Dec 312015

Motorhead-Bad Magic


I was going to add these songs to our Most Infectious list eventually, but it seemed like posting them this week, on the last day of the old year, was the right thing to do — especially the first song.

This list is supposed to be devoted to infectious extreme metal songs, and the first two below don’t really fit that description. But just about every year I’ve bent the rules a few times, and today is one of those. To see the other songs on the list so far, use this link.


With Lemmy’s death this week, Motörhead has perished as a band as well. But obviously the music will never die. Though the band couldn’t have known for sure that Bad Magic would be their last studio album, they went out strong. Continue reading »

Dec 312015


deckard cain YE list


(After quite an absence, our old comrade deckard cain rejoins us with a list of his favorites — both metal and not-metal — from 2015.)

And yet another year of death, destruction, and hopelessness has come to pass. Religion still culls by the thousands, earthquakes still shake people’s idea of reality, capitalism and poverty are still in vogue, guns have turned into mouthpieces, digital connectivity is constantly separating man from himself. No longer do we have communities nor are we individuals, just a floating image of what could have been on somebody’s idea of a mirror. The Damocles sword no longer hangs over our heads, it is recast into the guillotine that falls ever so swiftly, upon our neutered minds.

Paranoia will consume us before the source from where it stems does……

And here, solace is only found in the darkest of places… in that very form of music that finds its essence in the throes of realism. Continue reading »

Dec 312015

John Zorn-Simulacrum


(This is the last installment of Wil Cifer’s year-end series. Part 1 focused on “Mainstream” metal, Part 2 on black metal, Part 3 on death metal, and Part 4 on doom.)

The emphasis here is sometimes on the experimental and sometimes on the more progressive side of things. Some of these bands have pushed the bounds of what they do so far that it’s hard for any label to confine them, much less “metal”. They are all in their own way heavy. Heavier emotionally than most of the more conventional metal that came out this year. There are jazz artists throwing up their horns, and a New York hipster who wants to burn the traditions of metal like a church in Norway. Some shred, others show a more difficult level of mastery in connecting their instruments to their bared hearts.

Here are the albums that gave their middle finger to what you thought heavy was supposed to be. They are ranked according to what Last FM told me I listened to the most.


10. John Zorn – “Simulacrum”

This slab of wonderful weirdness, is more accessible than his classic Naked City album. He has put John Medeski together with the guitarist from Cleric, who I had no clue could shred like this. Yes thats right, it’s the dude from Medeski, Martin and Wood, playing with a dude from a metal band. There is more Crimson and Zappa influence on this one than what you normally hear from Zorn. Continue reading »

Dec 312015



I had intended to post most of the new music in this collection on Sunday, hot on the heels of Saturday’s Shades of Black post. However, I was distracted by the sound of a passing car, chased it for a few blocks, and then forgot what I had been thinking by the time I found my way home (I also blame those squirrels for not stopping so I could lick them). Other distractions have materialized since then, including the death of Lemmy Kilmister.

On the bright side, I discovered more excellent new songs as the days have passed since Sunday; in fact, I heard the first three in this collection only after the weekend. The result is a rather humongous assembly of music, but please don’t let the quantity deter you from wading hip-deep into it, because there are a lot of gems to follow. And besides, it’s my last round-up of new music for 2015!

I really do hope you’ll like everything here as much as I have, and I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve too. As is often the case with these Shades of Black posts, I want to thank my Serbian friend “M” for linking me to much of what you’re about to hear. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

VHOL-Deeper Than Sky


Welcome to the 7th Part of our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. To listen to the other songs that have been named to this list so far and to read about the criteria for the list as a whole, go HERE.

So far, our list hasn’t included any thrash, but I’m remedying that deficit today. One song comes from an outstanding album by a group of outstanding and well-known American musicians, and the other comes from a much more obscure but very talented Turkish band.


The first song I’m adding today comes from an album we didn’t manage to review this year. It’s not the first or the last entry of that kind. Try as we might, we often fail to pay proper attention to excellent albums due to lack of time or congenital mental deficiency. And VHÖL’s Deeper Than Sky really is excellent. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

Moon Curse-1


(Here we have Comrade Aleks’ interview with bassist Rochelle of Milwaukee’s Moon Curse.)

