Apr 252018
 

 

(Andy Synn continues his occasional series in which he devotes attention to new releases by UK bands, here presenting a trio of reviews and music streams.)

Despite the fact that these days I exist more on the periphery of what one might loosely describe as “the scene” here in the UK, I’m still very much on a mission to talk/write about some of its best and brightest stars, and hopefully expose them to a whole new audience in the process.

And while each of the following bands has been featured here at NCS before (some more than others), this isn’t so much a case of favouritism as it is an acknowledgement that all three continue to make extremely compelling, attention-grabbing music, and their latest albums are no exception. Continue reading »

Mar 132018
 

 

The rage and disgust displayed in the trappings of the new De Profundis album are palpable, from the album title to the song titles, from the cover art by Alex Tartsus to the band’s own explanation of the album’s conceptual focus: “The Blinding Light of Faith is an album about three of the most merciless and bloodthirsty institutions in human history. There is no nation or people on this earth who haven’t suffered under the savagery of at least one of the Abrahamic religions and to reflect that suffering we have made the heaviest, most aggressive record of our career.”

That sense of condemnation and anger are right up-front in the title of the song we’re bringing you today: “Bastard Sons of Abraham“. And it is indeed a heavy, aggressive song. But it’s not a brooding or bitter piece of music. To the contrary, it’s so supercharged with speed and sparkling vitality that it’s likely to inspire a kind of fierce, fist-pumping joy in those who hear it. It’s also the kind of song that will make guitar nerds slobber uncontrollably. Continue reading »

Mar 052018
 


At the Gates

 

(DGR has prepared a collection of new songs and videos that appeared over the last couple of weeks, which we’ve divided into three parts, this one being the first.)

By the time you are all reading this it is highly likely that a small collective of the NCS editor (not me) and NCS cohorts (which also doesn’t include me) will have arrived in Iceland, traveling there to attend some bullshit with an excellent lineup known as Oration Festival and generally to have a good time in a foreign country — which I will not be doing, instead being overjoyed that there has been rain the past few days so my car has been getting a decent wash.

Of course, this has in no way left me saltier than the Dead Sea, nor have I turned into the living embodiment of this article at all. I am, instead wishing my compatriots an excellent time in a country (that I haven’t been to) where the weather changes on a dime and will only be slightly amused if they get caught up in a small rainstorm whilst standing outside; they should be used to that anyway.

Since this is happening, I will more than happily bear the yoke of having to deliver the much needed metal news to the world that we might’ve missed, given my general job title of news pelican here, in between whatever else the rest of us who couldn’t go to Iceland have on the docket – which is looking mighty packed – and the general scribblings of the crew in attendance at the show. Continue reading »

Oct 062017
 


photo by Ester Segarra

 

The name De Profundis is one you will recognize if you’ve been a frequent visitor to our site (or have otherwise kept your antennae alert to the emergence of excellent metal), given that we have published positive reviews of their 2013 album The Emptiness Within, their 2014 EP Frequencies, and most recently (and most glowingly) their latest album, Kingdom of the Blind, released in 2015. Of that album, my comrade Andy Synn wrote:

“[T]his move towards a proggier outlook – more expressive and textured and, ultimately, more natural – has clear benefits for both the Prog and the Death aspects of the band’s sound. The heaviest moments benefit from a greater sense of focus and direction, while the band’s progressive side is given free rein to fully express itself, and, on a grander scale, the songs themselves feel simultaneously more streamlined and structured, yet also more complex and freeform, with a greater sense of fluidity and flow between moments of blast-fuelled fury and expansive, melodic creativity…. Kingdom of the Blind is by far the band’s finest hour, and every subsequent re-listen has only cemented this impression.” Continue reading »

Jul 092017
 


Amenra photo by Stephan Vanfleteren

 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Overflowing Streams round-up, my plan was to pull together another compilation of recent recommended music under the SEEN AND HEARD header. By the time I finished, I realized that almost everything I had picked came in the form of a video, and the one exception was close enough that I decided to change the heading for this post.

I arranged these videos to achieve a kind of flow, or an arc — not seamless, to be sure, but in a way that made sense to me. Things begin in very dark fashion with the first three videos, then we have some death metal necrophilia as a transition (necrophilia is always a good transition, right?), and then a trio of high-energy tracks that have ethnic musical elements mixed in with otherwise diverse sounds, and then we go out in an explosive bonfire. And with that, let’s begin…

(P.S. My usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK feature will be posted on Monday.)

AMENRA

The Belgian band Amenra are returning with a new mass, five years after the last one. Mass VI will be released on October 20 by Neurot Recordings, a date that seems very far away, but at least it’s on the calendar now. The video below isn’t a full song (sadly), but it’s a very effective teaser for the new album nonetheless. Continue reading »

Dec 212015
 

Gorgoroth show Sound Control

 

(Andy Synn wrote this report on the recent live performances of Gorgoroth, Kampfar, Gehenna, De Profundis, and The Negation in Manchester, UK.)

