Oct 192014

According to The Font of All Human Knowledge:

Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country’s aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride; for the symphonic cycle Má vlast (“My Homeland”), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer’s native land; and for his First String Quartet, From My Life.

“My Fatherland” is described as a cycle of six symphonic poems. Interestingly, according to the article quoted above, it was composed after illness had rendered Smetana completely deaf in both ears. The second part of the cycle is entitled “Vltava” and it was finished in late 1874. As the article explains, it was named for, and inspired by, “the river that runs through Prague towards its junction with the Elbe [and] is Smetana’s best-known and most internationally popular orchestral composition”.

And why, you may ask, am I writing about Smetana and “Vltava“? Because the Czech black metal band Cult of Fire have recorded a two-song EP dedicated to the composer and will be releasing it on 7″ vinyl through Iron Bonehead Productions on the 140th anniversary of Smetana’s completion of “Vltava“: December 8, 2014. This is the band’s fourth studio release overall, and thus it’s entitled Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně (The Fourth Symphony of Fire), with cover art created by David Glomba.

Oct 182014


I’ve included in this post reviews of two new short releases that I strongly recommend to lovers of infernal music.


This five-person German black metal band whose members don’t publicize their identities released a 2009 demo (With Burning Tongues), an EP (Fire and Faith) in 2010, and then a full-length album (Consolamentum) later the same year. After the passage of nearly four years, they have now returned with a two-song release named Deathless Light that the World Terror Committee will release on Samhain (October 31).

Of the two songs on this release, both of which are long, the title track will appear on a forthcoming full-length album, while the second — “Garden of Stone” — was recorded exclusively to this release. Both songs are tremendously effective in creating atmospheres that are staggeringly heavy, grim, and often sorrowful — yet they are both charged with energy and passion, and the mainly clear production only magnifies their black power.

Oct 162014


About 10 days ago we had the pleasure of premiering (here) a lyric video for “The Final Outcome”, the title track to a new EP by a Roman band named Black Therapy. Today we’re bringing you the official stream of the entire EP in advance of its official release tomorrow — preceded by this review.

There are four tracks on the EP, three of them original songs and one of them a cover. I already wrote about the title song that it was one of the most satisfying injections of Gothenburg-style melodic death metal I’d heard all year, and that turns out to be true of the second track as well, “Black Crow”.

Both songs are high-voltage gallops, with jolting verse riffs, sweeping choruses, and the kind of rapidly swirling lead guitar melodies that may cause you to form your hands into claws and lift them toward the heavens — while you bang your head like a crazy person.

Oct 162014

I’m still more than 2,500 miles from home as a result of the old fucking day job, with precious little time to call my own, but I did take some breaks last night and early this morning, just long enough too explore three short releases that I’ve been meaning to check out. All of them are good, all of them are on Bandcamp, and all of them are either wholly or partly in the realms of black metal.


I can’t remember which of my Facebook friends linked to this two-song EP, but whoever you are, thank you.

Jøtnarr are a three-man group from Colchester, England, and the title of that two-song EP, which is their most recent release (from December 2013), is Divide the Growth and Stone. Last month they were featured as “Band of the Day” at Terrorizer (here), along with an interview by Kez Whelan, and that may have been how my FB friend stumbled upon them.

Oct 152014


I learned about Finland’s Less Than Three through an e-mail from my old web friend fireangel (Night Elves), who for many years has made it her mission to focus on and spread the word about Finnish music.

The band started as a bedroom project of one Jesse Soiletsalo (ex-Medicated) in 2010, but in time he recruited quite an impressive line-up of allies to record the music he had composed: drummer Samuli Mikkonen (Profane Omen), vocalist Tommy Tuovinen (MyGrain), bass-player Pyry Hanski (ex-Before the Dawn, Mörbid Vomit), and second guitarist Ari-Pekka Repo (ex-Murdershock).

They recorded a self-titled EP and released it in March 2013, and this month they’ve released a second one, entitled The Black Box, with vicious cover art by Jussi Salolainen – or at least they’ve released it for listening. Announcements about a physical or digital release are yet to come.

Oct 142014


We’ve thrown an unusually large number of recommended songs, videos, and releases your way today, but we’re still not finished. In this post you’ll find a review and a music stream of an EP I recently discovered that made quite a strong impression. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.


