May 132021


Nashville-based Meditator began almost four years ago as a concept in the mind of front-man James Downs, a kind of musical meditation on the human condition, after the dissolution of his previous band. That led to an album named A Darkness Unknown, and its positive reception motivated Downs to assemble a full band, which included guitarist Nick Elder. While beginning to play live shows, Meditator also began work on another album, which took shape around the title World Watcher.

Of course, the global pandemic had other plans, and interfered with Meditator’s expectations for release of the new full-length. They decided to postpone the release, but to begin revealing singles from the record, beginning with “Star Gazer” in October 2020, and continuing not long ago with “Dust“. It’s that second song that’s the subject of the music video we’re premiering today, which shows the band performing the track in a plastic-wrapped room. Continue reading »

May 132021


Adarrak is a new progressive death metal band founded by Singaporean guitarist extraordinaire Emmanuel George Bi and fleshed out by the talents of vocalist Gustavo “Kike” Valderrama (Sol De Sangre, Headcrusher) and bassist Zigor Munoz. Guest performers on their debut album, Ex Oriente Lux, include drummer Robin Stone (ex-The Amenta) and guitar soloists Nicholas Chang, Edmund “Quekstein” Quek, and the great Marty Friedman.

Moreover, the album was mixed and mastered by none other than Dan Swanö at Unisound Studios, who has commented: “Adarrak is truly progressive since they are not afraid to implement all kinds of metal into the mix, anything from epic leads to insane blast parts.”

And if all that information didn’t build some heated intrigue within your brain, the song we’re presenting today from Ex Oriente Lux surely will — though it might also send your mind into the sky and explode it like fireworks. The name of the song is “Withering“. Continue reading »

May 132021


(Here’s Nathan Ferreira‘s review of the new record by Miami-based Bleeth, set for release by Seeing Red Records on May 28th.)

I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone here. I don’t usually look for sludgy post-metal when I’m bored and unsure of what to listen to. In fact, if it weren’t for the magnificence of The Ocean and my nostalgic appreciation for early Mastodon as a gateway band, I’d probably never listen to this stuff unprovoked.

This makes it even more perplexing that I find myself coming back to Harbinger, the second full-length of Miami-based Bleeth. It is very much entrenched in the modern metal ethos and presentation – if you aren’t into this stuff already, I doubt this will be the album that converts you, because it checks every single box this sub-style is supposed to check. Lots of thick, hazy chords that are memorable more for their simplicity than the actual melody being played, a “less is more” approach to driving rock riffs, big bassy tone, aggressive feminine vocals that straddle the line between signing and atonal yelling (with some more raggedy harsh vocals spliced in as well). Their band name sounds like a nonsensical utterance a baby makes when it’s got a mouthful of food – because this is “artistic” or something? In essence, what I’m saying is if artificial intelligence could generate a post-sludge band, Bleeth is exactly what would come out. Continue reading »

May 122021


To my surprise, I found time to compile this mid-week round-up. It’s not quite as long as these things usually are, consisting of only four advance tracks from forthcoming releases, but it will make the next one I do that much less bloated. The music I chose is stylistically diverse, but all of it brings an electrifying intensity. Might be something on here you’ll want to add to your wish list.


Seattle’s beloved Drawn and Quartered are returning with their eighth album, Congregation Pestilence, preceded by the just-released single, “Rotting Abomination (The Cleansing)“. It’s indeed rotting and abominable, and also a mouth-watering feast for death metal ghouls. Continue reading »

May 122021


On July 2nd Comatose Music will proudly (and perhaps sadistically) uncage Apocalypto, the ghastly debut album of Anthropophagus Depravity from Yogyakarta in Indonesia, a record that Comatose sums up as “a gory tale of human sacrifice and mutilation delivered with fearsome musical prowess and ruthless, relentless force,” an album “spawned from nightmares” that “radiates fear and panic”, and one that will secure the band’s place “at the top table of brutal death metal”.

