Dec 102018


Early last year I discovered Bardo, the then-forthcoming new EP by a black metal crew from Raleigh, North Carolina, named Mo’ynoq — and it made such a powerful immediate impression that I reached out to them to ask if we could premiere one of the tracks to accompany a review of Bardo (and you can find that here). Now Mo’ynoq have completed work on their debut album — Dreaming In A Dead Language — and once again I asked if we could host a premiere of one of the new songs in advance of its official release on January 11th. Once again, the band agreed.

I hasten to add that we don’t usually ask for the opportunity to host premieres. Almost all the time, the requests come to us. But the new Mo’ynoq album is so damned good, and so damned exciting, that I couldn’t resist. The song chosen by the band is the album’s second track, “The Collector“. Continue reading »

Dec 102018


Earlier this fall Satanath Records (Russia) and Final Gate Records (Germany) released Esoterica, the debut album of the Pittsburgh-based black metal band Automb. We had the pleasure of premiering a track from the album in advance of its release, and now we’re pleased again to present an official video for one of the album’s many riveting tracks, a song called “Mourned“.

For those who may be encountering Automb for the first time, it began as a side-project of Necrophagia guitarist Serge Streltsov and vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Danielle Evans. After the untimely passing of Streltsov‘s Necrophagia bandmate Frank “Killjoy” Pucci (to whom this new album is dedicated), he turned his full attention to Automb, and he and Danielle Evans enlisted the aid of Morbid Angel drummer Scott Fuller to create Esoterica. Continue reading »

Dec 102018


(Here’s Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by the Australian band Habitual Depravity.)

This time around I was given the opportunity to do a small review for the band Habitual Depravity‘s debut album Realms of Abysmal Servitude, which will be released via Reality Fade Records on December 30th.

This project was started in Australia by Jono, and in 2017 the same label (Reality Fade) released a two-song promo, which was well-received and got a lot of us hoping for a full-length release soon. So when the announcement of the debut album was made in early 2018 I was stoked, especially because we learned that the drummer for this effort would be none other than Lord Marco Pitruzzella (Abuse, Hunhau Mitnal, Neurogenic, Six Feet Under, Sleep Terror, ex-Vital Remains, ex-The Faceless), who is one talented speedster behind the kit. Continue reading »

Dec 102018


(We begin a week of Andy Synn‘s year-end lists with a traditional installment that veers off our usual theme of focusing on music we enthusiastically recommend. Feel free to disagree — some of us here may disagree as well — but also feel free to share in the Comments your own thoughts about 2018 albums that disappointed you.)

Despite the fact that the general ethos of the site is to accentuate the positive and to downplay the negative, that doesn’t mean we shy away from constructive criticism when we feel it’s necessary (well, as long as it adds something to the review).

It’s for this reason why I like to start off my annual week-long round-up of the year with the albums which I found to be the most “disappointing” from the last twelve months, as I feel it’s important to acknowledge that not every record released is necessarily a winner, no matter how much we might want them to be, and that it’s always worth pointing out when an artist falls short of the mark.

Now, I’m aware that there are a lot of “big names” represented here, which will probably end up putting the proverbial cat among the pigeons when it comes to angry, offended comments, but I’d like to stress that none of the albums featured here is an objectively “bad” album. And several of them are still quite enjoyable in their own right. But it’s possible for an album to be good while also being a disappointment, particularly in cases where the band themselves have clearly failed to live up to their own high standards. Continue reading »

Dec 082018


UPDATE:  The grinding gears of our horrible machine appear to be rotating again. Thank you for your patience.

For about the last 24 hours our site has been experiencing technical difficulties. For a while, NCS was completely inaccessible. Now, it seems that people are able to reach the main page, but can’t connect to individual articles — which is why there’s no “jump” in what you’re reading now to anything longer. Everything in this post should be view-able on the main page.

I (islander) have a rudimentary understanding of what the problem is (though I hasten to add that I still may not be grasping the issue correctly): It seems that URLs for individual articles at the site are pointing to IP addresses for remote servers that we used to use to help propagate our content around the world and speed up access, but which we’re no longer using (because we thought another service we were using rendered it redundant), rather than to the main dedicated server at our web-host that houses everything connected to the site. The same problem has disabled our access to e-mails sent to NCS (nothing sent to us over the last 24 hours has arrived at the e-mail server provided by our web host).

There is a way to fix these issues, but it’s beyond my own technical skill. We have an IT consultant who has been helping us, and I’m hoping he will figure out the solution soon, and by Monday at the latest.

