Nov 252022


When you combine a Black Friday with a Bandcamp Friday the result is a goddamned typhoon of new music and videos, with bands and labels not only launching sales but trying to take further advantage of the situation with new releases, some of them out today and some now up for pre-order.

I can’t say I’ve waded through all of it to make your shopping experience easier (I’m only one bedraggled human and speed-cloning is a generation or two away), but I did make my way through some of it, and have these recommendations for you.

I also did try to provide some genre scatter in the choices, knowing that not everyone loves everything, and to provide a range of radar elevations among the bands. As vivid proof of that, I’m leading off with… Continue reading »

Nov 242022

Here in the U.S. today is Thanksgiving Day. For 13 years our site has made a point of observing no holidays, but instead continuing to focus without pause on the heavy music that inspires us. But on this holiday we can kill two birds with one stone — presenting music that kills, and being thankful, for the gem that is Jade.

To be clear, we are talking about a gem of a band, not the gemstone, though both share certain qualities, with a capacity to seize attention as the facets turn. And undeniably, the debut album of this part-German, part-Catalonian band provides music of many elaborate facets that’s altogether stunning. Entitled The Pacification of Death, it will be released tomorrow by Pulverised Records, but we’re providing a chance for everyone to hear it now. Continue reading »

Nov 232022

It is with considerable pride and pleasure that we present a complete stream of It Never Ends…, a new album by the Danish band Maceration — pride, because this marks the return of a group who made a heavy mark in the old annals of death metal with their 1992 debut A Serenade of Agony, and pleasure, because the new second album is really fucking good.

In a time when metal re-births seem increasingly common, the resurrection of Maceration after three decades still seems worth an extra measure of attention, in part because for their new album Dan Swanö has again stepped in to fill the session vocal role, as he did under the name Day Disyraa for that 1992 debut. He hasn’t done growled vocals since the halcyon days of Edge of Sanity, but you couldn’t guess that from his performance here. His monstrous growls, ravenous howls, and wretched gagging emissions are frighteningly powerful throughout.

But as vital as those vocals are to the success of It Never Ends…, it is of course the quality of the songwriting and musicianship that weighs most heavily in the balance between success and failure, and there the credit goes to original guitarists Jakob Schultz and Lars Bangsholt, bassist Robert Tengs, and drummer Rasmus Schmidt (Illdisposed, ex-Myrkur). Continue reading »

Nov 232022

(Andy Synn gets riffy with the new album from Sweden’s Vittra)

As we inch closer and closer to the end of the year time is running out for us here at NCS, and tough decisions are having to be made about what, and who, we can cover before “List Season” officially begins.

To be clear, I’ll still be writing and publishing reviews throughout December – mostly of things that I wasn’t able to get to over the last twelve months and which I think deserve more coverage and attention – but probably not as many as usual (the next couple of weeks are going to be particularly hectic and stressful for me, for various reasons, so I intend to take a well deserved rest from work, writing, and everything else).

Until then, however… let’s all enjoy some catchy-as-covid Death/Thrash riffage courtesy of Vittra and their new album, Blasphemy Blues.

Continue reading »

Nov 222022

(October 28th brought the release by Church Road Records of a fourth full-length by Germany’s Implore, and in this review DGR provides a lot of reasons to get enthusiastic about it.)

It’s been a little while since we’ve gotten an album as clearly “bookended” as Implore‘s October release The Burden Of Existence, yet one glance at track times alone and it seems like the masterminds behind the metallic chaos that is Implore got a taste for track-sequencing symmetry.

Implore are not the type of band to go on musical journeys or prog-dalliances, so none of the songs on The Burden Of Existence stretch for time in any sense of the word, but it is fun noticing how the group have three of their four longer songs on The Burden Of Existence positioned within the front two and the back two of the lineup. Of course, when you close out an album with a song called “The Sense Of Endings”, maybe room for subtlety is a couple of train stops away from where we are currently – but alas, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Continue reading »

Nov 212022

We’re about to premiere an extraordinary album in its entirety. We’re also about to open the floodgates on a waterfall of words, in an unnecessary and probably fruitless effort to explain why it’s extraordinary.

