Mar 182017


I’m in a jam again. This was a busy week for me at my fucking day job, and I had a bunch of personal stuff to deal with that was unrelated to NCS, so I didn’t have time to post any round-ups of new music on top of the other things I did write and edit. I didn’t even have time to make my all of the usual daily forays through our clogged in-box or pay close attention to the music that friends and bands were posting on Facebook.

Even so, when I started listening to new things last night I had a large list of songs to check out. I liked more of those than I’ve got time to write about now. I picked the following five because they make a diverse playlist (and because they’re really good, of course).


I’m beginning with a track that absolutely floored me when I heard it, and it has continued to floor me every time I listen to it again. It’s the final song on an album named Explore the Void by the Finnish band Craneium.

Mar 082017


After a series of well-received shorter releases, Atlanta’s Death of Kings will be releasing their debut album Kneel Before None later this year on CD, with a vinyl pressing to follow. But before we get to that point, Boris Records will be bringing us a Death of Kings single on March 31, and we’ve got the premiere of its title track for you today: “Hell Comes To Life“.

Truer words were never spoken, because this song is explosively hellish, in all the best ways. It’s the kind of turbocharged, obliterating thrash ferocity that may make you want to destroy things, while it’s destroying you.

Feb 162017


On New Year’s Day of this year I posted a large round-up of new music that included brief teasers of music from a vinyl split release by Finland’s Hooded Menace and the Canadian band AlgomA. At that point, release of the split by Doomentia Records had been delayed past its originally scheduled November 2016 release date, but it finally became available at the end of January (and the limited-edition splattered-color version of the vinyl is already sold out), and full streams of both songs are now up on Bandcamp.

The artwork for the split was painted by the Italian maestro Paolo Girardi. My own admiration for his work probably appears slavish to regular readers here, but man, what he did for this split really makes me drool. I’ve ordered the split on vinyl just to be able to hold it in my hands, though I didn’t find out about the vinyl release until too late to grab one of these:

Feb 132017


This is Part 2 of a post I started yesterday and decided to divide because I kind of went overboard with the volume of music. As I explained yesterday, this 2-parter includes streams of two full albums, three full EPs, two singles (I added one since yesterday), and advance tracks from two forthcoming releases. And lots of my words, of course. In the middle, I’ve spliced one very exciting piece of news… which comes first today.


On Friday, Debemur Morti Productions announced that Naas Alcameth, the mastermind behind Nightbringer and Akhlys, has joined the label with a new project named Aoratas, and an album that will be released later this year.

The announcement included a statement by Naas Alcameth that I’m just going to quote in full. I trust I don’t need to explain why this is newsworthy, but if an explanation is needed, I’d simply point you to the stream of The Dreaming I, which I’ve included below the statement.

Feb 122017


I tend to go overboard with the volume of music in these Shades of Black posts, but this one includes even more minutes of listening than usual. In this one you’ll find streams of two full albums, three full EPs, one single, and advance tracks from two forthcoming releases. And lots of my words, of course. In the middle, I’ve also spliced one very exciting piece of news.

Due to the size of this post, I’ve divided it into two parts. Part 2 is almost finished, but because of the volume of music here in Part 1 and in yesterday’s post, I think I’ll wait until first thing tomorrow to unveil it.


Hetroertzen is a Chilean band now based in Sweden. I first discovered them through the music on their last album, 2014’s Ain Soph Aur (which I reviewed at length here). Their new album, Uprising of the Fallen, is now set for release by their new label Listenable Records on February 24.

Feb 082017


Those of you impeccably tasteful metal aficionados who follow my Shades of Black posts know that I was too incapacitated to get one done for last Sunday. So I’m doing one now, although none of the songs collected here was included in what I planned to write about for last Sunday. I discovered all of these since then. I do still plan to complete the write-up I had originally conceived, perhaps later this week or at least for this coming Sunday.


Yesterday, I was reminded about a German label named Einheit Produktionen by seeing their release schedule for the spring. I would have discovered these plans sooner if I’d been paying closer attention to our daily e-mail flood.

