Jul 032018


As you may have noticed, I compiled another round-up earlier today, though I was just following instructions with that one, all the choices having been urged upon me by my comrade DGR (and Andy Synn, in part) to suit a What Year Is It?!? theme. I haven’t completely escaped the urgings of my comrades in this collection either, since three of the songs and videos were pressed upon me by Mr. Synn.

However, although I’m less the curator of this particular gallery and more like the slovenly dude who frames the stuff and hangs it on the wall, I did include music of my own choosing at the end (and for better or worse, I’ll be picking everything for our Independence Day round-up tomorrow).

But before we get to all the music, I have a couple of news items (and even the second of those was brought to my attention by my colleagues).


How could I resist the opportunity to brandish (extra-large) the painted artwork of Eliran Kantor at the top of our page again? Obviously, I couldn’t. It will appear on Krisiun’s new album, Scourge of the Enthroned, marred by text, as follows: Continue reading »

Jul 032018


This is a SEEN AND HEARD round-up that’s going under a different name today. If the reason for that isn’t already obvious from the title of this post, let me explain:

Below you will find new songs and one new video, plus a news item, from seven bands. One of them is by a band whose last release was 10 years ago. Three are from bands whose last albums came out eight years ago. Two more are by bands whose last albums were released six and four years ago, respectively. And the video for the last one is set in a time when if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you went to the VHS store.

I can’t take credit for the Robin WilliamsJumanji meme or the post title. That was suggested by DGR, and actually it was he (with an assist from Andy Synn) who foisted all these new songs and videos on me. Basically, today I’m just a marionette whose strings are being pulled by others. Let’s get this over with so I can go back to listening to really disgusting death and black metal. Continue reading »

Jul 022018


We have a couple of fine premieres coming later today, and because I devoted some time to writing about those, I didn’t have time to prepare a full SEEN AND HEARD round-up for this Monday — but with a few spare minutes and a bit of a lag in our publication schedule before the first of those premieres is due to arrive, I thought I’d give you a quick hit — two recent songs that made very positive impressions when I heard them this weekend. I might have time for another one of these posts in between those two premieres as well.


I may have mentioned before that Mantar are one of my favorite bands on the planet. And without meaning to detract from the impact of their recordings, they have become one of my favorites because of their live performances, which I’ve been lucky to witness on three occasions. The power and electrifying impact of what these two do on stage can’t really be captured in a studio, in part because they’re so riveting to watch.

Having said that, I’m still eager to hear their new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on August 24th. Continue reading »

Jun 292018


As the title of this post suggests, we have a lot to cover, and a lot of good opportunities to spread before you. In the jargon of the monied overlords who attempt to run our lives, let’s begin with an “executive summary” for all you executive headbangers out there, and then flesh things out:

We are providing details concerning a new venture under the name Reaper Metal Productions, as well as a new collaboration between the label of the same name and both Redefining Darkness Records and Seeing Red Records, all of whom have already joined forces to release an outstanding album this year by the Russian band Cist. We are revealing the opportunity for consumers of heavy music to download the entire back catalogue of Reaper Metal (including the Cist EP) at Bandcamp for free, or any price you name — for the next week only. We’re presenting an interview of drummer extraordinaire Dirk Verbeuren that includes a contest for a special give-away. And we’re including some teasers about forthcoming releases by this new collaborative venture, including a trailer for the debut EP by the Danish motorpunk rockers Wölfblood, which is also now being offered as a name-your-price download.

And now, to elaborate… Continue reading »

Jun 272018


I had hoped to prepare a massive round-up for today, given how many excellent new tracks have been thrown at us this week, and how many fine new things I’ve recently discovered that appeared in previous weeks. Alas, other distractions have prevented me from making this post as gargantuan as I’d hoped. But there’s always tomorrow….