Where to begin? Maybe by saying that although you will see genre labels affixed to the music of Australia’s Estrangement on their album Disfigurementality — principally referring to it as a blending of funeral doom and classical music — there’s no kind of shorthand reference that could be accurate. To borrow from the press materials, “Funereal-Flamenca-Nuclear-Jazz-Fusion-End-of-World Music” comes closer to the mark, but still falls short.

Does it go too far to claim that Disfigurementality is unique? Well, you’ll be the judge of that, but in our estimation that’s what this music really is, something so astonishingly eclectic, so wildly creative, and so mind-blowing to hear that it really does seem unparalleled in the annals of extreme doom. Continue reading »

Nov 202022

My head is clearer today than it was yesterday morning, but this column, although not exactly short, is still shorter than I’d like due to a planned mid-morning rendezvous with friends. Because time is racing away, I’ll cut this introduction off at the knees and just forewarn you that the word of the day is “whiplash”.

AZAGHAL (Finland)

As these blasphemous and terrorizing Fiuns approach the quarter-century mark in their career they’ve readied a new album named Alttarimme on Luista Tehty (“our altar is made of bone”), and the first advance song from it is the one I’ve chosen as a beginning today. It turns out to be a multi-faceted piece of music, and one that passes almost too quickly. Continue reading »

Nov 172022

There’s something admirable in standing fast against powerful headwinds, even when the position may cause some to cringe.

Bob Malmström staked out their position long ago as the true originators and crowned kings of “borgarcore”, and they have taken delight since 2010 in jabbing their fingers into the eyes of standard “against the system” punk mentality by celebrating the benefits of Dom Perignon, lap dances by pretty girls, fast cars that can be run by you instead of over you, and favorable swings in the stock markets. Maintaining that position in recent years has gotten tougher, but these Swedish-speaking Finns haven’t backed down. In the context of their new EP Segla med Satan they write:

It’s 2022 and everything is going to hell. The stock market is tanking, the waves are full of poisonous algae porridge and in the east a mad tyrant force-feeds his brain virus to the people like a Frenchman force-feeds geese. The world is on the brink of an abyss…. Salvation is not what anyone expected, nor asked for, but it gives you the Zen to ski down the slopes of the Alps waving your middle fingers to the poor. We’re ready to rock the gold teeth out of your mouths.

Punk is for poor losers. Folk metal is for stupid losers. Bättre folk metal is for rich geniuses! Continue reading »

Nov 172022

(Andy Synn brings you some multi-national mayhem courtesy of Inverted Matter)

There are many, many things I love about Metal.

But one of the biggest is that there’s always something new to discover, a new artist or album to uncover that you’ve previously overlooked, so it’s practically impossible to get bored or jaded (emphasis on “practically”).

Take Inverted Matter, for example.

This multinational menagerie of misfits, monsters, and mercenaries (whose ranks include Defacement drummer Marco Dal pastro – putting in yet another pulverising percussive performance here) are brand new to me, despite the fact that they released their debut album, Detach, way back in 2017.

But, better late than never, right? And now that I’ve discovered them it’s time for me to pay it forward and introduce them to some of you in turn.

Continue reading »

Nov 172022

(Last month The Antichrist Imperium released their third glorious and reverent ode to Satan under the auspices of the Apocalyptic Witchcraft label. Allowing time for it to settle in, DGR now devotes a long review to it.)

We’re well past a month since the release of The Antichrist Imperium‘s newest album Vol III: Satan In His Original Glory. One of the things we can can say about it is that it will constantly leave you befuddled and may take you about a month to fully wrap your head round it as well.

It is a strange album, from a collective of musicians for whom ‘weird’ has become a consistent throughline in their overall mass of projects to begin with. Voices as a whole and especially their latest volley Breaking The Trauma Bond? Abrasive, weird, fascinating. Ackercocke‘s return Rennaissance In Extremis? Weird as hell and fascinating. Antichrist Imperium when they’re not in full death metal mode? Much the same.

That you have the presence of two of the boulder-punchers from Werewolves in the lineup shows that someone in the band has the mind to attempt some of the most high-minded and far-reaching music and then just as quickly pen some of the dumbest, purposefully one-directional music out there. Continue reading »