Nov 132019


Wow, it’s already that time of year again. It has become an annual tradition at our putrid site to launch our year-end LISTMANIA orgy with the appearance of DECIBEL mag’s Top 40 list. It has become a tradition in part because, in my humble opinion, it’s still the best print publication out there for fans of extreme metal, and also because they always manage to jump out of the starting blocks first in the race for publishing YE “best of” lists – and they’ve done it again this year, though this year it took me by surprise. I think I’m still stuck in October. Anyway, here we go again!

The DECIBEL list will officially appear in the magazine’s January 2020 edition, which hasn’t yet hit my own mailbox, but DECIBEL again decided (for the fourth year in a row, or maybe the fifth) to scoop their own list rather than letting leeches like me leak it. They published the list on-line yesterday, and so I can now again re-publish their list without too much guilt, beyond the sheepishness that comes from being one of the factors that forced them to start outing themselves in the first place.

Of course, there will be a lot more content in the January issue (which has Blood Incantation on the cover), including commentary about each of these 40 albums and why they were selected, as well as dozens of contributor-conceived year-end Top 5 lists, a Hall of Fame feature on Madball’Set It Off, and a brand new Carcass picture flexi disc containing the band’s first new song in six years,. You can order a copy of that HERE. Continue reading »

Nov 112019


The pleasure of watching talented musicians take their first steps in a new venture, and then grow and evolve, and soon have their works exposed to a wide audience, is one of the more satisfying rewards of participating in a site like ours, particularly when we’ve done our own (very small) part to help them along the way.

In the case of the Portuguese band Oak, we were first drawn to their activities under that name because both members were also part of the terrific black metal band Gaerea — although the music they’ve created in Oak (a blend of mystical funeral doom and death metal) is very different. In the spring of 2018 we premiered a live recording (captured on video) for a spellbinding single called “Sculptures“, which in final form appears on their debut album, Lone. A bit later in the year we also premiered a video of the band’s live set in a chapel within the old Portuguese fortress known as Castelo de Santiago da Barra (and if you haven’t seen that video, you really must!).

And then in January of this year we devoted space to a discussion of an Oak song called “Abomination“, which was released in connection with the announcement that Transcending Obscurity Records would be releasing Lone, and that the Italian maestro Paolo Girardi had painted a fitting piece of cover art for the record. Now it’s our pleasure to premiere another of the four tracks on Lone. This one comes second in the running order (just after “Sculptures“) and its name is “Mirror“. Continue reading »

Nov 092019


Lo and behold, I managed to finish the second part of the round-up of new music I began here yesterday. Not a great shock that I couldn’t finish it yesterday; more shocking that I finished it at all. Hope you enjoy what you’ll find here. Musically, it’s pretty diverse.


I’m not embarrassed to admit that when I first listened to the title song of the debut album by Exulansis, which opens the album, I got a lump in my throat and moistness in the eyes. It’s no secret that I tend to have stronger emotional responses to music (and tend to express them more unabashedly) than many people who are (or pretend to be) music critics, mainly because I think of myself more as an enthusiastic fan than a critic. But this song damn near broke my heart. And it turns out that the song continues to have that effect every time I hear it, which means I have to ration how often I turn back to it (simply forgetting about it isn’t an option). Continue reading »

Nov 082019


Happy Friday to one and all. Although I continue to be distracted with personal obligations (I’ve become a caregiver to an injured family member, which is something that will persist for at least another month), I found time to do some scattered listening last night and this morning. Even with a lot more listening yet to do, that yielded a cornucopia of good finds, six of which you’ll find below.

The reference to “Part 1” in the post title is more a sign of optimism than a present reality. And if I can get it done at all, it might not arrive until Saturday.


To get your motor running hot and fast before moving into everything else in today’s compilation, I picked a new song and video by Sepultura, which is the one item in this collection that I caught this morning. It sure as fuck got my motor running, and the video is kind of spectacular too. Continue reading »

Nov 022019


Hope the weekend is treating you right so far, and will continue to do so. As quasi-promised yesterday (when it comes to NCS, most of my promises are quasi) I managed to find time to hurl a few more newly forged chunks of metallic extremity at your head, and made an effort to have them come in differing shapes, even though they’re all heavy and jagged.


