Jun 302015


We’ve known there was something special about Amiensus ever since my co-writer Andy Synn brought the band to our attention through his vivid review of their 2013 debut album Restoration. In the years since then, the band have released a small number of individual songs that proved to be equally impressive, but I still don’t think even that track record of excellent releases could have fully prepared us for the band’s new album Ascension — which will be released tomorrow. In a word, it’s astonishing.

Attempting to capture the tremendously multi-hued character of the music in mere words is probably a fruitless goal. It’s true of most music, but undeniable in the case of this album, that there is no substitute for experiencing it yourself. It’s ambitious, it takes risks, it lays bare the emotional intensity of the musicians and vocalists, and it vividly reflects the creativity of their songwriting ideas. They should all be immensely proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Ascension is a folk-tinged, genre-crossing amalgam of black metal, melodic death metal, and progressive rock. It’s sweepingly atmospheric and it’s warlike. It’s massively heavy and as fragile as snowflakes. It’s doomed and it’s defiant. It’s drenched in sorrow, it’s explosive in its ferocity, it’s panoramic in its epic reach, and it’s often sublimely mystical. And frequently, it’s all of those things within the space of a single song. Continue reading »

Jun 302015


Time flies, and sometimes the good things it carries away, it brings back again with renewed pleasure. Almost exactly three years ago I stumbled across (and wrote about) an excellent EP entitled Solar by a New Jersey band named Windfaerer. I had forgotten about the band as the years rolled on, but the memories of that wonderful discovery have now been rekindled — because Windfaerer have finally completed their second full-length, Tenebrosum. Today we’ll give you a glimpse of what it holds in store as we premiere the album’s first track, “Celestial Supremacy“.

Windfaerer’s name signifies one who travels with the wind, and the album’s name — which draws from the archaic term for the Atlantic Ocean (“Mare Tenebrosum”), meaning “sea of darkness” — underscores the conceptual connection of the band’s music to the idea of setting sail upon unknown waters, with both perils and the hope of new discovery lying ahead along the path carved by the wind. Continue reading »

Jun 302015


On August 21, 2015, Season of Mist will release a live double-album by Rotting Christ entitled Lucifer Over Athens. It was recorded in the band’s home city in December 2013, and it represents a wonderful summing up of this influential Hellenic black metal band’s long and triumphant career to date. Today we’re proud to help premiere from the album the live performance of “Athanatoi Este“.

There are precious few extreme metal bands who have persisted and flourished for as long a span of years as Rotting Christ. Over their nearly three decades of creating music, they have released consistently strong albums while resisting the temptation to simply rehash old glories. They have evolved and progressed, but without ever damping the Luciferian flame that burns fiercely in their songs. They earned their respect long ago, but they seem not to take that for granted — and they continue earning it with each passing year. Continue reading »

Jun 302015


At 6:30 a.m. on December 1, 1948, the body of a well-dressed man was found lying in the sand on Somerton Beach just south of Adelaide, South Australia. Sewn into a hidden pocket of the man’s pants was a scrap of paper, the final page from an edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam on which these words were printed: “taman shud” (Persian for “finished”).

Following an appeal by police, a man in nearby Glenelg turned in the copy of the book from which the page had been torn, which he had discovered lying on the seat of his car. In the back of the book were faint pencil markings of five lines of capital letters, with one line crossed out. The letters were thought to be in code, but if they were, the code was never deciphered:


No cause of death was ever proven, though the coroner suspected the use of some undetectable poison. Nor was the dead man ever identified, despite intensive efforts by police that included worldwide distribution of the decedent’s photograph and other information about the body. The book itself appeared to have been an edition for which there was no record of its printing.

Fascination with “The Taman Shud Case“, also known as “The Mystery of the Somerton Man“, has persisted down to the present — and it has inspired the creation of a new album by a Virginia band named Harmonic Cross, entitled It Is Finished. Continue reading »

Jun 302015


(Guest contributor Grant Skelton provides this collection of recently released new music by two bands — Chaos Order and Dolven.)


Chaos Order are a metallic hardcore band from my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. In October, they will be recording with Steve Albini (Nirvana, TAD, High On Fire, Neurosis) for a split release due in 2016. The band have an EP due in the fall as well (date TBA) titled, Distant Chords of Disharmony. Recently, Chaos Order posted 2 songs from that release. Regarding the song “Eternal Recurrence,” the band posted this on their Facebook page:

“Eternal Recurrence is the most experimental Chaos Order track to date.”

Now, I know that in the metal world, the word “experimental” can have multiple meanings depending on its context. Depending upon the temperament of the audience, bands can be praised or condemned for “experimenting” with their sound. Rest assured, “Eternal Recurrence” sees Chaos Order borrowing various well-worn musical weapons from their arsenal. Continue reading »

Jun 302015

Scarve – 2003


(In this new edition of The Synn Report, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Scarve.)

