Nov 162018


Those of you who have been lurking in the dankest, dingiest, and most dangerous recesses of the underground for more than a few years, at least in your listening habits, will guess right away the kind of music you’ll hear from a band named Bestial Warfare, especially when that band have named their debut demo Genocide. And it is indeed an assault of extreme black/death barbarism — tender ears and fragile minds should go elsewhere. But for those with a taste for slaughtering, who yet demand more than mere blasting pandemonium, Genocide should prove to be red meat for your ravenous hunger. Continue reading »

Nov 152018


(Forging ahead with his multi-part effort to catch up on reviews of albums he has enjoyed before the year expires, DGR today reflects at length about the new album by Irreversible Mechanism, which was released in September by Blood Music.)

Speaking of building blocks and blueprints, we land here with an album where nearly every element of it can easily be traced back to its sources yet is executed so well that it might — from your writer’s standpoint — have stealthily grown on me enough to become one of my favorites of the year.

Immersion, the second album from the Belarus tech-death group Irreversible Mechanism, is starkly different from its predecessor, 2015’s Infinite Fields. It is also one whose DNA is so recognizable that it might as well be a Blade Runner-esque holographic projection high above a neon-lit city. Lying somewhere at an unholy intersection between the post-metal, recorded-in-a-hurricane leanings of Fallujah and the groove-precision of Rivers of Nihil, Immersion exists as a pretty solid example of how Irreversible Mechanism can dish out some monstrously hypnotic and dynamic records and make it seem so natural that it’s bound to spark some jealousy.

Immersion is also a record that is going be a very different experience for quite a few people who may be coming to the band hoping for the high-speed precision and everything-and-the-kitchen-sink method that they employed on Infinite Fields, because if Immersion is anything, it is certainly not that. Were it not for its near-constant all-out assault on the senses, Immersion would have a dreamlike quality to it, and at times it does manage to achieve just that. Continue reading »

Nov 142018


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the debut album by Azusa, which will be released on November 16 via Solid State Records and Indie Recordings.)

Like many of you I was pretty giddy with excitement when the official Extol Facebook page began teasing some sort of new release earlier this year, only to feel a rather sharp sting of disappointment when it was revealed to be for a brand-new project named Azusa, rather than the hoped-for follow-up to the band’s excellent self-titled comeback album.

As it turns out, however, I shouldn’t have been counting my chickens quite so soon because, for all intents and purposes, Heavy Yoke pretty much IS a new Extol album. Continue reading »

Nov 142018


(DGR continues his Herculean, or perhaps Sisyphean, effort to catch up with reviews before the year-end LISTMANIA typhoon arrives, and today we have his extended thoughts about the new album by The Ocean, which was released by Metal Blade on November 2nd.)

The review nightmare continues on with two more massive releases that could not be more opposite from one another on the metal spectrum, yet are likely to completely wreck the shambles of a top year-end list that I had already written. The first of these two comes today, and the next one tomorrow

The back of the year of our Satan 2018 is proving to be quite bountiful, in a year that was already moving in massive fits-and-starts. I’m imagining the year-end lists are going to be hilariously like 2016’s bloodbath, in that everyone will have moved in so many different directions and found so much stuff to love that there will be fuck-all in terms of overlap. Yet, despite these predictions, the constant battle to “catch-up” and expose our dear NCS readers to newer music continues, and so I present to you the latest in a desperate album review exercise that now has at least five albums I still want to chat about waiting in the wings. Continue reading »

Nov 132018


(On November 16th Candlelight/Spinefarm will release the new (11th) album by the Japanese band Sigh, an album about madness and the blurring line between sanity and insanity, with 90% of the lyrics in Japanese and cover art by Eliran Kantor. What follows are Wil Cifer‘s thoughts about it.)

