Sep 272023

Chrome Waves released their latest album Earth Will Shed Its Skin in April of this year. In his review our own Andy Synn noted that we have been writing about their music at this site since 2011, following their career “with both fascination and appreciation aplenty over the years.”

What Andy found particularly fascinating about their latest album was “the way in which it attempts to weave the two most distinctive aspects of the band’s sound – the cathartic ‘Post-Black Metal’ side that appeals to fans of Tombs, Deafheaven, and the like, and the shoegaze-y Alt-Rock side that recalls the best of acts like Hum and Catherine Wheel – into a single, coherent whole.”

But even last April the band’s leader Jeff Wilson was already hinting that we shouldn’t expect a future continuation of that interweaving. He said this in an interview around the time of the album’s release: Continue reading »

Sep 272023

Kalt Vindur are a Polich black metal band, though the name they chose for themselves are Icelandic words that mean “cold wind” in English. They come from the southeast of their country, from a region called Podkarpacie, and they have labeled their music “Podkarpacki Black Metal” (“Subcarpathian Black Metal”).

That label signifies the significance of the region’s geography, history, and culture in the band’s musical inspirations. Those inspirations are at the forefront of their forthcoming new album Magna Mater, their first release on the Greek label The Circle Music. That’s evident in the song we’re premiering today through a lyric video.

The name of the song is “Żywioły“, which in English means “Element”. Kalt Vindur vocalist Celsus describes it this way: Continue reading »

Sep 272023

(Andy Synn catches up with a band who we haven’t checked in with in quite a while)

Change, as they say, is the one universal constant. But that doesn’t mean that change is always good. Or, at least, it’s not always perceived (or received) that way.

Case in point, following the departure of the Sandagger brothers in 2009 Mercenary were – rightly or wrongly – criticised for, ahem, metamorphosing from the distinctive Prog/Power/Death Metal hybrid they used to be into a more groove-focussed, Metalcore-ish “Nu-Melodeath” act in the vein of bands like CalibanDeadlock, etc.

Much of the blame was placed, unfairly, on bassist (and now primary vocalist) René Pedersen – mostly, it seemed, because his singing style was supposedly less “epic” and more “emo” than his predecessor – even though the core guitar duo of Jakob Mølbjerg and Martin Buus (who have, at the time of writing this, now been playing together for over twenty years!) remained unchanged.

But the truth of the matter is that there was no one person responsible for the band’s downturn in fortunes, it’s simply that, for a while, they didn’t seem to know quite who they were, or who they wanted to be, any more.

But on their new album Mercenary sound more like… well, Mercenary… than they have in years!

Continue reading »

Sep 262023

On October 27th Crawling Chaos Records will release a new album named ephemer by the Munich-based black metal band Nebelkrähe — their first full-length in a decade. It’s a most unusual album, extraordinarily varied in its sounds and moods, and in its vocals, instrumentation, and melodies, the kind of album in which conventions of black metal are disregarded as often as they are honored.

The band point toward those variations mentioned above in their epigram for the album: “Memories – rainbow bubbles for adults.” (A. Engel) They explain its significance this way:

What sounds kitschy at first can also be read soberly and unromantically: Like soap bubbles that burst to the horror of the naïve child if he or she gets too close to them, even the most dazzling memories are fleeting and ephemeral – or, in German, ephemer.

They also share that the German-language lyrics “tell of blurred boundaries, youth gone by, and shattered dreams of life – as a tribute to the allure and horrors of transience.” Continue reading »

Sep 262023

(We’re honoured to be hosting the premiere of Rorcal‘s new album in advance of its September 29 release by Hummus Records, with words by our own Andy Synn)

Success, or so they say, can be a double-edged sword.

What, for example, do you do after releasing an album which – in my opinion, at least – is both the very definition of a true cult classic and one of the best records of the year? How do you follow something like that?

Some bands double down on what already worked. Others switch things up and try a different approach.

