Jan 162019


On February 8th Unspeakable Axe Records will release the debut album by the Chilean thrashers in Critical Defiance. Entitled Misconception, it’s an eight-track attack that follows the band’s two demos and a split with Parkcrest. NCS scribe TheMadIsraeli provided an early review of the album near the end of December — calling the record “essential top-tier thrash metal going into 2019” — and today we’re very happy to present a new song from the album named “Spiral of Hatred“.

Our reviewed commented: “These guys are very old-school minded, but they aren’t trying to imitate the sound — they embody it, seeking to break their way into the public consciousness by approaching from a different front of channeling the heights of thrash based on technical endurance. I’m talking bands like Dark Angel, Coroner, Watchtower, old Kreator, Forbidden.” He continued: Continue reading »

Jan 102019


Here are a few of the songs and videos that brightened and darkened my night. I encountered all of them in a rush of listening at full dark yesterday evening. Most of them appeared within the last 36 hours. If you’re like me, the flow of these songs will take you from a blazing high down into more cold and wretched depths, and then soaring again — and I’ll close with a stream of a new EP that was released by surprise last night.


All three members of the Ukrainian band Windswept, including vocalist/guitarist Roman Sayenko, are also members of Drudkh, Precambrian, and Rattenfänger. Under the Windswept banner they released an excellent debut album in 2017 entitled The Great Cold Steppe (from which we hosted the premiere of a fiery song, “Shrouded In Pale Shining, So Sleeps Infinite Ancient Steppe”). Having been a fan of that album, it took about a nano-second for me to jump on the band’s new EP Visionaire when I discovered its existence last February, and (as explained here) found it to be powerfully moving as well.

Windswept now have a new album for us, which will be released by Season of Mist on February 8th. Its name is The Onlooker, and the first track in today’s collection is one released yesterday with the interesting title “Gustav Meyrink’s Prague“. (If you’d like to learn about Gustav Meyrink and of how his life changed in Prague, check this article.) Continue reading »

Jan 092019


(Here we have Andy Synn‘s review of the eagerly awaited new album by Australia’s Obed Marsh, which was just released on January 8th.)

I must say, I was starting to get a little worried recently when my first two posts of 2019 focussed on a pair of highly melodic, harmony-drenched albums that ran roughshod over the site’s original (though long-since partially discarded) ethos of “no clean singing”.

Thankfully our old friends from the land of convicts and monsters… aka Australia… Obed Marsh decided to release their second album this week, giving me a chance to dunk my head once more into their bubbling cauldron of eldritch filth and fury. Continue reading »

Jan 072019


At the not-inconsiderable risk of overwhelming our visitors with new music, I’m following up yesterday’s two-part round-up of music from the black(ened) realms with another collection of new tracks. One of them is yet another example of black metal, but the songs that follow are much more wide-ranging in their styles — I made a conscious decision to compile a varied playlist that I hope will be appealing, but will at least keep you off-balance. All the songs are from forthcoming albums.


Beginning last October, Chicago’s Of Wolves began rolling out three songs that they had originally composed as separate pieces but then, after noticing the interesting flow among them when performed live, decided to combine into a single track on their new album, Balance. The first of those, “Clear Cutting”, premiered at DECIBEL; the second, “Bloodshed”, premiered at our own site in November; and the third, “Heart To Hand”, got its debut at Sludgelord last month.

Now the band have released a combined video for these combined tracks, and as of today have made it available for download on Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Jan 042019

an 1888 painting by Vasily Vasilevich Vereshchagin


We’re now at the end of that hybrid week which always ends the holiday season, and which for most people seems to be a mix of fucking off and becoming wage slaves again. Although no one asked me, I thought I’d commemorate the moment by telling you where we are in our posting schedule and what lies ahead (other than another probably shitty year in the outside world).

We’re almost finished with our year-end LISTMANIA series — almost, but not quite. Next week we’ll have at least one more year-end list from a guest, and possibly two or three (I’m crossing my fingers that those latter two, which are a bit uncertain, will pan out, because in past years those particular writer/musicians have delivered highly anticipated and eagerly viewed collections). But either way, we’ll close out the main part of LISTMANIA next week…

…and we’ll also begin the final segment, which is my sole contribution to the series, i.e., the list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, which I’ll roll out in installments every day or two until around the end of February. Continue reading »

Dec 312018


Man, have I got a red-hot New Year’s Eve planned with my wife. Bring in some kind of dangerous take-out food. Watch some re-runs of Law and Order. Maybe have an egg nog with a shot of whiskey (but only one because I don’t need the calories and I’m cutting back on the booze). Asleep by 10:30 at the latest. I’m so fucking excited that I’m hyperventilating.