The term progressive metal can bring to mind some cringe-worthy images, among them Berklee dropouts making long sprawling songs with obtuse riffs written with one thing in mind — “How will this sound if I solo over it?“ What sets Sigh apart from such bands, aside from their black metal past, is that their sound actually progresses. It is not stagnant wanking. You know only to expect organized chaos when you go into one of their albums. So I should have not been surprised by the opening track of Heir To Despair (“Aletheia”) sounding like a space-age take on Jethro Tull as a metal band; it makes perfect sense. Continue reading »

Nov 122018


Korpsesoturi began as the solo death metal project of Juha Ahlfors from Kouvola, Finland, first releasing demo tracks last year (which were eventually captured on tape by Caco-Daemon Records and on CD via Death In Pieces Records). Now Korpsesoturi is about to deliver an explosive debut album named Malus Corpus through Rotted Life Records. You won’t have to wait long for it — the release date is November 16th — and you won’t have to wait even that long to hear it, because we’re presenting a full stream today.

On this album Juha Ahlfors composed the music and performed vocals and bass, and he was joined by a pair of astonishingly good musicians — drummer Oskari Viljanen and guitarist Isto Jänönen (who was also responsible for acoustic and ambient parts). And “explosive” really is the right word for what the three of them have done here. Continue reading »

Nov 072018


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Finnish band Devouring Star, which was released on October 26th by Dark Descent (U.S.) and Terratur Possessions (E.U.).)

Whether you call it “Black Metal” or “Blackened Death Metal” (I prefer the former in all honesty, although, given how obnoxiously heavy the band’s sound can be, I suppose I can see the argument for the latter too) it should be obvious that Devouring Star is one of the absolute best at what it does, as both the band’s debut album (Through Lung and Heart) and its similarly blistering companion EP (Antihedron) can already attest.

You probably won’t be surprised then to hear that The Arteries of Heresy continues this tradition of providing some of the best Metal (Black or otherwise) you’re going to hear all year, all delivered without concession or compromise. Continue reading »

Nov 062018


(On November 3rd the Leeds University Union hosted the star-studded 2018 edition of Damnation Festival, and our own Andy Synn was there again, and files this video-adorned report.)

Now, let’s get one thing straight right away – I love Damnation Festival. Alongside Inferno Festival and Maryland Deathfest it’s part of my annual triumvirate of awesome events which I do my absolute best to attend every single year.

One thing that bugs me, however, not about Damnation itself, but about the coverage afforded to the fest (and, by extension, to many other festivals too), is how much of it reads almost like it was written without even attending the event – every band is awesome, every performance is great – with little to no attempt to be critical or to give the reader a sense of the specific flavour and atmosphere beyond generic platitudes which could have been pulled straight from each band’s bio.

So this review isn’t going to be one of those. Because not every band I saw on Saturday evening was awesome, and not every performance was great… and while there were no downright terrible showings, several of the bands put in what I thought was a sub-par effort.

Thankfully, however, the good (and the very good) hugely outweighed the bad, and I think (and hope) you’ll still get a kick out of reading this review and watching the accompanying videos. Continue reading »

Nov 052018


(DGR reviews the latest album by an NCS favorite, Finland’s Wolfheart, which was released by Napalm Records on September 28th.)

A quick preface for this one: We’re still hacking away at backlogs here and in case you missed out, that’s meant quite a few ‘shorter’ review archives with a handful of grouped bands together. This review was born of that experiment but unlike the Beyond Creation/Chthonic/Benighted jam that I unleashed upon the world last week, we were quickly able to recognize that the length of the next multi-band review collection was getting out of control, and so we’ve carved this one out to stand alone.

Increasing wordiness tends to happen when it’s a band you enjoy, and even though the short gap between this group’s most recent releases can look scary at first, Wolfheart manage to stick to a very consistent level of quality this time around. Continue reading »

Nov 052018


Both Amiensus and Oak Pantheon are from Minnesota. Both bands are long-time favorites at our putrid site, and we’ve been following both since very early days in their development. And now both of them, today, have released a new split named Gathering II.

As the name suggests, this isn’t their first collaboration. Five years ago to the day, they jointly released another split named Gathering. It included one track by each band, and so does Gathering II, but the new release also includes a third track that’s a true musical collaboration in which both bands participated. Continue reading »