Feb 052016

Beastwars 2016


This week’s flood of scintillating new metal hasn’t crested yet. The last 24 hours brought even more electrifying new songs. I’ve collected five of them here for your listening pleasure.


I’m afraid I’ve reached a slavish level of devotion to the music of New Zealand’s Beastwars. I couldn’t be happier that 2016 will bring us a new album. The new one is entitled The Death Of All Things, and it’s the last installment in the post-apocalyptic trilogy the band have been constructing through their music.


Beastwars-The Death of All Things


Yesterday Beastwars unveiled a new song named “Call To the Mountain” in a YouTube clip that also provides a glimpse of the album’s cover art by the band’s masterful countryman Nick Keller.

The music manifests the qualities that have made the band so special: immense, powerhouse riffs and a skull-clobbering rhythm section; a facility for writing melodies that are bleak and blasted but memorable; and of course Matt Hyde’s magnificent voice, which still puts the hair up on the back of the neck and sends shivers down the spine.

The song is gripping from the start, but in the mid-section it changes course with pounding tribal drums and haunting clean vocals before climbing again to a plateau of brawling intensity.

The new album was produced by the band and James Goldsmith in Wellington, NZ, mixed by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Big Business), and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Windhand). It will be released worldwide through Destroy Records on April 22. On March 11 a pre-order for limited edition vinyl will be available from www.obeytheriff.com.







Sulphur-Omens of Doom


Norway’s Sulphur should be high on your radar screen if it isn’t already. Formed in 2000 by current and former members of such groups as Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Aeternus, and Vulture Industries, they’ve already released two impressive full-lengths, Cursed Madness (2007) and Thorns In Existence (2009), but obviously it’s been quite a stretch of years since we’ve had a new album from them. That’s about to change.

The third album, Omens of Doom, will be coming early this year from Dark Essence Records, and features cover art by the distinctive Romanian artist (and musician) Costin Chioreanu. The lineup on this album includes Thomas Skinlo Høyven on vocals; Øyvind Madsen on guitars, keys and programming; Vegard Hovland on bass; Erik Hæggernes on drums; and guitarist Martin Lynn Ytrøy (who replaces Vulture Industries’ Eivind Huse, though Huse makes a guest appearance as does producer and Vulture Industries frontman Bjornar Erevik Nilsen.

Yesterday we got a new song called “Gathering Storms”. There’s so much to like about it. It sits on a line between black metal and melodic death metal, full of pulsing dissonant chords, rapidly whipping riffs, bracing gallops, thundering blasts, and a menagerie of harsh vocal ferocity. But the song also includes a bit of electronica and eerie keyboard ambience, as well as a pair of clean, soulful guitar solos that are sublime. Listen below:








Slugdge art


The stunningly talented UK duo who call themselves Slugdge sprang a new song on us yesterday. They named it “Slave Goo World” — get it? I happen to think it’s one of their best concoctions yet. And I continue to appreciate their sense of humor and refusal to abandon their worship of the great Mollusca despite all the slime and vulnerability to salt which comes with that.

There must still be people out there who haven’t discovered the wonders of this band’s music, out of some instinctive but misplaced resistance to the idea that a band with such a comical thematic focus could make really good music. Maybe I can convince you to finally take the plunge.

“Slave Goo World” is electrifying — a combination of head-hammering drums, deep, drilling tremolo riffs, swarming lead guitar work, and  smorgasbord of leonine growls, sulphurous shrieks, and arcing clean vocals. The song is also infiltrated by a sobering but memorable melody that is grimly majestic. So good….

I don’t know when or how this will be released or whether it’s a single or part of something larger. When I find out I’ll provide an update.








Lecherous Nocturne art


South Carolina’s Lecherous Nocturne are completing work on a follow-up full-length to their last album, 2013’s excellent Behold Almighty Doctrine. The new one is named Occultaclysmic and is planned for release this year by Willowtip Records.

Thanks to a tip from Andy Synn, I learned that the band have now posted a pre-production version of a new track named “By Conquest or Consent”, which features the band’s new vocalist Josh Crouse. It’s a truly savage storm of rapacious black metal, ignited by an array of tyrannical howls, acidic shrieks, and bestial roars. There’s a genuinely ferocious and infernal air that surrounds this music. Even when the pace slows, the writhing guitar melody will put the stench of sulphur in your nostrils.

To listen, visit the band’s web site:










A few days ago our pal Austin Weber introduced the premiere of a new song over at his other gig, Metal Injection. It’s a track called “Ceremony of Control” by a multinational trio named Nightmarer, and it will appear on their forthcoming EP, Chasm (set for release on May 1).

Austin described the music with references to such bands as Portal, Deathspell Omega, Artificial Brain, Gorguts, and Ulcerate. That certainly got my attention. And the song is indeed a powerhouse onslaught. Grim and barbaric, it’s loaded with swarming riffs and thundering drums when it’s in full attack mode, but when the pace slows it becomes unearthly in its atmosphere, with immense booming chords and stately percussion combined with supernatural dissonance.  The roaring vocals on the song are also gargantuan.

You can pre-order a physical copy at Moment of Collapse Records, or digitally at Bandcamp:




  1. I love the Sludge track, so awesome!

  2. Goddamn, how do Beastwars knock it out of the park every time? Matt Hyde might be one of my favorite singers/vocalists at this point – his gruff rasp oozes so much pain and passion.

  3. The pace at which Slugdge puts out this incredible music simply boggles the mind.

  4. That Nightmarer track crushes.

  5. I’ll admit to being one of those who can be turned off by supposedly corny band names. Luckily the fine tastes of NCS readers putting Slugdge on year-end lists two years running has helped me see the error of my ways and cease this discrimination. Also, to all those who enjoy having physical copies, Slugdge’s first three albums are now available together in a 3 cd package at a reasonable cost. Hail Mollusca!

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