May 042019
 

 

I did listen to these songs on a Saturday, but it wasn’t this Saturday. It was a week ago while I was in Houston, but for reasons I explained last weekend I didn’t have either the time or a clear enough head to write anything. And then, as forecast, my day job prevented me from doing anything more than write premieres last week.

So here we are, 10 days since the last round-up of new music I posted. Do I try to catch up with all the new stuff that’s come out over the last week, or just go with what I would have done last weekend if I’d had the time? I decided on the latter plan, because it will probably take me the rest of the day just to figure out what I missed. Maybe some of what’s below will be new to you anyway.

ARES KINGDOM

There are some old favorites among the bands I chose for this round-up, beginning with the veteran Kansas City collective, Ares KingdomChuck Keller (guitar), Mike Miller (drums), and Alex Blume (bass, vocals). Their fourth album, By the Light of Their Destruction, will be released on May 15th (CD and vinyl) by Nuclear War Now! Productions, and the song below is a track named “Eighteen Degrees Beneath“. Continue reading »

Apr 232019
 

 

I’m torn between the desire to back-track and continue to catch up on new advance songs that I failed to notice over the nearly three weeks when I couldn’t devote time to round-ups, and the steady impulse to focus on things “hot off the presses”. This particular collection reflects that schism: There’s a bit of both in here.

GAAHLS WYRD

The timbre of Gaahl‘s voice dominates the opening of “Carving the Voices“, which Metal Hammer premiered a week ago. Like a prophet who might actually be clairvoyant or an ancient enchanter who has just emerged from a centuries-long imprisonment within a gnarled oak, the deep resonance of his voice conveys the possession of wisdom both profound and full of dread. Continue reading »

Apr 202019
 


Majestic Downfall – great photo by Luis Roa

 

I decided to begin this Saturday round-up with a rare news item (because it involves a band that’s a personal favorite) and then get into a bunch of new music. It’s not nearly enough new music to make up for the fact that I only managed one other round-up over the last three weeks, but it’s the best I can do for today. I siphoned off most of the black metal from my selections, and those will appear in the usual Sunday column, which is already shaping up to be a two-parter. Instead of Shades of Black, today’s picks could be called Shades of Death.

MAJESTIC DOWNFALL

Here’s the news item, which is a rarity because we’re really not set up to share the word about new tour announcements, since that would become a full-time job, and I’d rather spend the time writing about new music. But in this instance I made an exception, because it concerns Majestic Downfall, and in particular an excursion by that fine Mexican band into the provinces of The Great White North. Continue reading »

Apr 182019
 

 

The last time I posted a round-up of new music (here) was 15 days ago. At the time I had 10 new songs I wanted to recommend, and no logical way to arrange them, given the diversity of the sounds, other than in alphabetical order by band name.  I got through five bands in the A-M range, with every intention of posting a second installment of five in the M-Z range by the next day. That didn’t happen, and I didn’t get it done by the end of that week, or the next week either, and now it’s Thursday of this week. My fucking day job has been killing me lately.

Of course, a ton more songs have been released in the last 15 days, but I’ve decided to stick with my original plan and finish that selection of 10 that I started more than two weeks ago, even though the music is no longer “hot off the presses”. I have made one change, because one of the songs I had chosen for the second group of five (by Misotheist) coincidentally wound up in eiterorm’s guest edition of SHADES OF BLACK last Sunday, so I made a substitution. Continue reading »

Apr 102019
 

 

We don’t make an effort to comprehensively post about every metal festival scheduled to occur around the world, which would be something close to a full-time job all by itself. But every now and then one catches my eye that seems worth highlighting, because of the risk that it might not receive the attention it deserves, and this is one of those times.

Formerly called “Penetrations of Darkness“, this event was originally scheduled for July 19th, but has since been rescheduled and expanded into something even more ambitious. The concert is now called “Sangre y Fuego para Mictlāntēcutli II” and is a two-day festival, which features 10 bands from all over the globe. The event will be hosted by HDX Circus Bar in Mexico City on Friday, November 1st and Saturday, November 2nd, which coincides with the end of the Día de Muertos celebration, also known as “Day of the Dead.” Continue reading »

Apr 052019
 

 

NCS isn’t really a “metal news” site, unlike some places that dutifully copy-paste press releases every day, with announcements of new tours, forthcoming releases, line-up changes, etc. About as close as we come are the SEEN AND HEARD posts, but those are devoted almost entirely to streams of new songs and videos, and commentary about them. If the recommended tracks happen to come from records that are on the horizon, we’ll include that info. In other words, the music is the main thing. Trying to keep up with every day’s newsy announcements is just too daunting a task, given the limited time that the NCS slaves have to devote to their slavery.

