Feb 052016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(Year-end lists… you just can’t kill em’. But Andy Synn has made a habit of crowning our annual LISTMANIA series with one final offering — his selection of the last year’s top songs — and this year is no different.)

Did you REALLY think I was done with lists? Are you really that naive? Oh, how foolish are those who are most willing to be.. umm… fooled. Or something.

Yes, it’s no secret I enjoy making lists, and as such have a particular fondness for the end-of-year period here at NCS, not just because it lets me indulge my numero-erotic list-making proclivities in full (and in public, no less) but also because I sincerely enjoy reading and debating all the other lists we publish and reference and, in the process, discovering bands I’d otherwise overlooked.

The hardest list to pull together though is the list of my favourite songs of the year. Not because of any hard-fought pretence of objectivity (there’s none of that here), but because there’s simply so many options to choose from, with my initial list coming in at well over 100 entries, each drawn from albums across the length and breadth of my Great/Good/Disappointing lists of last year.

But, finally… finally… I managed to whittle it down to the ten selections you’re about to encounter.

I’m not suggesting these are the definitive “Best” songs of the year by any means, they’re just ten tracks which have burrowed their way under my skin and into my brain the deepest.

So, without further ado… Continue reading »

Feb 022016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(The word “procrastination” is one with which I am intimately familiar — it’s like a close personal friend. And therefore, I could hardly say no to posting this one further year-end list from our friend Leperkahn despite the fact that we wrapped up our 2015 Listmania series in mid-January, and despite his ugly and uncalled-for reminder that I still haven’t finished the 2015 Most Infectious Song list….)

Hey guys. As you might have guessed, that headline is completely satirical, since I meant to write some version of this in early December more or less, and it’s now currently the front-end of February. My only saving grace is that Islander hasn’t finished his rollout of his Most Infectious Songs list either.

I obviously wrote much less here in 2015 than in years past – I blame that partially on school and other time-fillers, but it mostly has to do with my truly award-worthy levels of procrastination, with a pinch of laziness adding a complementary garnish. That said, I still listened to a ton of great music, and lurked with mostly banal comments on probably 70% of NCS’s posts, indicating my continued existence and enjoyment of the fare here.

I’m going to try and focus on some releases that I don’t think got as extensively covered here either throughout the year or during the Listmania blitz, but inevitably that won’t happen. That said, here’s an incomplete list of some of the ones off the top of my head that I wholeheartedly agree with: Continue reading »

Jan 152016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


Andy Synn alleges that he still intends to deliver his annual list of favorite songs, but with that exception, I think our 2015 edition of LISTMANIA has finally drawn to a close. Unless I’ve forgotten something, in which case we’ll have to supplement the series with whatever I’ve forgotten.  We’re not running a very well-oiled machine here.

But however rusty it may be, we’re damned sure running a list-making machine here. Our 2015 series of lists was more extensive than in any previous year — we posted more than 50 lists (!) with accompanying commentary this time.

As usual, some of these were lists that appeared at “big platform” web sites and print magazines, and others were prepared by our own cadre of writers.  But once again the largest group of list posts came from NCS readers, band members, and assorted other guests, including fellow metal bloggers/writers. Plus, we’ve also received many lists in reader comments on THIS POST. Continue reading »

Jan 142016

Angry Metal Guy banner


Unless I’ve forgotten something, which is always a distinct possibility, this will be the final installment of the LISTMANIA 2015 series that we began back in December. Tomorrow I’ll prepare a wrap-up with links to all of the many lists we posted this season. If there was anything worth a shit that was released last year, I’m betting you will find it somewhere among those lists.

This year I made an exception to my usual practice about posting lists from other web sites or blogs. In past years, I only re-published lists from cross-genre “big platform” sites, in part for the fun of seeing what people who don’t eat, sleep, and breathe metal are being told is “the best metal” of the year. There are many other excellent metal sites and blogs out there that lurk in the narrower crevices of the interhole like we do. If I started trying to re-post all of their year-end lists, it would be hard to find a stopping point.

But here on this final day of LISTMANIA 2015 I decided to make a couple of exceptions — by posting a year-end list from Brutalitopia (because I’ve gotten personally shit-faced with those guys at a metal festival and they were nice enough not to post any pics) and now by posting a year-end list from AngryMetalGuy.com (because both our site and theirs burst forth from foul wombs in the same year and somehow we have both managed to survive and prosper since 2009). Continue reading »

Jan 142016

Brutalitopia header


(As part of our annual nearly complete 2015 LISTMANIA series, we present a year-end list assembled by some people we’re very fond of — Durf, Mick, Jack, and Tom from the Brutalitopia metal blog.)

Welcome to the Brutalitopia Töp 10, which has been so kindly hosted by our good friend Islander here at NCS. For those of you who don’t know us, we are a collective of 4 morons (3 in Chicago and 1 in New Jersey) who post reviews and do the occasional podcast every year or 2. We have recently started to use our general malaise to our advantage with our Brutally Short reviews where we piece together short reviews in a magazine-type format so as to say we produce something once in a while.

