Apr 092022

Mantar – pic by Matthis van der meulen


I was a hamster last week, racing along the treadmill at my day job, with the only apparent signs of progress being motion and the cage filling up with shit. Oh lordie, while I was spinning that wheel the NCS in-box and other message accounts filled up with a lot of shit too — the good shit!

Based on my pawing through it this morning, I found a lot to share, as you’re about to discover in a very wide-ranging musical excursion. But since I’ve now got to go scrub my paws with lye you won’t find my frothy words or cover art in as much abundance as usual.

MANTAR (Germany)

Let’s begin with a new song and video from one of our favorite bands. I have a long list of people (none whom I personally know) that I’d like to hang low so the rats can get ’em because they make life more miserable by their existence. I’d like to beat and scorch them with this song before they take the drop, though they won’t deserve the song’s great chorus.

The song is from Pain Is Forever and This Is the End. Release date of July 15th via Metal Blade.





It’s been a while since we’ve had music from Iceland here, so let’s fix that with the “Hafið Logar“, a trippy and sinister anthem that’ll get you rocking out. It’s being released as a single by Season of Mist.





Falling deeper into gloomy post-punk and shining synths… put on your executioner’s mask and then experience things falling apart.

The song includes guest vocals by Kennedy Ashlyn. It’s from an album named Winterlong. Release date of June 17 via Profound Lore.





I can imagine there might be some grumbling out there now about me infecting your ears with singing and not enough metallic extremity. This next album will shut that up right fast.

Its name is Marauder and so is the music — a raw and rumbling riot of dirty and delicious speed metal that’s got more energy than a big spinning turbine, more hooks than the first Hellraiser movie, and lyrics expelled by a werewolf that just downed a fifth of bourbon. It will jackhammer you senseless too, so shut up!





I can whine as much as the next person (see the first paragraph of this post), but I do know I’m a lucky bastard. For example, I’ve seen manta rays doing barrel rolls out of nighttime blackness and breaking the surface as they feed upon plankton drawn by spotlights below a South Pacific dock, and I’ve witnessed them passing deep beneath me in the water like massive ghosts.

And so of course I was drawn to this next instrumental song and video (which will tell you a lot about manta rays). The music will both beguile and groove you while you read, capturing both the magic and mystery of those wondrous creatures while simultaneously punching your pulse. The band originated in India and are now located in San Francisco.





I have a feeling it’s time to get wild and woolly again, and VEGAS can always be counted on to do that. Their newest track “Recovery” is a mean and marauding jolt, packed with skull-slugging and gut-rumbling drumwork, slashing, squirming, and clawing riffage, howling lunacy in the vocal department, and enough dark melodic hooks to make you come back to get bruised and battered again.

The song is a teaser for a new album by these confrontational metallic hardcore punks named Pure.





I’ve already violated our rule about singing in today’s collection, and am about to do so again. But in the case of Lividus the high-flying vibrato vocals of Uta Plotkin (ex-Witch Mountain) are accompanied by ugly goblin snarls and screeches.

The music of these Oregonians is also a bracing and bamboozling amalgam that pulls from a lot of wellsprings, from black and death metal to much more theatrical and psychedelic
musical expressions. It sounds like we’ve stepped through the curtains into a diabolical carnival, joining with an audience of demons to revel in increasingly ecstatic madness.





Alright, I can imagine some grumbling again. Some of you may think this round-up doesn’t have enough pig squeals, regurgitative gurgles, brazen and pile-driving riffage, bullet-spitting drums, bass drops, juvenile humor, urine… or penises. Yeah I see you back there under the sheets in your hovel. This is for you.

The song comes from a forthcoming album by these Arizona miscreants named Prepuce. Release date of April 15th via Unique Leader.





Now that we’re back into nasty territory, we’ll stay there with this next mauler from the German band Nightbearer, which marries pulverizing and eviscerating HM-2-toned riffing with percussive escapades that are both traumatic and galloping, belly-deep bestial vocal hostility, and high, swirling melodic accents that cloak the song in a supernatural atmosphere.

The song is off an album named Ghosts of a Darkness to Come, which will be out on June 24th through Testimony Records.





I confess that I’ve been using musical savagery (and silliness) to distract myself from the daily horrors that emerge in the news from Ukraine, but that only works for so long. We should never look away, nor forget, even those of us who feel powerless to do a goddamned thing about it.

And so I close with “Mariupol“, a haunting and harrowing musical threnody to that ruined city and its ruined inhabitants. To quote from the explanation accompanying the YouTube stream:

Inspired by the early works of maestro Krzysztof Penderecki, “Mariupol” is an electronica anti-symphony combining dark ambient, musique concrète, and neo-classical elements. It’s a homage to the victims of a senseless war waged by Russia against Ukraine. A poem about the horror and desolation of war…

The piece was released by Via Nocturna and is available digitally, with proceeds being “donated to humanitarian aid for Mariupol and Ukraine”.



  1. I absolutely love Kontinuum. Their last 2 albums were just amazing. This slow-drip singles method is really making me antsy but any Kontinuum is good.

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