Feb 162018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Seattle-based Stealing Axion, which was released on February 13 and is available now on Bandcamp.)


Stealing Axion appeared for all intents and purposes finished once the band announced a more-than-likely-to-be-permanent hiatus after the release of the phenomenal Aeons, an album that was one of my absolute favorites of 2014. Ever since their debut EP, I’ve been a devoted and avid fan of the band’s unique blend of progressive metal song structuring, death metal vocal approach, and Meshuggah/Textures-inspired angular rhythmic and melodic strategies. They became one of my favorite bands to emerge from the 2010‘s, a hallmark of what new-age meets old-school transcendent genius sounds like. I guess I’m really hamming it the fuck up here, but I do adore this band.

Stealing Axion announced last year that they would continue without vocalist/guitarist Josh DeShazo, with no real news to speak of after that. As it turns out, Josh DeShazo ended up rejoining the band, and Eternities is a four-song EP born from this reunion. It brings back everything about this band that made them great. Eternities isn’t particularly ground breaking, nor does it see the band exploring new territory per se, but it is definitely a mish-mash of the more energetic direction of the debut Moments combined with the introspective melancholic approach of Aeons, one that forecasts a direction for a future release that I’m eager to hear.

Feb 072018


(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the UK’s Bloodshot Dawn, which was released on January 12, 2018.)


Bloodshot Dawn as a concept was at an existential crossroads after everyone but frontman, founder, and guitarist Josh McMorran left the band. The departure that hurt most, though, was that of lead guitarist and co-writer Benjamin Ellis, who went on to join Scar Symmetry. I would have to imagine that there was some hesitancy on McMorran’s part about continuing on; the lineup, while only two albums old, had already become iconic in the underground, and the sound of Bloodshot Dawn had already established in definitive terms. Combine this with Demons becoming an extremely successful sophomore record that garnered them lots of acclaim, and I think the idea of trying to continue would have been intimidating.

But McMorran, not content to hang it up, decided to push forward. The new lineup now consists of guitarist/vocalist Morgan Reid, bassist Giacomo Gastaldi, and Vader drummer James Stewart. Now, in Reanimation, we have Bloodshot Dawn’s first offering since this new lineup formed, and of course the question is, how does it stack up against the band’s previous output?

Dec 312017


(Here we are, on the last day of the year. But before it disappears into the history books, TheMadIsraeli has a couple more 2017 releases to recommend.)


I decided before we let 2017 end, I’d get one more in. This is another case of released way too late in the year for it to matter for many people. I’m telling you, December releases for albums fucking suck.


I, Voidhanger is low key one of my favorite labels around. They’ve always been good at acquiring some of the absolute best in the realm of avant garde and progressive, especially in the black metal realm. When the music isn’t either of those things, it’s full of so much venom and grit it’s hard to say no regardless.

Tongues are a Danish black metal band, a minority genre to my knowledge considering Denmark’s typical pedigree for metal. They play a very dissonant haphazard style that still manages to contain quite a bit of melody, with some slight death metal and doom metal riffing touches put in play to enhance the rather dismal horrific atmosphere of their sound. Their debut record Hrellia is quite impressive.

Dec 282017


(We present here the lists of 2017 releases that proved to be the favorites of NCS writer TheMadIsraeli.)

2017 was a fucking great year for metal of all kinds, but most particularly the extreme kinds. Keeping it short and sweet again this year, I’ve decided to call this list Blasphemous Foundations. I picked a Top 6 of thrash, black, and death metal, the central pillars of extreme metal (heuhueheue 666 get it!?) followed by a miscellaneous Top 10 of stuff either not in those categories or was its own thing to the extent I didn’t think it fit into them. This will probably be my year-end list format going forward, although there will be differing amounts of exposition and me generally being an overly verbose fuckhead.

But first, some hot takes, and not-so-hot takes I’d like to offer:

Nov 272017


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Oblivion, which is out now via Unique Leader Records.)

I was a huge fan and advocate for Oblivion when they first appeared in the scene all the way back at the release of their debut three-song EP. I enthusiastically reviewed their 2013 debut album Called To Rise, amazed by their dedication to old school, riff-driven technical death metal that called to mind Suffocation, Incantation, and Pestilence. It was one of the best death metal records of its year, and as a result I’ve been very excited to see what the band would do next.

