Jan 242020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Sylosis, which will be released on February 7th by Nuclear Blast.)

Sylosis are one of Britain’s all-time great metal exports, and in my mind are undeniably one of the most important metal bands of the 2000’s, the 2010’s, and now. Nevertheless, these guys seem to get a lot of what I see as undue shit from a lot of people. They are often maligned for being boring (whatever that means) and for not doing anything essentially original (not essentially true), and somehow are accused of writing uninteresting riffs despite Josh Middleton, Sylosis’ founder and composer, being one of the post-2000‘s greatest riff writers. He blends an interesting approach to thrash metal and the heyday of pedal-point-riff-driven melodic death metal with the emotive, bruising nature of early metalcore, and further combines that with a post-y sense of ambience and atmosphere that sounds like no one else.

I guess for me, Sylosis has been metal at its most emotionally honest. It’s powerful, melancholy, angry, and arresting, and since the band’s debut, Conclusion Of An Age. I’ve just been unable to stop listening. They combine the technical aspects and the speed of styles of metal dear to me while also being provocatively emotive, which is a hard line to straddle and make it work. I am a fan, to say the least, with a view of their past catalogue as flawless, a band who’ve never written a record that includes a single throwaway song and who’ve always tried to evolve and refine their sound, never staying in quite the same place. They are modern song-writers still attracted to the past, a sort of approach to metal that I admittedly will eat up like candy if the passion is there. Continue reading »

Jan 232020


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with this review of the new album by one of our favorite bands, Thy Catafalque, which will be released by Season of Mist on January 24th.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. I am here today because we have been blessed once again with a new Thy Catafalque album, a wonderfully common occurrence in the last few years (with new albums being released every year-and-a-half to two years). For those unfamiliar with my love affair with the work of Tamás Kátai, I first discovered Thy Catafalque in the olden days of The Number Of The Blog thanks to an old contributor, Tr00 Nate (if you’re out there somewhere, yes, I’m still giving you the credit you deserve). The album Róka Hasa Rádió was an eye-opener for me, providing a portal through which I could immerse myself in something utterly distinctive and unlike anything I had ever heard.

Since then, Thy Catafalque’s catalog has reached nine full-length albums (plus the Cor Cordium demo), and each album is a masterwork in varied songcraft. I lack any real grasp of music theory, and so I’d imagine that there is someone out there more learned than I who could probably explain it, but there is something about Kátai’s music that makes it immediately recognizable as his work, regardless of the song’s composition. Given how much variety there is in your average Thy Catafalque song, much less an entire album, this musical identity is simply staggering to me. Continue reading »

Jan 232020


Mental Casket first crawled forth from some stinking grave in Warsaw, Poland, in 2018, inspired by the early works of Chuck Schuldiner and other fore-runners of Floridian death metal, with an affinity for the likes of Autopsy and Pestilence as well, plus newer bands like Gruesome. Last year they released their debut demo via Caligari Records, and today their second one is making its grotesque appearance. We’re fiendishly happy to help spread the word through this premiere of its three tracks.

Mental Casket proudly wear their influences on their ragged and rotting sleeves, but while their chosen formulations of death metal may be quite familiar, they’re so good at composing and executing their sonic monstrosities that it’s still a thrill to hear what they do. Sometimes you don’t need to break any molds in order to put a charge into a listener’s brain stem, and Mental Casket definitely do that. Continue reading »

Jan 232020


(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by the French progressive technical death metal band Slave One, which will be released by Dolorem Records on January 24th.)

It’s been a while since I have done a small review, and this time around I’m taking the time to write about the band Slave One and their sophomore effort Omega Disciples, to be released via Dolorem Records. To be honest, I was not aware of this French band’s existence until I heard a single from this album, and was hooked. So, I decided to check out their previous work.

There, this Death Metal outfit incorporate various elements within their song structures, displaying both brutal and tech elements as well as melodic inputs in some of the sections that create a dark atmosphere that is quite appealing. But when I heard the the promo of the new record I was blown away with the musicianship on display within the 8 chapters of this current offering.  The continuous growth from their first EP to now is evident, and that is something I always look for in a band. Continue reading »

Jan 222020


(The Texas-based death metal band Sallow Moth has followed its Deathspore EP with a continuation of the tale begun there. The band’s debut album was released on January 15th, and Andy Synn reviews it here.)

The existence of so many great one-man-bands (the multi-instrumentalist recording-project types, not the “banjo-bass-drum-harmonica” types) has always been a perplexing puzzle to me.

As someone who enjoys, and craves, the stimulation (and frustration) of collaboration when making music I just can’t quite get my head around what it must take to be willing, and able, to go it alone.

Heck, one of the reasons I’ve never gotten my own still-as-yet-unrealised Black Metal project off the ground is that I’ve never found the right collaborators/co-conspirators to work with!

