Dec 222014


(For the fourth year in a row our old friend SurgicalBrute weighs in with his list of the year’s best metal.)

Okay, let’s be honest… When it comes to end of the year lists, no one really cares about these intro paragraphs. They’re usually some anecdote about how this was a such great year in metal, and truthfully, we all know I could be writing erotic hobbit fan fiction up here and most of you wouldn’t notice… You’re going to skip right to the music. So I’m just going to make a couple of quick points

First, I don’t know if it was the abnormally grim and frosty weather that we got last winter, but this past year seemed to be a particularly strong one for black metal… at least for me.

Second, this was probably the hardest list I’ve written. Lots of good albums came out this year, but there wasn’t a whole lot that actually stood head and shoulders above the rest. It just seemed like a year full of very solid, enjoyable releases.

So, with that out of the way, on to the important stuff (…and no, there’s no particular order to this). Continue reading »

Dec 212014


(One of my favorite albums of 2014 is Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet by the Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade. I asked Semjaza, the man behind the music, if he would share with us his favorite music of this year, and he agreed.)


When Islander invited me to do a 2014 favorite music list of mine, I thought instantly about what I needed to hear from new releases.  Concerning black metal in 2014, as a LHP practitioner and a diehard black metal enthusiast, when I hear about spiritual black metal I demand real devotion towards the black arts. Too many people are poisoning this divine artform with their pseudo-occult imagery, their zero knowledge towards LHP initiation, their posing like they found the Lapis Philosophorum, and of course their zero musical talent. It is better to openly admit that you are dabbling with the occult or write about a random retarded theme, than to approach the currents with the least of devotions. It is not a matter of spiritual or aesthetic preferences, it is a matter of honest expression; I can tolerate a band’s choices when they are honest artistic expressions even when I do not agree with their concepts, but I highly despise the followers who are trying to steal the flames of genuine Luciferian art in order to receive scene points.

In order for a release to be included in my ultimate playlist, it must either be a genuine approach towards Luciferianism or a new Iron Maiden release. Malkuth needs more music to transfer LHP knowledge to the listener, to make him/her comprehend that there is a hidden potential via the acausal link that opens the path towards Chaos, godhood, and Self-preservation (onwards to the Black Sun). Music and especially the black metal genre can aid the eradication of pre-determined ego-based notions by the awakening of the black flame. This is not an exaggeration but rather my life story, since heavy metal & black metal were for sure really crucial for my own awakening.

The social environment carefully boycotts those of the blood by making spiritual superiority look like psychological illness, but those few who possess the sinister flame know what they search and how to find it. To those few, the mundane achievements are nothing but mere illusions that can be easily reached with little effort since the will to become more than human is always more demanding and contains more value than any mundane aim. This doesn’t mean that I solely listen to strictly occult oriented music since music many times may act as a reflection of the artist when it is an honest expression. Continue reading »

Dec 192014

(We welcome our old friend deckard cain back to the site. He brings us his list of the 50(ish) best albums of 2014, listed in no particular order, despite the appearance of numbers.)

Greetings brethren!

And yet another morbid year turns to dust, leaving only ashes in its wake. Dread sells on the television, nations bathe in the crudity of oil, religions find legitimacy through violence, virus and vermin swing the scythe ever so swiftly, and the world inches ever forward to becoming an all encompassing panopticon.

Our lives are doomed. But there is beauty in doom. And music in all its glorious manifestations (let alone metal) keeps our sanity at bay. 2015 was good for metal. And so shall it be with each passing year. More doom equates to more room, nay more cause for metal to remain relevant.

Imagine. Several years from now, as humanity is laid decimated or completely brought to naught, an alien species lands and scours the land for the remnants of a civilization that once was. They find amidst the rubble of a once glorious city, caked in the dust of the preceding eons, a curious looking circular disc. With the words etched, stark in their prophetic reach, “The Dead of the World”.

