Jul 292020


Happy hump-day. To help get you over the hump I compiled this short collection of new songs and videos from among others I checked out last night and this morning. Apart from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed all of these, they give you a lot of variety. Surely you will enjoy at least one, if not all of them. If you don’t, we’re not offering refunds.


The opening drum pattern in this first song and video reminded me of Kate Bush‘s hit from the mid-’80s, “Running Up That Hill”. Even if I hadn’t already been a fan of Crippled Black Phoenix and curious to see what they’d be doing on their new album, that alone would have rooted me in place for the rest of this ride — and what a wonderful ride it is. Continue reading »

Jul 232020


(On July 24th — tomorrow — Nuclear Blast will release Metal Commando, the new 13th album by the German power metal band Primal Fear, and in anticipation of the release DJ Jet interviewed the band’s co-founder and frontman Ralf Scheepers — which we now present.)


Hi Ralf this is Jet of No Clean Singing how are you doing today?

-I’m good, thanks how are you? Thanks for having me here.


So Ralf you started Primal Fear back in 1997 — what were the early days like for the band?

-Feeling very fresh haha. So the early days were somehow like being very excited about doing something new, and as we came from different bands, like Sinner existed of course and I came from Gamma Ray, so for me it was just an initial start point to somehow continue my career with a new band. That was just amazing for me. So yeah it felt really good to write music again, to write heavy metal again the way we love it, it’s just great. Continue reading »

Jul 112020


If you’re a fan of Enslaved, Pallbearer, Kataklysm, Black Crown Initiate, Oceans of Slumber, surely you know about the new singles they released over the last few days from their next albums (most with videos), and if you didn’t know, now you do (just follow those hyperlinks to listen and watch). You probably also saw the announcement of a new Napalm Death album and Decibel’s “Get Behind the Mask” feature with photos of 140 masked-up artists.

But rather than provide commentary about those widely touted events I decided to turn my piggish snout toward the sniffing out of truffles your own snouts might not have detected yet, which is mainly how we use our olfactory organs at NCS.


Rebel Wizard‘s new album Magickal Mystical Indifference was just released yesterday by Prosthetic Records, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve also just released a colorful, metal AF new video (made by Exotic Corpse) for an album track named “raiseth up all those that be bowed down“. Continue reading »

Jul 102020


Here’s another short round-up of songs and videos as a way of wrapping up our posts for this week. I have in mind another one for Saturday.


This first video has it all — flashing images of swarming maggots, snakes, death in the insect kingdom, human and goat skulls, stone tombs, abundant torches and candles, skies ripped by lightning, and a masked and corpse-painted band ripping through their song in a cavern. It’s missing a human sacrifice, but we shouldn’t be greedy. Continue reading »

Jun 262020


On Sunday I mentioned that I had a big block of time over the weekend that I was able to spend listening to new music. Almost everything I’ve selected for the following set of recommendations came out of that listening session. I resisted the impulse to replace a lot of those selections with things that came out this week, but I did add three of the tracks that surfaced during this week. Hopefully I’ll get to more of those in tomorrow’s round-up. The music today is presented in alphabetical order by band name.


I’m starting with something that’s not entirely new. It’s a debut album by Anopheli from Oakland, California (and other places), that was originally released in 2o15 (and I wrote about it here at that time). But the band had the album re-mastered by the same man who mastered the original release — the veteran producer Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden. He explained the changes: “”Things to listen for. It’s less overloaded and everything is more articulate. The overall low end is deeper, the high end is clearer. The drums snap better and interfere less with the other instruments.” Continue reading »

Jun 232020


This song doesn’t go where you think it will. How it starts and how it ends are two completely different experiences. The band build a bridge between these two places over the course of the passing minutes, using the sound to carry you across a chasm — though what’s really happening, as you’ll discover, is that their bridge is carrying you into that chasm.

The song we’re presenting is the title track to A/B, the debut album of the Chicago band Dead Sun, which will be released on August 21 by Flesh and Bone Records. Their music is a bit off our usual beaten paths here at NCS — “slowcore/doomgaze” is one genre descriptor you might see, and there’s singing. But the emotional darkness in the music suits our tastes, and the phased transition that happens within this particular track has proved to be persistently enthralling even after many listens. Continue reading »

Jun 152020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Ontario, Canada, metal band Protest the Hero, which will be released on June 18th.)

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. While adversity… adversity is a son of a bitch.

Progressive Tech-Metal punks Protest the Hero are all too familiar with adversity, as the years since the band’s last release, 2016’s piecemeal (but promising) EP Pacific Myth, have been riddled with ups and downs, setbacks and delays, and one extremely worrying period where it looked like singer Rody Walker might have to hang up the microphone for good.

But, wouldn’t you know it, the band’s dedication and bloody-minded perseverance has paid off handsomely, as you’re all about to discover. Continue reading »

Jun 122020


Romanian quartet Katharos XIII may have started out life as a DSBM band, but their sound has massively changed and evolved over the years, and their third album Palindrome, released last fall by Loud Rage Music, moved them even further into the realms of dark ambience and jazz-inflected doom.

The majority of the record is built around a sombre, shadowy soundscape of moody synths and noirish saxophone, underpinned by some brilliantly subtle and creative drum work and topped off with the hypnotic, dramatic vocals of Manuela Marchi, resulting in a sound and style that’s unusual, and unusually captivating.

There are still occasional touches that call back to the group’s early works, including some suitably nasty harsh vocals here and there, but also entire tracks (such as haunting closer “Xavernah Glory” or the mid-album masterwork that is “Caloian Voices”) which are almost entirely stripped of any metallic elements. Even when the band maneuver toward heavier sounds, it’s more in the vein of latter-day Katatonia or Portuguese Post-Metal maestros Sinistro, using looming, lambent chords and taut, restrained rhythms to cultivate a sense of ominous weight and shivering tension just waiting to be broken.

The mysteriously named “No Sun Swims Thundered” is in that latter category. It becomes an ebbing and flowing tide of intensity, gradually building, receding, and crashing against the shores of sanity and comfort with heavyweight power and mind-bending ingenuity. The movements are enthralling and often dreamlike, but persistently disturbing, and the visual interpretation of the song by director Alexandru Das that we’re presenting today channels all of those same sensations. Continue reading »

Jun 072020


I’m not as prone as some writers around here to make exceptions to our rule about singing (I’m looking at you Mr. Synn), but I fell prone before all the singing voices in this selection of songs, and the music that accompanies them. But don’t worry… in the next installment of this post I’m sure I’ll revert to the usual nastiness.


I guess most people know by now that Cammie Gilbert has a stunning voice. If you don’t know, you’ll find out through this first song and video. You’ll also find out she has some very talented people behind her, including drummer Dobber Beverly, who plays in a lot more extreme bands than this one and delivers a beautifully nuanced performance. Continue reading »

Jun 032020


(Accompanied by the following review written by Andy Synn, we present the premiere stream of Vernal, the new album by Witching, which will be released on June 5th. It features cover art by Alex Eckman-Lawn.)

Life often throws up some strange coincidences, does it not?

Case in point, we almost missed out on hosting the premiere for this album, the debut full-length from Philadelphia quintet Witching, as the initial invitation to do so wound up getting buried in our ever-overflowing inbox.

Wouldn’t you know it though, the same day I got in touch with Islander to see if we had received a promo for the album (having become enamoured with the handful of pre-release tracks available on the group’s Bandcamp page) we also received a follow-up email from the band’s PR rep, with the final result that we agreed to combine my review with the premiere you’re about to listen to.

Like I said, coincidence is a strange, but sometimes extremely satisfying, thing. Continue reading »