In April, Einheit will be discharging the self-titled debut album of a German black metal band named Ferndal, whose influences are described by Einheit as “reaching from Darkthrone to Windir, from Beethoven to Arvo Pärt and from baroque grace to romantic melancholy, within a veil of pure black metal aggression”. Is it any wonder I paused in my scurrying to have a listen to the first teaser of music?

Jan 252017


(TheMadIsraeli prepared this brief review of the new EP by Polarity of Life from Croatia.)

At least in terms of its global profile, Croatia seems to be a very underrepresented part of Europe, given the quality metal that its bands are always producing. Lots of the best aspects of Polish, Finnish, and German metal are fed into a blender, and the result is often killer, as well as something that seems uniquely Croatian.

Polarity Of Life are a Croatian melodic death metal band, of a more deathly, old school sort. The proper majestic, epic, sweeping melodies are present, but they exist amidst a torrid storm of heavyweight haymaker riffing with German weight and Polish military march. Insomnium meets Vader meets Heaven Shall Burn is definitely a fair assessment as references. Beginning/End/Beginning is an impressive sophomore release, and I’m eager to hear more.

Jan 242017


Vitriol have accomplished something remarkable on their first release, in fact so remarkable that it’s going to leave the brains of a certain segment of the listening public spinning around like they’ve been dropped in a blender set to puree. It’s one of the most stunning and stupefying death metal releases I’ve heard in this new year, and I probably won’t hear its equal by year-end. But I must say in the same breath that it may repel all but the most scarred and hardened listeners, the kind of people who (like me) revel in new extremes of noxious but electrifying filth. For those kinds of fans, however, Vitriol have already reach dizzying heights of appalling power.

Vitriol is a two-man operation based in Nuremberg, Germany. They originally released this self-titled debut demo last summer on tape, and now Hellthrasher Productions will expose the music to a wider audience through a CD release on January 27. We’re about to expose you to it with the premiere of a full stream. Prepare yourselves for something completely wild, and uglier than sin.

Jan 122017


(Austin Weber reviews the new album by the Belarusian band Leprous Vortex Sun.)

Try as I might, it’s just not possible to catch every new gem that dropped in 2016, especially among releases that dropped in December, such as the Youdash which Islander covered and I recently covered myself elsewhere. But, since Youdash has been covered here, let’s focus instead on the Belarus black metal band Leprous Vortex Sun, who dropped a terrifying new album on December 21st. Thankfully, my fellow geeky friends often tip me off to stuff like this, so thank you Amir for sharing this with me!

I had to translate the album title (По направлению к Солнцу, плавящему изнутри кости), as it’s originally written in the band’s native tongue using the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, if I’m not mistaken. Roughly translated, what it comes out to in English is: Towards the sun, melting the bones inside. Couple that creepy title with the freakish artwork, and the vibe is set for something grim and otherworldly before you even hit play.

Once you do, it’s a veritable carnival of feverish horror at every turn, mainly consisting of lengthy lumbering songs punctuated by intense chaotic shifts. It poisons you with skin-crawling dissonance masked as “riffs” amidst waves of bestial hoarse screams and growls, while the drumming alternates between a lurch and a full-on weaponised full-throttle assault on a whim. To call this fucked up and deranged-sounding is almost an understatement.

Jan 112017


(This is Todd Manning’s review of the debut EP by Australia’s mysterious Miserist.)

A new year is upon us and there’s no reason to believe we’re not just one more step closer to the carnivorous abyss. No wonder extreme music just gets nastier and more oppressive, the most recent torchbearers coming in the form of the Australian mystery collective Miserist. This self-titled debut EP is a cavern-borne Death/Industrial hybrid, and strangely, considering the style, entirely instrumental. This one facet proves to be most compelling, coming across as a strange absence at first, but then as an abstraction upon repeated listens. The more one listens, the more this one facet opens itself up to speculation about the thought process behind the decision.

For the most part, Miserist alternate between devastating yet obscure slabs of blast-beat-driven Death Metal, often reminiscent of the mighty Portal, and more mid-paced Industrial-fueled sludge. Without vocals, the music becomes both inhuman and weightless; even the most straightforward riffs become atmospheric. And there is a layer of grime and filth overlaying the whole affair as well. The listener is invited to imagine all sorts of post-apocalyptic futures stimulated by their assault.

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