And with that I start the first entry in my list. Continue reading »

Dec 192014


(Andy Synn’s five-part retrospective on the year in metal concludes with his list of the “Personal Top 10″. Previous installments on the “Great”, the “Good”, the “Disappointing”, and the “Critical Top 10” albums can be found hereherehere, and here.)

So this is it… it’s the Final Countdown (cue the music!)

Seriously though, I hope you’ve all enjoyed and appreciated all my lists so far, and discovered (or rediscovered) some new or overlooked gems in the process. It’s definitely as much fun for me to write the things as I hope it is for others to read them, as it allows me to collect my thoughts and really take stock of just how good each year is, and look back on all the various trends and twists that have come and gone.

My “Personal Top 10” list is exactly that, a simple representation of what I have personally (and almost uncritically) loved the most this year. Whereas I try and make the “Critical Top 10” list as impartial and honestly representative of the year as I can do, my Personal list is just a reflection of my own tastes and biases – unashamed and unfiltered.

I can tell you right now, in fact, that even if I were to expand the list to 20, only a few entries from the Critical list would probably get a look in. Some would, no doubt about it, but by and large my personal favourites differ quite a bit from what I’d objectively class as the year’s “Best” albums. Though I’d argue that many/most of these albums definitely are amongst the best I’ve heard this year.

So, without further ado, my final list of completely super-pretentious garbage for all of those unlucky enough to have been born after the 1970s! Continue reading »

Dec 182014


(We’re delighted once again to bring you a “best of the year” list from our friend Jacobo Córdova, the man behind the magnificent Majestic Downfall from Mexico, and a fixture in the lethal Zombiefication as well.)

I am very grateful for being able to share with all NCS readers, and for the second year in a row, what I consider to be the best releases of 2014. Once again I want to say that although I didn´t listen to everything I wish I had gotten my ears on in 2014, I certainly got to a lot of it, and my overall view of the year for Metal is quite positve.

This time, and to make it a bit different from last year, I will have other “sections” mentioning great albums that although not released this year, had something special and came to life this year (at least for me, since their dues were not paid on time).  Continue reading »

Dec 182014


(Andy Synn’s five-part retrospective on the year in metal continues with his list of the “Critical Top 10”. Previous installments on the “Great”, the “Good”, and the “Disappointing” albums can be found here, here, and here.)

So there’s just two more lists left this week, and then I’m (almost, maybe, possibly, ok not really…) done rounding up this past year in metal.

To differentiate between the two, I’ve dubbed them (as in previous years), the “Personal Top 10” and the “Critical Top 10”, as I’ve taken a slightly different approach to compiling each one. The “Personal” list is, as you might have guessed, simply a list of my ten favourite albums of the year, which simply gives an insight into my own personal tastes and preferences, whereas the “Critical” list is where I’ve tried to be as impartial as possible, and really select albums which I think I could (semi)objectively justify as being the year’s best.

However, this year I’ve made the decision not to explicitly rank the “Critical Top 10” albums – partially because I was having enough trouble just slimming my initial list of candidates down to just 10 in the first place, and partly because I’ve decided to try and do things slightly differently this year – and instead I’ve tried to focus more on providing what I think is a cultural (and critical) snapshot of the year, selecting ten albums, from across the length and breadth of the metal spectrum, that I think embody the spirit and variety of the genre, as well as being amongst the best that 2014 has had to offer.

Think of it like a time-capsule of the year in metal, with me trying to select ten representatives that future generations will be able to look back on with a mixture of awe and incredulity.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. After the jump, my selections for ten of the best, most critically praised albums of 2014! Continue reading »

Dec 172014


(Our old pal Ben C. from Church of the Riff has surfaced once again to put a smile on our faces and raucous music in our earholes.)

