metallic hosted (as always) at Leeds University Student’s Union. But this year I knew I simply couldn’t miss it, as not only were a number of my favourite bands playing (hello Sólstafir, hi there Primordial) but also two bands I’ve been a fan of since their very first albums, but whom I’d never actually managed to see live before (The Ocean, Altar of Plagues).

Oh, and some band named At The Gates. Who are apparently pretty famous or something.

Oct 192015

Witch Mountain Band Photo


(Grant Skelton provides both an audio stream of his recent interview with Witch Mountain vocalist Kayla Dixon and a review of their show in Memphis on October 7.)

Witch Mountain are currently on the Blackest Of The Black Tour with Veil Of Maya, Prong, Superjoint, and Danzig. Prior to the band’s set at Minglewood Hall in Memphis on October 7, I had an opportunity to sit down with the band’s new vocalist, Kayla Dixon. We discussed vocal training, the band’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Sleeping Village”, and progress on the band’s next album. Stream the interview here on Soundcloud, courtesy of Local X Radio (localxradio.com):

Oct 162015



(Andy Synn attended the performances of Ulcerate, Bell Witch, and Ageless Oblivion in Nottingham, England, on October 11 and turns in this report, with his own videos of the show.)

Though my erstwhile compatriots may have been attending the sun and shenanigans of California Deathfest without me last weekend (seriously, where was my invite? I thought we were friends!?!) that doesn’t mean that yours truly was without suitably metallic diversions of my own, as I was lucky enough to bear witness to the titanic Death Metal maelstrom known as Ulcerate rolling through my town, leaving a trail of shattered lives and lacerated ear-drums in its wake.

The story gets even better though, as the New Zealend three-piece were accompanied on their pilgrimage of pain by gloom-heavy doomsters (and perennial NCS darlings) Bell Witch and uber-riff-mongers Ageless Oblivion (whose album Penthos I picked as one of my absolute favourite releases of last year).

Not only that but the venue they played, The Chameleon, is the sort of intimate, DIY place that packs a lot of character, and a frankly massive soundsystem, into a very small space, meaning there’s nowhere to hide from the overwhelming onslaught of sonic punishment unleashed by the bands.

You know how an explosion that occurs in an enclosed space is ten times more devastating than one that occurs out in the open? Well that sums up the night quite nicely.

Oct 152015



(A long time has passed — two years and 11 months to be exact — since we last featured the writing of Kaptain Carbon at our site, but he has returned with this review of the first Shadow Woods Metal Festival, which took place on September 25-27, 2015, in White Hall, Maryland. All photographs in this post, most of which appear at the end of the review, were taken by Kaptain Carbon as well. Kaptain Carbon writes for Tape Wyrm (http://tapewyrmmetal.com/) and Hollywood Metal (http://hollywoodmetal.com/author/kaptaincarbon/) and also moderates Reddit’s metal subreddit r/metal.)

There were many things to be excited about at Shadow Woods Festival. First and foremost, it was a metal festival in a remote campground outside of Baltimore. While not the only outdoor metal festival, Shadow Woods offered an opportunity for America to mimic an event that Europe has done for decades. This was the inaugural event for a team of promoters and record labels who had little experience in hosting someting of this size and interest level. Second, the weather was supposed to be gorgeous and, for the cooling months of early autumn, in the low ’60s in temperature, a perfect time to feel the chill of heavy metal.

Upon arriving, the entrance to the camp was signaled by a printed flyer duct-taped to a cone, obscured by a bush. Another sign pointing in the direction of the festival was propped against a decorative bench in front of a remote house with a manicured lawn. Camp Hidden Valley usually plays host to numerous day camps for children, with its scariest events being schlocky haunted trails during Halloween. Other than that, Camp Hidden Valley offers educational programs for the Boys and Girls Club serving the greater Baltimore area. For the last weekend in September, however, more than 200 metal fans and adventurous spirits were sprawled throughout its 180 acres to celebrate darkness and fair weather chaos.

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