Dec 052021
 

 

Those of you who stopped by today expecting a SHADES OF BLACK column may be disappointed. For the second Sunday in a row, unforeseen but self-inflicted mishaps prevented me from getting it done. Like last week, my plan (I should say my hope) is to complete it in time for posting tomorrow.

Unlike last Sunday, however, I’m not going to leave a gaping hole in the site today. To avoid that I’ve prepared this very small round-up of new songs and videos, chosen in part to keep you off-balance. The first selection will put a big jolt into your cranium and nerve endings. The second one will help you calm down, and might even put you under a spell.

[4672] (Poland)

Here’s the part of this short post that will stab a high-powered voltage generator into your neck. The video is a mind-exploder too.

Both the video and the song just premiered today. The track, “[cluster_B]“, includes vocals by Łukasz Myszkowski from Antigama and Dante, and it’s destined to appear on [4672]’s upcoming sixth album, [paradigm_blindness], which is projected for release in late 2022, assuming the world lasts that long. Continue reading »

Dec 042021
 

 

I’m going to dispense with an elaborate introduction to this Saturday’s round-up of new and newly discovered songs and videos. I’ll say only that it includes one complete album, one complete EP, and an assortment of tracks from forthcoming releases — and that the music bounces around quite a it, so don’t think you’ll be allowed to lock in to any one stylistic groove.

COFFIN DUST (U.S.)

Five years is a long time between releases, but save for a very short 2019 split, that’s how long it’s been since we’ve had something new from this enormously impressive Philadelphia band. But the ticking clock got re-set yesterday when Coffin Dust released a new album (their third), the name of which is Nightmare Vision. Continue reading »

Dec 022021
 


Kayo Dot

(Here are Gonzo’s album recommendations from among those released during November 2021.)

And just like that, November came and went.

While most of us are probably still unpacking the bullshit that 2020 brought, it’s hard to believe that we’re only a month away from 2022. Follow me for more proof that we’re living in a simulation.

Though November was a flash in the pan in the big scheme of things, the music that was released during those 30 days have sent my year-end list plans into a tailspin. Too much good stuff, not enough time to listen to it all.

That said, the stuff I did get around to spending time with was damn good. Four albums in particular have made the cut this month. Continue reading »

Nov 272021
 


Nechochwen

 

Very early this morning I spent time listening to new music in order to select what I would want to recommend to you, and made the following selections. But then I unexpectedly had to spend a couple of hours on the job that pays me (advising world leaders on how to deal with problems that confound their feeble minds), and that left me with almost no time to provide my own (unnecessary) impressions of the music. So it will have to speak for itself, which is no problem because it speaks so fluently.

This is an idiosyncratic set of song choices, with very little to connect them to each other other than my attraction to them. But I think it will be a very interesting, albeit unpredictable, journey if you stick with everything through to the end.

NECHOCHWEN (U.S.)

After nearly 8 years since the release of the fabulous Heart of Akamon, West Virginia’s beloved Nechochwen have returned, unveiling the title track from their impending new album, Kanawha Black. Kanawha Black will be released worldwide by Bindrune Recordings in Spring/Summer of 2022. Continue reading »

Nov 262021
 

(Andy Synn encourages you all to embrace change with the new album from Anomalie, out now on AOP Records)

In a lot of ways the music scene is like an ecosystem.

From the apex predators to the bottom feeders, every band/artist has their particular place, their particular niche, in the natural order of things.

Some of these niches, of course, are more fertile – creatively speaking, I mean – than others, and some of them are simply… overpopulated… but, either way, it’s still fascinating to watch all the inner workings of the scene, from the macro down to the micro level, as bands and artists are continually dying and being born in a seemingly endless cycle.

It’s even more interesting when you start being able to map and follow the evolution of various bands, and Anomalie’s progress in particular has been truly fascinating to observe.

Continue reading »

Nov 202021
 


Dormant Ordeal

 

I didn’t completely neglect NCS during the 10 recent days when I was in Iceland. I did write some premieres, though not as many as usual, and I did regale readers with tales of my Ascension Fest adventures. What I did not do was pore through the several hundred emails that hit the NCS in-box every day, looking for new music that might be worth writing about, or searching for new tracks and videos through other usual sources.

