Jan 312017


Welcome to the 21st — and final — installment in our list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Is the list complete? No, it isn’t. I could easily continue doing this for another month or more, and it pains me to leave so many other infectious songs lingering on my giant list of candidates. But it’s time to shift our focus more intently to what’s coming out this year.

After agonizing over the last 24 hours about what songs to select for this final edition in the series, I cut that Gordian knot in a fairly impulsive way — by simply picking the six songs on a playlist I made for myself in December.

I made that six-track list in December mainly, but not exclusively, because I had just been reading through the year-end list from Panopticon’s Austin Lunn that we were going to publish and was reminded of some addictive tracks I hadn’t listened to in a while. I put those on the playlist along with a couple of others that I wanted to hear again and thought might work well in the flow of the music.

As it happens, before today I hadn’t yet included any of these songs on this Most Infectious list, and so today I decided, why the hell not make all of these into the final Part of this series? They really are all damned infectious, and I do damn well like them. Continue reading »

Jan 312017


It’s not often that we reach out to a band and ask for permission to premiere a song, but that’s how this premiere came about. I had the opportunity to listen to the new EP, Bardo, by Mo’ynoq from Raleigh, North Carolina, which is scheduled for release on February 7, and I was tremendously impressed. I was anxious to write a review of Bardo, but we always like to include streams of music with our reviews to give visitors a more immediate sense of the sounds than mere words can convey — and in this case, neither of the tracks from Bardo had become publicly available for listening. So I contacted the band, and here we are.

Bardo includes two songs — “Fell Heir” (which you’re about to hear) and “Celestial Rebirth” — and it’s the band’s second release after their debut EP Anguish and Atonement last June. The new EP’s themes are centered on ideas of intermediate states, as a transition between forms, and the dynamism of the music vibrantly captures an urgent sense of change, though not necessarily for the better. Continue reading »

Jan 312017


The album Worms by the Spanish band Barbarian Swords was a late-year discovery for us made possible by a request from Satanath Records and Cimmerian Shade Recordings that we host a premiere of the album stream. Not knowing what awaited me, I explored the music before giving an answer — and was blown away. In an attempt to describe the music in the review that accompanied the premiere, I wrote:

“In its predominant forms, Barbarian Swords traffic in a twisted but very compelling hybrid of doom and black metal — nihilistic and barbaric, moldering and mesmerizing, and frequently unnerving. And there are massive headbang triggers lurking like landmines in the album, too.”

I put one track from the album, “Outcast Warlords”, on our list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, and today we’re happy to premiere the lyric video for another potent (and addictive) track from the album — “Pure Demonology“. Continue reading »

Jan 312017


I’m in the camp of those who believe that any music crafted by the hand of Roman Sayenko will be worth checking out. Best known for his work in Drudkh for the last 15 years, he has also released powerful music under the banners of Blood of Kingu, Hate Forest, and Old Silver Key, among others. The latest Sayenko project is Windswept, in which he is joined by Drudkh’s rhythm section, V. and K. On March 31, Windswept’s debut album The Great Cold Steppe will be released by Season of Mist, and today we’re helping premiere another track from the album, “Shrouded In Pale Shining, So Sleeps Infinite Ancient Steppe“.

From the album’s title to the cover art to the names of the tracks, it’s obvious, as the label’s press reports confirm, that Windswept drew “inspiration from the harsh and unforgiving nature of the Eastern winter steppes”. But the music itself burns like a storm-driven blaze. Continue reading »

Jan 312017


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Ashenspire from Glasgow, Scotland.)

I’m into a lot of really emotive, depressing, progressive or avant-garde metal lately, and no scene does emotive, depressing, progressive or avant-garde like black metal right now. Ashenspire are in that vein, and even wear the avant-garde black metal label, although they are so avant-garde that they barely even qualify as black metal.

This band is very meta. They have more in common instrumentally with bands like Opeth or Ne Obliviscarus (they seem to have a full-time violinist like NeO, or at least his presence is a full-time feature of this album) combined with some very post-black metal-y stuff going on. Combine this with a vocal style that’s… not clean singing, but is? It doesn’t particularly try to be melodic in any way but it’s kind of like a harsher version of Warrel Dane’s operatic bellowing. It’s impossible to articulate. Continue reading »

Jan 302017


We’re down to the penultimate day for the rollout of our 2016 Most Infectious Song list. I’m in a bit of a panic, because I’m having so much trouble deciding how to end it. There are still so many songs that I feel are deserving of a place on the list, but it also seems awkward to continue a 2016 list of any kind past the first month of the new year.

And I suppose I should remind you that because I have so much difficulty as a list-maker, I didn’t have the list completed when I began the rollout, and to an extent, I’ve been making it up as I go along. That’s why tomorrow’s ending is arbitrary, and why there is a degree of randomness in what’s on the list and what isn’t. What’s not random is my conviction that all the songs I’ve picked are worthy of the awards.


I ask you, if you can’t make an exception to our Rule about singing for the likes of Andreas “Vintersorg” Hedlund, Simen “ICS Vortex” Hestnaes, and Kristoffer Rygg, then who could justify an exception? Continue reading »

Jan 302017


There’s a possibility that at this late date I might still receive a promised year-end list or two, but with those possible exceptions our 2016 edition of LISTMANIA has concluded — or at least close enough that I’m ready to provide this wrap-up.

Once again, we had an extensive series of year-end lists. As usual, some of them were re-postings of lists that appeared at “big platform” web sites and print magazines, and others were prepared by our own cadre of writers. But once again the largest group of list posts came from invited band members and assorted other guests, including fellow metal bloggers/writers. Plus, we’ve also received many lists in reader comments on THIS POST (and new lists are still being added there).

In this article I’m collecting links to all of the 2016 year-end lists that we published, divided into categories and listed within each category in the order of their appearance. For people who are looking for the best metal that 2016 had to offer, I think these lists provide a tremendous resource.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to 2016 LISTMANIA and to everyone who made time to read what we pulled together. Continue reading »

Jan 302017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the Belgian band Wiegedood.)

As everyone knows by now, the best Black Metal these days comes from Iceland.

And France.

Oh, and Germany too.

Ok, fine, yes, and America. And Poland. And obviously Norway is still up there…

Look, what I’m trying to say is that these days it seems like killer Black Metal bands are cropping up all over the map, and Belgium is no exception. Continue reading »

Jan 302017


(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a new video from Serocs.)

Multi-national technical brutal death metal act Serocs have remained an ongoing favorite of mine ever since I first stumbled upon their 2013 album, The Next, and reviewed it at the time here at NCS. Even then the band was onto something special, but they truly took themselves to a higher level on their 2015 album, And When The Sky Was Opened, from which NCS helped launch a single called “Itami”.

Since that time, the band’s founder, guitarist Antonio Freyre, has been busy starting other projects, including last year’s side-project Punished, for which Islander was nice enough to premiere a song called “The Absent” (since I guested on it briefly and it wouldn’t have been right for me to cover it).

But I digress. Seeing as it’s now 2017 and Serocs is ramping back up again, that provides the impetus for us helping to launch this new video today. Continue reading »

Jan 302017


This is the second part of a Shades of Black post I began yesterday. At the risk of drowning you with such a large torrent of music (but when has that ever stopped us?), I have another compilation, plus three full recent releases, plus advance tracks from two more that are slated for release next month. All of them are recommended, of course.


Trümmerfarben is the fifth album from Germany’s Thormesis since 2008, but I don’t think I’ve heard anything from the previous ones. The new album has a release date of February 10 via MDD Records, and what you’ll find below is a lyric video (in German) for a song called “Waheelas Fährte”. Continue reading »