Feb 152019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Icelandic band Kaleikr, which is being released today by Debemur Morti Productions.)

If there’s one thing that sums up just how inundated with information we are, and how overwhelming that can be, these days, it’s the fact that I didn’t even know that Icelandic Black Metallers Draugsól– whose debut album, Volaða land, we were all pretty damn impressed with here at NCS – had broken up until I received the promo for Heart of Lead, the debut album from Kaleikr.

Although, perhaps “broken up” isn’t quite the right term, as not only is Kaleikr made up of two of the three members of Draugsól – namely drummer Kjartan Harðarson and guitarist/vocalist Maximilian Klimko  – but there’s also some ongoing contention and debate as to whether it constitutes an entirely new band, or simply a name change for an existing entity choosing to go in a new direction.

Either way though, it’s very, very good. Continue reading »

Feb 152019


In the most rudimentary sense, split releases provide a vehicle for the participating bands to each release new songs in between more extensive releases of their own music, while allowing listeners the chance to sample the works of more than one band at a time. But of course there’s no assurance that the combination of songs from different projects in a single release will do any more than that. Whether the songs actually complement each other, and combine in a way that creates a holistic listening experience that’s greater than the sum of its parts, is a very different issue.

The split release we’re premiering today, entitled Vortex, is one that does go beyond a mere bolting together of singles from more than one group. The two up-and-coming black metal bands who are involved — Ophidian Coil from Serbia and Septuagint from Greece — do not follow identical paths in the music you’ll find here, but there is a “chemistry” between them. The songs of each band, though different in their strategies, exhibit a kind of “spiritual” union in which the different dimensions of Luciferian sound combine in a way that creates a near-30-minute experience that’s immersive — and chilling.

We invite you to listen to these four songs below, an opportunity that coincides with the release of Vortex by Deathhammer Records. And of course we have some thoughts about the music to share as well. Continue reading »

Feb 152019


(DGR reviews the new album by the now-larger-than-life Greek black metal band Rotting Christ, which is being released today by Season of Mist.)

If at this point in their career Rotting Christ have decided to be the AC/DC of anti-religious heavy metal then I am all for it, even if it just boils down to me having an easier time explaining why I enjoy the songcraft that the band have been up to for so many years now.

To say that they’ve found a sound would be putting it politely; Rotting Christ not only found a sound, but they also basically defined it and then later let it define them. Especially in more recent years they have basically shifted from being a fire-fueled black metal nightmare into an almost Hollywood-esque war-drums-and-all hybrid of martial rhythms, ’70s prog guitar influences, and the straightforward guitar stomp and lead work that has made them so insanely catchy over the years. The group’s latest disc, The Heretics, is a giant block of that specific sound. Continue reading »

Feb 142019


When we encounter new music, it is the quality of the compositions and performances that always comes first, and remains paramount, but when a new release has been conceived and crafted with a deep guiding aesthetic that permeates the spirit of the music and the lyrics in a heartfelt way, especially when that aesthetic is an unusual one, it inspires even greater admiration. That’s what we have before us in Empyrée, the superb new EP by the French black metal duo Cénotaphe (multi-instrumentalist Fog and vocalist Khaosgott).

We have learned that in creating this new work, Cénotaphe drew inspiration from “a constellation of 19th-century French literary and artistic figures, such as Aloysius Bertrand, Théophile Gautier, Charles Beaudelaire, and the painter Odilon Redon,” but most especially from the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé. As I am unfamiliar with Mallarmé’s writing, I’ll quote from the press materials announcing this new EP: Continue reading »

Feb 142019


(Andy Synn prepared this trio of album reviews, catching up on recommended albums from last year.)

With a small (and rapidly closing) window in my schedule of upcoming reviews/releases, I’ve decided now is the perfect opportunity to cover three artists/albums from last year that, for various reasons, I didn’t get a chance to cover at the time.