But Rorcal… they just reached even deeper down into that aching, infinitely empty pit of gnawing hunger and nameless horror that exists within their collective soul and tore loose another spiteful slab of auditory darkness that they chose to call Silence.

Continue reading »

Sep 262023

(Below we present a review of the new album by the Irish band Primordial written by NCS contributor Didrik Mešiček.)

I’ve always found it a bit surprising that Ireland, given its significant influence on the rock scene, hasn’t really provided us with many well-known and successful metal bands. But there’s no denying Primordial have been one of the fiercest forces in the black metal spheres, and when you have a band like that not much else is needed.

The Irishmen will be releasing their 10th album, How It Ends, on September 29th on Metal Blade Records, five years after their previous album, Exile Amongst the Ruins. Continue reading »

Sep 252023

Torn the Fuck Apart is one of the most unpretentious band names in extreme metal, and it’s also an example of “truth in advertising”: their music delivers what the name promises. Much the same could be said for this Kansas City’s band’s new album that’s due for release next month: Kill. Bury. Repeat.

But here’s the thing: as brazenly and unpretentiously violent as these names are, TTFA operate more like mad surgeons than crazed slashers or thuggish butchers. Their technical talents and precision are damned impressive, their songwriting is often head-spinning in its intricacy, and the music — while indeed bludgeoning and berserk — is catchy as hell.

A lot of people already know that, because Kill. Bury. Repeat. is TTFA‘s fifth album, and they’ve backed those with a lot of live performances over the years. But even people who are already ardent fans will likely have their eyes popped open by the new record, and newcomers (especially those who have a taste for death metal in the vein of such groups as Suffocation and Cryptopsy) will have something to look forward to eagerly when Gore House Productions releases the record.

As a sign of what’s coming, today we premiere a hellaciously exhilarating album track named “Corrosive Form“. Continue reading »

Sep 252023

In preparing to write what you’re about to read I finally tried to answer a question I’ve wondered about for years: Where did the Portuguese band Wells Valley get their name?

After spending more time googling than I should have, and even reaching out to the band’s label Lavadome Productions, I still don’t know the answer. It may be a place on a map, a fixed location on the Earth, or a fictional location in a tale, conceived either by the band or some novelist or filmmaker.

I’m still curious, but one thing is quite clear: whatever else Wells Valley may mean, it now represents a landmark for a mysterious and extremely unsettling place the band create in a listener’s mind, and their new album Achamoth is a previously uncharted descent toward that harrowing place that’s unlike most others. Continue reading »

Sep 252023

(Andy Synn unveils his thoughts about the recently-released return from Deadspace)

Our relationship – and I should be clear that by our I also mean my – with the band known as Deadspace has been a long and rewarding one.

Over the years we’ve seen (and heard) them grow from their disconsolate, DSBM-inspired roots to adopt a darker and more symphonic-laced sound, and then an altogether more aggressive approach, culminating in the release of A Portrait of Sacrificial Scars, arguably their best, and seemingly final, album in 2020.

I say “seemingly” because although, at the time, it did appear that …Portrait… would be the group’s last work – and we were, to be certain, saddened to hear this – it turns out that rumours of the band’s demise were greatly exaggerated, with the release of the Within Haunted Chambers EP (which contained three significantly heavier reworkings/re-recordings of earlier songs) being the first sign that Deadspace were definitely not as dead as they had seemed.

And now, finally, we get to find out exactly what it is that brought them back to life.

Continue reading »

Sep 242023

I obviously didn’t prepare a Seen and Heard roundup yesterday, which is usually the way I spend Saturday mornings. Just too many other interferences, both personal and job-related, so I checked out.

Today has its own interferences in store for me, some eagerly anticipated and others more mentally grinding. But I couldn’t stomach the idea of missing another appointment with our visitors, so I got an early start on the day and managed to pull together the following recommendations, presented in alphabetical order by band name.


As I was beginning to make choices for this column I received an alert about a new starkweather SubStack entry (here). Although I didn’t have much time to spare, I did quickly read through the new recommendations there. Continue reading »