Nov 212015

Six candles


We have survived another year. And when you get right down to it, sheer survival is the reason any of us celebrate birthdays. We are six years old today, having made our first post on November 21, 2009.

Measured by the lifespan of your average Galápagos tortoise, six years isn’t so long. Measured by the lifespan of your average metal blog, a species that tends to fall victim to accelerated decrepitude, I guess we’re almost ready for a nursing home.

For something that has never been a business and to this day relies on purely volunteer effort, it would have been entirely understandable if the vagaries of life had moved all of us on to other things and left NCS behind as just a fond memory. The fact that we are not only still here, but somehow more widely read than ever, makes me shake my head in wonder. We surely have defied the odds, even if we now need help going to the bathroom.


Blade Runner


To be sure, among our writers we’ve had some folks come and go over the years, but every year we seem to benefit from new voices. Two friends have been here the longest and most consistently, and I want to thank them for sharing this strange obsession with me:

Andy Synn’s first post was a review of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra on September 23, 2010. And DGR’s first post was a series of year-end lists on December 28, 2011. I’m so very grateful for their friendship, and for their fortitude in hanging in there as bulwarks of the site for so many years.

I also want to thank Austin Weber, Comrade Aleks, KevinP, and Grant Skelton for contributing so consistently and so well this year. We’ve also benefitted from a lot of other somewhat less frequent writers since we turned five years old, and I thank them, too. (And for the couple of you old-timers who have been scarce this year, I understand why, and I’m keeping the light on for you.)

While I’m in a thankful mood, of course I want to express our collective gratitude to all of you who check out our site on a regular or semi-regular basis, and for those who make extra time to leave comments, we’re especially grateful. I haven’t found the time to reply to comments as consistently as I once did, but I do read all of them, and the feedback means a lot, not only to me but to everyone else whose work I post here.

And of course, we thank all the metal bands (and visual artists) out there who have made our lives so much richer because of their creativity and talent. Supporting music we care about and doing what we can to spread it around remains the site’s main mission.


And now for the annual round-up of boring statistics. Since we launched NCS six years ago, we’ve published 6,652 posts, including this one. We’ve posted something every single day since the site began, except for six days when I was either laid low by apocalyptic hangovers or rudely interrupted by my fucking day job.

At this writing, we’ve received 58,626 comments since the beginning, exclusive of spam, and I’m guessing that now only about a third of those are mine.

According to Google Analytics, we’ve had 537,258 unique visitors over the last year from all over the world, and since this time last year we’ve had 1,784,134 page views, which is about 85,000 more than we had the year before.

As another measure of our support, the “likes” for our Facebook page have grown from 11,943 at this time last year to 17,108 as of yesterday afternoon when I wrote this post. This leaves us only 75,958,347 shy of the FB page for Michael Jackson, who we are still chasing relentlessly and who has been dead for five months longer than our site has been alive. We’ve really closed the gap since last year and we will not give up.

In keeping with data from past years, over the last 12 months less than half the visits to our U.S.-based site (40.16%) have come from people in the U.S. 5.79% have come from the UK and 5.23% from Canada, and the balance have come from more than 100 other countries around the world, with Germany, France, Australia, India, Poland, Sweden, and Italy rounding out the top 10, in that order.


I don’t know how long we’ll have together… Who does? Maybe we’ll still be here this time next year — I certainly hope so — and maybe we won’t. We have done questionable things, and also extraordinary things, and we will do our best to continue doing both for as long as we can — and we hope you will revel in our time along with us while it lasts. Onward!

– Islander

  82 Responses to “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US”

  1. Happy birthday No Clean Singing, five years ago I knew about this site and I’m glad to be a regular reader and listener. The music that you share and the accurate way in which you write reviews is good and I will wait to read and listen what you will offer for the next year, keep it up, this site is pure gold and I remain loyal to what is great!

  2. happy birthday to you people,ever grateful for your site,you have turned me on to countless amazing bands,its probably been about 5 or 6 years checking out your posts pretty much daily …..hopefully you will keep up with your most excellent site,thanks

  3. ..and Ive been here for almost 5 of them….What the hell did you guys even post about before I graced this website with my magnificence 🙂

    In all seriousness, this is one hell of a metal site and I look forward to seeing its doors open for many more years to come

    • Thanks to you as well. I know you are aware of how my tastes have changed over the 5 years you’ve been with us, and you have been one of my most important teachers and guides in those new explorations.

