Aug 172018

photo by Steve Brown


Despite the fact that we had a two-part round-up of new music yesterday, metal stops for no one, and so there’s a bunch more stuff, most of which surfaced over the last 24 hours, that has prompted yet another round-up today. And of course, what you’ll find below isn’t nearly everything I’d like to foist upon you, but it will have to do for now.

P.S. I’m in a hurry, and so I’m afraid I’ll have to dispense with my usual impressions of the music I’ve included here. Even more unusually, the first item in this collection includes no music at all, but it seemed sufficiently newsworthy that I’m including it anyway.


Today’s torrent of e-mails in the NCS in-box included an announcement by Peaceville Records that a new Bloodbath album has been set for release on October 26th, the name of which is:  The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn. Which is a very promising title, as are these excerpts from the press release: Continue reading »

Aug 172018


Having laid their foundations through two demos released in 2010 and 2014, the Chilean death metal band Pulverized are now poised (like a demon leopard about to leap) to release their debut album, Monuments of Misanthropy. It will be brought forth by Krucyator Productions on October 13th, and (with an evil grin on our faces) we’re bringing you a stream of the album’s opening track, “Devoción“.

When you eventually have a chance to listen to the album, you’ll detect the strong influence of metal from the early ’90s by such U.S. bands as Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, and Suffocation, as well as the rabid extremity of such South American forces as Krisiun and Abhorrence. Based on just this one track we’re delivering today, it’s also obvious that Pulverized have not only embraced these sinister and sadistic spirits, but also have the songwriting and performance skill to channel with vibrancy and power so much of what makes this kind of death metal deathless. Continue reading »

Aug 162018


Here’s the second Part of our Thursday round-up, which digs a little more deeply into the underground than Part 1, and which is more heavy on very heavy death metal (as well as some Grade A grindcore), with a big change of style at the end.


To begin, I’ve chosen Track #5 from the upcoming Human Annihilation album, which is the forthcoming second full-length by the California death metal band Ruin. Their debut album Drown In Blood from last year was a ravaging implement of sonic torture, and it sounds like this one will be quite good as well. Continue reading »

Aug 162018


Those of you who encountered the spine-shivering wonders of Boethiah‘s debut album, Invocation of the Xenolith, when it was released in the first month of this year may not be expecting new music from this two-man California band so soon, but new music is indeed what they’re now bringing us. On September 21st, a new six-track Boethiah EP named Celestial Gateway will be released on tape by Camo Pants Records and on CD by Rotted Life. We have one of those tracks to share with you today.

Drifting Into the Void” is a prime example of Boethiah‘s unusual ability to integrate the revered HM-2-powered tone of Swedish death metal with alien musical ingredients that send the listener’s imagination out into the chilling vastness of the interstellar void. It’s not for naught that their music has been characterized as “an insidious integration of the past and the future”. Continue reading »

Aug 162018


On October 2nd Ascension Monuments Media will release the self-titled debut album by Suicide Forest from Tucson, Arizona. The album is the work of 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist A. Kruger, although he is joined by other musicians for the band’s live performances.

Kruger’s choice of the name for this project suits the mood of the music, referring as it does to the sprawling Aokigahara forest northwest of Japan’s Mt. Fuji, reportedly the second most popular place in the world to commit suicide, after the Golden Gate Bridge. We’re told that in 2003, the last year when Japanese authorities released official numbers, 105 bodies had been found there, though no accurate count is possible, given the density of vegetation and the abundance of wildlife within that sea of trees. Continue reading »

Aug 162018


Here we are, four whole days into the week without a round-up, which of course means there’s a whole hell of a lot to round up. So, we’ll have a two-parter today, along with a couple more premieres.


Well, of course I’m going to lead with Hate Eternal‘s new track, because of course I’m not going to squander the opportunity to put another Eliran Kantor masterpiece up at the top of our page. In fact, I’m going to do it again after the jump, this time with the album title and logo in place: Continue reading »

Aug 162018



(As he is want to do from time to time, Andy Synn has selected three new releases by three UK bands to spotlight in this collection of reviews and streams.)

