Aug 222019


After the strength of Haunter‘s 2016 debut album (Thrinodia) and splits with Crawl, Sovereign, and Black Vice, hopes have been high for this Texas band’s next album, which is now set for release on September 13th by I, Voidhanger Records. It is no exaggeration to say that even the most fervent and optimistic hopes have been exceeded. Across the five substantial tracks included on Sacramental Death Qualia, Haunter have created an authentic musical adventure. Their compositions have become even more creatively elaborate, more technically demanding, and more unpredictable. The whole trip is one of those forays into extreme music that’s capable of leaving listeners wide-eyed and breathless.

The album invades a small sector of music that isn’t densely populated, a place sought out by travelers who enjoy high-flying progressive adventurousness — when it’s experienced within an extreme framework, intertwined with the sounds of violence and insanity, of desolation and despair.  Sacramental Death Qualia delivers its mind-bending permutations with exactly that kind of harrowing intensity, but its surprises don’t end with the intricacy of the movements and the sharpness of the dark mood swings. As you’ll discover through the song we’re presenting today, Haunter are equally capable of creating moments of spell-binding beauty. Continue reading »

Aug 222019


Undeniably, rot does spread, whether in wood, in human flesh, or in a damaged mind. Decay and decomposition are the natural end-points of organic life, the inevitable by-product of death. Once the spark goes out, the path to ruin is usually very slow — but the rot in the Paganizer song we’re presenting today spreads like… wildfire.

We hope that Paganizer needs no introduction. As the oldest and longest-running of the numerous groups to which the great Rogga Johansson has devoted his talents, it is a musical landmark that rises high above the gnarled forests and subterranean crypts of Swedish death metal. Unlike most living things, the music of Paganizer also seems immune to rot and deterioration. Arriving 20 years after the release of Paganizer’s debut album, the new full-length, The Tower of the Morbid, is full proof of that. Continue reading »

Aug 222019


(Andy Synn wrote this review of an album released in May, with cover art by Par Olofsson.)

There are lots of reasons why, logically speaking, I should hate Vancouver B.C. sextet God Said Kill.

They’ve got two singers (one of whom is entirely superfluous as far as I can tell, as there’s nothing here that requires two full-time vocalists), their bio reads like it was written by someone who googled a few smart-sounding words without fully understanding them, and their entire image (up to and including their embarrassingly bad music videos) feels like the band are simultaneously trying too hard, and yet not really trying hard enough, resulting in an overall aesthetic that’s not just weirdly inconsistent but which actively makes it hard to take the band completely seriously.

In fact I’m still not entirely convinced that the entire project wasn’t originally conceived as a bit of a joke, only for everyone involved to realise part way through that they were actually pretty good, so should probably think about getting serious.

And there’s the rub… despite everything I’ve pointed out above, God Said Kill are actually capable of being pretty damn good when they want to be. Continue reading »

Aug 212019


We’re told that the members of Indiana’s Enemy of Creation are veterans of the underground hardcore scene, and you can tell from listening to the music that they didn’t abandon those roots. But on their forthcoming sophomore EP Victims of the Cross they’ve spliced them with different forms of metal — mainly thrash, but with (as their label says) “the occasional nod to death metal greats Obituary and Bolt Thrower“. And as you’ll discover through our full streaming premiere of the EP, those references still don’t exhaust the differing elements that the band have integrated to create a wonderfully multi-faceted — and relentlessly electrifying — release. Continue reading »

Aug 212019


That photo up there, it’s a classic example of the calm before the storm — the members of Geist holding still for the camera. Even in that frozen moment, you get the sense of barely repressed menace, a perception of people who are much more comfortable exploding on stage than waiting while the timer ticks toward the detonation.

And man, these dudes from the northeast of England really are explosive. Through a feral mix of dark hardcore, crust, and metal, they channel emotionally raw and devastating sensations (and bone-busting force) through their debut album Swarming Season. And the video we’re premiering today for an album track named “Sleep Deprived” captures them in their true element, throwing themselves with utter commitment into the performance of the music (rather than waiting for the shutter to click). Continue reading »

Aug 212019


(Vonlughlio returns to NCS with a review of the forthcoming second album by the slamming brutal death metal band Facelift Deformation.)

