Dec 102017


I didn’t expect I would be able to prepare this round-up. I’m still on vacation (through December 15), and have been pretty faithful to the promise I made to She Who Must Be Obeyed that I would not blog (much) during this trip. For example, we had nothing on the site yesterday, which is a rarity.

But, I had a small amount of time to myself this morning, and there didn’t seem to be any harm in checking out some new music. I’ve barely glanced at the NCS e-mail box during the last week, so I decided to start making my way through the mail that arrived over just the last two days (more than that would have devoured my limited blog time this morning). What you will hear in this round-up is the result of that limited and hurried survey.

First, however, I want to share a piece of news that I had missed until Andy Synn indirectly led me to it.


On Friday I posted Andy’s list of his favorite 2017 EPs. One of his choices was inadvertently omitted from the text he originally sent me for posting, and when he caught the error, he sent me some further text, and the omission happened to be a 7″ EP called Pesta that Necrophobic distributed during a tour.

Dec 082017


(We begin the rollout of our own staff’s year-end lists with Andy Synn’s selection of his favorite EPs from 2017.)

Next week is the big kick-off of my annual End of Year list-orgy, beginning with what I felt were the most Disappointing releases of the year (those albums which, for one reason or another, simply didn’t live up to their potential), followed by the Good, and then the Great, albums of 2017.

Now, unlike most lists, these particular pieces function more as a general round-up of the last twelve months, and aren’t presented in any sort of ranked or graded order.

In essence they’re designed purely to showcase (and pass comment on) the sheer wealth of albums which have crossed my path over the last year and, hopefully, to give you all a chance to catch-up on some unheard gems you may have missed, as well as stimulate some lively conversation and debate.

The end of next week will see the publication of my Critical Top Ten and my Personal Top Ten, wherein I’m going to first attempt the thankless task of whittling down all the Great albums of the year to a representative sample of ten releases which I think represent the true crème de la crème of 2017… after which I’m going to just say “fuck it”, and give you my list of the ten albums which I’ve listened to the most and which struck the strongest chord with me this year.

Sound good?

In the meantime, while you all start sharpening your pitchforks and priming your torches, I’d like to present you with a round-up of (some of) the EPs which have tickled my fancy over the last twelve months.

Dec 082017


In what other genre of music besides death metal are adjectives like “noxious”, “rotten”, “pustulent”, and “grotesque” used as compliments? Give that some thought and get back to me; I can’t think of any.

I’m also not sure I could explain to a clueless outlander why the kind of death metal that evokes those descriptions is so appealing to many of us. If your answer is, “Because you’re all deviants,” you’ve probably come to the wrong place for your listening pleasures.

All those adjectives, and more in a similar vein, apply without exaggeration to the demo by Blasphemous Putrefaction we’re premiering today, one day before its release by Dunkelheit Produktionen. This German duo (which includes a member of the black/death band Goatblood) unabashedly traffic in primitive, rotten metal of death, and having chosen to throw themselves into that cesspool of horrifying filth, they go all in — and they’re very damned good at it.

Dec 072017


(Here’s DGR’s review of the new EP by the death metal collective known as Scour.)

Last year, Scour released its debut EP Grey, something that I reviewed — though I don’t recall it having a name at the time so much as suddenly appearing – and I had a lot of joking fun with the review, even if folks didn’t quite understand that at the time.

The novelty of Scour was the initial draw for the project, and while I found the release good, I did not expect a second release so soon. Now that Scour are established and have unleashed themselves live upon some folks, it felt like diving in again was the reading of the next chapter of an ongoing story, and so, we  find ourselves wondering how this extreme metal collective’s second EP has turned out.

Dec 072017



If you thought that was already so obvious that only an idiot would need to be told, well, you obviously don’t remember the famous/infamous Comment No. 7 to our re-post of Rolling Stone’s list in 2013. Though you may have seen how that has been transformed into a running joke every fucking year since then. The only uncertainty now is who will be the first person to do it on this post.

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 062017


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Italian band Adimiron, released just last month by Indie Recordings.)

Let me tell you, I had to think long and hard about this review. Not so much because of the album itself (which is, spoiler alert, absolutely brilliant) but because this is likely to be my last review before beginning my annual End of Year Liststravaganza (although you’ll be pleased to know it’s not going to be my last review of the year, as I already have several pieces pencilled in for the second half of December).

The big question was – did I want to go with something new, or something slightly older which we hadn’t had a chance to feature yet? After all, with List Season about to kick into high gear here at NCS, there’s an argument that since we’re about to give a lot of coverage to a lot of different records, the issue of who specifically to focus on has a bit more weight behind it than usual.

And so while this particular album didn’t quite make the cut for either my Critical or Personal Top Ten lists (stay tuned for those next week) it’s honestly so good that I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I didn’t take this opportunity to give it the attention it so richly deserves.

Dec 062017

photograph by Fred Pessaro


If you happen to be stumbling in here for the first time, I’ll repeat that as part of our LISTMANIA 2017 series, we re-post lists of the year’s best metal that appear in a few selected print zines and on web sites with large cross-genre music audiences.  Today, as in previous years, we’re sharing a list of the “20 Best Albums of 2017” that Revolver magazine published yesterday.

Revolver has undergone a change of ownership since last year’s list, and is now owned by Project M Group LLC. Revolver bills itself as the “Biggest hard-rock and metal magazine in North America”, with a “3x larger subscriber base than next U.S. metal print publication”, and a substantial social media presence  “with over 1B impressions per month across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter”.

Dec 052017


(DGR reviews the debut album by the Greek band Aetherian.)

The genre-realm that skirts the line between doom and melodic death metal is one that has become increasingly crowded over the years, especially as some of the more long-running groups have rocketed up in popularity. The line between the two blurs constantly, and the bands that walk that path have developed into a very recognizable genre grouping in their own right, with bands like Insomnium having quickly moving to the forefront.

The pacing of most of these bands firmly plants them within the melo-death realm, and Greece’s Aetherian with their debut album, The Untamed Wilderness, don’t stray too far from it.

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.

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