May 142022
 

If you happened to wade through my windy intro to yesterday’s small-ish roundup, then you know I had a ton of new songs and videos to check out, and hoped to pull together a lot more picks today than I managed to do yesterday.

Unfortunately, for reasons I won’t get windy about today, I haven’t been able to dig as deeply into that big pile of new things as I’d hoped, so this followup roundup will also be smallish, but hopefully still worth your time. (More to come tomorrow.)

WORMWITCH (Canada)

Kyle Tavares has been a very busy man this year. Aided by some talented bandmates, his group Vital Spirits released a new album, and his band Seer released a new EP (both of which we premiered, here and here), and now Wormwitch (the third active band in which he is a key participant) just released a new digital single yesterday, along with a video that had its premiere at Decibel. Continue reading »

May 132022
 

 

In the outer world, Friday the 13th is often perceived as an unlucky day. But in the crypts, swamps, deserts, and various infernal and post-apocalyptic dimensions where most of our beloved music dwells, the signifiers of luck are reversed. Which makes it strange that on this Friday the 13th we have no music or video premieres on our calendar.

On the one hand, since I write almost all of our premieres, that should have meant I had a block of free time to round up some new songs and videos. On the other hand, I used most of the block going through the thousand NCS e-mails I had mostly ignored all week long. What did that get me? Links to about a hundred new songs and clips I thought might conceivably be interesting — and almost no time to listen and watch. I question my judgment.

To deal with the conundrum, I just quickly picked the following three items and deferred the rest of the sifting process to some point later today or tonight, with the goal of having a more fulsome round-up on Saturday. Continue reading »

May 062022
 

 

It’s another Bandcamp Friday today, when a bigger share of the money you spend on that platform goes to the artists and labels. So I made an extra effort to pull together a roundup of new songs and videos, even though I don’t have time to make it as extensive as I’d like. Here’s what caught my eyes and ears over the last 24 hours — and I’ll have more stuff to recommend on Saturday.

WAKE (Canada)

I’m starting with a new song and video for “Swallow the Light“, a track off these NCS-favorites’ new album Thought Form Descent. Its slashing and searing chords, electrifying drumwork, and torrid vocals will get your blood pumping, even as it creates moods of anguish, fear, confusion, and derangement. Often white-hot in its intensity, it will also give your neck a good workout. Continue reading »

Apr 302022
 

 

I’ve had a fuckin’ rough week, a classic example of the old adage that when it rains it pours. On top of continuing to help an injured loved one recover from physical trauma followed by surgery, I was slammed hard and repeatedly by my day job. Woe is me, indeed.

I largely ignored the thousand emails that poured into NCS since last weekend, and barely noticed the other places where I get suggestions of new music to write about. Blessed by a bit of peace this morning, I began going through the emails — and gave up after 15 minutes, overwhelmed by the scale of the task. I picked just a few things rather than completely abandon my roundup duties.

The first couple of selections probably reflect my current moods, which then got elevated by the third song. Of course I had to throw you a bit of a curveball at the end.

PESTILENT HEX (Finland)

I thought about saving this first track for tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column, but the way things have gone over the past week I don’t know if there will be one. And besides, this song really grabbed me this morning, so striking while the iron is hot seemed like the right decision. Continue reading »

Apr 232022
 

I’m pretty sure this is the single biggest roundup I’ve ever created. The streams of music were indeed overflowing over the past week, and I felt compelled to get out to you as many of the good ones as I could — though I still have more, drawn from blackened veins, to push your way in tomorrow’s column.

I will say that there’s more rocking out to be found in this collection than usual, and a couple of exceptions to our no-singing rule. But don’t worry your pointed little heads, there’s plenty of savagery in the mix too. I’ll also say that I played DJ, trying to arrange these in a way that would pair up like-minded songs here and there. But some of the segues are still probably jarring, which is how I like it.

BLACK VOID (Norway)

I decided to begin with music from forthcoming releases by a big label before clawing deeper under ground. The first pick is a video for “Dadaist Disgust“, a new single from this Norwegian band’s upcoming debut album Antithesis, out May 27th on Nuclear Blast. Continue reading »

Apr 222022
 

My day job continues to pound the crap out of me, so I have to turn away from NCS pretty soon. But I thought I’d use the brief window of time I have left to pick out a few new songs and videos you might enjoy. Because the music is all “blackened” in different ways, I might have called it “SHADES OF BLACK (Weekday Edition)”.

