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.

Jun 212016

Hannes Grossman


(DGR had so much fun stepping up for round-up duty last week that he’s already back with more new songs to recommend. And later today you’re humble editor will throw in Parts 2 and 3 of today’s round-up.)

Just as we managed to post our last series of huge collections of music, even more delicious goodies came to our attention span over the past week whilst we lay on rocks under the sun attempting to capture flies. This time around, music that leaked out within the past few weeks is what we’re hoping to cover — with one notable exception that is a bit more of an anthropology act waiting at the bottom.

Last week saw a handful of huge premieres — including one day at our very site that saw seven pretty huge ones — and we’re hoping to help spread the news. This installment is, again, pretty death-metal-heavy but moreso stuff that has been on the fringes of the genre than stuff that is straightforward blasts and sewage growls. We’re going to cover the tech realm, the thrashier side, the melodic side, and then into one band who covered a vast amount of ground before they went into hibernation. There should also be some pretty hefty names for you all to recognize as well, which made last week fairly exciting to say the least.

Mar 082016

Skeletonwitch 2016


Over the last hour I spied four new items of interest that I thought I’d toss up here instead of waiting to include them in tomorrow’s planned round-up, which is already pretty over-stuffed as it is.  The first three include new songs.


I think we can all agree that as the vocalist of Skeletonwitch, Chance Garnette was going to be a tough guy to replace following his ejection from the band in late 2014. Last month the band announced that Adam Clemans of Wolvhammer was the man they chose to try to fill those shoes. And now we have a chance to find out how well he is doing that.

Nov 162015

Decibel Magazine Tour


We just received the announcement of the line-up for the 2016 edition of THE DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR, and it’s a blockbuster: Running from mid-March to mid-April next year, the fifth installment of the tour will feature Abbath (performing not only songs from the band’s forthcoming debut album but also tracks from Immortal’s back catalogue), High On Fire, Skeletonwitch, and Tribulation. There will be regional openers in select markets announced soon.

Here’s further info that accompanied this announcement:

Apr 092015


(Andy Synn reports on the second day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos.  For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here, and his report on Day One is at this location.)

If there’s a better way to kick off another day at one of the world’s best metal festivals than by seeing Goatwhore, I’d like to hear it. Big riffs, big spikes, big attitude, the band positively ooze confidence and bleed metal, smashing through their set with almost reckless abandon.

Bassist James Harvey had a bit of a rough night, truth be told, early songs rendering his bass-lines as little more than a barely audible rumble, while snapping a string part way through the set forced the band to play a few songs without him entirely. Still, they persevered like the stalwart soldiers of Satan that they are, and on his eventual return Harvey’s lurching low-end was much more prominent.

May 302014

I’m slowly moving back into what I normally do at this site after more than a week of living in the world of Maryland Deathfest, first by attending it and then by re-living the experience in NCS posts. And part of what I do is attempt to highlight news items of interest. I’m a bit late featuring the three collected here, but I think they’re worth mentioning, even if tardily.


Beginning in September and running into November, Sweden’s Amon Amarth will be touring the US and Canada. Sadly, they will only have the Viking ship on stage at the October 18 New York City (Manhattan)  date, which is a show that’s part of Decibel magazine’s 10th anniversary celebrations. At that show, the UK’s Vallenfyre will also be appearing.  I would give your left arm to see that show.

Except for that New York City event, Skeletonwitch will also be a part of this tour, which makes it doubly enticing. Sabaton will be on the tour as well. However, although Vallenfyre will be playing the Manhattan date in place of Skeletonwitch, Skeletonwitch and Evoken will be playing later that same night at St Vitus Bar in Brooklyn; that show is also part of the Decibel anniversary festivities. I would give your right arm to see that one.

Jan 292014

Here we present Part 14 our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

You may have noticed that some of the fun I have in compiling this list comes from decisions about how to group together the 2 or 3 songs presented in each installment. Today, for example, the unifying theme is the “formula” that each band uses in its music (and I put that word in quotes because the music is far from formulaic):  Riffs + Poison


I like to think I’m very egalitarian in my outlook about most things, including metal. But every now and then I find myself instinctively falling prey to the disease of “metal elitism” — something to which I’m usually immune. For example, when I saw Inquisition’s 2013 album appearing on one after another year-end list from the so-called “big-platform sites”, I grumbled to myself, “they’re just doing this in an effort to prove they’re cool”.

And then I remembered: The riffs on that album are about as close as you can get to an orgasm without someone rubbing on your nether parts. Anyone can appreciate that!

Oct 292013

In this post we bring you three globe-spanning videos that premiered either yesterday or today, with our performers hailing from the exotic locales of Ohio, Taiwan, Iceland, and Japan.


The lyrics to the title track from Serpents Unleashed tell you a lot about what you hear in the song: “Demonic, defiant, eyes of burning chaos / With darkness at our side / Evil at our command / Crush the weak and feeble, their place within the dust / Rain fire from the shadows / Striking hard and fast / Vomiting the blackest hate / The spawn of wickedness…”

The new video for the song strikes hard and fast, too. Rapidly strobing between shots as the band deliver the goods, the film makes effective use of light and shadow, slo-mo interludes, and split-screen views. Check it out next:

Oct 112013

(Andy Synn offers some thoughts, and some questions, about why we do what we do here. The artwork above is a new piece by Sam Nelson, and it’s here not because it resembles Andy Synn but because I like it.)

Something that comes up occasionally, both online and out in the real world, is the question of what a review is really for? What is it trying to achieve… what is the point… heck, why even bother?

So I thought it might be interesting to put down a few thoughts about why we here at NCS – or at least, me personally, since I’m not aiming to speak for anyone else really – do bother writing, blogging, and putting our thoughts and opinions out there.

Although I’ve had this column in my head in a vague form for a while now, just recently a couple of (minor) incidents have helped me start to crystallise this question of who/what we are writing for, who our audience might be, and – notably – who our audience definitely isn’t.

Oct 092013

 (BadWolf reviews the new album by Skeletonwitch, which is slated for release on October 29 by Prosthetic.)

Hopelessness lives in Ohio. I was born here. My world is flat, industrialized, and divided by thirds into fields of GMO crops, seemingly bombed-out factory complexes, and dilapidated ghettos. (Very well, I’m being harsh to my home, but follow me.) Ohio’s metal scene stands in equivalent disarray, with a few notable exceptions—and the most notable is Skeletonwitch.

Hailing from college town and bar hopper’s paradise Athens, Skeletonwitch bring a home-grown and fun-loving attitude to their puree’d blend of old school heavy metal, thrash, death, and black metal. Their short albums and shorter songs pack in screeched vocal hooks and twin guitar leads at blitzkrieg tempos. Since roughly their 2007 album, Beyond the Permafrost, Skeletonwitch have been the little band that could, plowing uphill with a tireless work ethic and a knack for good songwriting.

They know their strengths—frontman Chance Garnett and furious guitar duo Scott Hedrick and Nate Garnette—and only modify their formula incrementally from album to album. Cynics might call it  a lack of imagination, but I call it good branding, and Serpents Unleashed will cement that brand for even more fans. After four years of replacement drummers and studio experimentation, this record feels like the defining moment for the band, the most assured record in their catalog next to 2009’s Breathing the Fire.

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