Feb 032023

It’s another Bandcamp Friday today. From my perspective, that’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s good for bands and labels because Bandcamp doesn’t take their usual cut from sales. On the other hand, my e-mail in-box (which is also the main address for NCS) gets deluged with Bandcamp-related messages and notifications, and that’s on top of the usual traffic of 200-300 e-mails to NCS per day. Trying to thoroughly crawl through all that takes more time than I have.

Still, because it’s a Bandcamp Friday I thought I ought to make at least a feeble head-start on the usual Saturday round-up. So here’s what I picked. Mind you, the songs definitely are not feeble.


This French band is returning with a concept album named Cross. Deny. Glorify. It’s described as one “that follows the paths of three generations of Roman soldiers as they watch their empire decay from within in the wake of Emperor Constantine’s adoption of Christanity as its official religion”. All the songs are described as distinct and different in character, befitting this generation-spanning narrative.

The first-revealed of the nine songs is “The Silent Oblivion“, and it’s based on a letter written in the year 370, in Alexandria, Egypt, by Flavius (nearing his death) to his son Marcus.

The song is elaborately dynamic. Undeniably heavy and hammering, it also includes an array of exotic-sounding and beguiling guitar arpeggios of varying speeds and melodies, relentlessly morphing tempos and percussive patterns, and vocals that change from ravenous bear-like growls to harmonized choral singing and fervent spoken words from the letter. The moods change as well, ranging from dismay and gloom to grandeur and rage. Very interesting!

Cross. Deny. Glorify. will be released on April 14, by Lavadome Productions.





I haven’t seen the 2004 revenge thriller film Dead Man’s Shoes, but excerpts from it provide the visuals in the video recently released for Desert Storm‘s song “Cheyne Stoking“. You can’t completely follow what’s happening, but after I read a precis of the movie it became clear that the video hits most of the movie’s most disturbing high points. I confess that I was so riveted by the excerpts, in combination with the music, that I had to listen a second time without the video to fully focus on the song.

The music is damned riveting on its own. The opening sounds light and bright, but things soon get much, much heavier and darker. The drums rumble and tumble, the bass burbles, and a voice sings, but the bass starts slugging hard, the riffing heaves and squirms, the drums clobber, and the voice becomes raw and ragged.

The intensity increasingly dials up; the guitars build feelings of tension and distress; the drumming batters and the bass bruises. A guitar seethes in a lonely fever while the drums continue doing their traumatic work, and then the music and those grit-filled vocals combine to create feelings of fury and electrifying calamity. The song ebbs again in head-hooking fashion and then starts throwing the listener around like a rag doll one last time.

Cheyne Stoking” comes from Desert Storm‘s new album Death Rattle, set for release on March 31st by APF Records.





This next song is 11 1/2 minutes long. I caught my breath damned fast even in the first minute, and was left stunned by the end (and my heart pounded repeatedly in between the start and the finish).

The music is incredibly dramatic, dire, and daunting. At first (following an ominous introductory segment) it sounds like a funeral lament performed in a gothic cathedral, with the guitar and hallowed choral voices ringing off high stone vaults above growling tones and a slow thump in the low end. Torrid screams join in, piercing through the vast immersive sounds, and the music gradually ascends in its intensity, with the drum hammering, and wailing symphonic synths swelling in heavenward waves of grief and pain.

The vocals are themselves harrowing in their tortured intensity, and the riffing eventually becomes a fiery pulse that leads into an extravaganza of blasting percussion, riotous double-kicks, and an angelic host crying out in spine-tingling exultation, joined by spearing horn-like tones. Breathe now… you’ll need the air later.

The song is one of four on this French solo atmospheric black metal band’s self-titled sixth album (all of them are self-titled, and so are all the songs). It’s coming out on February 15th via the Transcendance label.





Almost a decade has passed since this solo project of North Carolinian Spencer Van Dyk made its last release, “Celestial Visitation”, which I wrote about here. In a big surprise, Amputation Spree has returned with a new instrumental single named “Unroyal Decree” that was released today.

Electronic keyboards carry a melancholy, classically inspired melody at the outset, and then a guitar seamlessly picks it up and carries it forward in a gripping harmony, eventually bolstered by bass and drums and a lead guitar that adds to the elaborate harmony.

I’m no expert, but I would say there’s a Baroque style to this mid-paced instrumental piece, and as it progresses it becomes increasingly distressing. Punctured by blizzard-fast percussive bursts that threaten to become a distraction, the music transforms into a swirling swarm, surrounding mammoth pile-driver blows.




 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.