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.

Dec 262017


I hope everyone had a good Christmas Day, even if the day itself is nothing special to you. As you may have seen, NCS was alive and kicking despite the holiday, with three premieres yesterday. And we’ll continue to kick for the rest of the week with a rollout of more year-end lists by NCS contributors and invited guests, plus assorted other posts.

I wasn’t able to get a SHADES OF BLACK post done for Sunday, but it’s coming soon… and may be a two-parter, because there’s a lot I want to write about. But to start the six days that remain before New Year’s Eve, I selected three recent songs and one new EP that sound like the antithesis of peace on earth, good will toward men, because I can only take so many demonstrably impotent platitudes of that nature before I have to dose myself with flesh-eating music.


The consumption of flesh commences with a track from Catacombs, the new third album by the German harbingers of total death in Atomwinter. The album will be released by Trollzorn on February 9 (digital, CD, and gatefold LP). And isn’t that a hellishly fantastic album cover?

Dec 222017


After a nearly two-week vacation in which I blogged very little, I returned to Seattle late last week and was promptly slammed by my fucking day job, unforeseen personal obligations, bad weather, and a whole bunch of NCS articles to write or edit, including the continuation of our LISTMANIA series, interviews, reviews, and a bunch of premieres. I can’t really say I need another vacation already… but I kind of do.

Anyway, I haven’t written one of these round-ups in 12 days, and I’m way behind in even listening to all the new songs that have appeared since my vacation began 19 days ago. I started working on this collection early this week but decided to include a couple of songs that have appeared more recently. I hope to do more catch-up round-ups this weekend, including a Sunday SHADES OF BLACK feature, because holidays don’t mean shit around here.


Roughly four and a half years after their last album, Pestilence will release a new one via Hammerheart Records named Hadeon, and earlier this week Hammerheart previewed the album with a single called “Multi Dimensional“. It didn’t take long for my NCS comrade TheMadIsraeli to send me an alert about the song, wth a positive message.

Dec 212017


It’s fair to say that Caligari Records has had a banner fucking year in 2017, releasing extremely well-received albums and EPs by such bands as Rope Sect, Boia, Devoid of Thought, Ziggurat, Shaman Ritual, Uttertomb, Funeralium, and Amnutseba (among others). But the year isn’t (quite) over yet, and Caligari has one more release for us, one that will help bring the year to an end in a pile of smoking rubble. And that one last release is the second EP by the Finnish grinders Sonic Poison, which it’s our pleasure to premiere on its release date — which is today!

Entitled Combat Grind, this is Sonic Poison’s second release, following their 2016 debut (also released by Caligari), Harsh Demonstration…, and it reveals the work of a band who have surged ahead to new heights of mauling destructiveness.

Dec 132017


(Norway-based writer Karina Noctum reviews the new EP by Sweden’s Mist of Misery, set for December 15 release by Black Lion Records.)

I have kept an eye on Mist of Misery ever since I listened to Absence, which was released in 2016. I spent that year focused on Black Metal. I remember it was after a painful journey through lots of underground bands who were too simple and pretty basic that I finally found Absence. I enjoyed the excellent song structures, as well as how they handled the changing moods, and really liked the drumming as well.

After Absence they released Shackles of Life last summer, and a song from that EP was premiered here. The EP wasn’t reviewed, but I can blame it on me being busy and 2017 being a year where Death Metal consumed me; I was pretty much in the Neanderthal spectrum of metal things.

Now MoM are releasing a new EP called Fields of Isolation though the Swedish label Black Lion Records from Umeå, and I couldn’t let it pass without reviewing it:

Dec 062017


(Here’s DGR’s review of the new EP by Kunstzone.)

Kunstzone, the hybrid industrial death metal project of musicans Alex Rise of Tyrant Of Death and Psychotic Pulse and Khaozone’s Candy, is a group that we — mostly me, though I’m sure I’ve fooled Islander into writing at least one blurb about them — have been banging the drum about for a little while now.

The group, a fusion of the two musicians’ love of all things abrasively electronic, alongside a wall-of-sound production style on the guitars and drums, has had the band veering closer and closer to Anaal Nathrakh territory than most groups. They have a handful of releases to their name, among them the full releases Eschaton Discipline and The Art Of Making The Earth Uninhabitable. While the artists behind Kunstzone have been more than happy to hide themselves behind a joking veneer of being Star Trek: TNG crew members, the music released can be described as anything but fun.

Dec 042017


(This is Andy Synn’s review of an unusual new release composed and performed by… well, you’ll find out.)

Over the weekend some of you may have seen, although doubtless many of you didn’t, a story popping up here and there about an AI algorithm writing a “mindblowing” Black Metal (or Death Metal… the reporting is, as you might expect, a little muddled in this regard) album called Coditany of Timeness.

And while, from a purely musical perspective, Coditany… is really more of an EP than an album, and unlikely to be bothering anyone’s End of Year list, from a scientific standpoint it’s still a fascinating experiment in machine-learning and creativity, and one which I felt deserved some coverage here at NCS.

Dec 032017


Slightly more than two years ago we had the pleasure of premiering a crushing track from Calmness of Resolve, the very impressive second album by The Weir from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And now we’re helping spread the word about the band’s new EP, Detached, which is being released today on tape and as a digital download on Bandcamp.

Calmness of Resolve was a staggering experience, projecting panoramic vistas of blasted landscapes and dragging the listener into deep sinkholes of congealing tar, casting spells of forlorn and heart-aching beauty but also rolling like a massive tank attack, and sometimes bringing down the house (and its foundations) in cataclysms of soul-crushing destructiveness. It was (and is) a sludge/doom powerhouse that should not be missed.

But with Detached, The Weir seem to be even more whole-heartedly committed to methodically beating their listeners into a slurry of fractured bone and jellied organs. It’s as heavy and despairing as anything you’re likely to find in this bleak winter season.

Nov 292017


(Our ally Gorger from Norway returns to NCS with an even half-dozen underground gems from 2017 that we haven’t previously reviewed. To find more of his recommendations, type “Gorger” in our search bar or visit Gorger’s Metal.)


In an attempt at getting up to speed, I’m presenting no fewer than six releases. Short ones the lot of them. Mostly EPs, but also a split and a single. Last time around, I made the error of including a formerly presented release. To make sure I don’t do the same mistake again, I start off by doing the same mistake deliberately this time.

Nov 282017


(DGR turned in this review of the new release by the Austrian death merchants in Mastic Scum.)

It has been four years since the release of the full-length disc CTRL by the Austrian death metal (and self-described grind-influenced) machine Mastic Scum. The album, which saw the band moving further into the realm of chunk-filled groove and saw-blade-sharp death metal riffs, was reviewed on NCS way after its release, though we had covered it in the lead-up.

Mastic Scum’s discography has a pattern of large gaps between full-,lengths, usually supplemented by a collection of splits and EPs, and in their case even a live DVD entitled Rage. However, the end of October brought us the release of the group’s new EP, Defy, providing a brief transmission of sound from the otherwise shadow-cloaked world through which Mastic Scum move.

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