Dec 042019


Altered State, the debut EP by the California project Xantam, creates dramatically contrasting sensations, but all of them seem separated from the familiar mundane world around us. The music hurls the listener into vortices of unchained madness and diabolical violence, but also pierces through into other haunting dimensions that seem extraterrestrial, or perhaps the nether realms of imagination. There is sweeping, hypnotic beauty to be found here, as well as tyrannical terrorism, but in all its manifestations the music is chilling (as well as exhilarating).

Xantam is the solo work of a California musician who has taken the name of a Beholder from the game of Baldur’s Gate. His first published work was the LifeDeathBeyond demo, reissued by Blood Harvest Records in 2016, and the same Blood Harvest will be releasing this new EP on Friday the 13th of December. We are pleased to give you a stream of the full experience today. Continue reading »

Dec 032019


This past June we premiered a song named “Pines” from the debut album, Harm Remissions, by a trans-oceanic noise/grind trio named Fawn Limbs (presented through a video that excerpted footage from the 1933 film White Zombie). Even just that one song made a stunning impact, one that we likened to “the thrill of witnessing destruction… like the excitement of being present at the implosion of giant buildings to create space for something new”, but combined with “other thrills within the mayhem of the music which derive not from chaos but from the almost machine-like precision of their otherwise freakish demolition jobs”.

Those impressions might have seemed paradoxical, but while the track did indeed have its berserker destructive components, there was an impressive degree of precision on display as the musicians rapidly morphed from one kind of demolition to another (and delivered some unexpected groove along the way). The album as a whole — experienced as a whole — was (and is) an even more breathtaking bombardment, one that plays nasty games with your mind as this trio maniacally shift gears without warning and engage in even more extravagant displays of seething and boiling fretwork lunacy and rhythm-section interplay (along with unexpected digressions).

As the year draws to a close, Fawn Limbs have decided to give us one last blast with which to properly bury 2019 beneath rubble — a new EP that will be released on December 6th under the nightmarish title Their Holes Aroused by the Splinters Carved From Their Teeth — and today we’re bringing you a full stream of it. Continue reading »

Dec 032019


Why do noted musicians in well-established and well-known bands form side projects? There are many reasons, but certainly one of them is to pursue musical interests that lie beyond the stylistic boundaries of their main bands — sometimes far beyond them — often coupled with the chance to create and perform with different friends. Some side projects seem to vanish overnight, and some of them become such strong attachments for their members, or become so well-received by listeners, that they persist.

Death Wolf began as a side project, and it has persisted, and we are all the better for it. In this case, the project was started near the turn of the new millennium by Marduk guitarist Morgan Håkansson under the name Devil’s Whorehouse, and with his bandmates released two albums and two EPs under that name. After they changed the band’s name to Death Wolf, they released three more albums from 2011 through 2014.

Now a fourth one is at last ready for release on December 10th by Blooddawn Productions (distributed and marketed by Regain Records). Its name is IV: Come the Dark, and we’re proudly presenting a full stream of the album today. Continue reading »

Dec 022019


It has been a long seven years since the release of Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum, the debut album by the Ukrainian band Rattenfänger (discussed here). Although Rattenfänger was a new name then, its members were not newcomers, having already made their mark through Drudkh, Blood of Kingu, and Old Silver Key. Rattenfänger had become their alternate vehicle for indulging an affinity for certain flavors of old school death metal.

But the band’s name is much older than the era that produced the early works of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and Celtic Frost, whose influences (among others) played a significant role in the music. The name Rattenfänger was taken from the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (Rattenfänger von Hameln), who was hired by the folk of that town to rid themselves of the rats that had overrun it. As we know, he was deceived and cheated of his payment, and exacted a dreadful revenge by luring away Hamelin’s children, never to be seen again.

Rattenfänger connected themselves to the Dark Ages in other ways, by writing their lyrics in Latin, in the style of medieval poets, thinkers, and troubadours/minstrels. And now, seven years on, they’re about to release a new album, which we present to you today in its entirety. Continue reading »

Dec 022019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album (released on November 29th) by the German band Aeons Confer.)

Sometimes you have to… not temper your expectations, but when it comes to artists you love and the output they produce you have to learn how to divorce yourself from your own nostalgia-based bias.  I’ve never been a fan of nostalgia, and I’m someone who is always eager to try and avoid the pitfalls of it as much as possible.  I was confronted with this resolution when listening to Aeons Confer’s new record Zero Elysium.

I LOVE this band’s debut Symphonies Of Saturnus, which I reviewed here nearly six years ago.  Since 2013 I’ve actually listened to it AT LEAST once a week.  I never got over that album, so it’s expected maybe that someone like me might feel a bit cold when encountering a sophomore record that didn’t deliver on an assumed promise of “first album, part two”. Continue reading »

Dec 012019


I think I made a mistake. Between Friday and Saturday I spent 6+ hours just listening to new music, at least half of which I devoted to individual tracks publicly released from forthcoming albums. That’s a LOT of individual tracks. Along with discarding things that didn’t grab me, I started excitedly assembling ideas for round-up posts organized around varying themes, and of course added to an already long existing list of ideas for the column you’re reading now.

