Aug 172017


(In this long post we have not one but two extended reviews by DGR, one focusing on the 2017 album by the Greek band Nightrage and the second dwelling upon the 2017 album by the Dutch storytellers in Carach Angren.)

If there is one thing I’m a big fan of doing throughout the year, it’s the inevitable dive backwards into the earlier part of the year in order to play the increasingly desperate catch-up game, to write about releases I’ve been listening to, but never took the time out to say anything about. I’ve got a handful of those, and now that I have a little bit more free time from the day-job (which will be brief, let me tell you, the holiday season approaches) I can finally talk about two pretty constant spins from 2017 that NCS hasn’t had the chance to cover yet, completely glossing over the fact that I’m the guy at the site who will usually wave the flag for both bands.

The two this time around are melodeath stalwarts Nightrage and their seventh (!) album, The Venomous, and the latest batch of supernatural symphonic shenanigans from Carach Angren and their album Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten.

Nightrage – The Venomous

Without descending too much into an image of me in a room with newspaper articles and photos all connected with string in so many ways that I can barely move around inside of it, disheveled with a half-drunk cup of coffee that has somehow managed to turn semi-solid, screaming that “there has to be some sort of connection here!”, I’m starting to think that the melodeath crew of Nightrage have developed a pattern. It’s one I hoped that with the March release of their album The Venomous, the band would manage to break.

Jul 172017


(DGR takes over round-up duties again, with this collection of new songs and videos from eight bands.)

The end-of-the-week news flood was insane, as we have settled well into summer now and a lot of bands are either gearing up to hit the road or are already out making numerous loops on the festival circuit. Of course, this also means that there are a lot of albums in the hopper, getting ready to come out within weeks, or you’ll start seeing a lot of press for albums set to hit when the first leaves of fall drop.

That’s how you wind up with posts like this SEEN AND HEARD that helped kick off the weekend — not even counting our own fuel that we added to the fire, and the one that you’re reading now, which is basically just a gigantic dragnet for bands that had premieres elsewhere throughout the tail end of last week, or just blasted that thing right out to the world to see.

This episode of SEEN AND HEARD is eight (!) bands deep and skews death-metal heavy, so prepare yourselves for a lot of gigantic grooves, growled vocals, enough blasts to reach gunfire status, and enough chainsaw guitar destruction to fuel the planet.

Jul 162017


(In April the French band Gorod released an EP that they had prepared for distribution on a European tour. DGR finally caught up with that EP, and now turns in this detailed review.)

Heavy metal is often at its most fun when it feels like the artists behind it have lost their minds. There’s something about a musical genre oft-described as an explosion of catharsis having a creative explosion of its own and going nuts.

It’s not easy to stay reserved when you know that a band has set out to try something that is completely out of the norm for them, and such is the case with France’s frenetic tech-death titans Gorod and their recent thrash experiment EP, Kiss The Freak, which the band wrote and recorded in a very short window before going out on a European tour that saw them hitting the road with the likes of Havok, Warbringer, and Exmortus. Gorod themselves described it this way:

Jul 072017


(This is DGR’s review of the complete version of Cold Insight’s debut album, released on June 28 of this year.)

The subject matter territory that heavy metal covers is vast. When you view heavy metal as a filter through which all musical aggression seems to come through, you have a recipe for just about anything and everything being screamed, growled, shrieked, yelped, barked, and even sung about.

Heavy metal still has its staples; longtime readers will of course recognize the holy trinity of body horror in mutilation, gore, and murder — the various possibilities inflicted upon corpses has long since been the foundation upon which death metal is built. You also have Satan so ingrained throughout heavy metal that almost everything has a thin veneer of Lucifer spread on top of it, and then… then you also have the void.

We in heavy metal specialize in the void, the empty, and the abyss — we’re void worshipers and watchers, we claim to see things in the emptiness, and the abyss is where we seem to record half of our early musical releases until we can afford some proper production work.

The most analogous thing to all three, of course, is space. It doesn’t take a short logic leap to see that we exist quite literally in a Big Empty — where on a map, two planets can look close together, until you are informed that it takes years to travel between them. “Cold” and “empty” are often descriptors we apply to music, especially doom, so of course we have now wound up in space.

From that, we draw upon science fiction with its space-opera overtures and something that has found its way into heavy metal more and more, especially as a visual component. In part, this helps explain the sci-fi aesthetics of Cold Insight’s newly released debut Further Nowhere.

Jul 062017


(DGR prepared this review of the third, and reportedly final, album of a consistent favorite of our site — Vallenfyre.)

In what will likely be the understatement of the year, you could easily say that Vallenfyre’s career has been one intertwined with death.

At face value, they’re a death metal band. Two out of their three album covers have prominently featured skulls, Vallenfyre’s genesis story is rooted in a tribute to founder Gregor Mackintosh’s father after he had passed, and the musicians who have taken part in the project have been death and doom metal luminaries — including longtime guitarist Hamish Glencross, formerly of My Dying Bride.

If you wanted to be reductive you could say that Vallenfyre have started to sound a lot like the groove-heavy side of Napalm Death, and now we’re faced with the prospect of the “death” of the band itself with Gregor giving interviews saying that he views the Vallenfyre releases as a trilogy and would be happy to leave it there.

