Nov 252022


When you combine a Black Friday with a Bandcamp Friday the result is a goddamned typhoon of new music and videos, with bands and labels not only launching sales but trying to take further advantage of the situation with new releases, some of them out today and some now up for pre-order.

I can’t say I’ve waded through all of it to make your shopping experience easier (I’m only one bedraggled human and speed-cloning is a generation or two away), but I did make my way through some of it, and have these recommendations for you.

I also did try to provide some genre scatter in the choices, knowing that not everyone loves everything, and to provide a range of radar elevations among the bands. As vivid proof of that, I’m leading off with… Continue reading »

Nov 252022

How could we possibly begin this write-up other than by contemplating all the messages signaled by the name KRUSHHAMMER (and yes, it must be written in ALL CAPS).

There’s no pretension in that name. It functions as a blunt instrument, and doubles down on the concept — not just a hammer, but a hammer that KRUSHES (rather than “crushes”, because “K” is unmistakably harder than “C”). It signals not tenderness or refinement but mania and destruction. And lest there be any doubt, these Brazilians from Belo Horizonte named their forthcoming debut album Blood, Violence & Blasphemy — which follows a debut EP named Speed Blacking Hell.

“So it’s fair to expect from it, to say the least, a seminal shredding metallic speed force possessed by hell, darkness and thrashing holocaust.” So says the Portuguese label Heldprod Records, which will be releasing the new album on November 28th.

How accurate are all these signals? We shall find out together now. Continue reading »

Nov 242022

Here in the U.S. today is Thanksgiving Day. For 13 years our site has made a point of observing no holidays, but instead continuing to focus without pause on the heavy music that inspires us. But on this holiday we can kill two birds with one stone — presenting music that kills, and being thankful, for the gem that is Jade.

To be clear, we are talking about a gem of a band, not the gemstone, though both share certain qualities, with a capacity to seize attention as the facets turn. And undeniably, the debut album of this part-German, part-Catalonian band provides music of many elaborate facets that’s altogether stunning. Entitled The Pacification of Death, it will be released tomorrow by Pulverised Records, but we’re providing a chance for everyone to hear it now. Continue reading »

Nov 232022

It is with considerable pride and pleasure that we present a complete stream of It Never Ends…, a new album by the Danish band Maceration — pride, because this marks the return of a group who made a heavy mark in the old annals of death metal with their 1992 debut A Serenade of Agony, and pleasure, because the new second album is really fucking good.

In a time when metal re-births seem increasingly common, the resurrection of Maceration after three decades still seems worth an extra measure of attention, in part because for their new album Dan Swanö has again stepped in to fill the session vocal role, as he did under the name Day Disyraa for that 1992 debut. He hasn’t done growled vocals since the halcyon days of Edge of Sanity, but you couldn’t guess that from his performance here. His monstrous growls, ravenous howls, and wretched gagging emissions are frighteningly powerful throughout.

But as vital as those vocals are to the success of It Never Ends…, it is of course the quality of the songwriting and musicianship that weighs most heavily in the balance between success and failure, and there the credit goes to original guitarists Jakob Schultz and Lars Bangsholt, bassist Robert Tengs, and drummer Rasmus Schmidt (Illdisposed, ex-Myrkur). Continue reading »

Nov 232022

(Through a new album released in September by Osmose Productions the French black metal mystics in Caïnan Dawn invite listeners to immerse themselves and drown in watery vastness, and to help guide your way into the depths Comrade Aleks conducted the following interview with the band’s vocalist Heruforod.)

Caïnan Dawn from Chambéry, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes will celebrate their 20th anniversary the very next year, but their discography isn’t as extensive as you might suppose. The band took their time to evolve their ideas and had a four-year long pause after the release of the first demo In Darkness I Reign (2007), hiding in the depths of the French black metal underground.

The first full-length Nibiru saw the light of day only in 2011, and then albums started to appear regularly. Thavmial – in 2014, then F.O.H.A.T. — in 2017, and now after the quarantine-induced break we have something new.

Caïnan Dawn’s fourth album Lagu was released by Osmose Productions in September 2022. This material took the band further from the melodic black metal sound of Nibiru and they have tried their hands on its avant-garde branch. The album’s concept fits perfectly with this updated sound, and Caïnan Dawn’s singing vocalist Heruforod told us the story behind Lagu.

