Jan 172020
 

 

As you can see, I have ambitions to recommend quite a lot of new songs, enough to justify splitting up the collection into two parts. I can’t promise that Part 2 will arrive today, because I haven’t written it yet. Might be tomorrow before you see it, but trust me, it’s worth seeing (and mainly worth hearing) even if you have to wait until Saturday.

I confess that I chose to put these particular five songs together not only because I liked them quite a lot but also because I enjoyed the idea of giving you genre-whiplash as you move through them.

EARTH ROT

The first four songs in this collection all come from bands whose previous releases we’ve acclaimed here at the NCS hovel, and all of them now have new full-lengths headed our way in 2020. The first of those is the Australian blackened death metal band Earth Rot, whose new album Black Tides of Obscurity will be released on March 6th by Season of Mist. The first advance track, “Dread Rebirth“, is the album opener, and it arrived along with a video that’s full of interesting visual effects. Continue reading »

Jan 012020
 

 

HNY!

 

I didn’t make it to the point when the clock ticked over into 2020 last night, not even close.  On the other hand, despite going to bed well before midnight I slept like a dead man for 10 hours, which is an extreme rarity. After all that time in the Land of Nod, I also felt extremely fuzzy-headed this morning, though a bout of drinking last night might have had something to do with that, even though it seemed pretty moderate to me at the time.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I got a very late and slow start today… and then had to focus on finishing up some work on today’s first post. All of that explains why this round-up arrives much later than I had planned. Fortunately, I picked all the music yesterday, or the post would be arriving even later. As usual, it’s a fairly random and stylistically quite divergent selection, united only by the fact that I like the hell out of everything here. (All of it is also very new.)

GRIMAH

The first song I’ve picked, “Thus Spake the Stone“, is off a debut album named Intricacies of Bowed Wisdom by the Spanish black metal band Grimah. The album is set for release on January 3rd, on CD via VERTEBRAE and digitally. Continue reading »

Dec 272019
 

 

Christmas Day and the day after are usually quiet ones in the spheres of activity of which NCS is a part. The typical flood of press releases dwindles to a trickle, most other metal blogs are hibernating, and few bands or labels release new music. Eyes are elsewhere, many of them probably closed altogether.

However, I can’t resist taking advantage of the relative peace to check out odds and ends I’ve been waiting to explore, or have recently noticed for the first time. I guess it’s obvious that I can’t resist, given how much new music I’ve already thrown at you during this holiday week — but here’s more (don’t duck!):

WORSEN

I could have sworn I had written something about Worsen’s 2019 debut album Cursed To Witness Life, but can find no evidence of it. Add that to the list of excellent 2019 releases I’ve shamefully neglected. If you haven’t already sampled what that album has to offer, and you enjoy black metal, you should go here and give it a shot. As a couple of commenters wrote on that Bandcamp page I just linked you to: “Cold as hell, awesome melodies and in your face riffs”; “Haunting, beautiful, dark and utterly mesmerizing.”

What reminded me of Cursed To Witness Life was a new single that Worsen released on December 24th to commemorate the birthday, not of Jesus, but of Lemmy Kilmister, at whose altar many of us pray more often than the other guy’s. It’s a cover of Motörhead’s “Killed By Death”, and it’s fucking great. Continue reading »

Dec 212019
 

 

With the new year rushing to an end and the holiday season rushing toward us even faster, it will become even more difficult for me to compile these collections. Among other things, our annual LISTMANIA orgy consumes a lot of my NCS time. Even though I don’t prepare my own list, I do track down album art and embed codes for album streams for the lists made by others, and conform the formats to our usual style, and do lesser or greater amounts of text editing. And speaking of year-end lists, I’m sitting on a slate of eight of them by both musician guests and NCS writers that I’m planning to begin rolling out next week, with a few more yet to come.

New music, of course, doesn’t stop appearing just because the holidays and the end of the year are almost upon us. In fact we’ve been getting recent reminders that maybe a lot of year-end lists were made too soon, as well as indications that 2020 is going to start off with a BANG!, at least in terms of forthcoming metal albums, if not in terms of North Korean missile launches, or maybe that too.

Anyway, to underscore that last observation I’ve chosen a couple of very impressive late-year releases, a few tracks from 2020 records, and one new stand-alone single — and as usual I’ve mixed things up a bit just so you don’t get too comfortable.

BLACK AEVUM

This new Black Aevum EP is one of two releases in today’s collection that Rennie (starkweather) messaged me about just yesterday. He wrote about a third one, too (by Reasoning Reflections), but I haven’t made it to that one yet — because I got completely drawn into the two you’ll find here. In fact, in the case of Black Aevum I only intended to quickly check out one song just to see what was going on, and the next thing I knew 23 minutes had passed and I was tempted to start again from the beginning right away. Continue reading »

Dec 202019
 

 

Unsurprisingly, I have accumulated quite a lot of new music I want to share since the last of these round-ups almost one week ago. I’ve picked four new songs for the following collection and have plans to highlight a few more on Saturday.