You think I’m joking, but I’m really not (except about the hyperventilating). After more than a few decades of severe misbehavior, the idea of a quiet night and a New Year’s Day without a cataclysmic hangover has become very appealing. No more day-after’s wondering “is that blood on my shirt mine?”, “whose room is this?”, and “where did I leave my pants?”

These days I tend to get a lot of my thrills from heavy music, and I spent this morning catching up on some new sounds, some of which I’m recommending to you in this round-up. This actually started as what might have been a second SHADES OF BLACK installment yesterday, but I decided to throw in a few other styles of music and finish it up for today.


I was quite impressed by the first demo (Archaic Discipline) released by the hooded Dutch duo Jubal through Clandestine Faith earlier this year, and said so here: “There is foreboding, catastrophe, and grandeur in the sensations of these savage, dramatic songs, along with a panoply of killer riffs and the kind of vocals that summon visions of demons coming for your throat.” I was thus excited to learn that Jubal have a new release headed our way in 2019. Continue reading »

Dec 252018


If today is a holiday for you, we hope you’re enjoying it, regardless of whether it has any ecclesiastical meaning to you. If it’s not a holiday for you, we hope it will be a good day for you, too.

We don’t observe any holidays at NCS, not because we’re against them, but because from our first year the goal was to post something every day of the year, a goal we’ve kept with very rare exceptions. I can’t exactly remember why I set that goal (come on, it was 9 years ago!), but probably because I thought our best chance of getting readers was to be out there on days when there was no competition. Now, we keep doing it out of sheer stubbornness.

Since it is Christmas Day, I thought about exclusively going with metal that has some kind of holiday theme, but with a trio of exceptions at the end of this giant new-music round-up, I tossed that idea out the window, unless you count the introductory music from Rotting Christ. And why wouldn’t you?


My NCS colleagues and I seem to be having a disagreement about RC‘s new album The Heretics. One of us, who shall remain unnamed, thinks it’s repetitive and boring, a distillation of the sound of the last three or four albums but lacking in dynamic peaks and troughs. A couple of us (including me) acknowledge that it’s basically Rotting Christ firmly in their established groove, but is nonetheless a whole lot of fun. Continue reading »

Dec 212018


(Here’s Vonlughlio’s year-end list of the best brutal death metal albums of 2018.)

So it’s that time of year, and I’m so thankful that Islander lets me post at NCS about BDM, and this list, for about six years or so. With that being said, reader, as you know the genre is one of my favorites and every time I can get the opportunity to share the music and write about the bands in this genre, I take it.

I sure do like other genres as well, but the staff writers and guests here at NCS  do a fantastic job of covering just about everything. So that’s why I focus more on BDM, and I also have Blast Family (FB and Instagram) to share the love. There, my year-end list will expand to 50, and I will include my favorite EPs and Non-BDM albums of the year.

So with no further ado, here are my Top 20 BDM albums of 2018. Continue reading »

Dec 152018


Having been immersed in year-end LISTMANIA and other diversions since completing a recent vacation, I have a large backlog of newly released music that I’ve only just begin working my way through over the last couple of days. From what I’ve heard so far, I assembled the following collection — almost all of them advance tracks from forthcoming releases, plus one new bonus track that arrived late last month.


In extreme metal circles these days, when one thinks of Iceland one thinks of black metal. Draugsól was one of many Icelandic black metal bands who proved their worth, with a fine 2017 debut album named Volaða land (we learned more about the band and that album in a 2017 NCS interview of guitarist M.K. and vocalist A.J.). Now, two of Draugsól’s three members (guitarist/bassist/vocalist Maximilian Klimkoare and drummer Kjartan Harðarson) are forging ahead under a new name — Kaleikr — and their new album Heart of Lead will be released on February 15th by Debemur Morti Productions. Continue reading »

Dec 142018


Our focus on LISTMANIA at this time of the year tends to diminish the frequency of round-up posts such as this one; even when I’m not doing the writing myself, the behind-the-scenes work that I do to get year-end features ready for publication (such as Andy Synn‘s impressive week-long series of lists, and DGR’s week-long series of catch-up reviews, both of which concluded today) takes some time. My ability to listen to new music and select songs and videos to recommend has been further restricted by the two-week vacation I took, which ended last weekend, and by way too much holiday-season partying this week.

Our 2018 LISTMANIA orgy isn’t nearly finished, by the way. Next week we’ll begin rolling our year-end lists from other NCS writers and guests, and at some point I’ll start revealing my own contribution to LISTMANIA — a list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. But I still do hope to throw in a new-music round-up every now and then.

The three new songs you’ll find below, all of which come with music videos, barely make a dent in my backlog, but I hope to do a bit more catching up with another SEEN AND HEARD post tomorrow and the usual SHADES OF BLACK column on Sunday. Continue reading »