Nov 212018


Measured within the span of a human life, nine years old is still childhood. In metal blog years it’s more like middle age. A few others out there are older than NCS, but not many, and a lot of our former peers have died and turned to dust. Mere stubborn survival continues to be some kind of triumph, and so once again I’m celebrating another milestone: We’re nine years old today, having posted our first article on November 21, 2009.

I continue to be amazed and thankful that we’re still here, that so many good friends are still devoting themselves to writing for NCS on a purely volunteer basis, and that so many readers are still willing to pay attention to what we’re saying and streaming. As usual at this time of year, I want to begin by thanking some of those friends who have been here the longest, keeping the grinding gears of our gruesome machine in motion.



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. They are good people, and their steadfastness in continuing to write for NCS without pay and despite being buffeted by the usual vicissitudes of life over so many years is still to be admired.

Another old-timer, TheMadIsraeli, still surfaces when life’s travails allow it, and as I look back over the last year thanks are also in order for the contributions of many other fine folks who have also been helping us for years — among them  Comrade AleksWil Cifer, Vonlughlio, Grant SkeltonTodd Manning, and Karina Noctum — and all other contributors who have shared their thoughts and musical recommendations at our site.

Of course, we are also grateful to those of you who visit NCS and to all the metal bands and visual artists whose creativity is the reason for our existence


And now for the annual round-up of boring statistics!

Since we launched NCS nine years ago, we’ve published 10,311 posts, including this one — and 1,096 of them appeared in the 12 months since our last birthday, which is a smaller number than we posted in our eighth year of existence but still averages out to 3.0 posts a day, including weekends.

At this writing, we’ve received 79,279 comments since NCS began on this day in 2009, not counting spam and not counting the very, very few I’ve deleted because their toxicity exceeded even my usual hands-off attitude about comments. I don’t reply to comments as often as I used to, but I read every one of them, and continue to be grateful for the insights, the recommendations, the humor, and the support — and for the fact that our commenters have almost always been civil to us and to each other, which continues to be a relative rarity in the realm of metal blogdom.

According to Google Analytics, as of yesterday we’ve had 367,434 individual users over the last 12 months from all over the world. In keeping with data from past years, over the last 12 months less than half of those users (37.11%) live in the U.S., even though NCS is based in the U.S., with 5.97% coming from the UK, 5.07% from Canada, and the balance from more than 100 other countries around the world, with Germany, France, Australia, Italy, Poland, Brazil, and The Netherlands rounding out the top 10, in that order.

Since this time last year we’ve had 1,783,901 page views, which is a decrease from last year, which is perhaps a result of the decline in the number of posts we made this year compared to the one before, or perhaps a result of Facebook tweaking their algorithm so that a miniscule percentage of our FB followers see the posts we make about new articles appearing on the site, or perhaps because more people think we suck.

Speaking of Facebook, the number of “likes” for our Facebook page has grown from 36,148 at this time last year to 38,551 today, which is an increase of 2,403 — compared to an increase of 10,126 in the preceding year. Like the significant reduction in the reach of our FB posts, this dramatic slowing in our growth rate is most likely the result of Facebook’s continuing efforts to squeeze us for advertising dollars, still not having figured out that it’s like trying to get blood from a stone.


A lot of things have changed in nine years, but the fundamentals of NCS haven’t: We still only write about music we enjoy and honestly want to recommend; we still don’t take money from anyone for anything; we still don’t take ourselves too seriously; and we still have a knowledgable, respectful, and almost completely troll-free community of readers and commenters.

As we now begin our glorious 10th year of survival, I’ll once again paraphrase Blade Runner: I don’t know how long we’ll have together… Who does? I hope we’ll still be here at this time next year to celebrate the end of our first decade, and I hope you’ll still be here with us.


  63 Responses to “HAPPY NINTH BIRTHDAY TO US!”

  1. I’ll be here.

    • Well I damn well hope so. Be sure to look both ways when you cross the street and try not to pick fights with people who carry knives. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

  2. Best metal blog out there and my go-to source for new music. Keep up the good work guys!

  3. I discovered this website 1.5 years ago and still visit almost every day. Happy Birthday from Canada!

    • Cheers to Canada, home of some of the best metal bands in the world, and longingly admired by some of us in the increasingly crazy south as a repository of sanity.