This time around I’m writing about Facelift Deformation‘s sophomore effort, Cybernetic Organism Atrocities, to be released on the 31st of August via Realityfade Records. To be honest, I had heard of this Hong Kong/Taiwan project last year when they released their debut album Domination to Extermination (with another label) but never got around to listening to it.

Realityfade Records made the announcement that they would be releasing this new material, and I was intrigued, to say the least. This label has amazing bands such as Interminable Corruptions, MDMA, Habitual Depravity, Ineffable Demise, Coprobaptized Cunthunter, Decomposition of Entrails, Dysmorfectomy, and ByoNoiseGenetator, just to name a few. I recall when Mr. Sagaidak started this label and it’s good to see the development throughout the years, with a roster that includes many slam/BDM bands I enjoy and some deathcore bands too.  While deathcore is not my thing, I can respect the fact that he is doing what he likes and is not afraid to expand his vision on his own terms. Continue reading »

Aug 212019


(This is Karina Noctum‘s interview of Steingrim, drummer of the Norwegian black metal band Vreid, whose latest album Lifehunger was released by Season of Mist  in September 2018. The interview took place in late June at the Tons of Rock festival in Oslo. All photos were made by Andrea Chirulescu for the Midgardsblot festival, 2019.)


What’s behind the name “sognametal” and what makes bands that are under this name stand out within the Norwegian Black metal scene?

Sognametal was an expression from the founder of Windir, Valfar. He wanted to stand out from other bands in the same genre. After that they just labelled the music coming from the region Sogn og Fjordane as Sognametal. That being said I don’t think all the bands coming from that region play the same type of music. So now 25 years later on I don’t think the label Sognametal can be applied to a certain music genre, but it’s the label you get when you are from a certain region in Norway. But again, he wanted the band to stand out, but it was meant just for Windir music and that’s what was Sognametal, so the irony is that now there are 10 or 15 bands under the same label as well. Continue reading »

Aug 202019


The Canadian black metal band Cell (based in Winnipeg, Manitoba) have an unusual origin story. Before there was a band there was an idea for a science fiction comic book, born from the imagination of guitarist/vocalist Hyperion. In thinking about how to bring the conceptual idea to life, he decided to use music as the vehicle instead, and from that turn in the creative path, Cell was born, and their musical narratives flow from those concepts.

With one album under their belts (2016’s The Frozen Moon of Erebath), Cell are now poised to release their second full-length, Ancient Incantations Of Xarbos. While black metal forms the backbone of the music, Cell have brought in elements of of death metal, hardcore, thrash, and doom to expand upon their cosmic endeavors.

All those elements are on display in the almost theatrically rich dynamics of the song from the new album that we’re presenting today, “God of the NetherRealm“. Continue reading »

Aug 202019


An okta is a unit of measurement used to describe the amount of cloud cover at any given location. The term has become the basis for the name chosen by a group of Philadelphia musicians led by visual and musical artist Bob Stokes (Drones for Queens) and including friends of his from previous bands — drummer Rob Macauley and fellow bassist Carl Whitlock of Dirt Worshipper, and minimalist composer Jason Baron from Cloud Minder, who plays the cello with Oktas.

Under that name they’ve recorded a debut self-titled EP that embraces a range of influences, from ambient minimalism to atmospheric black metal and epic doom metal, woven together with a cinematic edge. Lyrically “based in the filth ridden streets of south Philadelphia”, as Bob Stokes tell us, the words transport us “to a world destroyed by mankind’s own hubris, pllagued with endless war, constant natural disasters and humanity desperate for redemption”.

The EP is set for digital release on September 20th, which will coincide with an art show by Bob Stokes at the Grindcore House Cafe in Philadelphia in conjunction with Dark Arts and Craft. And in advance of the release it’s our pleasure to premiere one of the EP’s three tracks — “Silfra“. Continue reading »

Aug 202019


(Here’s another installment of Andy Synn‘s occasional series devoted to reviews of new releases by UK bands.)

If there’s one thing I often find a little disappointing about the UK Metal scene it’s that many of our “bigger” underground acts seem content just playing it safe and being little more than a big fish in a relatively small pond.

The following three bands, however, are different, in that not only are they each more than capable of taking on the bigger names and more famous faces of the Metal world at their own game, but they also seem more than willing to risk doing so! Continue reading »