The Path Towards… is the first album in a two-album series about the inevitable AI takeover of the human race. Generally a tired concept that’s been done to death, Oblivion pull it off quite convincingly, conveying the horror and sense of existential dread of being phased out along with the accompanying unbridled and anguished sense of rage you’d expect from such an event.

Nov 142017


(TheMadIsraeli returns with another blast of fast recommendations, with music streams that will let you take the full plunge.)

Welcome back to rapid fire recommendations where I throw brief reviews or recommendations of albums that would have been reviewed already if we hadn’t been drowning in the metallic avalanche of 2017.

Deivos – Endemic Divine

Polish hyper-death titans Deivos have put out a killer death metal record bathed in rabies, bath salts, beefy guitars, schizophrenic riffs, and classically Polish militaristic technical drumwork.

Nov 102017

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Vitriol from Portland, Oregon, with a complete Bandcamp stream on the day of its release.)

Ted O’Neill of Oblivion tells me about this guy, Kyle Rasmussen, and his band Vitriol and says I should look into them, tells me he thinks they’re going to be a significant band to pay attention to. I get these recommendations all the time, and of course as a music journo or blogger of any sort your instant thought is to think someone’s just trying to signal-boost their friends. I still check those recommendations out, of course, because I’d be close-minded to take the cynical route. I hit up Kyle for his band’s debut EP and… it did not disappoint.

Vitriol hit a death metal note that’s not really been struck for a while now, that brand of out-of-control, rabid, and schizophrenic tech death some of us associate with the likes of Cryptopsy and Cephalic Carnage — structured delirium, organized chaos, encapsulated insanity.

Nov 092017


(Here’s TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the UK band Underkript, which was released yesterday.)

The Brits had a mini scene explode for a short period of time a few years back; a combination of progressive thrash metal, melodic death metal, and various metallic hardcore elements came into play. Sylosis is the most notable name in this movement, and they’ve been the best at it. At least until now.

Underkript are an impressive rookie band hailing from Hull, UK, who label themselves somewhat incorrectly if you ask me. While touting a melodic death metal label, Underkript play more a brand of technical progressive thrash metal with a good bit of New York Hardcore and modern extreme metal sensibilities. The songs are pretty lengthy, the riffs are relentless, the vocals are scalding with angst and militancy, the melodies stoic and somber, the drums like inter-dimensional artillery fire. Underkript have got the “it”factor, if you ask me. Sufferance and Sorrow is the name of the band’s debut.

Nov 082017


(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the Dutch band Seita, which will be released on November 9.)

Seita have quickly become one of my favorite bands from The Netherlands. They exhibit a firebrand combination of death, thrash, hardcore, and groove metal, united into a form of frantic obliterating terror that not many bands can rival. These guys are like being force-fed adrenaline by the gallon.

I reviewed their debut Asymmetric Warfare back in 2012, lavishing it with great praise. Since then, the band have been rather quiet. They released some stand-alone songs from an unreleased EP this year, which I expected to be the next release. Instead, they are coming out the gate with a full-length album, the one in question here, and that EP will be arriving later.

Nov 012017


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Framework from New Jersey and New York.)

Melodic death metal is a genre that’s arguably an endangered species as a stand-alone style. It started as something very distinct and apart from the rest of metal for sure, and some of the greatest metal ever made was recorded by bands operating under that label and with those stylistic leanings. However, I think it can be argued that the style has basically been devoured by the rest of metal.

More extreme bands began incorporating more melody into their music, and the melodic death bands who took notice of this started incorporating more extreme elements into their own music. This musical adaptation that’s happened, especially in the last ten years, make it worth asking if we should even be using the genre descriptor any more.

I reviewed Framework’s excellent record A World Distorted here at NCS previously, an impressive debut that incorporated all the best aspects of ’90‘s/early 2000s heavier melodic death metal in the spirit of At The Gates, Soilwork, Nightrage, etc. Framework have been underground for a good while since then, now three years removed from A World Distorted. And now I understand why, as the band have been busy re-tooling their sound, making that adaptation I spoke of earlier.

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