While painstakingly putting this list together I noticed that we happen to have collectively shed some light on some albums that some sites and magazines haven’t, so when going through the collective lists of Durf, Mick, Myself, and the yet-to-be-published (if ever) Jack, I have come up with a solid list of 10, whittled down from a collective of 39 albums total. You’ll find snippets from each of our lists to sum up our feelings on the albums if we thought it was worth a mention, or maybe several passing words from a list in progress (or pulled from Facebook messenger, but who can really tell). For now here are 5 albums that just missed the cut: Continue reading »

Jan 132016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(In what has become an annual tradition as we near the finish line for our LISTMANIA series, our good friend and long-time NCS comrade BadWolf (aka Joseph Schafer) takes a break from his responsibilities at Invisible Oranges and brings us his year-end list of top non-metal albums from 2015.)

My duties as editor of Invisible Oranges keep me from writing on No Clean Singing as much as I’d like (that being, pretty much at all) but this site still feels like home. I think, for the first time, this is the only article I wrote for Islander in the past twelve months. That said, it’s still my favorite piece to write.

If you’re interested in my metal top 10, it lives here at Invisible Oranges. Look at the comment section for a little snark from our beloved Andy Synn. It’s ok, buddy, I don’t like most of the bands on your list, either.

Maybe Synn and I will have more in common outside the realms of metal. That said, some of these records are quite heavy — a couple made it into the metal top 10 lists at Invisible Oranges. I excluded them for the sake of having a more cohesive metal list of my own. Continue reading »

Jan 112016

Great Wall of China-2


Editor’s Note:  Grant Skelton began his own NCS year-end list here by writing, “Since I’m likely the most verbose writer on this site….” Haha. Nope. Not even close. That distinction goes to DGR. His year-end list is not the longest we’ve posted in terms of the number of releases he honors. But in terms of words, it’s like The Great Wall of China, going on and on and on until it becomes one with the horizon… but every album gets its own corporate-sponsored award! Who said there was no money in metal?


Listmania has once again taken No Clean Singing into her grubby little paws, devouring anything else that the site may put out into its gaping maw and allowing no information outside of album title upon album title – with pretty picture and album streams included – to escape.

This is the time of year where opinions are validated, egos stroked, outrage fomented, and more often than not the usual album-reviewing duty shirked when the author realizes that he’s a fucking idiot who thought it would be funny to write a novel-length album review and then turn around and create a giant year-ender list where he once again pretty much reviews every album on it.  Continue reading »

Jan 072016

Ne Obliviscaris 2015


Those of you who follow Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris on Facebook may have seen that three members of the band shared their year-end lists of favorite 2015 releases. But for those who missed them, we’re re-publishing them here. And we’re doing this on the heels of the band’s announcement that in addition to their North American appearances on the previously announced Inquisitional Torture tour headlined by Cradle of Filth, they will also be performing four 90-minute sets as headliners. Here’s where that will happen:

Feb 4@ The Side Bar, Tallahassee, FL (AA)
Feb 6@ O’Scheckey’s, Columbus, OH (AA)
Feb 7@ 5th Quarter Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (21+)
Feb 8@ Fubar, St.Louis, MO (AA)

To see the schedule for the Inquisitional Torture tour, go here. And now here are those lists: Continue reading »

Jan 072016

Spectral Lore-GnosisSpectral Lore-Voyager


We again invited Ayloss, the man behind the Greek band Spectral Lore, to share with us his list of favorite 2015 releases. As expected, it’s a wide-ranging and distinctive collection of music, much like the music of Spectral Lore itself.

Speaking of the music of Spectral Lore, 2015 saw the release of two experimental EPs (the covers of which are above) — Gnosis and Voyager — and the third of those planned releases is expected later this month. And now, here is the list and the comments of Ayloss about the music:


A Forest of Stars-Beware the Sword

A Forest of Stars – Beware the Sword You Cannot See

This band has gone far. I admit that while I was intrigued by their first two albums (actually even before, anyone remember their old first website?), Ι found something missing in them, maybe a bit more solid song-writing to hold together the long compositions and high lyrical concepts. Well, enter “Drawing Down the Rain”, possibly the best song I’ve heard in this year, a song which seems to contain everything I like the most in music. When you kick-start your album like that, you just can’t fail and Beware… holds many other shining gems as well. A vast, ambitious, multi-faceted album, the surface of which after numerous listens I feel I’ve only scraped. Continue reading »

Jan 062016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(For yet another year, our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth brings us his year-end list of favorite releases, both metal and not — plus some things that aren’t even music.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. I return from the endless void of adult living once more to unleash upon you all my list of my favorite albums from the past year. The list is, mayhap, not quite so extensive as it was in years past, and this is due in no small part to the ever-decreasing amount of listening time that I have. Couple this with the expanding number of albums that draw my interest, and the end result is many albums that I only heard once or twice and then moved on to something that better captured my attention.

Before we move on to the list, here are a few other things from the past year that I greatly enjoyed. Continue reading »