Oct 052015

Scáth Na Déithe-The Horrors of Old


This is the third of three brief reviews I’ve written today for new or forthcoming short releases. In this one the subject is The Horrors of Old — the debut EP released on October 1 by Scáth Na Déithe, a two-man band from Ireland (Cathal Hughes and Stephen Todd).

The EP consists of two long tracks (in the 10-11 minute range) and two short ones (in the range of 1-2 minutes). It does what all debut demos and EPs ideally should do: It displays in a relatively short span of time the capabilities and ideas of the band in a way that’s impressive, consistent, and coherent. And in this case, the EP does that in a way that furnishes a wholly immersive listening experience.

Oct 052015



This is the second of three brief reviews I’ve written for posting today, giving attention to three new or forthcoming short releases that I’ve really been enjoying. This one covers an EP entitled Beautiful and Damned by a Danish band named Slægt, which will be released next month by NecroShrine Records and Iron Bonehead Productions.

I’ve had the advance copy of this EP sitting in my queue of things to listen to for a while, but when I happened to see that BOTH Metal Sucks AND Stereogum’sThe Black Market” column had praised it, I thought I ought to pay attention to it. Because seriously, how often does that confluence of opinion happen?

Beautiful and Damned is Slægt’s first release since their debut black metal album Ildsvanger, which appeared early this year — though the music is apparently quite different from that album (which I haven’t heard), as is the fleshed-out line-up. Though remnants of black metal still adorn this new music, the band have incorporated a fascinating blend of other styles that makes this EP unusual, and unusually good.

Oct 052015

Ruinebell-Ember's Grave


This is the first of three brief reviews I’ve written for posting today, covering three new or forthcoming short releases that I’ve really been enjoying. The subject of this one is an EP entitled Embers’ Grave by Ruinebell from Finland and Spain (released this month by Doomentia).

Ruinebell caught my eye this past summer when they released the first single from this second of their two EPs to date. The band is a collaboration between Lasse Pyykkö (guitars) and Pekka Koskelo (drums) from Finland’s Hooded Menace, and vocalist Dopi from Spain (ex-Machetazo, ex-Dishammer, now playing in Bodybag). And if those names don’t get you interested in Ruinebell, there may be no hope for you.

Oct 022015



Yesterday I began a multi-part collection of new music in a blackened vein. I broke the post into two parts because I had so many new music streams I wanted to recommend. I probably should have broken this post into two parts as well, to make a total of three. But what the hell… As much music as you’ll find here, I hope you’ll find time to at least sample all of it, because it’s all very good and very diverse.


I’ve written before about individual songs on the new self-titled debut album by the French band Maïeutiste (and we premiered one of them), but now the album has been released (by Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions) and all the songs are available for streaming and acquisition on Bandcamp.

Oct 012015



Last night and this morning I engaged in an extended bout of metal listening and found not only a lot of new music I’m anxious to share with you but also some fantastic visual art. By chance, much of what I found is in a blackened vein, and so once again I’ve collected these discoveries in an installment of this irregular Shades of Black series. I have a lot to throw your way, and so it will come in at least two parts, with the other(s) headed your way on our site tomorrow.


It’s not an understatement to say that my NCS comrades and I are huge, slobbering fans of this Norwegian band. Okay… I guess I’m probably the only one who actually slobbers… the others just sweat a lot.

Anyway, I’m excited to spread the news that Vreid have now divulged some additional details about their new album and have also today premiered a video for the album’s title track.

Sep 222015

Human Improvement process-Enemies of the Sun


(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Italy’s Human Improvement Process.)

This has been a bumper year for EPs so far, with several of my favourite releases of 2015 coming in the old Extended Play format…. Barús, Wild Hunt, Sanzu, Pyrrhon, Exgenesis, Barishi, The Monolith Deathcult… the list goes on.

Well, now you can add Italian Tech-Death collective Human Improvement Process to that litany of names above, with their all-killer, no-filler, new EP Enemies of the Sun.

Sep 212015

Grey Widow-Sons of Tonatiuh


This is a review of the just-released split by Grey Widow from somewhere in the southeastern wastes of the UK and Sons of Tonatiuh from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ll take them one at a time, but in a nutshell, this is one hell of a devastating split.


This split comes in the wake of Grey Widow’s debut album last year, a catastrophic sludge/doom behemoth that I thought was brilliantly caustic, corrosive, and crushing. The band contribute two songs to the split, a 10-minute track named “X” and a somewhat shorter one named “Obey”. They’re as utterly obliterating as anything else I’ve heard this year.

The three minutes of inexorable pounding and excruciating feedback that launches “X” may put your teeth on edge, but the absolutely staggering riffs that follow may knock them into your throat. It’s the titanic, fuzz-drenched sound of buildings collapsing in slow motion and bone being pulverized into dust. The vocalist shrieks for all he’s worth in the background of the destruction — and though all this noise is ghastly enough, it still doesn’t completely prepare you for what happens when the band really start storming about halfway through the song.

Sep 152015



(DGR reviews the new EP by the French band Psygnosis.)

Psygnosis are a band whom we’ve crossed paths with before. They’re a multi-talented group of Frenchmen whose music plays heavily with the experimental while also fusing death metal, -core, and industrial elements into their overall sound. Their music ranges into the epic, with tracks easily lasting longer than eight minutes, and between the band’s two EPs and two full-length releases, they have grown impressively good at telling a story.

2014’s Human Be[ing] saw the band at their best up to that point, interweaving film clips with dramatic passages of music and heavy, thundering sections of metal. They often used ambience in their favor, leaving whole sections of their songs feeling empty but for a couple of guitar and synth notes and occasional whispered vocal lines echoing out into the ether.

Since Human Be[ing], though, the group have gone through some lineup changes. They’ve seen the full exit of their vocalist and have made a shift toward instrumental music, adding a cellist in their vocalist’s stead to pick up the melodies that were once provided by human voice, and freeing the cellist to come to the forefront with his own creations. A cello has been present in Psygnosis‘ music before, but the recently released EP AAliens is the first time the band have recorded with their new lineup, with new music, and with said cellist at the forefront.

Sep 042015

All Hell-The Red Sect


My trip to Alaska for my fucking day job proved to be a quick one. I got back home to Seattle late last night, about 36 hours after I left. If I’d had any sense, I would have gone right to bed. Instead, I spent time listening to new music, following up on links that friends sent me. And now here I am, five hours of sleep later, pecking on my keyboard about what I heard. By chance, what I enjoyed the most were songs in the vein of black metal, and so we have another Shades of Black collection. As usual, the music is quite diverse.


My friend and NCS contributor Leperkahn messaged me about the promo of a new album by a band named All Hell that he had just received, with these words:  “Trust me when I say stop whatever you’re doing and listen to it, or at least the track at this link, immediately”.

Sep 022015



In its original incarnation, Manes was one of the primordial Norwegian black metal bands, a two-man group consisting of instrumentalist Cernunnus and vocalist Sargatanas who released their first three demos in 1993-1995, followed by their 1999 debut album Under Ein Blodraud Maane. As the years passed, Sargatanas parted company with the band and Manes transformed into a very different musical entity, as manifested on 2003’s Vilosophe, 2007’s How the World Came To An End, and last year’s Be All End All.

Yet while Manes followed its own course into avant garde and electronica territory, Sargatanas and Cernunnus reunited to form the band Manni, which released their debut album Kolaps in 2013. Manni have been at work on a second full-length that’s projected for release in a few months, but in the meantime Debemur Morti Productions has just released (yesterday) a new Manii EP entitled Skuggeheimen — and it is a return to Manes’ black metal roots in more ways than one.

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