Feb 232023


Since I’m snow-bound this morning and can’t make it to a job-related commitment at mid-day I had time to pull together one more short round-up, to go along with the other one from earlier today.

UNPURE (Sweden)

This seems to be a day for returns from the grave, following my selections from Dååth and 7 H.Target in the earlier round-up. After a silence spanning nearly 20 years, Unpure come back with a new album named Prophecies Ablaze, which will be released at the end of March by Invictus Productions and The Ajna Offensive, and that record is the source of my first pick in this installment.

Twenty years (or nearly so) is a long time, and even Unpure‘s last album (2004’s World Collapse) thus pre-dates the start of NCS. From time to time I do divert from focusing on new music in order to dig back into histories I missed before my interests in metal took root, but I don’t remember ever exploring Unpure‘s discography as it grew from 1993 through that last album. And so I’m coming to Prophecies Ablaze with no expectations.

That’s probably just as well, since the Unpure that recorded the album now includes two new guitarists, Watain‘s Pelle Forsberg and Degial‘s Hampus Eriksson, as well as erstwhile Degial drummer Emil Svensson (who apparently joined the band in 2019), with only vocalist/bassist Kolgrim remaining from all the earlier days. So it could be considered a re-start in more ways than one.

The first public sign of what they’ve done is the song “Northern Sea Madness“. Whatever Unpure might have done in the past, this one is a racing rocket of blistering drumwork, superheated riffing madness, and gritty, crazed howling – a deliciously evil blend of black and death metal. The rapidly vibrating riffage twists and turns in a boiling froth. Even when the drums begin to momentously boom and pump like freight-train pistons, and grim spoken words are uttered, the lead guitar screams in madness.

The penultimate segment of this electrifying song will really get your neck working, but the finale is a nightmare.





Now for a big switch after my opening selection.

Marianas Rest are back with another single from their new album Auer, and this one (the album closer “Sirens“) features My Dying Bride frontman Aaron Stainthorpe as a guest vocalist.

Though there’s a steady, visceral beat in the song’s opening, the music glistens like the sunlit, breeze-blown waves that gently flow in the video below where a pair of sirens rest, hands clasped. Stainthorpe speaks and sings in somber tones, adding to the music’s melancholy spell.

But lest you think the song is just a mysterious, beckoning reverie, it changes suddenly, those beats becoming body-blows, the music coming to a searing boil, and the vocals transforming into tormented screams, just as the women suddenly begin to wrestle and bloody themselves. What was once a spell becomes a calamity. Eventually, the conflict spends itself, and Stainthorpe resumes his recital of Henley‘s immortal “Invictus” as the spell spreads again.

Auer will be released by Napalm Records on March 24th.





Now it’s time for a second dose of whiplash, going in the other direction.

This band is a new name, but with better-known names behind it. Summed up as a “Portland, Oregon-based brutal d-beat/crust duo,” Negative Prayer consists of guitarist/vocalist Kyle House (Decrepisy, ex-Acephalix, ex-Poison Idea, ex-Vastum) and drummer Charles Koryn (Chthonic Deity, Decrepisy, Funebrarum, VoidCeremony). Their debut is a self-titled 7” EP set for release on March 10th via Carbonized Records in North America and Seed Of Doom Records in Europe.

To help spread the word, the labels and the band released one of the EP’s three tracks today, a brawling bruiser named “Morbid“. It is indeed a d-beat marauder, armed with abrasive slashing riffs, doses of percussive bashing, and bestial roars. The song also segues into a feral head-mover, embellished with brazen, anthem-like chords and a wailing solo, before surging into one last ravaging race.



  1. I always enjoy anything that Greg Wilkinson is involved with.

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