What we have for you today is the premiere of “Temple of Sacrifice“, a song that earns those words. It’s a cruel fashioning of terror in multiple visceral forms, an amalgam of cold, ruthless, methodical brutality and skittering, scrambling madness, all of it shrouded in an atmosphere of supernatural horror. Continue reading »

May 122021


The French label Antiq Records has become a paramount global source for medieval black metal (though not only that), and while the label tends to focus on the music of distinctive French bands, its forthcoming release of the debut album by Passéisme shows this is not exclusively true. Granted, the band chose a French name and have drawn upon French poetry for some of their inspirations, but this trio make their home in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Passéisme’s debut album Eminence (which follows their 2019 demo Austerity Parade) is a sequence of seven Chants, but while there is a sense of nostalgic reverence for older eras that does emerge in the music, these are not sedate or sober recitals. They are instead usually fast, fierce, and often explosively ebullient, the kind of music that super-heats the blood and spins the mind, while the lyrics often reflect savage condemnation. We have a prime example of this in the lyric video we’re premiering today for “Chant For Parade“. Continue reading »

May 122021


(Despite the somewhat incestuous relationship between Andy Synn and the Dutch “Svpreme Avant Garde Death Metal” band The Monolith Deathcult, he has taken it upon himself to review their new album, which is set for detonation release on May 14th.)

As anyone around here will tell you, The Monolith Deathcult and I have a fairly long and sordid history together.

Not only have I written about pretty much everything they’ve ever done (especially if you take into account the edition of The Synn Report I did on them just over a decade(!) ago), but I’ve also helped them with their promotional materials, and even been on tour with them a couple of times.

All of this, of course, makes me both the best and the worst person to be writing about the band’s new album, as while I’ve definitely got the right background and the insider info, mainline straight from the source, to really dig into the nitty gritty of the record, I’m sure there’s also a fair few people who are (understandably) going to be questioning my ability to be fair and impartial right now.

But, ultimately, there really was no-one else here at NCS who could write this review (and not just because everyone else was too busy).

After all, we all know that the only way for any band – even one as utterly shameless and reliably critic-proof as The Monolith Deathcult – to be truly judged (and, hopefully, convicted) is by a jury of their peers… which is why I swear to you that what you’re about to read is nothing but the truth, the whole goddamn truth, so help me (please help me) god… Continue reading »

May 112021


Sometimes in our song premieres (in this case one that’s presented through a lyric video), it’s best to cut to the chase and then come back and fill in the back-story. This is one of those times.

The song here, which is as fascinating as it is unnerving, is “The Augurs of Spring (The Burial of the Dead)“. It’s the second movement in a rendition of excerpts from Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 orchestral work The Rite of Spring, and the people responsible for this rendition have taken the name 30 immolated; 16 returned. The lyrics, which seemingly appear as random words, were inspired by T.S. Eliot‘s great poem “The Waste Land“.

A compelling rhythmic pulse runs through this performance, executed in different ways, from primitive, titanic pounding by all instruments to brittle chords or a popping snare (and more). Around that reflex-triggering pulse (which occasionally changes in jarring ways), madness ensues — a cavalcade of burbling bass notes, dissonant slithering, seething, and screeching guitars, frantic drum acrobatics, insectile fretwork fevers, and an array of caustic growls and howls whose lunatic vehemence is almost as unsettling as all the bizarre instrumental intricacy.

It is, in a word, wild. Stravinsky may be spinning in his grave, almost at the speed your own head will spin. Continue reading »

May 112021


In the neverending musical combat between catharsis and comfort, byzantine boundary-stretching and banal convention, Cloak of Altering continues to leave no doubt where its allegiances lie. In the band’s eccentric and perpetually experimental maneuvers, it seems dedicated to rooting around in our subconscious in a way that makes it difficult to keep certain things buried that perhaps we’d rather remain hidden, just as it provides a necessary outlet for its creator’s own unsettling and unpredictable impulses.

Yet every new excursion by the band provides a multitude of fascinations, no matter how disorienting they may become, further proof of which is provided in Cloak of Altering‘s new album, Sheathed swords drip with poisonous honey (set for release on June 4th by Brucia Records).

We have the premiere of a song from that album for you today, “The Jesuscraft“. The opening line of our introduction, which is a few paragraphs below, is this: “The song seems diabolically calculated to keep listeners continually off-balance.” Perhaps, then, there is some hilarity to be found in the comment about the song from Cloak of Altering‘s alter ego Mories (the fiendish mind also behind Gnaw Their Tongues, The Sombre, The Night Specter, Hagetisse, and Golden Ashes, among other projects): “The Jesuscraft is the most straightforward song on the album.” Continue reading »

May 112021

(Andy Synn dives back into the darkness once more with the new album from Russian Blackened Hardcore bruisers Morokh)

You know what they say… once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

And, as it happens, this is the third album from Russia in just over a month that’s instantly established itself as one of my favourite records of the year, which suggests that either someone out there is purposefully targeting me and my listening tastes… or I’m just being paranoid (or am I?).

Continue reading »