Nov 272021



Very early this morning I spent time listening to new music in order to select what I would want to recommend to you, and made the following selections. But then I unexpectedly had to spend a couple of hours on the job that pays me (advising world leaders on how to deal with problems that confound their feeble minds), and that left me with almost no time to provide my own (unnecessary) impressions of the music. So it will have to speak for itself, which is no problem because it speaks so fluently.

This is an idiosyncratic set of song choices, with very little to connect them to each other other than my attraction to them. But I think it will be a very interesting, albeit unpredictable, journey if you stick with everything through to the end.


After nearly 8 years since the release of the fabulous Heart of Akamon, West Virginia’s beloved Nechochwen have returned, unveiling the title track from their impending new album, Kanawha Black. Kanawha Black will be released worldwide by Bindrune Recordings in Spring/Summer of 2022. Continue reading »

Nov 262021


The lineup of Redemptor includes current and former members of Decapitated, Vader, Hate, Sceptic, Sothoth, Banisher, Deivos, and more, which should be enough to attract your attention to their new album Agonia even if you hadn’t heard any of their previous works — which were the subject of NCS scribe Andy Synn‘s 93rd SYNN REPORT.

When Andy wrote in detail about the collective discography of Redemptor as it existed almost four years ago, he summed it up this way:

“Over the course of three albums and one EP the Polish quintet have steadily evolved their sound from the Schuldiner-esque strains of their debut album None Pointless Balance to the angular hooks and merciless precision of 4th Density and The Jugglernaut, with the process finally culminating in the gargantuan grooves and captivating atmospherics of last year’s utterly crushing Arthaneum.”

And now we have the band’s newest work,  Agonia. Continue reading »

Nov 262021


Winter is upon us, and we have a soundtrack for its descent.

We know very little about the Finnish black metal band Hollow Woods, neither the precise location nor the identity of its member (or members). We know something about what inspired their debut album, Cold Winds Cleave the Earth, which will be released on the Winter Solstice, December 21st of this waning year.

We’re told that the artwork and the album’s themes were inspired by the Finnish linguist and ethnographer Kai Donner (1888-1935), taken during his expeditions to Siberia for the purpose of studying the Ugric and Samodeic peoples, including their languages.

Beyond that, the music must speak for itself as Hollow Woods works within a framework of devotion to the primal world and nature mysticism. The song we present today, “A Frozen Glance“, speaks in terms that are deeply haunting and harrowing. Continue reading »

Nov 252021


As part of our annual LISTMANIA series we re-publish “best album” lists from some of the the few surviving print publications that cover metal, and from a handful of “big platform” sites that include metal in their on-line coverage, along with a range of other music genres and other aspects of popular culture.

Of course, as soon as you see the words “popular culture” you know those lists aren’t going to devote too much attention to the kind of music we cover at NCS. But it’s still amusing, and sometimes even edifying, to get a glimpse of what these “taste-making” organs are telling the more above-ground world are the year’s best metal releases.

Today Revolver magazine published their list of the “25 Best Albums of 2021” on-line. Revolver claims that “millions of passionate consumers” visit their website and view their videos across desktop and mobile; that the print edition is the “biggest hard-rock and metal magazine in North America,” with a subscriber base that’s three times larger than the “next biggest U.S. metal print publication”; and that they have a “highly engaged social following with over 1B impressions per month across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.” Continue reading »

Nov 252021


The cover art created by Par Olofsson for Moksha, the new album by the technical death metal band The Last of Lucy, is an immediately arresting and disturbing vision, grotesquely alien and yet fascinating and formative of intrigue.

In those respects it turns out to be a fitting adornment to the new album, whose music the band have refined into an extremely vicious, often unearthly, yet undeniably captivating sonic creature. And much like the cover art, the music is also elaborate in its creation of menace and mayhem, and far from commonplace — as you’ll discover in our premiere of an album track named “Temple of Rati“. Continue reading »

Nov 252021

The Norwegian trio Abhorration (guitarist/vocalist Magnus, bassist Andreas, and drummer Øyvind) are a relatively new formation, having started life just last year, but their resumes portended quality, even before any of the music became public — because those members hail from such bands as Condor, Nekromantheon, Hecatomb, Resonaut, Purple Hill Witch, and Obliteration.