But I remain immensely fascinated, and impressed, whenever I stumble across an album whose high quality can only be attributed to the efforts of a single individual, especially in cases like this one, which is giving off some major Blood Incantation/Mithras/Slugdge vibes. Continue reading »

Jan 212020


Perhaps because I often confuse “numinous” with “luminous“, I resorted to a dictionary to be sure about the meaning of the former before listening to the Jordablod album we’re premiering today. And in doing that I saw this explanation:

Numinous is from the Latin word numen, meaning ‘divine will’ or ‘nod’ (it suggests a figurative nodding, of assent or of command, of the divine head). English speakers have been using numen for centuries with the meaning ‘a spiritual force or influence.’ We began using numinous in the mid-1600s, subsequently endowing it with several senses: ‘supernatural’ or ‘mysterious’ (as in “possessed of a numinous energy force”), ‘holy’ (as in ‘the numinous atmosphere of the catacombs’), and ‘appealing to the aesthetic sense’ (as in ‘the numinous nuances of her art’).”

I also found a quote by CS Lewis about the meaning of numinous that I also think is worth sharing — but not until after we’ve considered The Cabinet of Numinous Song, which you’ll be able to stream now, just a few days before its January 24 release by Iron Bonehead Productions. Continue reading »

Jan 212020


(Andy Synn pauses in his consideration of forthcoming records to look back at an album released last November by Chrome Ghost from Sacramento, California.)

To quote a very famous tv show… “time’s arrow neither stays still or reverses, it merely marches forward.”

This particular truism has felt particularly relevant to me in recent years, as it really does feel as though if I don’t stay on top of all the various new releases, week by week, that I’m going to end up missing out and falling behind in a way that I’ll never be able to recover from.

In fact, this is exactly what happens every year. There comes a point when my “to do” list reaches critical mass and has to be jettisoned so that I can start afresh. It’s unfortunate and it means some artists/albums inevitably lose out, but that’s just the way it is.

There are occasional moments, however, where it seems like time’s arrow does at least slow down a bit, allowing me to take stock and, if I’m very lucky, to look back and catch up with things that went over my head (or under my radar).

And sometimes, if I’m really, really lucky, I’m able to discover something really special in the process. Continue reading »

Jan 202020


Rage and disgust fuel the music on Zifir‘s new album Demoniac Ethics, most of it directed at the calculated lies of religious institutions and the submissive delusions of their followers. Of course, within the realms of extreme metal such inspirations aren’t unique to this Turkish black metal trio. But how they have translated their intense convictions into sound is very much out of the ordinary, as you shall witness for yourselves.

Today we present a full stream of this new album, just days before its release by Duplicate Records, preceded by further impressions of the remarkable music. Continue reading »

Jan 202020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the second full-length by the New Zealand project Caved, released on January 3rd.)

2020 is already off to an interesting start.  Anyone who has followed me since I started writing for NCS back in 2011 will probably hear this album after reading the review and be instantly like, “yeah this is TheMadIsraeli’s taste in metal”.

Caved is a New Zealand one man progressive technical death metal/thrash outfit that is VERY directly comparable to Martyr.  The vocal approach is even very similar, so if you’ve missed that frantic hyper-technical manic style of death metal with thrash vocals and attitude that Martyr brought to the table, Caved is the first time when I can say you can finally stop listening to “Feeding The Abscess” and hear something new in that vein.  The Petrifying Vacuum is the sophomore album of Caved and my first exposure to the project. Continue reading »

Jan 172020


(Here is Andy Synn‘s review of the debut album by the Austrian-German band Oceans, released by Nuclear Blast on January 10th.)

Remember a few years back when the term “Black Metal” became so “hip” that pretty much every album released was getting referred to as “Blackened” this or “Post-Black” that… regardless of what the music actually sounded like?

Well it looks like it’s the turn of “Post Metal” to be 2020’s most wildly (and wilfully) misapplied label, as it’s only been a few weeks of the new year and I’ve already encountered numerous promo emails, press releases, and reviews touting anything with the barest hint of atmosphere or quiet/loud dynamic as being part of the resurgent “Post-Metal” zeitgeist.

Of course, you know what they say, never ascribe to malice what could be explained by ignorance (or laziness), and while this misguided (not to mention misleading) use of the term “Post Metal” by various writers/reviewers does little more than betray their lack of knowledge (or their desperation to jump on the latest bright, shiny bandwagon), some of the blame must also fall on the labels and bands themselves – including the subject of today’s review – for misusing the term in the first place.

All of which, I suppose, is just a long-winded way of saying that if you approach The Sun and the Cold expecting something in the vein of Isis, Neurosis, Cult of Luna, etc, then you’re going to be very, very disappointed (and probably a little confused too).

But if you go into it expecting some highly polished, hyper-modern (and ridiculously catchy) Melodeath then you’re far more likely to enjoy the experience! Continue reading »