Jan 042018

 

(We present Austin Weber’s list of 20 favorite releases from 2017, which include excerpts from his reviews both here and at Metal Injection.)

 

While I usually do very long year-end feature focusing almost solely on obscure music for NCS each December since 2012, our overlord Islander was in need of some holiday relief so we’re sticking to a mainly Top 20-ish format this year to ease the burden he graciously undertakes of working on all our lists for publication.

I don’t really think of my year-end favorites in a ranked-number-focused way, so the order of the ranking below is fairly irrelevant, just as a heads-up. Although a Top 20 constraint means I can only list a small fraction of my 2017 favorites, I tried to balance this list by covering a number of my top favorites from this year that didn’t get as much attention and will hopefully be new to some of you. So my goal here with a capped limit of 20 was to pick the 20 releases I felt stood out most as releases I know for sure I’ll come back to a lot after the current year ends. I also urge you to check out the hyperlinked Honorable Mentions I’ve included below the Top 20 to find more killer music worth checking out.

Nov 222017

 

(We present Austin Weber’s review of the long-awaited (and very eagerly awaited) new album by Cleric.)

 

In 2010, the Philadelphia-based avant-garde metal band Cleric dropped one of the biggest mindfucks ever to appear in the modern metal era called Regressions. In a lot of ways, the album felt like the rightful spiritual heir to Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3, endlessly explorative and capable of churning out incomprehensibly dense and eclectic compositions that sound like nothing else out there.

It was fitting then that Regressions was put out by Secret Chiefs 3/ex-Mr. Bungle mastermind Trey Spruance’s label, Web Of Mimicry. To give you another prime example of Regressions complex mind-bending insanity, a prominent Cleric trait which certainly holds true to the music on Retrocausal as well, Colin Marston once discussed their debut in an interview in the following way: “Regressions by Cleric took waaaaaay longer than any other record I’ve ever worked on. It’s also probably the most dense in terms of the sheer number and complexity of layers being heard at any given time.”

Now, with little pre-warning, comes the dawn of album number two, Retrocausal, with Cleric once again reuniting with Colin Marston to handle the recording, mixing, and mastering of another amorphous musical behemoth.

Oct 202017

 

(We continue the rollout of Austin Weber’s series devoted to reviews of 2017 releases we haven’t previously covered. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, and Part 6 here.)

Jute GyteOviri

Jute Gyte is an intriguing project in the black metal world, one I’ve been covering here at NCS for several years now, even going as far as interviewing its mysterious architect Adam Kalmbach here at NCS in 2014. The dude is beyond prolific; there hasn’t been a year since the project started that a new Jute Gyte of some sort hasn’t come out. Most years end with multiple releases.

This year the new recording is Oviri, an album-length work, a weighty experience that sets before us another exercise in extreme discomfort, massive sprawling compositions, and unreal ferocity.

Oct 192017

 

(We continue the rollout of Austin Weber’s ongoing series devoted to reviews of 2017 releases we haven’t previously covered. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and Part 5 here.)

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

ComityA Long Eternal Fall

Comity are a long-running Parisian group who have always defied easy categorization and neat, simple explanations as to what they do. They’re a band I’ve been following since 2005. At that time, I was a bit late to the party when I first heard their 2002 debut The Deus Ex-Machina As A Forgotten Genius, but that ended up being a good time to get into them since they dropped a killer follow-up the next year, in 2006, called As Everything Is A Tragedy.

Oct 182017

 

(We continue the rollout of Austin Weber’s ongoing series devoted to reviews of 2017 releases we haven’t previously covered. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.)

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

KLEXOSDEMO 2017

Now we return yet again to dark and eerie death metal with the 2017 demo from a new project based out of Lexington, Kentucky known as Klexos. The group plays within the murky and dissonant death metal style on their 2017 demo, but does so with more of a groove and doomy feeling to it that gives the two songs on this release their own vibe.

Oct 172017

 

(We resume the rollout of Austin Weber’s ongoing series devoted to reviews of 2017 releases we haven’t previously covered. You can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.)

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

ANTHESISTHE AGE OF SELF

Anthesis are yet another killer band I was made aware of by my good friend and fellow obscure music junkie, Amir Ostrowsky. I was very impressed with the music here after he sent me The Age Of Self, so it definitely warranted coverage in this article.

Oct 162017

 

(Austin Weber presents our premiere of a new split release by Retortion Terror and Invidiosus.)

We’ve got a special early stream of the new split release from grinders Retortion Terror and longtime NCS favorites Invidiosus for you today.

While the name Retortion Terror may not ring any bells, knowing that legendary grindcore guitarist Takafumi Matsubara (Gridlink, Mortalized) is the main person behind it should pique your interest.

For those who don’t know the story, in 2014, shortly after the critically lauded release of Gridlink’s Longhena, Takafumi suffered a crippling and tragic brain infection that made it seem like he would never be able to play guitar again. But his tireless spirit fought against all odds to come back, and his material here with Retortion Terror is his first musical creation to come out since his incredible recovery.

Sep 292017

 

(This is Part 3 of Austin Weber’s ongoing series devoted to reviews of 2017 releases we haven’t previously covered. More installments will be presented next week.)

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

PSUDOKU – DEEP SPACE PSUDOKUMENT

Cult favorite weirdo grinders from Norway, Psudoku, are back again with a new release of strange grindcore from an alternate timeline. This isn’t the first time I’ve covered them at NCS, having previously highlighted them in a 2015 article regarding their prior album, Planetarisk Psudoku. Somehow the group continue to push their already out-there songs into ever-stranger territory on their new 2017 album, Deep Space Psudokument.

Sep 272017

 

(This is the second part of a multi-part series by Austin Weber focusing on 2017 releases that we haven’t previously reviewed. Part 3 will follow tomorrow, and further installments are expected next week.)

 

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

KUUJEOJABENOJUJANOMIASHIKUSHIJA – HHEOALLE

If the name wasn’t a dead give-away, Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija are a strange fucking group, but thankfully it’s the good kind of weird. Avant-garde and experimental black/death is the name of the game here, and yet Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija’s take on the burgeoning style is fresh and uniquely eerie. At times quite minimalist and subtly psychedelic, the music on HHEOALLE has a distinctly smooth feeling in how it unfurls that I really enjoy. 

Sep 262017

 

(Today Austin Weber begins a multi-part series focusing on 2017 releases that we haven’t previously reviewed. Parts 2 and 3 will follow tomorrow and Thursday, and further installments are expected next week.)

In spite of what the naysayers will tell you, I’m of the opinion that there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of good metal releases coming out all the time, many of them coming from new groups or independent groups that we’re just now catching onto for the first time.

This lengthy round-up has been in the works for awhile, but I kept adding more and more to the list of what I wanted to cover, and that delayed it until now. The focus here is on releases that dropped in 2017 that haven’t been covered at NCS yet. We’ll run through a boatload of harsh and unorthodox black metal, mountains of mathcore, death metal of all stripes, a few technical grindcore acts, a ton of different prog-metal bands, some sick instrumental metal jams, and a whole lot more. Hopefully you will find something new you enjoy in each installment.

RETAIL MONKEY – ADD/NIHILISM

Once again, I have the fine folks at Mathcore Index to thank for showing me another band I felt compelled to cover, and this time it’s Retail Monkey.

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