Recommended for fans of: Strapping Young Lad, Darkane, Gorod


Often tagged with the ever-so-damning “Modern Metal” moniker (shudder), French musical metallurgists Scarve – whose most recent line-up includes Darkane vocalist Lawrence Mackory, Soilwork guitarist Sylvain Coudret, and Extreme Metal’s resident VID (Very Important Drummer) Dirk Verbeuren – can be a hard-to-classify beast.

Existing somewhere in the irradiated wasteland between Death and Thrash, the strong hints of Meshuggah-esque futurism and Fear Factory-style mechanised rhythms have, at varying stages of their career, seen the group lumbered with awkward references to “Cyber-Metal” and “Industrial Death Metal”, neither of which seem to accurately capture the band’s overall sound and style.

Still, we’re not here to bandy genre terms and stylistic tags, we’re here to experience some damn good Metal! So, without further ado, click onwards and feast your ears on the blisteringly technical, ferociously aggressive, and enigmatically progressive Cyber-Metal assault of Scarve

Dammit, I said it didn’t I? Continue reading »

Jun 292015


For those of you who happened to come across a review I wrote of the new album by Toronto’s Megiddo in mid-June, I have to apologize — because I later discovered that what I wrote about The Holocaust Messiah was not based on the complete version of the album. I based it instead on what was then available for streaming on Bandcamp, and that stream did not include the Intro and Outro tracks, nor did it include the title song — which may be the strongest track on the album. After making that discovery, I ordered the CD version of the album from Barbarian Wrath, and now I’ve heard it as it was meant to be heard, in its entirety. So, allow me to begin again….

Roughly 13 years have passed since Megiddo last put out an album, and aside from a trio of splits in 2003, I don’t think there’s been any new music from the band at all since then — until Barbarian Wrath released The Holocaust Messiah this month. It consists of seven tracks, plus an intro and outro — and it’s a gem. Continue reading »

Jun 292015


Welcome to the glorious 75th edition of MISCELLANY, the highly irregular series in which I go exploring into the unknown. For those new to these excursions, I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before, I try to listen to not more than one recent song per band (though sometimes I cheat and listen to more), I scribble my immediate impressions, and then I stream the music so you can judge for yourselves. (I cheated a lot on my one-song rule today.)

Usually, I make the MISCELLANY selections in a highly random fashion, not knowing whether I’ll like the sounds or not. Today, however, the last three of the four picks were recommended by friends who know something about what I like, so that increased the odds of success. But I still didn’t know exactly what was coming…


I’ve already forgotten when or exactly where I noticed the 2014 demo by this band from Columbus, Ohio.  I’m pretty sure someone posted about it on Facebook, and I kept the link for future reference. Yesterday I decided to check out the music, which CVLT Nation put up on Soundcloud last summer. Continue reading »

Jun 292015


(DGR prepared this review of new songs and albums from four bands.)

These Sifting articles are ones that I like to hammer out from time to time, as I have a habit of discovering so much new music in an effort to feed the NCS readers’ gullets that I absolutely cannot cover it all, much less dedicate a huge review to each discovery. However, I also feel like I’m doing the bands wrong by simply going, “I’ll try to get around to it”, because a lot of these groups are quality musicians who deserve a chance to get out there. So, Sifting was born — a series of articles in which I dig through the various recent collections of music I’ve accumulated and try to get some shorter summaries up to share out with people.

Of course, as I am prone to do, I still get stupidly wordy, and some of these summaries are longer than the reviews we run on this site — but still, its all about the thought, right? So sit down with me, as we travel the world and I blather on with more long-winded phrases and stupid similes to share with you about quite a few different bands, bouncing across the US and then over to Europe and back again.


Fun fact: I have never for a moment toyed with the idea of joining the military — but were I ever drafted or forced into it, the one thing that I could see myself doing would be trying to join a drum corps. Continue reading »

Jun 292015


I was outside all day yesterday, untethered from my computer, and astonishingly did not spontaneously combust as do most vampires exposed to the sun. I had some plans for today’s first post that I intended to execute this morning, but those plans did go up in a burst of flames when I awoke to discover three new songs by three favorite bands that premiered over the last 24 hours. Here they are:


Sweden’s Just Before Dawn, who have been a fixture at our site since the band’s first release, have just delivered a new single named “Graves Without Crosses“. For this new song, JBD mastermind Anders Biazzi (guitars, bass) is joined by vocalist Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud, Skineater, Syn:drom) — who also mixed and mastered the track — and drummer Fredrijk Van Daaten (Ashcloud), with a finishing guitar solo contributed by Håkan Stuvemark (Wombbath, Skineater). As expressed in Jonny Petterson’s lyrics, the song is dedicated to the heroes of war — “not the ones mentioned in the history books”, but

“the forgotten souls that fight side by side in a rain of fire, the ones to defy a hail of bullets, to give their life, not for the cause or the country, but for their brothers in arms!!” Continue reading »