As I write this, I’m on my way back to Seattle from a two-week vacation, and had plans for us to get back to normal beginning Monday, and to continue with our year-end LISTMANIA series with the continuation of Andy Synn‘s 6-part list that we began on Friday. I still hope that will happen. In the meantime, I’m trying not to let my frustration with our current fucked-up situation eat me up from the inside out, and I hope you’ll be more patient than I’m feeling at the moment.

Dec 072018


(As we do every year, we’re beginning the roll-out of year-end lists by our own writers with Andy Synn‘s six-day series of selections, which begins today and continues next week.)

Next week, as is traditional, I’ll be deploying my regular barrage of year-end lists, beginning with a round-up of what I thought were the most “Disappointing” albums of the past twelve months, followed by my selections of the “Good” and “Great” records of the year.

Now, the point of these lists, as opposed to a traditional “Top Ten” (which I’ll be finalising for the end of the week) is not to “rank” the albums contained therein (beyond the wider “Disappointing”, “Good”, “Great”, categorising) or to show-off how many albums I’ve listened to (as I’ve been accused of before) but to provide our readers with a sort of “one-stop shop” (including, wherever possible, Bandcamp links) for music which they might not have had chance to check out over the course of the year.

So, to whet your appetites a little bit, I thought I’d kick things off with an alphabetised list of the various EPs (seventeen in total) which have grabbed me by the metaphorical cojones in 2018. Continue reading »

Dec 072018


Stereogum easily qualifies as one of the “big platform” web sites whose year-end lists of metal we perennially include in our LISTMANIA series. Of course, the site appeals to an audience of music fans much larger than devoted metalheads (they have, for example, a list of the “50 Best Albums of 2018“, across many musical genres), but its staff includes a talented and tasteful group of metal writers who among other things are responsible for the site’s monthly “The Black Market” column, which has been a great source of discovery for extreme music for six years running now.

It follows that Stereogum‘s annual metal list is one I especially look forward to seeing every year, and the 2018 edition appeared yesterday — though it’s a shorter list than I recall from past years. Continue reading »

Dec 072018


(Today our premiere is introduced by Andy Synn, and features a new video for a single from the new album by Endolith. The album will be released on January 18th by Rob Mules Records. The single is available digitally today.)

It’s been well-documented that Voyager, the astonishingly good debut by Norwegian Prog-Metallers Endolith, is one of my favourite albums of the last ten years, and one which I’m constantly trying to get more people to listen to… hint, hint.

However I’m just as hopeful that the band’s upcoming second record, the blood-pumping, brain-teasing, Chicxulub The Fossil Record, is going to become one of your favourites too once it finally hits the streets (and the internet) on the 18thof January.

Having heard the entire album already I can offer a few minor spoilers to help get your juices flowing, such as letting you know that it’s a warmer, more organic sounding affair than its predecessor, and while it’s also more melodic in many ways, it’s still just as groovesomely heavy and, arguably, a few shades darker too.

The band released the first taste of Chicxulub (whose title refers to the impact crater of the same name in Mexico where an asteroid or comet hit the earth precipitating an extinction-level event that wiped out the dinosaurs) back in July with the video/single “Rex”, and now we’re lucky enough to be able to present you a second helping of metallic magic in the shape of the new video by Steffen Normark for “Ichthys”. Continue reading »

Dec 062018


Majestic Downfall‘s new album, Waters Of Fate, will be released on December 7th by Solitude Productions and Weird Truth Productions in Europe and Asia, and by Chaos Records in the Americas. It consists of five tracks and 52 minutes of music, and the European/Asian version of the album includes one further bonus track for a total playing time of over an hour.

You can lose yourself in this album very easily. The four long songs of doom/death and one brief interlude that make up the Americas version of the record are staggeringly intense and atmospherically immersive, and the melodies are powerfully alluring, but the music will prove especially appealing to listeners with a taste for crushing heaviness and soul-splintering sorrow.

As you’re about to hear — because the album will become available for streaming in full today — there is tear-stained beauty to be found here, and passages of epic yet bleak grandeur, but this is an album that will dash your fondest hopes and smother your budding joys in their crib. Continue reading »

Dec 062018


January 27th is the date established by Third I Rex for the release of ChaosWolf, the debut album from the Italian black metal band Innero, which was formed in 2016 by members of Malnatt and Bland Vargar. We are told that in creating the album Innero followed “a shamanic path of inner consciousness and renewal”, and thus it’s fitting that the first excerpt from the album, which we present today, is a song called “The Shaman“.

This is a song that wears the intensity of its emotions on its sleeve. The music is dramatic, and scarring, and seems to reveal the deep scars of its creators’ own suffering and disappointments. Continue reading »