We hope that the foregoing list of bands has already peaked your interest in discovering what Abhorration‘s music is all about (it certainly peaked ours). The publicity distributed by Invictus Productions, which will release the band’s debut EP After Winter Comes War, makes further reference to death metal in the vein of such legends as classic Sadistic Intent, Morbid Angel, Possessed, and early Vader, which kindles even more interest.

All of this created high expectations in these quarters, and it’s such a pleasure to proclaim that those expectations were not merely met but exceeded. And thus it’s with genuine delight that we present a full stream of this heart-pounding EP for you today. Continue reading »

Nov 252021


On November 21, 2009, I made the first post at this blog. On the 21st day of every November since then, I’ve made a post celebrating our birthday — except this year, when I completely forgot to do it. No one else who writes here or visits here seems to have remembered either, or maybe they remembered and were just quietly laughing at my brain fart. This year November 21 was a Sunday, and my spouse and I had house guests at the time, so I offer that as an excuse.

But this year the lapse isn’t as bad as it could have been, because by happenstance I remembered our anniversary today, which is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., and that works out well because giving thanks is ultimately what these annual birthday posts are really all about. Continue reading »

Nov 242021


The three veteran Swedish musicians whose music is the subject of the following premiere proclaim their love for blood spatter and horror in the very name they chose for their collective enterprise: Gore Brigade. And of course it’s death metal they chose for the audio expression of their deviant adorations, a natural expression given the other bands on the resumes of this trio, who are: Guitarist Ludvig Johansson (Defiatory), drummer Jon Skäre (Defiatory, Wachenfeldt), and vocalist/lyricist Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Massacre) (who coincidentally was the subject of an interview we published earlier today).

Well, but death metal is a big tent that houses manifold mutations of sound, so what stylistic ingredients go into the musical blood cravings of Gore Brigade? Those will be fully revealed on December 10th, when Redefining Darkness Records will cremate the desiccated corpse of this year by releasing Gore Brigade‘s self-titled six-track EP, but today we give you a twisted taste of what’s coming through our premiere of an EP track named “The Rot Becomes You“. Continue reading »

Nov 242021


In tale June of this year we premiered and reviewed an EP by the Swedish band Godhead Machinery named Masquerade Among Gods, which added to a discography that then included two full-lengths, Ouroboros (2017) and Aligned to the Grid (2019). We offered these thoughts about it (among many others):

“Through the four songs on this EP, when absorbed straight through, Godhead Machinery have created a truly harrowing and haunting experience. The music is multi-faceted and intricate, revealing (in the simplest of genre terms) an amalgamation of black, death, doom, and progressive metal that’s capable of generating visions of frightening calamity, earth-shaking upheaval, and terrible grandeur, but also casting mesmerizing spells and plunging the listener into moods of soul-shaking sorrow”.

Conceptually, the EP was connected to a then-upcoming album, both of them spawned from what the band stands for in general, which is to serve as “a tool to analyze how religious beliefs infiltrate laws, policy, behaviors, and moral codes of today’s society”. Now that album is fast approaching its November 26 release by Black Lion Records. The album’s name is Monotheistic Enslavement, and today you’ll have the opportunity to experience all of its tremendous power. Continue reading »

Nov 242021


The title of Vorga‘s 2019 debut EP, Radiant Gloom, was itself a signpost to this German black metal band’s sound, and serves as a signpost to what their first album holds in store as well. The title of the new album, Striving Toward Oblivion, also forecasts the affecting darkness in the music, and yet it is indeed also radiant.

The album’s song titles and cover art point the way toward an excursion into the stunning expanse of the cosmos, but one whose ultimate destination is death manifesting — which happens to be the title of the album’s closing track that we’re presenting today.

This new song is a multi-faceted and thoroughly captivating one, which is emblematic of Vorga‘s many strengths and of the progression their songwriting has taken since that debut EP. It’s rhythmically arresting at a primal level, so much so that it’s capable of shaking listeners like rag dolls, but it’s also atmospheric, emotionally evocative, and memorable, blending moods of desperation and wonder with compelling intensity. Continue reading »