      • Hey, man, I really have enjoyed watching NCS grow and expand as a metal site and if Ive contributed to that at all, than its been my pleasure

  4. This truly is a fantastic site, and it is my primary source for learning about new music. My only complaint is that there is so much to read and to listen to that I can’t experience it all. The writers’ choices fit well with my tastes in metal, so I know that most of what is offered here is likely to interest me. May NCS last as long as good metal music is being created.

    • Thank you sir. It has been great getting to know you as a result of NCS. And I’m well aware that some days (maybe most days) we’re now posting more things than most normal people can really dig into. Sometimes I miss the time when we were posting only one or two things a day. But there’s so much good music out there that at the same time I feel guilty on a daily basis that we haven’t been able to expose more bands to listeners through the site. A conundrum.

  5. Thanks for doing all you do, its greatly appreciated. NCS has been one of my go to’s for the past couple months. I always enjoy the read that accompanies these great tunes that are shared here. Again, thank you and happy birthday NCS!

    • Makes us happy to see that some people actually bother with our verbiage instead of just skipping straight to the music and hitting “play”. We’ve always felt it important to include music whenever possible along with our write-ups so people can hear and judge for themselves. At least for myself, the writing is both a selfish pleasure and also something intended for the support of the bands, so they will see that people appreciate what they are doing.

  6. Love this site, been reading daily for years. The thought of it not existing really bums me out, so I’ll be here commenting and reading as often as time allows. Cheers!

    • Cheers to you too. We will keep going as long as we can. It’s easier for me to do this than the other writers, who’ve got to wrestle more with making ends meet, pursuing careers, raising families, etc. The fact that our core cadre of scribblers has stayed together this long really amazes me.

  7. Yes! Celebrating my 1st year as a guest contributor. AND my baby boy (who turns 1 today) shares a birthday with NCS. Fascinating coincidence :).

  8. I haven’t commented much since your last birthday for various reasons, but know that you are all greatly appreciated and I will continue to read and support for whatever it’s worth. \m/ Happy Birthday \m/

  9. Happy Birthday NCS and thank you to all who take the time to contribute here. You have massively broadened my musical horizons and continue to do so every day. Some of my favorite bands have been discovered on these very pages. Thanks again and your walker is in the mail :).

  10. I honestly have no idea when I got here, but I know that NCS has been my go-to site, and probably most frequently visited site that isn’t my email or Facebook, for at least a few years. Sending a Happy Birthday e-beer your way.

    • It has been a blast getting to know you, and I really appreciate how much support you have given us while at the same time embarking on a new phase of your own life.

  11. Comment number 58,637 (circa):

    Happy B-day, bendechos!!!

    Statistics can be boring, but metal related statistics ain’t.
    On behalf of the Norwegian metal community, I’m sorry about our low score on NCS, but Norway, with its 5.1 million citizens, only have
    a 25% higher population than the City of Los Angeles, and some of them don’t even listen to metal. Can you believe it? Than there’s the
    true necromonger satanists who would never support a site based on enthusiasm, positivity and common respect.

    Here’s to the successful conclusion of six years, to six new years, than followed by yet another six: 666.

    All hail No Clean Singing!
    NCS – because metal is personal.

    • Thank you — I think you already know how much I have benefitted from your recommendations, and how much I enjoy your writing style — but I’m repeating it! Very grateful that you have shared both your ideas and your writing with us (also glad your own blog is in English now).

  12. Happy birthday to my favorite metal blog. I love that NCS focuses on the music, not gossip – and when you have tackled larger issues, the writing has always been thoughtful and reasonable. Thanks for all your hard work keeping NCS rolling!

  13. Salute Islander! Best regards from KGB, Italian mafia and me!
    As we do this mournful job for sake of peace and ruinous powers.

    • HA! Thank you very much for your unceasing efforts on behalf of our unholy missions. Your interviews are a never-ending source of entertainment, and I’ve been exposed to a ton of new music through them as well. Salute!

  14. Happy birthday NCS!

  15. I still try to lurk here from time to time, promise! Facebook doesn’t help when it only shows maybe 10% of your posts to me. Also kinda been a bit “underground” while we wrapped up our next project, no time for other music. That’s over with now though.

    Already been over 4 years since I stumbled onto this place. Here’s to another 4 and many more!

    • Many thanks Sean. Yeah, Facebook is a very undependable way of knowing when we’ve done something, but I refuse to pay them to reach more people except when we premiere music, and then I just feel like I owe it to the bands to make a bit of an extra effort. (Very anxious to hear the results of that project you’ve been laboring on, too.)

      • Despite priding myself on my technical savvy from time to time, I’ve only recently discovered the usefulness of RSS feeds. Likely to subscribe to here via RSS from here on out to remedy this problem.