But here we have both an announcement and new music, which are connected. Normally I would have included both in a SEEN AND HEARD post, but my fucking day job has been slamming me hard this week, and I haven’t had time for one of those round-ups. But I do have just enough time for this before turning to today’s premieres. It concerns both a new EP by the U.S. black/death band Suffering Hour and a U.S. East Coast tour that begins tomorrow, which combines the talents of Suffering Hour and the Icelandic black metal band Sinmara. As you probably know if you’re a regular NCS visitor, both bands are favorites of our putrid site. Continue reading »

Mar 272019
 

 

I wasn’t sure I would have a time for a round-up this week, given the continuing press of my day job, but I did manage to pull this one together based on some late-night listening over the last couple of evenings. If I stay up late enough and wake up early enough, I find that I’m still able to squeeze in something like this, despite having a lot fewer daylight hours to call my own. Here we go:

DEVOID OF THOUGHT

In October 2017 we premiered a demo named Astral Necrosis by the Italian band Devoid of Thought, whose name I thought would also describe the mental state of listeners exposed to the demo’s three tracks. The music was a whipsawing amalgam of death metal and thrash, with the kind of fireball instrumental performances and brain-spinning intricacy that might lead one to slap a “progressive” label on the ingredients as well — except the music seemed too maniacal and vicious for that word. It was insanely good, and also just insane. Continue reading »

Mar 242019
 

 

Yes, I know it’s Sunday, but I did listen to all the selections in this round-up on Saturday. I just didn’t get this post finished in time to launch it yesterday.

I listened to a lot of other things yesterday, too. Some of that will find its way into the usual SHADES OF BLACK column later today. Other songs and videos were also interesting, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Drawing lines gives me a headache, especially because I know that Monday will begin another week filled with new songs and videos on top of those from last week that I failed to get to, and another week when my day job (again) probably won’t leave me enough time for round-ups.

Doom plays a role in all of the following songs, which factored into my line-drawing, but the sounds of suffering play quite different roles from song to song.

OCTOBER TIDE

In their 25th year October Tide are releasing a new album, which founding guitarist Fredrik Norrman describes as “a bit more aggressive, a bit more death metal, and with an overall colder feeling than previous records”. His brother, guitarist Mattias, is still in harness, as is vocalist Alexander Högbom, but since the band’s last album they’ve added a new bassist (Johan Jönsegård) and a new drummer (Jonas Sköld), both of whom are also members of Letters From the Colony (who seem to have a lot of Meshuggah in their DNA, at least based on this live video from last summer). Continue reading »

Mar 222019
 

 

I guess this week has been like every other week: It brought a flood of new metal. Unfortunately, it was a week when the job that pays the bills left me no time for round-ups. It was a mad scramble just to get everything else done around the NCS compound. Confronted with a list of way too many new songs to write about, most of which I haven’t even heard yet, I made completely impulsive choices from among those I have heard, three of which are videos.

Not sure how much further catching-up with new music I’ll manage in the posts this weekend, but I’m going to try. We’ll see how that goes…

FULL OF HELL

I had to lead off with this new song from Full of Hell because it’s just such a shrieking, roaring horror. One of those things that makes you sit bolt-upright and prevents you from thinking about anything else, which was a blessing, given my scrambled state of mind when I first heard it. Continue reading »

Mar 212019
 

 

Ascension MMXIX will take place on June 13 – 15, 2019, in Mosfellbær, Iceland, about a 20-minute drive or half-hour bus ride from the city center in Reykjavik. Over those three days 30 bands from a dozen countries will perform at the Hlégarður venue. The impressive line-up includes not only Sólstafir and the best-known names from the vanguard of red-hot Icelandic black metal but also such U.S. bands as Akhlys, Drab Majesty, and King Dude; Antaeus and The Order of Apollyon from France; Auroch and Mitocondrion from Canada; Mgła from Poland; Sweden’s Tribulation; Akrotheism from Greece; Jupiterian from Brazil; and the Belgian band Wolvennest.

Ascension is the spiritual successor to the widely acclaimed Oration Festival, which ran for three years (from 2016 through 2018) in Reykjavik. Like Oration, Ascension is the brainchild of Stephen Lockhart, who is the owner/operator of both the Icelandic record label Oration and of Studio Emissary, where Lockhart has been responsible for recording, mixing, and mastering an extensive list of great metal releases since the studio’s founding in 2010. The bands with whom Lockhart has worked through the studio have formed the nucleus of both Oration and now Ascension, but the appeal of the festivals to performing bands obviously extends much further. Continue reading »