Dec 012022

We have now entered the final month of 2022, and that begins the final countdown to the end of the year. In the world of metal, this month we’ll also start seeing more and more lists of the year’s best releases.

Back in 2009, when this site was just a few days old, I wrote a post about year-end lists and why people bother with them. The best reason still seems to be this: Reading someone else’s list of the albums they thought were best is a good way to discover music you missed and might like.

We don’t do an “official” NCS year-end “best albums” list. However, we publish the picks of each of our regular staff writers as well as a group of invited guests, in addition to lists that we re-post from a few print zines and “big platform” online sites.

Every year we also invite our readers to share their lists and we’re doing that again right here, right now.

If you’ve been pondering what you’ve heard this year and have made your own list of the albums, EPs, or splits released in 2022 that you think are the best of what you’ve heard, we invite you to share it with everyone in the Comments section to this post. And if you haven’t made a list yet but want to, there’s still plenty of time (read below). Continue reading »

Dec 012022

As part of our annual NCS LISTMANIA extravaganza we re-publish lists of the year’s best metal that appear on web sites which appeal to vastly larger numbers of readers than we do — not because we believe those readers or the writers have better taste in metal than our community does, but more from a morbid curiosity about what the great unpoisoned masses are being told is best for them. It’s like opening a window that affords an insight into the way the rest of the world outside our own disease-ridden nooks and crannies perceives the music that is our daily sustenance.

One of those sites is PopMatters. It has been in existence since 1999. In its own words the site “is an international magazine of cultural criticism and analysis” with a scope that “is broadly cast on all things pop culture”, including “music, television, films, books, video games, sports, theatre, the visual arts, travel, and the Internet”. PopMatters, which which has been independently women/LGBTQ-owned and operated since inception, claims that it is “the largest site that bridges academic and popular writing in the world”.

As in past years, last week PopMatters has published a list of “The 20 Best Metal Albums“ of the year, again under the by-line of Spyros Stasis and Antonio Poscic. You’ll find that list below. Continue reading »

Nov 282022


“In case we’re wondering how things are going in surface level rock and metal world. Fun for curiosities sake.” That’s the message I saw from DGR providing a link to Revolver magazine’s list of the 25 Best Albums of 2022, and the message kind of sums up why you’re seeing the list here now.

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.

We don’t re-publish those “big platform” lists because we think it’s likely to be a source of useful discovery for most of the people who come to NCS, though of course that’s possible. It’s really more a matter of peering at the surface world as a form of modest entertainment. Continue reading »

Nov 112022


It has become an annual tradition at our putrid site to launch our year-end LISTMANIA orgy with the appearance of DECIBEL mag’s Top 40 list, because they always seem to burst from the starting gate sooner than anyone else — and they’ve done it again this year, although about a week earlier than they did in 2021. There’s also the fact that, in my humble opinion, DECIBEL is still the best print publication out there for fans of extreme metal, and their list always generates healthy discussions, so it’s a fitting way to launch the latest LISTMANIA season apart from the list’s early-bird status.

The DECIBEL list will officially appear in the magazine’s January 2023 edition, which hasn’t yet hit my own mailbox, but DECIBEL again decided (for the eighth year in a row) to scoop their own list rather than letting leeches like me leak it (actually, this year they called people like me “enterprising dorks”). They published the list on-line yesterday, and so I can now again re-publish their list without too much guilt, beyond the sheepishness that comes from being one of the factors that forced them to start outing themselves in the first place. Continue reading »

Nov 072022

Every year when we approach the middle of November I always seem to have the same thought: “Man, this year really flew by!” Of course at other times of the year I think, “Man time is really crawling like an old crippled man who lost his crutches, can’t this fresh hell go away faster?”

Well, the blurred-time feeling always comes this time of year because I’m staring at the calendar and realizing how much is about to happen this month at our putrid site. We have lots to do, and people seem to look forward to it. But this month we also ask readers to do a lot, to help us out. It’s the beginning of probably the most “interactive” time of year at NCS.

And so I thought now might be a good time to provide reminders for those of you who inexplicably don’t organize your own calendars around happenings at NCS. Here are some key dates coming up: Continue reading »