Jan 312018


It pains me to say it, but this is not only the 20th installment of this list, it’s the last one. I’m feeling some pain because I haven’t really finished the list, but if I don’t stop now I’m afraid you’ll be reading Part 50 at some point in March. Tomorrow I’ll have a “wrap up” for the list, with links to all the tracks I’ve called out since beginning it earlier this month. Please hold off scorching me for not naming your own favorites until tomorrow. Thanks.

Unlike most of the previous installments in this series, there’s no real rhyme or reason to why I grouped these five songs together. It was just one last frantic effort to load in a few more beloved passengers before the train left the station.


“Fall on your knees! Take the oath!” How can you resist the chorus in this track? I can’t. I know that the words are part of Possession’s skewering of the Church, but I like to think of the words as an exhortation to the metal faithful, sort of like, “Swear to the dark, you unwashed bastards!”

Jul 152017


(Andy Synn’s band Beyond Grace released their debut album, Seekers, one week ago, and almost immediately it became available for download on pirate music sites. In this post, Andy shares some reactions to those events and questions what to do about it.)

As some of you may be aware, my band recently released our debut album (I’ll stop going on about it eventually, I promise).
What you might not be aware of is that fact that the album leaked online for illegal download the same day it was released… something which, let’s be honest, isn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence these days.

The thing is, I’m really not sure how to respond to this unfortunate turn of events. There’s several options available to me/us right now, but I’m just not certain what the right move is.

Jul 032017


On July 7, the British band Beyond Grace will release their new album, Seekers, and today we present a full stream of all the music.

As many of you know, the band’s vocalist and lyricist Andy Walmsley is also the longest-running writer at this site (other than myself), better known to our readers as Andy Synn. And as you also therefore know, he has a way with words, which he has put to good use in penning the lyrics to Seeker’s nine songs, drawing inspiration from the writings of such sci-fi luminaries as Kim Stanley-Robinson, Jeff Vandermeer (who also gave permission for excerpts from his novel Annihilation to be used in the song “Apoptosis”), Edgar Rice-Burroughs, and Jeff Noon, as well as the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. And while I could be accused of bias based on friendship, he sounds damned good expressing those lyrics too.

The music on Seekers is damned good, too, as you’re about to find out — and I say that, never having met any of the musicians who created these vibrant tracks. They are: Tim Yearsley (guitars), Andrew Workman (bass), and Ed Gorrod (drums).

Apr 262017


Shameless cronyism alert: Andy Synn, my old friend and steadfast NCS comrade for the last six and a half years, is the frontman for the band that’s the subject of this news announcement — Beyond Grace. With that pesky disclosure out of the way, here’s a synopsis of the news we’re announcing (with more detail to follow): Beyond Grace’s new album Seekers is complete; it will be released in July; it features cover art by Michael Cowell; and it will become available for pre-order on Monday, May 1st.

Now for the details. First of all, the image at the top of this post is only the top portion of the cover art created by Michael Cowell (who has a web presence here). This is what the middle and lower portions look like, along with the complete piece:

Jan 312017


Welcome to the 21st — and final — installment in our list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Is the list complete? No, it isn’t. I could easily continue doing this for another month or more, and it pains me to leave so many other infectious songs lingering on my giant list of candidates. But it’s time to shift our focus more intently to what’s coming out this year.

After agonizing over the last 24 hours about what songs to select for this final edition in the series, I cut that Gordian knot in a fairly impulsive way — by simply picking the six songs on a playlist I made for myself in December.

I made that six-track list in December mainly, but not exclusively, because I had just been reading through the year-end list from Panopticon’s Austin Lunn that we were going to publish and was reminded of some addictive tracks I hadn’t listened to in a while. I put those on the playlist along with a couple of others that I wanted to hear again and thought might work well in the flow of the music.

As it happens, before today I hadn’t yet included any of these songs on this Most Infectious list, and so today I decided, why the hell not make all of these into the final Part of this series? They really are all damned infectious, and I do damn well like them.

