Jan 202023


You see what I did today? I guess it’s not very subtle.

Believe me, it’s not easy to pick the songs for this list, because so many are deserving. When things jump out like these did as I was frantically scrolling up and down through my alphabetized list of candidates, it’s very easy to give in to impulse rather than yield to insanity.

Mind you, these songs were on the list of candidates for a reason, and they jumped out not only because of the bands’ names appearing in fairly close proximity to each other and with phonetic syllabic kinship. I remembered the songs and mentally exclaimed THERE! THAT’S IT! PART 15 IS DONE!


Three years ago I picked a song from Disllusion’s comeback album The Liberation for the 2019 edition of this list. Three years later Disillusion returned with another album, Ayam, and here we are again. Continue reading »

Jan 192023

What we’re about to lead you into is a kind of music that’s somewhat rare for our site. It includes occasional elements of black metal, but is even more slanted toward doom and depressive rock. It includes gritty and high-flown singing as well as lycanthropic snarls. It rarely races and is often simple, but is also capable of becoming elaborate. It has the capacity to mesmerize in different and often unsettling ways, and joy and hope are dim at best and only fleeting.

The subject is Your Star Will Collapse, the debut album of a Hungarian solo project named Sír, which follows a first EP named Cosmic Grave released in 2020. We’re told this about the band’s name and conception: “Sír has equivocal meaning. The most obvious one is grave, but also means crying. Together they represent grief, loss of a loved one, it is a deep emotional state. It has nothing to do with the undead or other fantasy themes, it’s all about living people and their struggles.” Continue reading »

Jan 122023

The Otolith

I don’t need to say this to longer-term readers, but somehow we still pick up new ones, so for their benefit: Despite the name of our site, which has always been somewhat tongue-in-cheek rather than absolutely literal, we do write about metal that includes singing rather than exclusively growling, gagging, and shrieking. Mind you, the exceptions must be earned.

In light of the foregoing, it should not be a huge shock that this Most Infectious Song list includes songs with singing. I’ve added three of them today, and not only with singing but all of them with women singing. I found all three songs to be highly memorable, and the kind that I’ve enjoyed revisiting.

And for those of you who (like me) don’t have a high tolerance for singing in heavy music, the singing is not only very good here, it’s also paired up with more extreme voices in two of the songs. Continue reading »

Dec 292022

What do you do when you enthusiastically agree to premiere a video, then forget to mark the appointed day on the calendar, and then fail to make the premiere when the day arrives? Well, if you’re me you make abject apologies to the band and host the video the day after it has become public, and you still call it a “premiere” even if technically it isn’t.

In the case of Laudare’s video for their live performance of a new song named “Her Enchanted Hair Was the First Gold“, my fuck-up is especially embarrassing because of how excited I was after watching and listening to the video for the first time. The song is such a fascinating variation on our usual musical fare around here, but rest assured, there is a valid reason why Laudare call their music “violent poetry”.

Well, let’s talk about the poetry first, in both of the forms it takes. Continue reading »

Dec 222022

We have a double dose of melancholia for you today — a deeply moving and thoroughly enthralling anthem of sorrow, and a moving epitaph for the band who made the song.

As you will soon understand, the song in question, “Where Eagles Fly Cloudy Skies“, could hardly be better named. Grey skies do loom above the music, but it soars in a way that puts a listener’s heart in their throat, and the memory of it lingers like a formidable spell.

The band who made the song, the Spanish group Autumnal, presented their first demo in 1998, followed by three more from 2000 through 2005 leading up to their debut album Grey Universe in 2006. Eight more years would pass before Autumnal released their second album, The End of the Third Day, and then seven more years of silence would follow that release, a silence only broken now by Autumnal‘s final expression — this song we’re premiering today. Continue reading »

Dec 142022

(The Cretan Epic Doom band Doomocracy have recently released their latest album through No Remorse Records, and that provided a good occasion for Comrade Aleks to arrange the following interview with Doomocracy vocalist Michael Stavrakakis.)

Epic doom is a specific genre. Once Candlemass gave it a twisted and loud birth, nothing remained the same. Candlemass set the high level with the performance of vocalists like Johan Langquist, Messiah Marcolin, and Robert Lowe, so any new band which tried to choose the same path naturally needed a strong vocalist.