Moon Curse of Milwaukee, Wisconsin are good for all who love hazy psychedelic doom in particular and quality heavy music in general. That power trio have worked fair and stoically since 2011 and the two full-length albums in their discography are a good result. The second crushing wave of their doom practices is named Spirit Remains, and it saw the light of day on November 30th with the help of Kozmik Artifactz Records.

Matt (guitars, vocals) and Keith (drums, Hammond) are busy gentlemen, but I consider myself lucky because lady Rochelle (bass) has found few minutes of her precious time to deliver to us her story of laying the Moon Curse upon listeners. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

The Five Hundred-Winters


(Grant Skelton reviews the new EP by The Five Hundred from Nottingham, England.)

I initially caught wind of Nottingham, England’s The Five Hundred after hearing a demo of  the song“Winters.” That track introduced me to the band’s particular brand of aggressive, but melodic metal. It also serves as the title track to The Five Hundred’s new self-released EP. “Winters” was produced by Justin Hill, vocalist of the recently reactivated Sikth.

I don’t consider myself a connoisseur of djent by any means. While I recognize the influence of the djent sound attributed to bands like Sikth and Meshuggah, I am not as familiar with it as I am with other genres. Notwithstanding, here at NCS we don’t like to pigeonhole ourselves by treating genres as immutable. Music is fluid, as are our personal proclivities for what music we do and don’t enjoy. That being said, if you are one who has drawn a proverbial line in the sand regarding anything djent-influenced, I submit The Five Hundred’s Winters EP for your consideration. Continue reading »

Dec 302015



(This is Part 4 of Wil Cifer’s five-part year-end list. Part 1 focused on “Mainstream” metal, Part 2 on black metal, and Part 3 on death metal.)

This one was the hardest list so far. I need darkness and a sense of loss emoted from my doom. Though there is a far wider range of emotions expressed in the following albums, drugged bliss, anger, and introspective melancholy are a few of the more prominent ones. Some have a dash of death metal to them, others shoe-gaze or blues. Funeral doom is my favorite sub-genre, and there is a fair showing of that. Some bands you might have expected to see here could be popping up on other lists to some extent, as their sound has changed. When it came to ranking my top ten doom metal albums of the year, it came down to which albums I have listened to more and see myself continuing to go back to.

10. Swallow the Sun – “Songs From the North”

In today’s iPod-shuffling and ADD culture, a double album is ambitious, and even becoming an obscure phenomenon as more artists are reluctant even to invest in more than an EP with today’s diminishing record sales. Swallow the Sun took a step in an even bolder direction by putting out a triple album. The three albums offer a wide range of tastes into the varied sub-genres doom touches upon, even mellowing out into a more prog direction. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

Johan Huldtgren


(For the fifth year in a row, I invited my friend Johan Huldtgren of the Swedish black metal band Obitus — whose latest release appears on one of 2014’s Elemental Nightmares splits (here) — to share with us his year-end list. Once again, he agreed. This list previously appeared on Johan’s blog.)

The year is once again coming to a close, and as tradition would dictate I find myself scrambling to get this list together. When looking out at all the other lists published so far, I realize how little new music I’ve managed to listen to over the past year. I find myself with the same excuses as in years past — the fucking day job, travel, and other obligations. I did however manage to scrounge up ten releases I thought worthy of inclusion in an end of year list. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

Integrity-Orgasmatron cover


Like a lot of people, I spent most of my music-listening time yesterday with Motörhead. For the hell of it, I also spent time listening to metal bands covering Motörhead songs. A lot of bands have done that. Out of the many covers I listened to,  damned few of them are quite as good as the originals, and at least to my ears, none of them is better.

However, having invested the time hunting for covers that breathed some kind of different life into the classic originals, I decided to put them all here — the good ones and the so-so ones — by these bands: Satyricon, Sepultura, Ringworm (with guest vocals by Barney Greenway), Korpiklaani, Sodom, Machetazo, Avulsed, Overkill, Metallica, Horna, Kvelertak, Warbringer, and Krisiun.

But before I get to those, I’m starting with one that’s definitely a success. It’s a cover  of “Orgasmatron” that Integrity released just yesterday on Bandcamp (here). Continue reading »