Mar 222023

(Today’s edition of “The Best of British” features a bunch of old favourites)

While we absolutely love highlighting the work of new bands and artists, we’re also loyal followers of bands we’ve covered in the past, and make a point of keeping our ears to the ground about what they’re working on as best we’re able.

So today I’m going to be introducing (or reintroducing) you to three bands whose newest releases haven’t actually come out yet… but which will be with us very soon… with Dawn Ray’d‘s new album set for release this coming Friday, and the new albums from Allfather and Ohhms following next week.

This, of course, makes this a perfect jumping on point for new fans, and a great opportunity for existing ones to get a feel for what’s about to hit their ears!


We’ve been fans of Allfather here at NCS for a good long while now, and had the pleasure of watching them go from strength to strength with each and every release.

So take it from us when we tell you that their upcoming third album, A Violent Truth, is their strongest work yet.

It’s also, by some margin, their heaviest, and angriest, record to date, putting more emphasis on the gnarlier, crustier side of their signature Sludge-Punk attack, and delivering a more aggressive and up-tempo assault on the senses.

It hasn’t lost its sense of groove, by any means – the insistently infectious chorus to “Take Their Eyes”, for example, is guaranteed to embed itself in your head (as is the humongously heavy, yet also horrendously hooky, Thrash-meets-Sludge breakdown that’s part Crowbar, part Sepultura, which closes the song) – but there’s an undeniable sense that the band are absolutely done playing nice or pulling their punches this time around.

Both “Black Lungs” and “The Hunt Infernal” in particular have a thrashier, nastier edge to them – featuring some of the most visceral, venomous vocals and harshest, heaviest riffs of the group’s career – that’s balanced by a dash of moody, malevolent melody and a clear sense of flow that lets them build, crescendo, and collapse… only to do it all over again… within a very concise and compact space of time.

That being said, the sheer brevity of the album (it’s absolutely “all killer, no filler”, with even doomy instrumental “A False Peace” having a clear place and purpose) does work against it a little, and if there’s one complaint I have about A Violent Truth – and there always has to be at least one, right? – it’s that it ends too soon, leaving you with the feeling that maybe one more suppurating slab of succulently sludgy goodness would have really put it over the top.

Still, there’s no question this is the band’s best work yet (with colossal closer “Cast of the Cross” – a six and a half minute Thrash/Sludge/Doom/Crust crossover that’s heavy in practically all senses of the word – vying for the title of their best song yet) and one which should, with a little luck, finally put their flag on the map.


While some people have complained that I’ve been too critical of Dawn Ray’d in the past (which is confounding, really, when you consider the fact that I’ve praised all their releases thus far, with a special soft spot in my heard for their debut EP) the truth is that they’ve always been a band I’ve had a lot of time, and a lot of respect for.

Not just because their particular brand of folk-tinged, firebrand Black Metal is as cathartic as it is caustic (and often cunningly catchy too), but because they truly do possess the courage of their convictions, and wear them out in the open in everything they do.

Speaking of firebrands… not only are the band still as fervent and forthright in their beliefs as ever but their musical flame seems to be burning even hotter, with the opening trio of “The Battle of Sudden Flame”, “Ancient Light”, and “Inferno” displaying the trio both at their most intense and their most grandiose (with the brilliant “Ancient Light” in particular at times recalling the unabashed brilliance of early Borknagar).

It’s not a perfect album, of course – despite what you may have read elsewhere – mostly due to the questionable way the middle of the album is arranged, as the sullen “Requital” effectively kills all the band’s early momentum (and, frankly, pales in comparison to the vastly superior “Freedom in Retrograde” later on), after which the weird decision to have the melancholy “Cruel Optimisms” lead into the similarly lengthy intro of “In the Shadow of the Past” further exacerbates the sense that something is just a little off about the record’s pacing.

But, thankfully, the grand finale of To Know the Light successfully recaptures the record’s early magic, with the aforementioned “Freedom in Retrograde” and the blazing “Wild Fire” showcasing Dawn Ray’d first at their most sombre and sublime and then at their most searing and seditious, before the climactic “Go As Free Companions” (the longest, and most unashamedly “epic” song of their career, and also one of their best) ends things on a thrilling and unforgettable note.

So while it may not be the most consistent release of their career (that’s still A Thorn, A Blight in my opinion) there’s no question that To Know the Light, at its best, finds the band’s star ascending to new heights and burning just as brightly as ever… if not, perhaps, even more so.


Now this is one hell of a surprise. In a good way, to be clear.

If you’re familiar with the band’s previous work – especially their last album, 2020’s Close – then you might expect Rot to be another prime cut of proggy, doomy Post-Metal.

But it’s not. Instead what you get are eight tracks (and one intro) of grungier, groovier and – dare I say – poppier music that has more in common with the likes of A Perfect CircleAudioslave, and even Alice Cooper (as befitting the schlocky-horror theme of the album) than the likes of Amenra et al.

In fact, I’d go even further than that, and say that Rot is the sort of potential crossover colossus that many bands would cut their own throats for, with tracks like “Let’s Scare Jessica To Death” and “The Mephisto Waltz” possessing all the anthemic, edge-of-your-seat energy of classic Therapy, while equally killer cuts like “Eaten Alive” and  “Body Melt” marry the melodic muscle of latter-day Mastodon (especially when it comes to the impressively intricate drum work) with the bombastic, full-bodied hooks of early Foo Fighters.

Hell, there’s even moments where the band get to indulge both their poppier and proggier proclivities practically simultaneously – “A Dark Song” (great film, btw), for example, sounding like an amped-up amalgamation of The Wildhearts and Isis – or get to demonstrate that they’re equally capable of being both devilishly catchy and hulkingly heavy (such as during the absolutely stunning “Sisters”) at the same time.

Sure, there’s a slight sense of anticlimax right at the end, as although “Swamp Thing” is a good track (and one which leans a little more back into the band’s Post-Metal/Post-Rock roots) it suffers a little in comparison to its phenomenal predecessor (have I mentioned how good “Sisters” is yet?), but when all is said and done my only response to this is album is… wow, what a transformation.

Make no mistake, Ohhms have evolved into an absolute monster of a band here, and they’re coming to get you, ready or not.

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