Oct 082019

photo by Vamperess Imperium


Beginning with 2014, Semjaza, the main creative force behind the Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, has shared with us his year-end lists of favorite metal and non-metal releases. However, rather than prepare year-end lists for 2018, Semjaza embarked on a much more extensive project that would not be limited to releases from that year, but would encompass recommended music across the significant span of his listening (a significant span both in years and in genres). Most of this project was completed many months ago, and therefore does not include many of this year’s releases — and the delays in beginning to post it have been our own, not his.

But now we begin, with this post, which includes an introduction and lists of favored split releases and full-length releases, and a special focus on French black metal. Further installments will appear in the coming weeks.

Having listened to metal music since I was a little kid, I have seen various great and not-so-great things happening within this very movement. Most people prefer to either keep silent or to completely ignore the bad things for their own reasons, which I do not really care to elaborate on. I have been amazed by what is overly promoted within the metal scene right now. It is scary how easy it is for some to either fall into the trap of stupid advertising campaigns or simply follow any trends and ignore real soulful music. I can get the following of trends by the rather very young listener, who is easily convinced, but not from the ones who know what this music really stands for, or those who have been listening to this kind of music for many years. 

Most of the big labels can happily promote their paid advertisement releases with great reviews, and many listeners just buy the trends made by the system. The main thing that really bothers me concerning this is the following: The advertised bands end up having the budget they need to tour and record, but the underground bands lack the money to record and properly mix and master their albums (there are obviously exceptions; there are exceptions to every rule).

Therefore, I decided it is just a fine day to stare once again inwards and post some of the releases I have listened to a lot over the past year (old and new, known and not so known) in order to spread an alternative mindset.  Thanks to NCS, this will reach more people than just a Facebook post, a medium that I use in order to spread great music created by others, as well as my own creations. Continue reading »

Jan 132018


(Here’s a personal list by Andy Synn identifying eagerly anticipated forthcoming 2018 albums.)


One week ago Islander published a list of upcoming albums expected to be released over the course of the next twelve months, and also solicited comments and recommendations from our readers concerning which albums (and EPs) they were most looking forward to.

Well, as successful as that endeavour was, now it’s my turn to talk up some of my most anticipated album scheduled for release in 2018. Continue reading »

Jan 062018

artwork by Kali 15


Our LISTMANIA 2017 series isn’t over yet, though it will be soon. I have five more lists to publish for sure, and I hope a sixth one I’m eager to see will arrive soon, but we should be finished during this coming week. And I’ll also begin rolling out my list of 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs next week as well.

But having said that, we’re also looking ahead to what 2018 will bring us… and of course a huge flood of additional releases is headed our way. We’ve been in the midst of a metal Renaissance for years now, and it shows no sign of ending.

I spent hours over the last two days assembling a list of 2018 releases (by band name) that I’m interested in, or that I think our readers would be interested in. I scrolled through our overstuffed e-mail in-box, visited label Facebook pages, conducted internet searches, and canvassed a few members of our own staff. And the result of that effort is a list of 112 albums, EPs, and splits. And almost all of them are expected to be released in just the first quarter of the year! Continue reading »

Jul 072017


(NCS contributor Wil Cifer has compiled this list of his 10 favorite releases from the first half of 2017.)

Where has 2017 gone? It seems like the year has passed us by in a cloud of internet hatred and bickering. So with that comes the need for heavy music. Now that we are over halfway through 2017 here’s a look at which albums have stuck with me thus far this year.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that it doesn’t matter how much hype an album gets if the music doesn’t inspire me to listen to it more than once. Black Metal, Doom, Death Metal, and Thrash are all represented to some extent in this list. The Number One slot was determined by what Last Fm said I listened to the most. So far, only the top five still maintain their spots in my Ipod, though that is not to say I won’t go back and give the others more listens. You should give all of these albums a listen if you have yet to check them out. Continue reading »

Jul 042017


Today is Independence Day here in the United States, a day on which many Americans celebrate the beginning of the country’s great (and occasionally bizarre) experiment in democracy with vast quantities of cold beer, cookouts, and ardent efforts to blow off their own digits with equally vast quantities of illegally deployed explosives. Here in the metallic realms of NCS, however, it’s just another day (partly in consideration of the fact that more than half our readers are located outside the U.S.).

We have a couple of good song premieres coming your way, and maybe the second part of a SHADES OF BLACK post I began on Sunday, and who knows what else.

But to begin the day I want to talk about hot dogs, and then I want to ask our readers for your opinions about the best metal releases of 2017 so far. Continue reading »

Jan 022016

Hellthrasher digital sampler


Our LISTMANIA 2015 series isn’t over yet. In fact, we have more year-end lists coming your way over the next two weeks from our own staff, from old friends, and from invited musicians. And I’ll also continue rolling out my list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. All of that will resume on Monday. But having said that, we’re also looking ahead to what 2016 will bring us.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday assembling a list of 2016 releases (by band name) that I’m interested in, most of which are expected during the first quarter of the year. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means — I have no doubt I’ve forgotten or overlooked a lot of things — but it’s a massive list nonetheless. Continue reading »

Dec 172015

Akhenaten - Incantations Through the Gates of Irkalla


(Here’s the last of KevinP’s monthly selections for 2015, naming his Top 5 favorite albums released or scheduled for release during December.)

Since I’ve had plenty of time with this month’s releases to formulate my list, along with the fact that things start to get slow once Xmas week arrives, you’re getting this a little earlier than normal.  Also, my Top 25 Albums and Top 5 EP’s of the Year will be posted the first week of January.  Nothing else profound to say, so let’s get on with it. Continue reading »

Nov 042015



In the near term, the forecast for our site is cloudy. Early this morning I left Seattle for Alaska again, where I’ll be spending the next 10 days on a project for my fucking day job. Like most of these out-of-town adventures, I’ll be working day and night and unable to spend much time on NCS.

I do expect I’ll have enough time to post what our other writers send me, and maybe time to write a few things myself (such as one post I’ve planned for tomorrow). Things should get back to normal during the week of November 16, but until then the volume of our daily posts will probably decline.

But the forecast gets brighter after the next 10 days. Continue reading »

Oct 292015

Goatwhore 2014


(If you read your humble editor’s earlier post today, you’ll know that I wasn’t expect to post anything by any of our other writers today… and then Andy Synn stepped up with this installment of favorite things that come in fives.)

Here he comes to save the day…

Ahem. Anyway, after Our Great And Most Glorious Leader’s post earlier today about having nothing to hand for the site for once, I took it upon myself to quickly bash something together in order to help uphold our nigh-unimpeachable record of journalistic quality and integrity.

Or, something like that.

Either way, it’s a good enough excuse to jam out some fat and filthy blackened riffs whilst picking and choosing five of my favourite songs by everyone’s favourite cloven-hoofed courtesans of Satan.

Deep breath…

Altogether now…

GOATWHORE!!! Continue reading »

Oct 282015



(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the month that’s about to end.)

It’s been 10 months now that I’ve worked on this column and I always wondered how others kept track of what was released each month.  I simply take a notebook, write down a month on each page, and then when I get a promo, I download it and hand-write it in the release month.  That’s as low-tech as you can be (and sometimes semi-dangerous if the baby gets her hands on it and goes to town).  So does anyone have any better suggestions?  What do you do?

Anyways, we are fast approaching the end of the year and October has been quite the eclectic month, probably the most so far, as you’ll see from my selections.  Let us know what else wet your whistle in the comments below. Continue reading »