        And believe me, anxious to share! Debated sharing the final mixes with you, but I’d rather you get the final product that everyone will hear. You know I’ll keep you posted. 😉

    • I’m keen to hear what you’ve been working on. No doubt you’ll fire in some subtle hints when it drops!

  16. Favorite post of the year.

  17. What?! Yet again a year has gone by? I’ll have a refund for 360 out of those days, please. Payment in metal reviews is accepted.

    But really, thanks for another year of hard work bringing the gems to the masses. It is safe to say that NCS takes practically all credit for refining and broadening my tastes in metal. Please, take this comment as a token of gratitude.


  18. I discovered NCS a few months ago, and I try to check here for new stuff as often as i can. It’s become my favorite place to find new music. I never leave this site disappointed, there’s so much great stuff that I never would’ve known existed without you guys. Here’s to keeping the music alive, and I hope this blog stays around for a while!

  19. Woohoo six years old! Time to leave poo and wee jokes behind, put on our big boy/girl pants and head to school… well, maybe not leave the poo and wee jokes just yet 😉

    Many thanks for all the hard work Islander, and the inner circle; Andy DGR and the Mad Israeli, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing some of the new writers develop and become regular features throwing some heavy tunes our way. I promise I’ve still been here lurking in the shadows and, as stated above, even counting email, news and internet banking this would be one of my most frequented sites all year – I should really whitelist google analytics for NCS.

    I don’t want to get soppy but this site really is a great example of the magic that the positive side of the internet can offer, a little community of far-flung souls all coming together in a nerdy satanic communion … or internet metal circle jerk… or something 😉 You may be lost in your heads with disdain for maps, but fuck it: the map is not the territory, and what good is a map on shifting sands? Happy B’day NCS.

    • We will never outgrow the poo and wee jokes, nor satanic communions and metal circle jerks. And guess what? Because I have access to a vast database of our site’s history, I know the date of the first comment among so many that you left at NCS: Aug 19, 2011. And you were probably reading even before then. Really appreciate your sticking with us for so many years, as well as for the guest posts you’ve brought our way as well. (This comment thread is making me sappy, too, by the way.)

  20. Happy birthday NCS! Five years goes by fast when you’re getting old. This site is still the best around. I’m a bit bummed by my own lack of commenting for a while, but I promise I’m still out here everyday! I know you’ll keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to another year of No Clean Singing!

    • I’m doing to you what I just did to Booker — telling you the date of your very first comment at NCS (because you’ve got to be one of the longest-running readers and supporters of our site, if not THE longest-running friend of NCS): Sept. 14, 2010. It puts a smile on my face every time I see your creepy icon in the comment section, just knowing you are still alive and out in the world. I hope you have been well — and thank you so much for being part of our community.

      • Ah yes, the days of 808 Bass Drop Deluxe Burgers and Death Metal Baboons. I don’t know if you’re aware that our old DMB comrade Niek is now father to a beautiful baby girl. My elecrical contracting business has been riding the edge of overwhelming me for about a year and a half now, but I don’t have to worry about how the bills are going to get paid for a while. As always, it’s a privilege to be a part of the NCS community!

        P.S. We really should have taken the peddle-boat to India for that Incantation show. It would’ve been epic;)

        • Man, you’re bringing back some fond memories! And thanks for the wonderful news about DMB Niek. Please convey my congrats the next time you’re in touch with him. And glad to hear you’re business is keeping you busy, even at the risk of overwhelming you.

  21. This site offers quality writing about great music. It’s my go-to for metal discoveries, and I regret that I didn’t find you earlier. During rough patches it can seem like music is about the only thing that makes life bearable, and in better times it accents the positive like nothing else. So thanks for turning us on! Cheers, happy birthday, and many happy returns.

    • Many thanks. This blog and its community (and the music of course) have gotten me through my own fair share of rough patches. Days like this really do make me thankful for how lucky I’ve been to have discovered metal relatively late in life and for a whole world of people it has introduced me to, including you. All the best…

  22. It seems my initial comment got lost somewhere in the interwebs, but I just wanna say horns up for Islander and the rest of the ncs crew for providing me with my daily basis of metal 🙂 I hope you guys will stick around for a long time!

  23. I think Islander is just replying to most of the comments here in order to further pad that “# of Comments” statistic 🙂

    I discovered this site about 4 years ago. And while I don’t always check it daily (and only selectively read), I have truly lost count of the number of artists I’ve discovered thanks to this site (e.g. I became a big fan of Rotting Christ because you previewed a song from them and I was then handheld by various readers).