And I spent almost no time actually listening to anything other than the sounds that bombarded me at the fest for four days and nights, not for lack of interest but because I forgot how little sitting-in-my-room-time-with-nothing-to-do I actually have at festivals, especially when every other day I had to make time for a covid test.

So here I am at the end of the first (partial) week following the return home from the land of fire and ice. The thought of trying to completely catch up with all the new songs and videos that surfaced since my vacation began two weeks ago is a ridiculous one, especially because a sister-in-law and brother-in-law are house-guests this weekend. I did a little trolling through the waters yesterday, and had saved a few links from before I left, and from that I still had too much to listen to this morning. I did the mental equivalent of throwing darts, and this is where they landed: Continue reading »

Nov 082021
 

(Andy Synn was fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Damnation Festival and now reports back with his experiences of all the bands he saw over the course of the day, along with video evidence)

Well, here it is, the very last Damnation Festival at Leeds University, as the event has become so popular now (as evinced by how quickly so many stages reach capacity these days) that the organisers are moving it (back) to Manchester where they’ve found a bigger and (hopefully) better venue for future editions of the fest.

And while this gives 2021 a real “end of an era” feel, it’s obvious that the Damnation team really wanted to see out their time in Leeds with a major bang, delivering – despite some well-documented, and sadly unavoidable, pandemic-based issues – one of the most stacked line-ups they’ve ever had.

Now, one thing I really tried to do this time around was to see (and document) as many sets by bands I hadn’t seen before, and while, in practice, this didn’t always work out – sometimes due to circumstances entirely beyond my control, sometimes just because I really wanted to see certain bands in particular – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by who I actually did manage to catch over the course of the day.

So, without further ado…

Continue reading »

Nov 062021
 

 

Given the usual massive flood of new music this past week, I was hell-bent on getting at least one round-up completed before the weekend — but I failed. I had this lined up for Friday, with all the picks made, but ran out of time before I could finish it.

About these picks: When I made the selection on Friday morning it didn’t turn out at all like I thought it would. I had been building a mental list during the week just based on the band names I added to my monstrous list, most of them at least fairly well-known, but not one of those names is included here.

What happened was that as I started listening, this group just fell into place before I ever got to the names that had affixed themselves to my mental plan. These fell into place because they are all intense assaults on the senses and the emotions, albeit in different ways, until you reach the final track, which helped me partially recover from all the music that preceded it — but that last song still haunts me. Continue reading »

Nov 012021
 

(Andy Synn reports back from a recent show – remember those? – he was lucky enough to attend)

I was going to start out this article with a comment on how it feels like things are finally getting back to “normal”… but, to be honest, that’s not really true.

Of course, this is neither the time nor the place to discuss all the ways in which the world is still in an incredibly weird and uncertain place, so instead I’d just like to say how lucky I feel to have been able to enjoy a gig like this, when so many others can’t, and that I hope you guys get the chance to do so yourselves soon too.

Continue reading »

Oct 302021
 

I know I sound like a broken record, but this past week was a crazy one on all fronts for me, and so I did a piss-poor job keeping up with new metal, largely neglecting the NCS in-box and failing to make the usual list of candidates for round-ups. I did make that list this morning, but it took a ton of time, and I didn’t have much room left to dig very deep into it.

However, I dug deep enough to feel some inspiration about what to include in this compilation. I chose music from two Seattle bands that I happened to see in early live performance by both of them at the same show more than four years ago. I picked two more songs that came with Halloween-themed videos, because of course Halloween is tomorrow. And I chose a curveball to throw at the end.

I had a difficult time figuring out what to use as the opening song for the collection, but eventually settled on the one you’re about to witness, in part because of the video’s setting.

BESNA (Slovakia)

I guess Besna couldn’t find a barren warehouse for their live video for “Fúga“, so they had to make do with the ramparts of an ancient castle called Strečno in northern Slovakia, perched atop a 103-metre-high calcite cliff (it was also the location of a World War II battle between the German army and the Czechoslovak resistance). Continue reading »