Nov 032016



(Andy Synn reviews the performances of Mithras and Rannoch in London on October 31, 2016, and includes some of the videos he made.)

One of my favourite things about being in a band (though, to be fair, there are lots of things I love about it) is the chance it affords me to play shows with bands that I love. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to go out on tour with bands like The Monolith Deathcult and Becoming The Archetype, and perform alongside such stupendous acts as Darkane, Abigail Williams, and Skeletonwitch (to name but a few).

And the thing is, although I still have a hefty list of bands I’d love to support or go on tour with (Living Sacrifice, Blood Red Throne, A Hill To Die Upon, Sanzu, Extol, some Swedish group called Meshuggah…), I’m happy to report that I recently got to tick off another big milestone when we opened for the mighty, mighty bosstMithras!

Aug 292016

Beyond Grace-Acolytes-3


If you’re feeling sluggish, out-of-sorts, or just generally fed up with the boredom and frustration of your existence, we have a sure-fire remedy, the kind of death metal that’s akin to grabbing a live power line with both hands, while ringing wet, and letting the current jolt your spine and set your head on fire.

The name of the song we’re helping premiere is “Acolytes“, and it’s a new free single by Beyond Grace from Nottingham, England, presented through the medium of a music video. The song features a guest vocal appearance by Abysmal Dawn’s Charles Elliott, in addition to the vocals of Beyond Grace’s regular frontman and visionary member, our own Andy Synn.

Jan 222015


Today we bring you the North American premiere of a new single and lyric video from Beyond Grace, a UK-based band that features our own Andy Synn as vocalist/lyricist. The song’s name is “Omega Point”, it features cover art by Michael Cowell with video production by Kevin Desjardin, and it’s the first song to be revealed from the band’s new album Seekers. As of today, the band are also making the song available for download on Bandcamp.

“Omega Point” melds together jolting, heavy-grooved riffs and drum work, darting guitar flurries, and swirling melodies that are as fluid as the the rest of the music is spine-snapping. It’s the kind of song that successfully joins high-voltage, technically impressive instrumental assaults that punch really hard with beautiful melodic guitar soloing that seems to glide effortlessly. The result is a song that’s memorable, as well as immediately galvanizing.

Mar 262014

My friend and NCS colleague Andy Synn is the vocalist for Beyond Grace. My objectivity about the band’s new EP, Monstrous, could therefore be called into question. But the truth (so help me Satan) is that I’m writing about it for the same reason I write about every other song, EP, or album I choose to write about: I’m enthusiastic about the music. (Andy, by the way, doesn’t even know I’ve written this review.)

The three songs on Monstrous represent a change of course for this band formerly called Bloodguard, so if you happen to be familiar with their work, its time to turn the page and listen again. What you will hear is something like Spawn of Possession with more convulsive grooves, or Blotted Science with unexpected digressions and more sharp teeth, or The Black Dahlia Murder with an added progressive bent.

If you’re up on those references, then you may be ready for the combination of jabbing, jamming riffs, serpentine melodies, sparkling solos, and an enveloping atmosphere of alien menace that make up Monstrous.

Mar 142014

(Andy Synn provides this report on the recently completed UK tour by The Monolith Deathcult, Talanas, and Andy’s band Beyond Grace.)

So I’ve been harangued into putting together a short (relatively) report of the happenings and happenstances of our tour last month. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure where to start as I’m writing this now, other than to say that – despite the inevitable stresses that came about – I wish I was still on tour now. Playing a show every night, to new people, in a new place… well, that 30 mins onstage you get makes all the rest of it worthwhile.


My first piece of advice for any of you going on tour – try to get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave. Definitely don’t stay up late sending out digital promos and organising the launch of your new EP so that you only have time to get in 3 hours before having to go collect the van, drive it back to load your backline, then drive down to London (and then on to Brighton). Yeah, don’t do that.

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