FRIGORIS

In 2016 we had the privilege of premiering the third album, Nur Ein Moment…, by the atmospheric black metal group Frigoris. As I wrote then, “Through the course of the album’s six long tracks Frigoris move from passages of soft, ethereal beauty to storms of surging blackened power, interweaving elements of black metal, post-metal and doom to create a journey through a changing emotional landscape of peaks and valleys.”

That album was the beginning of a concept that reaches its conclusion on the band’s fourth album, …In Stille, which will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records on January 24th. The first song I’ve selected for today’s collection is one from the new Frigoris album that was revealed just yesterday, and it makes a powerful first impression of the new record. Continue reading »

Dec 142019
 

 

Friday nights are usually perilous for yours truly, and tend to portend ugly Saturday mornings. Last night, however, I was a good lad. After only a moderate amount of drinking to celebrate the end of the work week I made it home at a reasonable hour, only to discover that my spouse had already conked out. With her solidly in the Land of Nod after what had been an exhausting week for herself, I spent a couple of hours listening to new music before conking out myself.

From that experience I picked the following new stuff — a smattering of bigger and lesser-known names, and kind of a weird scattering of sounds and styles that nevertheless made sense to me as a playlist. Whether it will make sense to you is of course a different question.

CARCASS

What do you think of the new Carcass single? Surely you’ve already heard it. As the first new song in six years from one of metal’s most revered names, it escaped the attention of only those who live under rocks. If you’re only now peering from beneath your own rocks, I’d suggest you give it a whirl. Continue reading »

Dec 122019
 

 

It’s been another of those weeks when the rest of life has rudely intruded on my NCS time, and so I haven’t been keeping up very well with new songs and videos. Haven’t even had time to add to my list of things to check out based on what has popped up in the various sources I use. Still, I did pay attention to the following four new songs, and the attention was rewarded.

Be forewarned: If you come to NCS expecting us to rigidly adhere to the site’s title, today’s collection includes a couple of exceptions — two of four.

DAWN OF SOLACE

Fourteen years is a very long time between albums. And in the case of Dawn of Solace, there was no reason to expect a follow-up to The Darkness (released in 2006), because in 2013 the band’s alter ego Tuomas Saukkonen announced the interment of all of his previous bands and projects, and the decision to replace them all with Wolfheart.

But now there will be a second Dawn of Solace album, the title of which is Waves. It’s set for release on January 24th by the new label Noble Demon (who will also be releasing the debut album of Night Crowned, for which we hosted a song premiere last week). Continue reading »

Dec 072019
 

 

I wasn’t sure I would write anything for this Saturday. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t leave you enough music to explore through the 18 posts we made during the last five days, especially the 1,000 or so albums that Andy Synn recommended in his week-long year-end lists. But as I made my way through some new songs that appeared last week, it turned out that six of the tracks I enjoyed (some of which include a portion of clean vocals) were presented through better-than-average music videos, and so I couldn’t resist the temptation to pull those together here.

SYLOSIS

Sylosis are returning with their first new album in five years. Entitled Cycle of Suffering, it will be released by Nuclear Blast on February 7th, and includes the work of new bassist Conor Marshall. The first advance track, revealed through the first video in today’s collection, is “I Sever“. Continue reading »

Dec 052019
 

 

Time is short, and always fleeting, so I’ll dispense with further introductory comments and get right to these three new songs (and a new video) that caught my attention.

SVART CROWN

We’ve been writing about the music of Svart Crown at NCS since the fall of 2010, when we got the chance to hear and review their second album Witnessing the Fall in advance of its release. Since then they have released two more terrific albums, 2013’s Profane (reviewed here) and 2017’s Abreaction (discussed in part here). And now Century Media has announced that it will release this French band’s fifth album, Wolves Among the Ashes, on February 7th next year. The first song in today’s small collection is the first track made public from that new album. Continue reading »

Nov 292019
 

 

Our site obviously isn’t an all-purpose outlet for metal news. We almost never post announcements of tours, festivals, line-up changes, or even forthcoming albums (unless there’s an advance track we like that we can share in a new-music round-up). We get dozens of such announcements in our in-box every day, and even if all we did was copy/paste those things into our page, there wouldn’t be time to do much else. Plus, there are tons of other sites out there which do the newsy copy/paste thing. Why would anyone need one more?

Having said that, the last few weeks have brought a flood of enticing 2020 festival announcements, and I thought it would be worth making a slight exception to our usual decision-making and collect some of those here today. Still, this collection isn’t intended to be comprehensive — most of what I’ve picked will take place in North America — nor is my memory photographic, so I’m sure someone will be irritated that we left them out. Apologies in advance.

ASCENSION FESTIVAL ICELAND

I’ve already expounded at length about how much I loved the first edition of Ascension Festival Iceland, which I attended earlier this year. Definitely one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had — maybe THE best — and a fantastic successor to the Oration festivals that preceded it. All respect and appreciation to Stephen Lockhart and his partner Edda for making it happen — and even more gratitude and respect to them for bringing back Ascension for round two next year. Continue reading »