Doomocracy was founded in Heraklion, Crete in 2011 and it seems they have one. The band’s lineup has remained the same since it was born: Manolis Sx (bass), Minas Vasilakis (drums), Angelos Tzanis (guitars), Harry Dokos (guitars), and Michael Stavrakakis (vocals). And they succeeded, as according to Doom Chronicles the band turns out to be demanded by European doom metal festivals and just released their third album – Unorthodox.

We discussed Doomocracy’s past and present with Michael and here’s the result of our conversation: Continue reading »

Dec 082022

The best of intentions often fall like wheat before the scythe of life. No plan survives contact with the enemy. The best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley. And other hoary maxims.

I thought I would get one of these round-ups done before now this week, but events conspired against it. I barely have time to squeeze this one in. It’s shorter than I would like — this week was filled with good new releases, of which these are only a precious few — but it will give you a lot of stylistic twists and turns. I’ll have to try to pick up the list this weekend.

LAERE (Germany)

In hunting for new music I’m often the beneficiary of recommendations from other people, and I’m beginning with Laere‘s stunning new EP because it was the subject of lots of those from internet pen-pals whose opinions I respect. And, well, I also got a Bandcamp alert about it because I bought the band’s debut EP Solve in 2020 (and wrote about it too). Continue reading »

Dec 022022


(Our friend Gonzo returns to NCS with another monthly round-up of recommended albums, this one focusing on releases during November.)

Well, here I go, slacking off again.

Truth be told, it’s been a busier than usual time in the life of this NCS contributor, with frequent travel and a day job that seems intent on demanding all my attention. It doesn’t help that that job is also in writing, so writing about a subject I’m more passionate about (heavy music, in case you’re new here) can be draining when it should be pleasurable.

There’s lots to look forward to in the coming months, though – Decibel Metal and Beer Fest, Denver starts this weekend (Dec 2-3) and I’ll be there for all of it, and Amon Amarth will be stomping into town a few days after that. And then, of course, there’s our favorite time of year here at NCS with Listmania.

So, my friends, this will be my final monthly roundup of 2022, but the releases I cover here are some of the best I’ve written about all year. Join me, won’t you? Continue reading »

Nov 292022

Lo and behold, even though we’re two days past the Thanksgiving break my fucking day job is still mostly leaving me alone, so I’ve got time for a quick round-up of new songs and videos this Tuesday. Given the song I picked as the opener, it’s an outlier from my usual proclivities, but don’t worry, it gets a lot more subterranean after that, and then ends with a rebellious song that qualifies as a well-earned exception to our rule about singing.


A good argument could be made that Metallica is the biggest name in metal, and therefore a name very unlikely to appear at this site, where we tend to focus our attention on bands who need (and deserve) more exposure. Even just listening to their new song “Lux Æterna” wasn’t high on my list of things to do. It felt like I’d just be joining a surging crowd of lemmings and wondering just how big a cliff I’d be falling off of.

And then I began to see comments from assorted friends on social media who aren’t given to mindless fawning, even though, unlike me, they spent their formative years listening to Metallica during the band’s best years. One of them thought Metallica were channeling Motörhead. Another wrote that it sounded like a lost Diamond Head cover from Garage Inc. But everyone seemed to be liking it, even if maybe it was pushing slightly different buttons from person to person. So, I gave in and gave the song a shot. Continue reading »

Nov 262022


Since yesterday was a Bandcamp Friday [actually, it wasn’t, as Nic pointed out in a comment below] I wish I could have spent more time recommending more music than I did, but at least I got a full handful of choices out there. Now my hands are full again, and when I open them these things will fly like moths to your flame, or I hope they will.

This new collection was the result of lots of surfing the effluent that continually floods the interhole, searching for nuggets that aren’t the kind you’d find in a septic tank. I found them, an octet of them (including three complete EPs), but I must confess that in the course of the sifting I fell into a strange trip. Dark moods descended, and occasionally lifted, but not entirely. I encountered nostalgia too, and found a pair of curveballs to throw at you for the finale, which is always fun, especially for those of you who have no idea about baseball.

But of course, although these trips are mainly about what pleases me, I always hope (fervently) that some or all of it will please you too. Continue reading »