Aug 202018


After the demise of the impressive Minnesota death metal band Iron Thrones about six years ago, its members moved on to other things. Bassist Curtis Parker moved on not only musically, but also geographically, relocating from Minneapolis to Seattle where he launched a new project named Witch Ripper. At first, it was essentially a solo project, though Parker’s ex-Iron Thrones bandmate Pete Clarke collaborated as the drummer on Witch Ripper‘s self-titled debut EP, which was released in 2012.

I heard about that 2012 EP not long after it came out, and found it hugely entertaining. As I wrote then, it brought to mind the likes of Mastodon, High On Fire, Neurosis, and Helms Alee, channeling the power of the riff at high-megawatt levels of addictive hookiness, but also delivering layers of memorable melodic complexity that made it stand out from the stoner crowd. You could be swallowed up in hard-rocking, hard-rolling jams one minute, stomped-on hard the next, and swimming off on astral streams the next. I immediately started looking forward to the next Witch Ripper release. Continue reading »

Aug 202018


I was both perplexed and intrigued when I first encountered the name Bangladeafy roughly two years ago (and I was very late to this party, given that this NYC duo had already been making music together for many years before). The name made more sense when I learned that drummer Atif Haq is Bangladeshi, and that bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist Jon Ehlers is hearing-impaired. I was also temporarily perplexed and intrigued when I listened to the first music revealed from their then-forthcoming second EP Narcopaloma — and then quickly became amazed by what they’d done, which was to create an experience that was somehow brain-twisting but melodic, instrumentally jaw-dropping but spell-binding.

Now Bangladeafy have recorded a new album, the name of which is Ribboncutter. It will be released by Nefarious Industries on September 21st. That news, all by itself, was a source of fresh intrigue. It seemed a given that these two wouldn’t have done anything that could remotely be considered conventional. The only question was what kind of roller-coaster ride had they have created for us, and whether listeners would be left securely strapped in place for the spin or instead be vaulted way out into thin air, arms and legs flailing in frightened and gleeful exhilaration. The answer should have been obvious. Continue reading »

Aug 202018


(Comrade Aleks rejoins us with this interview of Ryan J. Parks, vocalist/guitarist of Contemplating Murder and a former member of Conqueror Worm and Poets of the Plague.)

Contemplating Murder is an extreme band that mixes death, thrash, and doom metal with other minor elements in their music. It was created in 2014 by Ryan J. Parks (guitars, vocals), Alan Evans (bass), and Gregg Drummond (drums). With only one self-titled album in the discography, they have a longer history indeed, as Ryan started another band of this kind in 1996, Poets Of The Plague, and then after its disbanding spent a few years with Conqueror Worm.

We had a talk with Ryan, and here’s his story. A story of extreme metal, murder, metal, horror, death, and metal. Continue reading »

Aug 202018


(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

…of the good. Or so we’re so often told. And a chance encounter on Twitter this weekend only reaffirmed this particular factoid to me.

Allow me to set the scene a little. As part of my duties monitoring and managing the Beyond Grace twitter account, one of the bands I frequently interact with is Allfather (whose new album you can read about here), as I like their music, their ideology, and their general outlook on life (although I do sometimes question their taste in beer), and have enjoyed several productive discussions about music, politics, and other related topics, with them as a result.

Cut to yesterday, when I see that they’ve become involved in a thread about how anti-fascism is now becoming the “in” thing for a lot of bands, with the original poster asking for more recommendations of artists who are consciously and explicitly rejecting the current geo-political shift towards authoritarianism, while also asserting that, if we want this to be more than just a passing trend, we need to really get behind and support the movement.

So far, so good, right? Continue reading »

Aug 202018


(NCS contributor Vonlughlio reviews the new album by Debridement from Northern Ireland, which will be released on August 23rd by Rotten Roll Rex.)

The music of the band that’s the subject of this small write-up is just pure and filthy fun. Yes, you read that correctly, and why do I say that? ‘Cause it’s Slam/BDM done right, and that is intended to make you smile (even though you shouldn’t) and enjoy the music for just that: It’s fun and entertaining.

That band is a one-man project called Debridement, run by Mr. Brown (guitarist from the band Oncology) from Northern Ireland. I discovered this project back in 2016 with their EP Reduced to a Pile of Putrefying Slop and thought to myself, with a big smile, this is indeed filthy and disgusting, and sloppy (production-wise). It showcased the musical ability of Mr. Brown, who performed all the instruments, while envisioning how this style of goregrind should sound. It was 18 minutes of pure entertaining, horrible music, executed precisely and leaving the listener wanting more. Continue reading »

Aug 192018


This weekend I had the time to double the size of the usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK column. And while I recognize the risks of recommending more music than you’ll have time to check out, I do hope you’ll explore the excellent selections I included in Part 1, as well as what I’ve picked for Part 2. As in the earlier installment, I’ve again included two full recent releases and advance samples of music from two others that are set for release this fall.


I somehow missed the original 2015 release of the debut album (Pain Cleanses Every Doubt) by this enormously talented German band, but rectified the oversight when the album was reissued by Translation Loss in April 2016, helping to spread the word through an interview of the band and a stream of one of the songs from that fine debut. And since then I’ve been following their activities closely, writing about their 2016 EP, Dismal Ruins; their 2016 split with Morast (a tribute to Bathory); their 2017 live recording, Woe Over Roadburn; their 2017 split with Paramnesia; and their 2018 EP Dismal Ruins Pt II. Meanwhile, Andy Synn reviewed their 2016 album Converging Sins.

In other words, as prolific as Ultha have been, we’ve devoted attention to everything they’ve done so far. Why stop now? Continue reading »

Aug 192018


In the run-up to the release of Akhenaten’s third album, Golden Serpent God, earlier this year, we had the pleasure of premiering a video for “Erishkigal: Kingdom of Death“, and now we get to bring you another video for another track off this excellent album: “Amulets of Smoke and Fire“.

For those of you who haven’t already discovered the record, the Colorado brothers Wyatt and Jerred Houseman who stand behind Akhenaten drew inspiration from the mythology and mysticism of ancient Mesopotamia, interweaving exotic melodies into a framework of powerful blackened death metal, accenting the album’s 11 formidable tracks with such instruments as Turkish Saz, Oud, Persian Santoor, Duduk, Kalimba, Handpans, and Sitar. Continue reading »

Aug 192018


You nay have noticed that we had no WAXING LYRICAL post yesterday, given that Mr. Synn was otherwise occupied. Rather than attempt to cobble together a Saturday post myself, I decided instead to get a head start on what will become a two-part SHADES OF BLACK for today, with new music from four bands in this part and four more in Part 2. In this one, I’ve picked two recent full releases and advance tracks from two other albums.


Path Through The Mist is a new EP by Volkolun (Волколунь) from Belgorod, Russia, who released a debut album (Only Trees Remember Centuries) five years ago. Though I haven’t heard the album, and therefore had no inkling what might be coming, the EP knocked me over from the first time I heard it. Continue reading »

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 »