    I’m forever grateful and appreciative…

    • And I’m equally appreciative of your support and the many comments you’ve left over the years. As for the Comments, for a lot of years I was pretty sure that half of all the recorded comments were mine, because I tried to answer every one that appeared here. I’ve fallen down on the job in the last year or two, but as you can see, I making a renewed effort to pad the shit out of the numbers.

  24. Congratulations guys,I only found this site a few months ago and already it’s my favourite site for everything metal,Im pissed I didn’t discover it sooner ( better late than never) anyway after reading your “about” page and your principles it was the first time in 25 yrs I’ve ever agreed 100% about music with anyone,I might not like all the bands you guys put on the site but there are more good than bad and the reviews are funny and insightful so thanks and here’s to another 6 yrs.

    • Thanks a bunch for leaving these words. We’ve been able to stick pretty closely to those founding principles despite the passage of so many years (ironically, except for the “no clean singing” part — I continue to blame the other writers for diluting the purity of my mission). And kudos as well for your bestialvomit tag. 🙂

  25. No worries mate,and as a huge fan of Blasphemophager the bestialvomit tag is a must.

  26. Happy Birthday my broskis!!!

  27. Yoooooo Happy Birthday NCS!!!!!
    I still keep up, though not as often as I’d like. Been a high tempo year for me with some ongoing changeups. I’ve also been keeping busy with my ongoing gig as a guest writer for the movie website Birth.Movies.Death. My confidence and voice as a writer was directly in part to your confidence in me as a guest contributor and the cultivation of this great community of commenters. I am glad to see that tradition still going strong and to see all the crew continuing to put out great work.

    Thank you Islander for everything you’ve done, and here’s to everyone for many more years of NVS. Keep Up The Metal!

    • Man, I was hoping to see you show up here!!! So cool to see all the old-timers around here surfacing with a few words, and it’s great to hear that your contributions to Birth.Movies.Death are continuing. I hope everything else in your life has been going well. Very grateful for your years of support.

  28. Happy birthday NCS!
    I remember the 4th year celebration post but no momery of the 5th one. Strange enough. Anyway, as long as NCS puts out posts I will read them (I realise it’s less convincing given the above account, but I will).

  29. Happy Get-the-Fuck-outa-my-womb day!!!

  30. Thank you NCS! You’ve been my infinity edge for the last half a dozen years; I try to wander, I attempt another horizon but the current is too strong, this site has a magnetism comparable to a black hole. Islander truly deserves a godfather tag of underground metal blogs, I feel so many of us owe our thanks to your direction and will for, what once was a small review blog, which has now evolved into a righteous behemoth. Keep doing what you’re doing, you magnificent apes, break everything.

    • Great to see your vibrant words. We’ve had such wonderful friendships with, and help from, so many of you ex-TNOTB guys over the years. Thanks for sticking with us for so many years.

  31. Six years ago today something grew
    inside of WordPress…
    That thing was YOU!!

    Happy Birthday
    You’re gonna die

  32. Happy birthday & thank you.

  33. Happy birthday!

    Although I don’t comment much on the posts throughout the year, I never miss a single one. Therefore, I thought I’d break my silence just to say this:

    Thank you for this stupendous blog. Please don’t stop what you’re doing. Noone does it better!

  34. Happy Belated Birthday b/w Thanks For All The Jamz

    • And thank you for being such an active commenter, and for your late-October e-mail tips (you’ll be seeing one of this names in a post tomorrow — yes, I am slow as molasses).

  35. Hello, Happy Birthday NCS.
    I’ve been a visitor of this site for quite a while now (maybe 3 years) but it’s my first post!
    Being a french speaking guy, I don’t post because of my poor english, but I really want to thank you all for your hard work & dedication!
    Because of you, I’ve discovered at least a good band each day for the last 3 years & I thank you for that 🙂
    Keep up the good work and I hope it will goes on on on….

    • Wow — thank you for making an exception to your silence, and your English is at least as good as mine, btw. I’m reminded every day, through the people in other countries I’ve met through metal, how amazing it is that so many people for whom the confounding language of English isn’t their native tongue write and read it so well, when most Americans (including myself) have no working knowledge of any language other than our own.

  36. Thanks a ton for what your do here! I’ve discovered so many albums and bands from the reviews, promos, etc. that you post and even what I don’t like helps to educate me about different styles and give me an appreciation for the diversity of the metal world. It’s such a wonderful thing to have such a non-commercialized hub of what’s going on in this little corner of the music world, where I know I can hear new things, get honest reviews, and read thoughtful & witty commentary from people who just want to promote awesome art. You folks rock.

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