Jul 052017


(DGR reviews the new EP by those Belgian barbarians (and old favorites of our site), Aborted.)


Of all of the bands nowadays who hardly seem to stop for a breath, Aborted are one who in recent years have steadily increased their output like few others. Most bands in the decade-plus eras of their careers tend to slow down; Aborted record music like the world is ending tomorrow — in terms of both aural quality and quantity.

In recent years, Aborted have also become master chameleons with their sound, re-energizing every album with just enough tweaks that although the band have clearly found a happy home in a hyperfast death-grind sound, each of the group’s releases since Global Flatline have felt different from one another. Those releases are still fairly recognizably as Aborted albums, and honestly, putting on shuffle the triptych of Global Flatline, Necrotic Manifesto, and Retrogore, along with the smattering of EPs and single releases with all their bonus rarities that happened in between those discs, pretty much guarantees a very consistent and frighteningly heavy through-line.

Jun 272017


(DGR once again takes over round-up duties at our metallic fortress, presenting news and new music from six bands.)

This weekend was glorious if you were in a death grind sort of mood, as it felt like Friday was the first crack in a dam about to burst from a small handful of bands. Austria’s Distaste put out a new EP entitled Todt (which is curently name-your-own-price), and Belgium-based grinders Leng Tch’e and their fellow countrymen in the restless Aborted both began streaming new songs from their upcoming releases.

In fact, in compling this roundup I felt I had to temper the blade a little bit by tacking on something that wasn’t just raw fury from front to back, so Samael find themselves paired up alongside an EP announcement for Australian tech-death wonders The Ritual Aura and an ambient teaser that, were we not aware of just how heavy those guys can get, would be fairly calming. So, if you were looking to start your day without a massive pile of non-stop guitar batterings, relentless drumming, and vocals fired at the speed of a machine-gun, my friend…you’ve come to the wrong place.

Jun 212017


(DGR once again takes over round-up duty, compiling a selection of nine items for your listening and viewing pleasure, culled from the last week.)


Clearly nobody got the email that we sent out announcing that we would be incredibly busy late last week Northwest Terror Festing, and therefore decided that it would be a good time to flood the heavy metal world with news. You wouldn’t know that by visiting NCS, because we slowed to a crawl, with writers Gorger and Andy Synn coming through as the heroes keeping the fortress guarded whilst the rest of us rotated between drunk and exhausted.

Now, though, DGR has come to collect his dues, so I have compiled a round-up with every single thing that I kept notes on from Thursday of last week ’til now, and I guarantee you that I’ve still missed a handful of things. Still, though, this collection of music videos, lyric videos, and live performance(s) is gigantic in its own right and it is certified NCS “Fresh”, which means it should only mildly smell like rotting beef carcasses.

Abhorrent Decimation – Conspire

When I first saw the artwork by Karmazid for the upcoming Abhorrent Decimation album The Pardoner, I declared that if the music on that disc could be half as cool as the artwork it bore or the concept behind it, then I would be a happy camper. Well, with “Conspire“, Abhorrent Decimation have shown that they are in good standing on that front — releasing a monstrous six-minute brutalizer.

Jun 062017


(DGR reviews the new album by North Carolina’s Æther Realm., which will be released tomorrow.)

An almost four-year gap between albums isn’t too unheard of these days. Metal, when it wants to, moves at a glacial pace, and as much as we love to assume everyone runs on the two-year cycle, there are always going to be a bunch of outliers. Æther Realm are one such band, with the gap between their debut album One Chosen By The Gods and the group’s soon-to-be-released sophomore disc Tarot being close to four years — though the band themselves have alleviated that a bit with a very healthy bit of touring, show playing, and a slow drip of singles that has actually made the time seem to disappear faster than one would think.

A sophomore disc can represent a huge shift for a band, especially one like Æther Realm, who had a very succesful first disc — one that really did prove the concept behind the band in one go and contained a healthy grasp of really catchy songs. For a band that at one point jokingly had as part of their online bio “We are not from Finland”, it certainly wasn’t hard to draw conclusions as to which groups the Æther Realm crew really, really loved and drew a ton of inspiration from. A second album of the same style, though, no matter how good the band might do it, becomes a harder sell, and with Tarot it seems like even Æther Realm recognized that.

May 152017



(DGR steps in for round-up duty with a collection of deathly advance tracks from forthcoming albums that detonated late last week.)

2017 has been a year that has moved in fits and starts, with huge batches of releases and then a period of calm, then another huge batch and so on. It’s a different feeling from last year’s torrential flood, but it also means that promotional stuff moves in fits and starts as well — which is how we wound up with the back half of last week bringing one big release after another from some fairly recognizable names for those who love their death metal and high speed.

It was a pretty intense flood of death metal washing over the metal community, much of it coming from some fairly big names — a hefty collection of mainstays, old guard, and standard-bearers. We tried to collect some of them into our usual three-to-four part series of bands, but eventually it seemed like everyone wanted to get in on the game, and that’s why you have a SEEN AND HEARD headline with five recognizable names within it, all deploying material virtually at once.

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