Jun 232018


(For this week’s edition of Waxing Lyrical, Andy Synn reached out to lyricist/vocalist Mathieu Nogues of the French band Eryn Non Dae.)

To quote my review of Abandon of the Self, the new album by French quintet Eryn Non Dae:

“…to dismiss them as ‘just’ another Post Metal band would be a mistake [as] the group’s enigmatic blend of apocalyptic atmosphere and caustic catharsis has just as much in common with the distorted, post-human visions of Godflesh, Meshuggah, and Nero di Marte as it does with Neurosis, Isis, and their ilk…”

As a matter of fact, the band’s distinctive brand of proggy complexity and extreme emotion is one which defies easy categorisation (which is possibly why they still don’t have an entry on Metal-Archives).

With this in mind I decided to reach out to their vocalist Mathieu Nogues and get him to participate in this edition of Waxing Lyrical as a way of (hopefully) learning a little bit more about what makes the band tick. Continue reading »

Jun 222018


As was also the situation on Wednesday, when I posted the last round-up before this one, I’m feeling hurried. Too much stuff going on in the fragments of life that aren’t devoted to NCS. But even though I don’t have time to cogently explain just how much I like the music I’ve chosen for this collection, and why, I didn’t want the week to end without putting more new music before you. (And of course we will have more for you this weekend as well.) So, without further ado, and without many complete sentences, let’s begin…


…slow, titanic, teeth-loosening heaviness… a groaning melody that bespeaks utter soul-shattering misery… a monstrous voice that roars from an ice-cold void… and in the middle it becomes a rumbling, thundering, bone-snapping tank attack with a delicious solo (and there’s one more ravaging assault at the end)… This is “Punishment In Flesh“. Continue reading »

Jun 222018


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the debut album by Denver-based Mire.)

As you may (or may not) have noticed, over the last several days I’ve covered quite a few “major” (or, at least, relatively major) albums/artists here at NCS, and left the more underground stuff to my colleagues, co-writers, and contributors.

However, in an attempt to redress that balance somewhat (as well as to salve my stinging conscience) I’ve decided that my final review of the week should be dedicated to something new, but much less well-known, which is what brings us to this perfect little piece of prodigious Prog-Death wizardry courtesy of Denver duo Mire. Continue reading »

Jun 212018


Late last month the Ontario death metal band Hatred Reigns released their debut EP, Realm: I – Affliction. Consisting of three tracks, it provides a preview of a future concept album that, as the band explain, “recounts the travels of damned souls to purgatory where their fate will be determined as they face numerous challenges along the way”, a concept inspired by Dante’s Inferno and the movie What Dreams May Come, but given the band’s own twist on the themes.

What we have for you today is a lyric video for the EP’s third song, “Planes Divide“, which makes vibrant use of the EP’s hellish cover art. Continue reading »

Jun 212018


(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of the new albums by the Swedish black metal bands Funeral Mist and Marduk.)

One of the commenters on one of my recent columns made mention of our avoidance of the tabloid-esque, clickbait culture which seems predominant among so many blogs/sites these days. And while I generally agree with (and appreciate) that sentiment, I would like to clarify one thing.

Because while we do our best to avoid sensationalising or proselytising, that doesn’t mean we’re ignorant of, or afraid to address, the various issues, questions, and controversies, which frequently permeate and surround our beloved scene.

My own approach, which is still being refined with every review and every article I write, is to inform, rather than dictate, so that our readers are given the right context in which to make their own decisions. I, for one, don’t believe that listening to a band is necessarily the same as endorsing their worldview, but I also don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with making a personal choice not to support a band either.

Whatever your decision, though, I can say that both these albums offer some extremely  good Black Metal, although both are successful for different reasons. Continue reading »

Jun 212018


The Finnish band Khanus made an attention-grabbing debut with their 2016 EP Rites of Fire (reviewed here). Less than 14 minutes long, it was nevertheless long enough to mark the band as one to watch closely. The genre-crossing music kept the tension and unease tightly coiled at almost all times, yet with a fascinating ability to hypnotize as it simultaneously put the listener’s teeth on edge. The EP was also long enough to attract the attention of I, Voidhanger Records, which reissued the EP on CD and is now preparing to release the first Khanus album.