Precisely one week ago today (or just over one week ago, depending on when this get published) I was lucky enough to see the legendary Gorgoroth, Kampfar, and Gehenna play as part of a triple-header of True Norwegian Black Metal, supported by rising progressive extremists De Profundis, and up-and-coming French nihilists The Negation (whose new album, Memento Mori, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about).

To say this was a stacked line-up would be an understatement, particularly considering that both Kampfar and Gorgoroth are riding high on the back of a pair of killer new albums. The only downside to the evening was the early door time (5pm?!) to allow for sufficient time for all five bands to strut their metallic stuff.

But ultimately that was a small price to pay for an evening filled with such a smorgasbord of diabolical thrills! Continue reading »

Sep 172015
 

Flag of Great Britain

 

(Andy Synn puts the spotlight on new releases by a trio of British bands.)

As I’ve said a few times before, I’m occasionally called to task for a perceived lack of “support” for the British metal scene, either because I’ve said something to criticise whatever flavour of the month band is currently riding high on a wave of second-hand riffage and easily-digestible snack-sized song-bytes, or simply for having the sheer gall to write for an American website instead of a UK one (conveniently ignoring the fact that I also contribute regularly to London Metal Monthly and, somewhat less regularly, Terrorizer magazine).

The thing is, for purely selfish, self-promoting reasons, I probably SHOULD spend more time shucking and jiving for every bunch of jokers with even a little bit of scene-cred in the hope that those good vibes will rub off on either of my own bands… But I’m not going to. I like to pretend I have at least an iota of integrity after all.

Ultimately I just want to write about the music that I love, regardless of arbitrary issues of national pride or scene loyalty. It just so happens that despite being sent numerous links to different bands from all around the UK, a lot of what I hear simply doesn’t connect with me, or live up to what I consider my own critical standards. For better or worse, that’s just the way it is (though please don’t stop sending links my way).

But when I actually DO find a band I love from the UK, I am MORE than happy to throw my support behind them, for whatever good it may do. Hence why you’re about to read the first of two separate collections bringing together some of the very best metallic offerings that have come out of the British scene this year… with today’s entry erring strongly towards the Death Metal side of things.

So, let’s get started, shall we…? Continue reading »

May 062015
 


Photo by Ewan Cawood

 

A flood of new music and videos appeared yesterday. I found a dozen of them I’d like to recommend, but I’m squeezed for time at the moment, so I’ve made some hard choices and picked three for this post. Perhaps I’ll be able to collect a few more later today — though it’s likely that as this day wears on even more good new music will appear. Anyone who thinks there’s something wrong with the state of metal in 2015 is just WRONG.

PARADISE LOST

My Facebook news feed blew up with friends posting about the new Paradise Lost video yesterday. Most of the links were accompanied by exclamations of surprise and praise. To those I’ll now add my own.

The song is “Beneath Broken Earth” and it appears on the band’s forthcoming album The Plague Within, due for release on June 1 by Century Media. The video was directed by Ash Pears. Here’s a quote about the song and video by the band’s guitarist Greg Mackintosh (who we hope has recovered from his recent mishap on stage in Seattle with Vallenfyre): Continue reading »

Jun 022014
 

(Andy Synn reviews the forthcoming EP by the UK’s De Profundis.)

De Profundis have always been one of the more… unique… bands on the UK metal scene. And that’s something that’s been both a blessing and a curse for the band, as their diverse and distinctive style of Progressive Extreme Metal has long been both instantly recognisable and yet frustratingly hard to pin down.

Over the years the band’s sound – doomy, progressive, blackened, deathly – has changed and mutated in a number of ways, yet their artful amalgamation of disparate influences – coupled to an always impressive, intricate instrumental flair – has always remained constant. Despite this, though, many people, myself included, have struggled to define or describe the band in any useful way, without simply resorting to an array of vague references to a multitude of other bands.

And trying to fully elaborate and elucidate precisely what it is that makes the band so special, without falling back on the crutch of these predictable, often ill-defined, comparisons, has been a problem for a while now.

But I can confidently say that Frequencies solves this problem with aplomb, and it does so without sacrificing any of the band’s carefully crafted identity or hard-won credibility. Continue reading »

May 092014
 

I’m in a tug of war with my fucking day job, but I pulled it into the slop long enough to throw together this small collection of nasty new songs and a video. Now it’s my turn to get pulled into the slop — see you on Saturday when we will have… something… probably something covered in slop.

AUROCH

As previously reported, Vancouver’s Auroch have a new album named Taman Shud that will be released on June 24 by Profound Lore, with vinyl coming via Dark Descent. I’ve been very high on this band based on their past efforts, and the new song that debuted yesterday is a strong sign that Taman Shud will be a worthy successor. “Noxious Plume” is the name of this ode to all things poisonous and wantonly destructive. Continue reading »