  4. Happy ninth birthday guys! As a long time reader I’m eternally grateful to Islander, Andy, DGR and the rest of the crew over at NCS for sharing and writing about music that’s been a huge part of my life. NCS has been an invaluable resource for discovering new music and long may it continue. I’d also like to thank Islander for being kind enough to put up with my (somewhat infrequent) emails and publish some of the recommendations contained within them.

    I also have to shout out all the commenters, especially all the NCS regulars I see so often: I think a large part of why the site has been so successful has been the active engagement of the readers. Most of the comments I’ve had the pleasure of reading have been civil, and some have been exceptionally humorous. There have been some good recommendations hidden within them as well: it’s clear that NCS’s readership has good taste in metal.

    • I was going to write something for myself but you’ve already said it all.

      Thanks Islander and the bunch, you make and keep NCS awesome! Onwards to the 10th!

    • This annual post is always one of my favorites to put up because it gives me a chance to publicly thank folks like the two of you foreign both loyal to us and a source of highly valued recommendations.

  5. Congrats and thank you, keep up the great work NCS crew!

  6. Happy Birthday.

  7. Hazzaa! Hope you stick around for a long time to come (until our ant overlords surface). As a not so long time ‘regular’ commenter, I can say your website has become a daily staple and favourite of mine regarding new music. I specifically appreciate how writers respond to our comments. A big thank you is in order, therefore.

    • Its always fun to see your comments, and I also admire the honesty represented by your NCS name, because everyone who writes for us is also a big fucking dork (me being the biggest one of all). Extreme metal puts out a badass image, but let’s be honest, shall we?

  8. I’ll definitely need an outlet for metal nerdy stuff then as well so I’ll be here for sure… It’s like this is therapy for much metal overthinking.

    • Re. Metal overthinking
      If by this you mean no progressive metal and power genres, I’m with you. Started out with Maiden back in ’83, Rush and other Yes’s, Startovarius and the like but for the past 7 years been *only* into Death and Black… and man, this is so refreshing! Keeping it simple but effective!

    • Thanks for all you do for us Karina.

  9. Man, it seems like the eighth birthday was only a year ago.

    Anyway, good luck in the future and thanks for all the metal.

  10. I visit every day. Your website is a part of my life. I truly appreciate the time and effort from Islander and the writers, plus the respectful comments section.

    • Thank you for being such a steadfast visitor. Sometimes I think that Andy, DGR, and I are the only people who visit every day, but this annual celebration reminds me that many others do as well.

  11. Happy birthday!
    I don’t write much, but you know I never miss a post.
    May the next nine years be equally well curated.

    • It was great to finally meet you in Iceland this year, and you know how much I value the recommendations you send. I’m hoping for another Reykjavik reunion in 2019.

  12. I’ve only been frequenting this site for about the last 2-3 years, but I can’t even count the number of awesome finds and additions to my library are thanks to this page. Congrats, keep it up!

  13. Here’s to nine more excellent years, and maybe even a few more ok ones after that 🙂

  14. Thanks, folks, for being great! And, as I’ve said before, I am always delighted when I get to publish something with you!

    • You have been a unique source of recommendations, and a unique voice at our site as well. Please don’t be bashful in the coming year — I’d love to post more of your writing.

  15. After being here as a commenter for so long, I still get a kick out of seeing people recommend this place as a no nonsense site to find metal. You’ve done a great job with this place, and while I may come and go, I’ll always feel an affinity for this site over any other

    …congrats on another year!

    • Thank you brother. Looking forward to buying you another beer or four at MDF next year. And I hope you’ll be sending us another year-end list for me to post!