Numenorean from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, began as a two-man project in late 2011, with Byron Lemley recording and writing all the songs and Brandon Lemley providing the vocals. With additional vocal assistance from Aidan Crossley on one song, the band released a two-song demo in June 2014 totaling almost 20 minutes of music, and I listened to it yesterday.

And why did I listen to it? Because an e-mail from the band used references to Agalloch, old Alcest, and Falls of Rauros to describe the style of their music. I reacted to those references much like Pavlov’s dog at the bell: I started salivating. And then I listened to the first of the two tracks, “Let me In”.

Oct 142014


(Our Norwegian guest contributor Gorger, whose own blog is here, returns to NCS with the third and final Part of an entertaining post in which he recommends music we’ve overlooked — with a couple of conclusions at the end.)


Welcome to my last installation of stuff I’ve enjoyed these last months that has not been covered on NCS. The previous posts are here:

Part I
Part II



The difference between demos and self-released EPs can be rather minimal. Endzeit defines this as an EP, and the music is mature enough by all means to justify this. Negativity is about as popular here on NCS as clean, high-pitched singing performed by castrated power vocalists. Nevertheless, I have to address just this one negative aspect: Soundwise, there’s a somewhat unfinished feel. The sound is slightly flat and tame, whilst this music feels as if designed for a bombastic sound with a violent punch. The sound is by no means completely lifeless, though.

Endzeit is from Finland and was initially conceived as a one-man band by guitarist Polaris in 2012. This original intention was, however, quickly discarded as Black (vocals and guitar), Samuli (drums), and Pyry (bass) came along. The EP was written the same year and contains 22 minutes divided over five tracks. The guys have come up with a lyrical concept about a doomed, future-less world where decay has gone too far to be reversed. The inspiration is the city of Detroit, where large blocks/precincts are characterized by urban decay and vacancy. Condemned buildings allegedly serve as rat’s nests for criminals.

Oct 032014

I think I’ve written about every release by Sweden’s Mordbrand after their 2010 debut in a split with Evoke, including their excellent 2014 album Imago. Since I only write about what I like and want to recommend, you can figure out that they haven’t disappointed me yet — and they still haven’t: Their forthcoming two-song 7″, Vastation, is another winner for fans of Swedish death metal.

The first song, “Failure of the Paraclete”, is loaded with a variety of big riffs — riffs that grind, gallop, lurch, and stagger — and a rhythm section that expertly matches the music’s shifting patterns, with rippling bass and tremolo chords surfacing at the end to close the song memorably.

Oct 022014


(Here we have DGR’s review of two grind blasts.)


Worse hail from lovely San Francisco, California and are a band who have been kicking around in my inbox for some time — a result of my random discovery of the group Dakhma. The two bands seem to be friends with one another so it isn’t too shocking to see arrows pointing in their direction. One of the reasons it took a little bit for me to write about them was that their EP slotted in so well with my listenings that it was like I had always listened to it and it was always there, leading to a lot of, “I wrote about that, right?” scenarios. Plus, I wanted to get these guys in alongside some more music to really set the post off like fireworks.

Worse, to put it politely, sound like a musical temper tantrum led off by a drum count on each song, and their self-titled release is a quick blast of violence. If you have ever been to a city that is really packed together, you’ll often come across houses that are listed as three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and they are three stories tall. It’s because each floor is essentially a bedroom. Listening to Worse, it sounds like the band are set up in one of those houses and recorded their first release by setting the drum kit and guitars on the top floor, counting off to begin the song, and then proceeding to kick those fucking things down the flight of stairs and have somebody scream over the sound.

Oct 012014


I’ve been waiting for this one anxiously. And then, as (bad) luck would have it, when my beautiful pumpkin orange vinyl copy of this 7″ split arrived late last week from Holy Terror Records, my turntable decided to turn mulish and uncooperative. Fortunately, Holy Terror relieved my frustration and spared that turntable a severe beating when it decided to begin streaming the two songs on Bandcamp beginning late yesterday.

The split features songs by two of the longest-running and most influential of U.S. black metal bands, Leviathan and Krieg. It is a natural pairing in many respects, not least because of the friendship between Leviathan’s Wrest and Krieg’s N. Imperial, and thus it’s not surprising that the idea for it was conceived almost a decade ago. Yet only now has the split become a reality. Impressions of the music follow…

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