While the main purpose of this column – to highlight and hype up some of the best and brightest bands in the UK Metal scene – is pretty obvious, the process has also forced me to take a long hard look at its many faults and failings at the same time, in particular its unfortunate tendency to favour familiarity and celebrate mediocrity over supporting bands who might actually have something unique or interesting to offer.

Now, unsurprisingly, statements like that are unlikely to endear me to the self-declared gatekeepers and “defenders of the faith” who interpret even the mildest criticism as a sign of disloyalty and grounds for instant excommunication… but then I’ve been considered persona non grata by a lot of them for a while now, so what else is new?

Of course every year there’s a handful of break-out acts who, through a confluence of fortunate timing and hard-fought graft, manage to win over the hearts and minds of the record-buying public without pandering to the lowest common-denominator, but these are definitely the exception, rather than the rule, and the number of painfully generic bands I’ve encountered attempting to (misre)present themselves as “the next big thing” – all without a single interesting or original riff to their name – vastly outweighs the number of artists out there who actually possess a real voice and vision of their own.

That being said, the three bands I’ve singled out here all definitely have that special “x-factor” which makes them stand out from the crowd, and it’s albums like these which makes winnowing through all the sound-alikes and also-rans worth it in the end. Continue reading »

Aug 162018


I have an ingrained habit when I’m listening to music that I’ve already decided I want to write about, probably not that different from anyone else who scribbles their thoughts about music for public dissemination: I make notes to myself as I listen (not the first time I listen, but the times after that). In my case, my notes take the shape of messages to myself, like one side of a conversation, or like a memoir — messages from a self that’s caught up in the immediacy of what I’m hearing to a future self that’s more considered and more calculating about how to express those thoughts to others.

The future self tries to turn such notes into something readable, and more reflective. On his best days, that future self tries to avoid the kind of track-by-track reactions that are there in those past messages, for fear that tedium would otherwise overcome the reader. The future self often fails in the effort to pull everything together in a way that’s concise and thoughtful; and even on the best days, words and phrases from the past self who was carried away by the songs survive.

But this time, for the first time I can remember in the 9 1/2 years I’ve been messing with NCS, I decided to just give you my notes, slightly cleaned-up, but still essentially the same words that poured out when I let this album rush through my head the second time I heard it. Why did I decide to do this, at the risk of losing all of you? Continue reading »

Aug 152018


By Plaguewielder’s own description, they’re “a three piece blackened sludge outfit from a decrepit mill town in Ohio”. As you might guess from that choice of words, the music on their new album Surrender To the Void is capable of descending to oppressive levels of torment and hopelessness, riddled with pain and a sense of bleak, hollow-eyed resignation. But that’s not all their music is about. It’s also fiery and fierce, with a bare-knuckled and bruising defiance in its sounds that’s capable of getting your heart racing and your head moving hard. And that still doesn’t exhaust where they take their songs, because there’s also something mystical about them, with strains of otherworldly melody that suggest visions beyond crumbling masonry, rusting equipment, and broken lives.

Plaguewielder’s success in creating such changing moods and musical textures in these seven tempo-dynamic, powerfully evocative tracks makes the album well worth hearing, and it’s one that does a great job keeping a tight grip on your attention throughout its running time. Continue reading »

Aug 152018


It makes sense that the first demo of Zwarte Dood (Dutch for Black Death, though this project is Belgian) ends with a cover of a track by the infamous Ildjarn (a track I haven’t been able to find anywhere). Like much of Ildjarn’s music, Zwarte Dood‘s demo is an exercise in brutally distorted, minimalist, and palpably hostile black metal romping and rampaging. It’s crude and punishing, hateful and harsh — and in places, powerfully hook-heavy and head-moving.

The opener, “Aanvang“, lasts less than a minute, a stage-setter consisting or eerie swirling and shining ambient music, punctured by the slow strumming of reverberating strings, and elevated by something like the sounds of an angelic choir. After that, before you reach the Ildjarn cover at the end, there are two main songs with another kind of interlude in between them. Continue reading »