      • Working on it already. 🙂

        This year at MDF we’ve got to make some time to meet up between sets and hang out a bit more. Give me a heads up when you and your crew decide to take a break. We always have more than enough beer in the cooler to go around

  16. I still get a kick out of seeing people recommend this place as a site for great, no nonsense, heavy metal. You’ve done a great job here and while I may come and go as a commentor, I’ll always have an affinity for this

    …congrats on another year

  17. Apparently my new phone does not like your website, because I’m having a hell of a time posting a comment, but congratulations on another year! As a really, really long time poster, I still get a total kick out of seeing people recommend this site as one of the best places to find no nonsense metal coverage of great bands, and even if I don’t post as often as I once did, this place always feel like home

    ….you’ve done good, man

  18. I’ve been a lot more quiet here as of late, but I still pop by here almost every day, and generally numerous times throughout the day. Someday (hopefully soon) I’ll have enough of a regulated schedule to be more visible here once again, but on this anniversary I’d like to thank you profusely for the service you perform. Large life changes (hell, I’m back living in Vienna now, which I couldn’t have possibly expected more than a few months ago) have changed a lot about my daily routines and the way in which I go about life, but no matter where I am, I couldn’t feel at home without checking out what’s been happening at NCS for the day. It’s been a constant during a very fluid period of my life, and in that sense has been irreplaceable in support of my mental wellbeing.

    Also, I’ve had a good bit of whiskey tonight.

    • I’m toasting you with my own whisky right now, even though you can’t see it. It’s good to hear that you’re still checking in with us even though you’ve been roaming far and wide. And if you ever get really drunk and decide to write a review fo us again, it will be welcome.

    • Well put Leperkahn! I second that sentiment myself – I haven’t managed to be as visible or write anything for a while. Hell I only just saw this post today, catching up after being otherwise occupied on a holiday for a few weeks. But Islander and team, you’ve opened my ears to so much metal over the last nine years, which my audiologist says might explain a few things 😉 Some of my favorite artists I’ve discovered through NCS, and the passion for music on display here has a nice kind of gravity to it – keeping me orbiting around and occasionally touching down for more tasty aural treats.

      Happy birthday NCS \m/

  19. heavy duty negative wizard blessings comrades.
    the appreciation on your support is the power of infinite roaring orgasming unicorns.

  20. Happy Birthday NCS! I’ve been mostly quiet for a long while now, but I’m still here every day. This site is like an old friend. Thank you, Islander, Andy, DGR and all the other contributors for keeping this the best site on the interhole! Looking forward to another year!

    • So good to see your name again — and to realize that you’re still alive and kicking. I’m guessing that you’ve been steadfastly following us for longer than any other person, and I’m tremendously happy about that, and grateful.

  21. I have no idea why all of my comments just showed up now, but feel free to delete any two of them

    In fact I insist on it 🙂

    • Well you can insist all you want, but I fucking insist on leaving all of your comments here. 🙂 (I should say that a few other people seem to be encountering weird delays in the appearance of their comments, and I promise I have nothing to do with that, nor do I know how to fix it, but I’m being entertained by the repeated efforts to be heard.)

      • I too have the same delay issue; got used to it by now. Guess it’s the auto-filtering taking its time or maybe the region which the comment is coming from…?! No matter, though, as the writing quality of the site far outweighs such things! Also, some guys mentionned overall respect in the comments section and yeah, this is really important too!

      • See..I knew all this praise was going to give you a swelled head

  22. HBD! I’ve found so much new music here and it really does improve my life. Listening to metal makes a huge part of my day since I’m forced to blast away the country and pop garbage my coworkers listen to.
    Also huge cheers to you for keeping the NW metal calendar going. I never have to worry about missing a show.

  23. Happy birthday guys. Thanks for helping to broaden my musical in my twilight years 🙂

  24. Congratulations! It’s nice to read and listen here) Despite the fact that there is too many music for my ears)

  25. I enjoy every year watching the comment section making us all look like fools due to Akismet occasionally freaking out. And wow, I’m really coming up on seven years of ruining this site’s kvlt-cred. That means I’ve been doing this for close to nine overall.

  26. As I’ve always said, and shall say about NCS, in my own words.

    “Stay awhile and listen…”

  27. thanks from British Columbia,you guys have turned me on to so many bands! Love your site and hope for many more years to come …peace

  28. The lower percentage is also my fault. I used to read so much of these posts, but my musical interests wax and wane. I check in every week or so browsing the headlines. Keep up the good work!

  29. Aww, fuck. Late to the party again. Happy nine years of headbanging, growling and giving me way too many bands and albums to try to keep up with!

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