Why was that a mistake? Because now I’m mentally suffering from the knowledge that there’s no way I’ll have the time to follow through on all the writing schemes I imagined, no way to feature everything I’d like to recommend. Even if I could, it would be too much music and too many words for any normal person to consume over the space of a few days, on top of other music you would be exploring from other sources.

Well, as they say, I made my bed and now I have to lie on it. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s what I chose for today — which is a lot of music, but not nearly enough.


If you haven’t done whatever you need to do to follow the Chinese label Pest Productions on Bandcamp, you ought to fix that post haste. The releases are stylistically more unpredictable than many labels with a black metal pedigree, and over a lot of years I’ve encountered very few that didn’t do something good for me. A Bandcamp e-mail alert just days ago is how I discovered that Pest had released Fragile, which is the name of the debut album of Mother Augusta. Continue reading »

Nov 292019


Black Friday is of course a celebration of cannibalistic commercialism, a paroxysm of merchants and consumers crashing together in a frenzied effort by the former to loot the bank accounts of the latter, and of the latter to claw at the former (and each other) in an effort to save while spending. But Black Friday has a different meaning for some of us. We can bend the meaning of the name into a different kind of standard, a different representation of cannibalistic war-zone frenzy. Which brings us to Human Agony.

Today is the day on which Invictus Productions is releasing the debut album of these satanic devastators from Victoria, British Columbia. Not for naught does the advance press for Putrescence of Calvary make reference to the likes of Conqueror, Revenge, Black Witchery, and Blasphemy. If you are adherents to such standard-bearers of bestial black/death, you’ll relish being torn limb from limb by what Human Agony are doing — and we’ll give you that chance through our premiere of a full album stream. Continue reading »

Nov 292019


(The month of November has nearly expired, but before it gasps its last breath Andy Synn has delivered a SYNN REPORT for the month, and in this edition he reviews and streams music from all the albums created by the German band Krater, including their latest work Venenare, released by Eisenwald earlier this month.)

Recommended for fans of: 1349, Mgła, Dark Fortress

I’m a little sick and tired of explaining it but, here it is again for those of you too slow to grasp this very simple truth…

Black Metal comes in many forms and many guises.

It can be dense and dissonant, ethereal and atmospheric, thrashy, punky, proggy… and everything in between. Sometimes all at once.

Don’t get me wrong, I still firmly believe that there are certain features, certain elements and ideals, which are fundamental (even though we can argue about what they might be ’til the cows come home) and without which you’re simply not playing Black Metal at all. But I have very little time for those whose limited vision restricts what they’ll “allow” Black Metal to be.

Germany’s Krater clearly share a similar view, as their back catalogue is a testament to evolution and expanding vision, beginning life as a more “classic” second-wave style band but swiftly developing into something far darker, far heavier, far more technical, and far more atmospheric, than their more primitive origins might have predicted. Continue reading »

Nov 282019

Blaze of Perdition


“I spent most of my life believing a gauzy, kindergarten version of Thanksgiving, thinking only of feasts and family, turkey and dressing.” So wrote a New York Times columnist today, near the end of an essay in which he explained in gruesome detail why, in this view, he “was blind, willfully ignorant, I suppose, to the bloodier side of the Thanksgiving story, to the more honest side of it”. His reminiscences of childhood Thanksgiving might have been my own words, but whether you remain among the blissfully blind or have become hardened by the truth, I still wish you a Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of all of us at NCS. Regardless of the reason for the occasion, happy days are hard to come by and wishes for more can’t hurt, can they?

Of course, one of the long traditions at this site has been to ignore holidays in our labors. Taking days off from posting just subtracts from the opportunities to spread the word about new metal, which continues to arrive every day, heedless of holidays. So I’ve picked some of the new arrivals to recommend. Maybe they’ll make this Thanksgiving Day a happier one for you. Continue reading »

Nov 272019


I have had a soft spot in my heart for Deivos for a very long time — though I also have some soft spots in my head as a result of these Polish destroyers caving it in every time they come out with another album. The new one is no exception, though they again demonstrate that brute-force trauma is only one of the impacts that their music leaves upon the listener.

In fact, their formulation of death metal is just enough outside the mainstream savagery of what you usually find (and is so well-executed) to make them distinctive, although perhaps their resistance to “fitting in” with trends is a reason why (in my opinion) they haven’t gotten nearly enough recognition despite plying their craft for 20 years and creating a discography that’s now six albums deep.

The new full-length is Casus Belli, and the Polish label Selfmadegod Records will be releasing it on November 29th. If you’re looking for something to be thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving, the full album stream we’re about to present should amply satisfy your search. Continue reading »