So, without further ado… Continue reading »

Feb 132019


Par le Sang Versé is one of the most thoroughly entrancing and gloriously vibrant metal albums I’ve heard in years, regardless of sub-genre. It seizes ancient folk traditions and hurls them forward into the modern age, but without letting go of the intense devotion to the centuries-old well-springs of inspiration that gave birth to this record. I do think it’s impossible not to be moved in some significant degree by this fervent music, and likely that most listeners will simply be swept aloft and carried away, as I’ve been.

I wrote the preceding paragraph as part of an introduction to our premiere two weeks ago of a single song from this new album by the French medieval black metal band Véhémence. Since then, my conviction has only grown stronger that this record is a rare and marvelously multi-faceted achievement. At the time of that previous premiere, three other tracks were also available for listening, but today it’s our great pleasure to present a stream of all the music in advance of its February 18th release by the French label Antiq Records. Continue reading »

Feb 132019


(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by Disgruntled Anthropophagi from Pittsburgh PA.)


This time around I have the opportunity to recommend Disgruntled Anthropophagi‘s sophomore album, Violently Expunged, to be released via Lord of the Sick Recordings on March 15th.

I was lucky enough to discover the band in 2015 with the release of their debut album, entitled Rampage of Misanthropic Purge, which was a slab of the raw power of BDM with complex changes in the song structures.  I became a fan right from the first listen, convinced by the violent energy they put into those 11 songs with such pure non-stop force. Continue reading »

Feb 122019


(Wil Cifer prepared this review of the new album by Pensées Nocturnes, which was released on February 1st by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions.)

This French band’s last album was an eccentric mix of black metal and chaotic cabaret jazz. This time they are fully committing to a Circus theme. Seeing this report, I assumed this album was bound to sound like Mr. Bungle. In some ways, they don’t prove me wrong.

Where Mr. Bungle hinged heavily on the vocal power of Mike Patton, these guys instead invest more in setting the stage of a place back in time. The vocals are more of a chattering narrative and swing back and forth from operatic singing to growls of anguish. Blast beats are thrown in, against a sway of an angular waltz. This time around the sounds are more layered. It is this layering that paints the exotic sonic pictures. Continue reading »

Feb 082019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Norwegian extremists Drottnar, which is being released today by Endtime Productions.)

So it’s only the first week of February and I’m already feeling pretty overwhelmed and behind the curve when it comes to covering and critiquing new albums this year.

Heck, there’s at least three records from 2018 that I still really want to give some extra coverage to, if and when I can actually find the time!

As you might imagine then, this has forced me to make some pretty tough choices about how I use my time effectively and exactly what bands/albums I need/want to write about, with several painful cuts having to be made to my review list to accommodate all the other work, life, and band pressures currently competing for my attention.

Thankfully there are certain artists whose albums are basically guaranteed a write-up, and self-proclaimed “Bunker Metal” battalion (and previous Synn Report recipients) Drottnar are one of them. Continue reading »

Feb 062019


If you were somehow ignorant about the history of the Italian death metal band Electrocution, you might guess from their possession of such a prized extreme-metal name that they first came to life a long time ago, and you’d be right. Originally founded in 1990, they’re rapidly approaching their 30th birthday. Not uncommonly for a band of such a vintage, there have been numerous line-up changes over the years, but founding vocalist/guitarist Mick Montaguti still leads the band, and on Electrocution’s new album Psychonolatry, he’s joined by other musicians whose astonishing performances, along with his own, send this record into the stratosphere.

Electrocuton haven’t been prolific in their releases. Two decades passed between the band’s first album and their second one, and this third one follows the second by five years. But once you listen to Psychonolatry — which we’re giving you the chance to do right now — you’ll quickly realize that something this extravagant couldn’t have been accomplished without a lot of careful planning, tremendous care, and a ton of hard work. Things like this don’t grow on trees, and they don’t get thrown together quickly. Continue reading »