Jan 212018


(Andy Synn presents our first Rearview Mirror post in many moons. For those who may have forgotten, the column is a rare instance in which we look at metal’s past rather than its present and future.)


Even though we’ve been running these “Rearview Mirror” columns for quite a while now it appears that this is only my third contribution to the series.

Whether that’s simply because I’ve been too busy, or because I like to have a rest on the seventh day (make of that what you will…), the fact remains that this particular corner of NCS has largely been left to Islander (and occasionally DGR) to run.

But today it’s my turn behind the wheel, and I’ve decided to take this opportunity to highlight one of the most overlooked albums in the discography of the legendary Testament! Continue reading »

Aug 072017


The original idea for The Rearview Mirror (credit to DGR) was to give us a quick and easy way to begin Sundays at our site when we had nothing else ready to go. It was supposed to be quick and easy because all we’d do would be to post a song stream from fondly remembered releases from the past, as opposed to our usual constant focus on new and forthcoming albums, EPs, and splits. Yesterday would have been a good day for that since I was on a mini-vacation and had nothing ready to go. Of course, I forgot.

It didn’t take long for the original idea to morph. “Wordiness” is our middle name, and so our Rearview Mirror posts expanded into essays and took almost as much time to prepare as everything else around here. Which is probably why the series eventually melted away. It might come back on a regular basis since I’m now thinking about it, or it might not. But I am reviving it at least for today… since I don’t have anything else ready to go on this Monday morning (things are in the works, just not finished).

But this post still doesn’t follow the original Rearview Mirror idea. Wordiness still reigns (though in this case I’ve cribbed from some things we’ve written in the past). Continue reading »

Feb 122017


Metalheads are geeks (I know, because I am one), and they have long memories. Many of them also love burrowing down the gopher holes of history, trying to learn where things started (yes, I’m a metal gopher, too). And many also zealously honor bands who played pivotal roles in the evolution of genres and sub-genres (and sub-sub-sub genres), even when such bands recorded precious few songs, and did so decades in the past. Which brings me to the Norwegian black metal band Strid.

I first learned about Strid only nine months ago when Neill Jameson devoted part of his NCS series on black metal to the band’s 1994 self-titled EP, and I’ll take the liberty of quoting part of what he wrote about them then: Continue reading »

Jan 292017


About a week ago we premiered a stream of Turm Am Hang, the  new album by the German band Horn. The brilliant last track on that album is a cover of “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way” from the 2013 album Coven of the Wolves by Iowa-based When Bitter Spring Sleeps, with a guest appearance by the latter band’s vocalist Lord Sardonyx.

It’s a great cover, and it also caused me to revisit the original song. The lyrics are wonderful, and the song is too. So that’s the first track I’m including below in this Sunday’s look back at metal from past years. Continue reading »

Jan 222017


Almost exactly nine years ago Misery’s Omen released their debut album Hope Dies . . . and have released nothing else since then, although they seem to be dormant rather than dead. The album is very good, which perhaps should be expected, given that this Australian trio’s members have participated in numerous other bands including Mournful Conregation, Martire, Sacriphyx, Johnny Touch, and Cauldron Black Ram.

Hope Dies is almost an hour long, and it begins with the title track, which tops 11 minutes and is the album’s longest track by a significant margin. It’s also a remarkable song, and that song alone is the subject of this Sunday’s Rearview Mirror column. Continue reading »

Jan 082017


For this Sunday’s Rearview Mirror post I’m reverting to the original concept for the series, and just posting one good old song.

Correction: This song isn’t good. It’s goddamned stupendous.

The song is “Life Is A Coma” by the super-group Demiurg off their last album, 2010’s Slakthus Gamleby. And yes, Demiurg are a straight-up super-group, with Rogga Johansson as guitarist and vocalist, Dan Swanö as lead guitarist and keyboardist,  Ed Warby hitting the skins and vocalizing, and Johan Berglund on bass. Oh, and let’s not forget Marjan Welman from the Dutch goth metal band Autumn, whose vocals on this song are one of the twists that make it so stupendous. Continue reading »

Dec 252016

Rearview Mirror


(Andy Synn steps in for this Sunday’s look back at metal releases from the past.)

Christmas Day, for many, is not just a time to spend with family and friends (or whatever fictional deity you prefer)… it’s a time for reflection, a time for looking back and taking stock. So I suppose it’s only fitting that we publish another one of our Rearview Mirror pieces today.

This time around it falls to me to take you all on a journey into the misty depths of days gone by, all the way back to the fabled year of two thousand and ten, to discover the wonders of the first (and, so far, only) album by French philosadists 11 As In Adversaries. Continue reading »

Dec 042016

Rearview Mirror


I’ve already forgotten how I came across Mordicus. It was only a month or so ago, but my memory is porous and things leak out. But I didn’t forget the music. The first song I heard (“A Thorn In Holy Flesh”) wasn’t what I was expecting. It struck me as something very different from much of the death metal from that era that I’ve discovered over the last decade. As I listened to the rest of the album which includes that song, the initial impression was reinforced. And the album is really good.

Mordicus came together in Joensuu, Finland, in 1990. The members were in other bands at the time and were interested in death metal, which was still a new thing. In 1991 they recorded a couple of demos, and then the following year a U.S. label named Skindrill Records released a 7″ Morticus EP named Three Way Dissection. In 1993, after sending promos to different labels, they reached a deal with Thrash Records and recorded their debut album, Dances From Left, which also turned out to be their last album. It was released in 1993. Continue reading »

Nov 272016

Rearview Mirror


For this Sunday’s backward look over our shoulders at metal from yesteryear I’ve picked two songs from a striking album released by Necromantia in 1995.

Necromantia is a hallowed name not just in the circles of Greek black metal but in the global covens of black metal fanatics as well. The band originally came together in the late ’80s, releasing their first demo in 1990 and a debut album called Crossing the Fiery Path in 1993. Their last full-length was 2007’s The Sound of Lucifer Storming Heaven, but their only new music since then (as far as I can tell) are the two tracks they contributed to their split with Acherontas in 2008.

The two songs you can stream below are the opening tracks to Necromantia’s second album — and probably their best — Scarlet Evil Witching Black. It was originally released by Osmose Productions in 1995, and then Osmose reissued it on CD and gatefold vinyl in 2014, and it’s also now available through the Osmose Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Nov 202016

Rearview Mirror


Welcome to another Sunday edition of our look back at metal from years past — in this particular case, 25 years in the past.

This is one of those one-and-done little gems that I’ve been drawn to in other episodes of this series, a demo that came out in 1991 by an Illinois band named Maimed, who then disappeared without ever recording anything else. And as far as I can tell, none of the band’s four members went on to record anything with any other metal bands either.  (Correction: guitarist Eric Ondo is a member of the Chicago sludge band Pale Horseman and was also in a Chicago band called Couldron.)

Of course there’s a story to be told about why a band capable of recording something this good — and this far ahead of its time — did nothing further. But as curious as I am, I haven’t found any explanation in my google searches. Continue reading »