Continue reading »

Nov 232022

(Andy Synn gets riffy with the new album from Sweden’s Vittra)

As we inch closer and closer to the end of the year time is running out for us here at NCS, and tough decisions are having to be made about what, and who, we can cover before “List Season” officially begins.

To be clear, I’ll still be writing and publishing reviews throughout December – mostly of things that I wasn’t able to get to over the last twelve months and which I think deserve more coverage and attention – but probably not as many as usual (the next couple of weeks are going to be particularly hectic and stressful for me, for various reasons, so I intend to take a well deserved rest from work, writing, and everything else).

Until then, however… let’s all enjoy some catchy-as-covid Death/Thrash riffage courtesy of Vittra and their new album, Blasphemy Blues.

Continue reading »

Nov 222022

Not long ago the Athens-based, genre-bending band Euphrosyne provided a starting introduction to their debut EP Keres through an official video for a song from the EP named “When My Fears Conquered All”. The video shrouds the music with haunting and harrowing imagery which well-suits the song’s haunting and harrowing lyrics, interspersed with views of the band performing, fronted by the frightening countenance of vocalist Efi Eva.

The music is also unsettling, but also functions as a statement of intent for the EP as a whole — and the statement is to expect the unexpected.

In that one song the band push and pull the listener through a genre-labyrinth, creating an amalgam of bone-bruising bass blows and frenzied, squirming, and darting fretwork, of skull-snapping beats and eerie astral keyboards, of gasping whispers and blow-torch screams, of grand chords and rapidly ringing melodies, of wailing yet anthemic soloing, suddenly high-flown singing, and anguished spoken words.

If there’s a thread that holds all the moving parts together, it’s a steadily encroaching aura of darkness that spans moods of confusion, desperation, agony, and fury, with glimpses of grandeur and reprieve that seem just out of reach. Continue reading »

Nov 222022

(October 28th brought the release by Church Road Records of a fourth full-length by Germany’s Implore, and in this review DGR provides a lot of reasons to get enthusiastic about it.)

It’s been a little while since we’ve gotten an album as clearly “bookended” as Implore‘s October release The Burden Of Existence, yet one glance at track times alone and it seems like the masterminds behind the metallic chaos that is Implore got a taste for track-sequencing symmetry.

Implore are not the type of band to go on musical journeys or prog-dalliances, so none of the songs on The Burden Of Existence stretch for time in any sense of the word, but it is fun noticing how the group have three of their four longer songs on The Burden Of Existence positioned within the front two and the back two of the lineup. Of course, when you close out an album with a song called “The Sense Of Endings”, maybe room for subtlety is a couple of train stops away from where we are currently – but alas, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Continue reading »

Nov 222022

Surely there’s some software plugin floating around out there that would let us put a ticking clock on the site, counting down to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today. But hell, who has the time to hunt for that thing? Not us. You’ll have to set your own timer.

Why is 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today worth paying attention to? Because that’s when Northwest Terror Fest will put a limited number of early-bird tickets on sale for the 2023 edition of the fest, which will take place at the Neumos and Barboza music venues in Seattle next Memorial Day Weekend (May 25 – 27).

And why should that matter? Because look at this line-up, which NWTF announced yesterday: Continue reading »

Nov 212022

artwork by necrosadist

On November 21, 2009, I made the first post at this blog. On the 21st day of every November since then (except last year, when I forgot to do it until a few days later) I’ve made a post celebrating our birthday. And here I am doing it again, because we’ve survived another year.

In these annual posts I usually explain how I had no ambitions or expectations when I started the blog, nor any training or experience as a music writer, and that the sum total of my motivation was to create an enjoyable diversion for myself from the grind of daily life, and to indulge my burgeoning interest in heavy music. And there, I just did it again, albeit in fewer words than usual.

In these annual observances I also tend to reminisce about how many things about NCS have changed from the early days, and about how surprising it is to me that we’re still here. Some of you remember the early days, because you were here with us then and haven’t left. Others who have begun checking in here more recently might yawn if I indulged in that kind of nostalgia, so let’s just skip that, as I did last year too, and get right into expressions of gratitude and the annual tradition of mind-numbing statistics. Continue reading »