Well fuck. I did it. I wrote something for the first time in, uhhhhh, a while? Yeah, a while. Y’see, this year I graduated university and got hit with this real life thing, so my internet time got dragged behind the barn and shot like a sick dog. It doesn’t help that my day job has me staring at a computer screen all day like a slack-jawed monkey, so the last thing I want when I get home is more screen time.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I didn’t find plenty of kickass tunes through the year, 12 of which are the subject of this list. It’s not all metal and there is clean singing but hopefully I’ve highlighted some new bands you haven’t heard before and might enjoy. Continue reading »

Dec 172014


(As part of our year-end LISTMANIA series we present Andy Synn’s annual column about albums that failed to live up to his expectations. His preceding lists of the year’s “Great” and “Good” albums can be found here and here.)

For those of you unware of this, we don’t tend to go “negative” here at NCS. In fact I’m pretty sure this particular post is probably the most overtly “negative” thing we publish all year.

So, because I realize that this could ruffle some feathers, and runs somewhat counter to the site’s ethos which prevails for the other 364 days of the year, I thought it best to provide a few guidelines about how to read this post. And hopefully avoid any hurt feelings or shit-stirring as a result!

1. Just because I think these albums are “Disappointing” doesn’t mean you have to. I’m just providing an alternative viewpoint and, I hope, some reasonable justification for why I feel this way.

2. Just because I’ve rated these albums as “Disappointing” doesn’t equate to “Bad” – although some of them definitely are. Some of them are just disappointing when compared to the standards at which the band usually perform. Some of them see the band regressing, or spinning their wheels, and are thus deemed “Disappointing” in the overall context of their career.

3. It’s often difficult to communicate tone of voice over the internet, so please don’t read this as me gloating or glorifying in a band’s (perceived) mistakes. I’m not doing this to be controversial, or to make myself feel big or clever, nor am I trying to “troll” our readers, or any of the bands involved. Ultimately these are all bands I legitimately love/like myself, and the fact that these albums/EPs are a disappointment hits me as a fan just as much as it hits any of you.

4. If you’re the type to fly completely off the handle into an apoplectic rage just because someone else doesn’t think that album x, y, or z is the masterpiece you think it is… maybe don’t read this column? Again, I’m just providing an honest statement of opinion, in order to provoke debate and discussion – not a shit-flinging flame-war.

5. Please re-read point 4.

And there we have it. Hopefully that lays out a bit more clearly the why of this particular column. Now, onto the what. Continue reading »

Dec 162014


(Here is NCS writer DGR’s year-end list, preceded by a post title that he made himself, except for the commas.)

Coming up with an end-of-the-year list is always the most stressful thing for me, and 2014 was no different. It usually involves me combing through the reviews and going, “God, what the fuck even came out this year?!”, before I really start hashing something together.

Multiple events take place as I do this as well. I almost always wind up throwing onto the list a disc that came out the previous year — in fact, I’m still worried I might have let one slip by. I usually wind up letting the thing get way out of control, but I guaranfuckingtee you that the moment I publish it, I’m going to be putting one or two more albums retroactively on this list in the comments — as if it’s some sort of justice.

2014 was an interesting year. I found so much music that I enjoyed this time, and a lot of it not by bands that I listen to super-regularly. It was a lot of groups really coming into their own this time, or bands that, while good before, just put out massive releases. I know my top ten could start a couple arguments for being mainstream as fuck, but that tends to be my listening taste. I’m like a dog with a set of keys. They’re shiny and I love them, just make them jingle again. Continue reading »

Dec 162014


(Here’s Part Two of Andy Synn’s five-part series on his reflections about metal albums released in 2014. His list of the year’s “Great” albums appeared here yesterday.)

What separates the truly “Great” from the merely “Good”? A variety of things really. Sometimes it’s not much at all. Some of these albums actually come within a hair’s breadth of achieving true greatness, while others stumble a little more obviously along the way.

It could be that they’re too long, or too short… too ambitious, or not ambitious enough… or just in some way lacking that singular spark which defines true greatness.

That being said, each of these albums is, in their own way, a damn fine listen, visceral, intense, and a worthy addition to anyone’s collection – just because they’re not defined here as one of the truly “Great” albums of the year, doesn’t mean they’re not very, very, good.

And some of these albums are definitely very good. Continue reading »