To begin, I have only a teaser… but what a titillating teaser it is. Continue reading »

Jun 222018


As was also the situation on Wednesday, when I posted the last round-up before this one, I’m feeling hurried. Too much stuff going on in the fragments of life that aren’t devoted to NCS. But even though I don’t have time to cogently explain just how much I like the music I’ve chosen for this collection, and why, I didn’t want the week to end without putting more new music before you. (And of course we will have more for you this weekend as well.) So, without further ado, and without many complete sentences, let’s begin…


…slow, titanic, teeth-loosening heaviness… a groaning melody that bespeaks utter soul-shattering misery… a monstrous voice that roars from an ice-cold void… and in the middle it becomes a rumbling, thundering, bone-snapping tank attack with a delicious solo (and there’s one more ravaging assault at the end)… This is “Punishment In Flesh“. Continue reading »

Jun 212018


Label samplers and other compilations are great ideas, especially compilations like the two recent offerings that I’m writing about in this post, which are available through Bandcamp for a price you pick for yourself. Between the two of them, they deliver 33 songs.

Apart from the obvious attraction of substantial playlists of music that you can pick up for free, or whatever your resources will allow you to contribute, samplers such as these provide an introduction to bands you might never have heard before (in addition to bands who’ve already made names for themselves that most of you will know of). I’m very glad I spotted alerts about them within the vast sea of dreck that is the NCS in-box.


I haven’t tried to manually count how many releases I’ve written about and recommended over the years from the French label Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions, but a word-search of our database turns up 17 of them. That number probably should have been larger, but there are only so many hours in the day. Suffice it to say that LADLO has good taste, which is to say that what tastes good to them almost always tastes good to me. The label is run by volunteers, they tend to focus on black metal, and they tend to focus on French bands, but not exclusively so. Continue reading »

Jun 202018


I’m in a hurry at the moment, with barely enough time to throw these five new songs and videos at you along with some basic background info, but not enough minutes to provide my usual introductory impressions. Enjoy the music — I sure as hell did.


The Seattle duo Pound (who used to go by Lb!) have turned in some of the most electrifying live performances I’ve seen here in the Pacific Northwest. The sights and sounds of guitarist Ryan Schutte delivering a tornado of chaos and groove on a baritone 9-string guitar while David Stickney switches back and forth between two drum kits in riveting displays of percussive vulcanism is the kind of mind-blowing experience I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. (You’ll get an idea of that experience in the second video below, but without the bowel-liquefying volume that comes in a live Pound performance.) Continue reading »

Jun 182018


The biggest extreme metal festival in the U.S. has just revealed the first group of bands who are booked to perform in Baltimore next year. Barring death, debilitating disease, or some kind of unforeseen rudeness by my fucking day job, I’ll be there again, along with some of my most steadfast NCS comrades and assorted other miscreants and saints, including more than a few of you.

To cut to the chase, here are the names of the first 25 confirmed bands for Maryland Deathfest XVII, set to take place at Rams Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage on May 23-26, 2019: Continue reading »

Jun 052018


As mentioned yesterday, I’ve been missing in action at NCS for the better part of the last two weeks, attending one metal festival and helping present a second one. The last of these new music round-ups I was able to prepare came on May 18th. Since then, the flood of new metal has continued unabated rather than politely waiting until I could pay attention again. As a result, there’s perhaps even more than the usual degree of randomness in the following selections.

And speaking of randomness, I decided to include some country music at the end, which I learned about through a conversation on Sunday with Austin Lunn (Panopticon). And since I’ve now dropped his name, maybe you’ll be more likely to give the song a chance.


The dark handiwork of Nestor Avalos adorns the new album by Rhode Island’s Churchburn, the name of which is None Shall Live…The Hymns of Misery. It will be released on July 13 through the Armageddon label. Some new members have joined the band since their last album four years ago, and guest performers appear on the album as well. The first advance track, “The Misery Hymns“, is the song I’ve chosen to lead off today’s playlist. Continue reading »