Jul 162019


The new album by the Austrian alchemists The Negative Bias is so ambitious in its conception, so extravagant in its composition, and so tremendously powerful in its execution that it merits the often-overused term “visionary”. It becomes a form of breathtakingly dramatic musical theater that seems calculated to create shock and awe, to assault and bedazzle the senses, forcibly shattering commonplace perceptions in order to make the mind more receptive to new and unexpected visions.

The name of this monumental work is Narcissus Rising (A Metamorphosis In Three Acts). It follows the band’s debut album Lamentation of the Chaos Omega (2017) and a 2018 split with Golden Dawn. It will be released on July 26th by ATMF, and today we premiere a full stream, preceded by further thoughts about this stunning experience. Continue reading »

Jul 152019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the 7th album by the solo project Arctic Sleep from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was released on July 12th. It is a significant exception to our “rule” about singing. The cover art was created by Jennifer Weiler.)

Some of our readers may not be aware of this, but the Metal blogosphere (of which we are but a small part) is kind of like its own separate ecosystem, with all the various sites and zines and writers sharing and interacting within the same digital space, by turns feeding, and being fed upon, and occasionally coming together to copulate, exchange information, and (hopefully) create something new.

This doesn’t mean we’re all “in cahoots”, by any means. I’ve questioned and criticised the work of others just as much as I’ve been questioned and criticised in turn. But it does mean that, sometimes at least, the circle of life – or the circle of riffs, as it were – moves us all in similar ways.

Case in point, I have to give full credit to those brave lavatorial adventurers at The Toilet ov Hell for introducing me to the music of Arctic Sleep, whose latest album I’ve been listening to pretty much non-stop over the weekend. Continue reading »

Jul 112019


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by No One Knows What the Dead Think, which is set for release on September 20 by Willowtip Records.)

All hail the new flesh, the new band that is a merciless reincarnation of the insane and mighty Discordance Axis. No One Knows What The Dead Think contains D.A. alumni Jon Chang on vocals and Rob Marton on guitar, and they are joined by Kyosuke Nakano on drums, and the band make no bones about this being the culmination of the original series of albums by Discordance Axis.

For those not familiar with Discordance Axis, they produced some of the most stunningly original Grindcore albums of the nineties. The sound was utterly unhinged, partially due to Chang’s vicious and wide-eyed vocal approach, but also because of Marton’s almost Godflesh-like riffs being paired with Dave Witte’s blasting drum work. And just like before, the vibe here is suitably Post-Human, a sort of logical conclusion to Cyberpunk, where Earth’s hellscape is primarily populated by swarms of of artificial intelligence. Continue reading »

Jul 102019


(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the new second album by Ecliptic Vision, which was released on July 6th.)

This time around I have the opportunity to review the self-titled sophomore effort of Ecliptic Vision from Syracuse, New York. Prior to listening, I had no idea what the sound would be like, other than a description of the music as a mix of technical and brutal death metal, nor anything about the band, for that matter.

Now, the good thing about getting into this project with so little knowledge is that for me it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.  I won’t say the material is groundbreaking or something we haven’t heard before, but the musicians in the band are very talented, and the end result shows their skills and how well they work together. Continue reading »

Jul 092019


(Prognathe hail from Toulouse, France, and on July 1st they released the first in a series of EPs in which they “will explore different aspects of their cave art.” In this review, Andy Synn explores different aspects of their music on the new EP, which in his opinion set them apart from the general run of grindcore bands.)

Ask any of my compatriots here at NCS and they’ll all tell you that, generally speaking, Grindcore just isn’t my thing.

Oh sure, you’ll frequently find me at Soundstage during MDF, can of Natty Boh in hand, watching (and enjoying) band after band lurching through song after song of wild, ugly riffs and stuttering blastbeats, but, most of the time anyway, if you were to ask me what makes any of these bands different from one another you’re more likely to receive a long, blank stare than a detailed summary of the history and intricacies of Grindcore as a genre/style.

That’s not to say I actively dislike it, by any means. It’s just that, with a few notable exceptions, it simply doesn’t “click” with me.

And speaking of “notable exceptions”… Continue reading »

Jul 082019


Sometime around 2011, we are told, guitarist and composer Charlie Eron burned a CD with a couple of demo tracks on it and handed it to vocalist Max Phelps (Exist, Death To All, Defeated Sanity, ex-Cynic) and bassist Alex Weber (Exist, Defeated Sanity) at a metal show in Frederick, Maryland. They apparently thought it was pretty cool, and things evolved from there. We are further told that many song iterations, revisions, and years later, the concept that “time is starkly linear and unrecoverable” came to Charlie Eron while working at a desk job “staring vacantly into a computer screen”. And thus, WAIT was born — rounded out by the participation of drummer extraordinaire Anup Sastry (Jeff Loomis, ex-Intervals, ex-Monuments, ex-Skyharbor).

Actually, all the members of WAIT are extraordinary at what they do, and their first release as a progressive death metal unit — the three-track EP We Are In Transit — is, in a word, a marvel. And we present the chance for you to hear it in advance of its July 12 release by The Artisan Era. Continue reading »

Jul 072019


As you can see, I’ve planned a two-part SOB again. I doubt I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today, and even if I do, I think I’ll defer it to Monday anyway. With so many new-music round-ups lately, I’m afraid we’re at risk of overloading people already, especially because this Part 1 includes four full releases in addition to the two advance tracks I’ve placed at the beginning (and there are additional complete releases in what I have in mind for Part 2)..


We’ve been closely following the progress of the Spanish band Noctem since 2011, when they released their second album, Oblivion. Four of us have written about the band over the years since then, amassing 16 different posts about them (including two interviews). Obviously, we are fans. But we have equally been persistently curious about what they would do next.

Noctem’s music has always been a blend of death and black metal, but the sound hasn’t remained stagnant. It might go too far to say there has been a continuous trajectory over time, but in general it seems like in the earlier years they were more death-metal focused, whereas the last album, 2016’s Haeresis, leaned more toward the black metal elements in their sound. Based on the title track from their new album, The Black Consecration, it sounds like they’re leaning even harder in that direction, and have in other ways made shifts in sound from their last record. Continue reading »

Jul 062019


In pawing through new music yesterday, like the digital-age version of what I used to do in record stores, I found myself thinking that the music of the following four bands belonged together. I wouldn’t know how to label them if I put them together in a section of the record store in my head, because their musical styles are different. Maybe “DOOMY METAL, BUT OTHER THINGS GOING ON”. Or maybe just “HEAVINESS (AND OCCASIONAL HEAVENLINESS)”.


The first song I’ve selected is a big exception to our Rule about singing, all the way up until near the end, when Agnete M. Kirkevaag does something shocking with her voice. Until then, as always, she’s bewitching.

But before we get to the song, I should share some important details about the new Madder Mortem album that includes it. Continue reading »

Jul 052019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new second album by the Chicago-based, sci-fi-themed death metal band Nucleus, released last month by Unspeakable Axe Records.)

If I’d been able to spend a little more time with this record before now I’d undoubtedly have included it alongside Fuming Mouth and Towering in my recent double-review, as not only does it display a similarly striking blend of old-school influences – marrying the meaty, malevolent riffosity of Morbid Angel to the proggy, proto-brutalism of Death – but it does so in a way that’s so vibrant, so visceral, and so thrillingly vital, that, even now, it still sounds as fresh as when Azagthoth and Schuldiner first set finger to fretboard. Continue reading »