In September I included the first advance track from Rattenfänger’s new album (Geisslerlieder) in another one of these round-ups (here), and now there’s another one out in the world. Continue reading »

Nov 012019


Well, I had every intention of compiling a round-up of new metal to post on Halloween, with music suitable to the occasion. Unfortunately, life got in the way and left that plan in tatters. Now that I’m a day later, I’ve made a few adjustments in the original plan, although there are a couple of holdovers from what I originally conceived, including the opening song below. As now formulated, this round-up is quite a stylistic smorgasbord.

Be sure to come back to NCS tomorrow and Sunday, because this post doesn’t come close to exhausting all the new music from the last week or two that I’m eager to recommend. Unless life gets in the way again (always a strong possibility) I’ll have another round-up on Saturday and then the usual blackening of Sunday.


I still have amazing memories of Wolfbrigade’s explosive show at Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle earlier this year, and of getting to spend time with the members off-stage. It was therefore doubly exciting to see September’s announcement that Southern Lord would be releasing the tenth album by these Swedish Lycanthro Punks — The Enemy: Reality — on November 8th. There’s only going to be one “single” from the album in advance of the release, and it was presented yesterday through a music video directed by MeANkind and edited by Henrik Norsell. Continue reading »

Oct 292019


I really like all the songs you’ll find below. Only problem is that I don’t have much time to write about them, so I’m forced to just blurt some brief blurbs.

You may have noticed that I have a different title for this post than the usual “SEEN AND HEARD“. That’s because some of these songs go hard and some go a bit softer in comparison, and I’ve arranged them in alternating fashion (until we get to the end, when I’ve doubled down on the hard stuff)


What a welcome return this is. The Polish death metal destroyers Deivos have a sixth album named Casus Belli that’s headed in our direction via Selfmadegod Records, with a November 29 release date. The first advance track, “Ataraxy“, is what I’ve picked to launch this round-up. Continue reading »

Oct 252019


(In this column Andy Synn compiles reviews and streams of six new EPs — by Engulf, Lvcifyre, Maladie, Ordeals, Phobocosm, and Ultha.)

Damn, today is a busy one for big releases isn’t it?

We’ve got Alcest, The Great Old Ones, Vastum, Leprous, Hour of Penance, Fit for an Autopsy, Vacivus (more on them soon), Dawn Ray’d, and about a bajillion others all coming out on the same day.

So, to address this overload of new albums… I’ve decided to write a piece covering a bunch of recently released EPs instead.

Who said I wasn’t helpful? Continue reading »

Oct 242019


Imagine what would happen if you could buy bags of death metal, crust, grindcore, and powerviolence at your local market, throw big handfuls of all that stuff into a blender, liberally lubricate it with alien blood fresh from the refrigerators at Area 51, spice up the mix with amphetamines and lysergic acid, puree the shit out of it, and then chug it straight down without breathing. Sound good?

Actually, you don’t have to tax your imaginations, you just have to listen to Parasligm Shift, the debut album by the deviant three-piece Phoenician band Xeno Ooze. You’ll have the chance to do that on November 1st, which is the day of its release by Last World Records. But in the meantime you can chug down “Xenological Warfare“, which is the opening track from the album that we’re premiering today. Continue reading »

Oct 242019


We all have coping strategies for problems we can’t solve. You know you can’t make the problem go away, so you just… cope… the best you can.

One of my problems, which I’m sure you get tired hearing me whine about, is that I can’t keep up with all the new metal that emerges every day. I try to find time every day to make lists of what I want to check out, but am rarely able to listen to even a significant fraction of the entries.

One of my coping mechanisms for this problem, when I actually have time to do some listening, is just to focus on what I added to the top of the list most recently, and just make myself temporarily ignore how much is seething underneath — which is how I picked the songs in today’s collection.


You can tell you’re getting close to the end of the year when you start finding music from releases that are planned for 2020. I’m pretty sure the song I’ve chosen to begin today’s collection is the first excerpt I’ve selected for a round-up that comes from a 2020 album (although the second one is just a bit further down this page). Continue reading »