Those who are familiar with this label’s releases know to expect something unorthodox. And Flammarion does indeed arouse the mind with otherworldly visions and an atmosphere of mysticism, while also channeling a primal, physically arresting energy. In the words of I, Voidhanger’s accurate summing-up, “Khanus‘ music oscillates between trance-inducing melodies almost bordering on hypnotic psychedelia and the primitive pulse of black/death metal, all seen through a distorting avant-garde lens that exalts the weirdness of the style without sacrificing brutality and aggressiveness”.

You’ll get a strong sense of Khanus‘ creative proclivities through the song we’re premiering today, a track named “Surrupu“, although it doesn’t provide a complete encapsulation of all the album’s textures. The sounds and moods are too varied for any one track to stand as an exclusive representation. Still, this a great lead-in to what Flammarion holds in store. Continue reading »

Jun 212018


Label samplers and other compilations are great ideas, especially compilations like the two recent offerings that I’m writing about in this post, which are available through Bandcamp for a price you pick for yourself. Between the two of them, they deliver 33 songs.

Apart from the obvious attraction of substantial playlists of music that you can pick up for free, or whatever your resources will allow you to contribute, samplers such as these provide an introduction to bands you might never have heard before (in addition to bands who’ve already made names for themselves that most of you will know of). I’m very glad I spotted alerts about them within the vast sea of dreck that is the NCS in-box.


I haven’t tried to manually count how many releases I’ve written about and recommended over the years from the French label Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions, but a word-search of our database turns up 17 of them. That number probably should have been larger, but there are only so many hours in the day. Suffice it to say that LADLO has good taste, which is to say that what tastes good to them almost always tastes good to me. The label is run by volunteers, they tend to focus on black metal, and they tend to focus on French bands, but not exclusively so. Continue reading »

Jun 202018


I’m in a hurry at the moment, with barely enough time to throw these five new songs and videos at you along with some basic background info, but not enough minutes to provide my usual introductory impressions. Enjoy the music — I sure as hell did.


The Seattle duo Pound (who used to go by Lb!) have turned in some of the most electrifying live performances I’ve seen here in the Pacific Northwest. The sights and sounds of guitarist Ryan Schutte delivering a tornado of chaos and groove on a baritone 9-string guitar while David Stickney switches back and forth between two drum kits in riveting displays of percussive vulcanism is the kind of mind-blowing experience I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. (You’ll get an idea of that experience in the second video below, but without the bowel-liquefying volume that comes in a live Pound performance.) Continue reading »

Jun 202018


Last fall we had the good fortune to premiere a track named “Rompe El Cepo” off the new album by the Spanish band Pánico Al Miedo, accompanied by a video that made good use of the album’s cover art (created by that famous connoisseur of the grotesque, Ed Repka). Since then, the band released a second video (for “La Fuente“), which is an eye-catcher of a different kind, and the album itself was released by a consortium of labels in April.

And now we get to bring you a third video for the album Formador, a Spanish-language lyric video for a song named “Cebos Vivos“, which seems to mean “live bait” in English. And in case you missed the first two videos or the album as a whole, we’re including streams of all of that, too! Continue reading »

Jun 202018


I’m a prime example of why it’s a smart idea for good bands to make videos for album tracks after their albums have been released — provided the videos are a match for the power of the music, as this one is.

Rig Time!, from La Crosse, Wisconsin, released their second album War last fall but I missed it, as I did their first album Sick of It (2016) and their two previous EPs, 2014’s Awful and 2015’s Devout. I might have remained oblivious to War but for the video you’re about to see and hear, which in my case made an explosive impact, both visually and in its sound.

Its ferocity is undeniable; it’s the kind of brutal passion that’s tough to fake. Better late than never, Rig Time! has gone off like a grenade lobbed into my head, and no doubt, I’m not the only one who’s gotten wrecked by them. Continue reading »