The day job will continue to hammer me this weekend, but I should have time for at least another brief round-up tomorrow, plus the usual Sunday column.

DOLDRUM (U.S.)

We begin with an enormous surprise (at least to me), the first song revealed from the debut album by Denver-based Doldrum, which unites members of Erraunt and Gallows. The album’s name is The Knocking, Or The Story of the Sound that Preceded Their Disappearance, and Doldrum describe the music within as “Haunted Black Metal rooted in American folklore and the occult”. Continue reading »

Apr 162022
 

I hope your weekend is off to a good start. I got my good start at a baseball home opener last night, arrived home late, and spent a chunk of the morning texting with fellow Mariners fans, still reveling in the ass-whipping they administered to the much-loathed Astros. Which is to say that this roundup will be a relatively short one.

A regrettably short one, because this past week was huge for new metal. I did a fairly good job making lists of new stuff I spotted, and it sure seemed like the torrent was greater than average. I basically just took random shots at some bands who have already proven themselves, and a few that seemed intriguing. To make the quick search a bit easier, I left all the black metal options to explore for tomorrow’s usual column. Be forewarned that this includes a couple exceptions to our rule about singing.

EXOCRINE (France)

To lead off we’ll go with a new Exocrine song, which two of my NCS comrades enthusiastically pushed my way. It’s the title track from the band’s fifth album, The Hybrid Suns, which Unique Leader plans to release on June 17th. Continue reading »

Apr 142022
 

 

I intended to complete and post this round-up yesterday, but my fucking day job rudely interfered. In the meantime I’ve been alerted to a bunch of other new songs and videos that surfaced yesterday. Trying to include them now would result in further delay, so I’ll just have to save them for later. Almost half of what you’ll find below came my way via DGR, and one more from a friend and former NCS writer, and the rest I somehow found on my own.

THE HALO EFFECT (Sweden)

“IT’S GLORIOUS. I mean this is like it fell right out of a time machine from the Colony sessions.” That’s what DGR wrote when he alerted some of his fellow NCS slaves to the existence of this first song, which is the title track to The Halo Effect‘s new album, Days of the Lost. And if you don’t know, one reason for the Colony reference is that this band includes a bunch of former In Flames members (Jesper Strömblad, Niclas Engelin, Peter Iwers, and Daniel Svensson) plus Dark Tranquillity‘s Mikael Stanne behind the mic. Continue reading »

Apr 092022
 


Mantar – pic by Matthis van der meulen

 

I was a hamster last week, racing along the treadmill at my day job, with the only apparent signs of progress being motion and the cage filling up with shit. Oh lordie, while I was spinning that wheel the NCS in-box and other message accounts filled up with a lot of shit too — the good shit!

Based on my pawing through it this morning, I found a lot to share, as you’re about to discover in a very wide-ranging musical excursion. But since I’ve now got to go scrub my paws with lye you won’t find my frothy words or cover art in as much abundance as usual.

MANTAR (Germany)

Let’s begin with a new song and video from one of our favorite bands. I have a long list of people (none whom I personally know) that I’d like to hang low so the rats can get ’em because they make life more miserable by their existence. I’d like to beat and scorch them with this song before they take the drop, though they won’t deserve the song’s great chorus. Continue reading »

Apr 062022
 

(Andy Synn gazes into the abyss once more and finds four excellent albums gazing back!)

The debate about what is or isn’t “Black Metal” is probably one that’s never going to end.

And, honestly? That’s ok. Because as long as the debate is still going on it means that no-one has successfully codified and constrained the genre, leaving it free to continue to explore and expand its artistic boundaries.

Truth be told, I have less of an issue with bands being called “Black Metal” when they aren’t than I do with this weird idea some people (and bands) seem to have that slapping the label “Black Metal” on something somehow makes it good, or gives it some sort of veneer of credibility.

Let’s be honest, there are quite a few groups out there – some of them quite well-known – whose music would be just as good with or without the tenuous “Black Metal” tag which has been applied to them, but whose fans would riot and protest (online, anyway) if you tried to take it away from them, because they feel like they’d be losing something in the process.

Thankfully we don’t have to play any such semantic games with the four artists/albums I’ve selected for today’s article, as they are all clearly Black Metal, while also showcasing the vivid variety of both voice and vision which the genre embraces.

Continue reading »