Aug 202019


(Here’s another installment of Andy Synn‘s occasional series devoted to reviews of new releases by UK bands.)

If there’s one thing I often find a little disappointing about the UK Metal scene it’s that many of our “bigger” underground acts seem content just playing it safe and being little more than a big fish in a relatively small pond.

The following three bands, however, are different, in that not only are they each more than capable of taking on the bigger names and more famous faces of the Metal world at their own game, but they also seem more than willing to risk doing so! Continue reading »

Aug 202019


It’s an eclectic mix of sounds that I’ve chosen for today’s round-up; an authoritative but not infallible source doesn’t consider any of them metal. As on other occasions, I’ve benefited from recommendations received from Rennie (starkweather), which are the first two bands in this selection. The first of those, Wells Valley, was already a known quantity to me, though I didn’t know they had a new album set for release. The second one (Indus) was a new discovery, as were the next two, which I learned about in other ways.

Hektik‘s new EP seemed to pair up very well with the recent Indus EP, which is why I’ve put them back-to-back in the middle. The music of Burden Limbs is a different breed of cat altogether, but I’ve found myself hooked on the song I’ve included here, and by the forthcoming EP from which it comes.


In June of this year Black Lion Records released a compilation CD (also available as a name-your-price Bandcamp download here) named Afterlife In Darkness I. It includes songs by 29 bands taken from past and future releases by Black Lion. I should have paid closer attention to it, because one of the five tracks from forthcoming albums on that comp is the new song (“Paragon“) by Wells Valley that I’ve picked to start today’s collection, which is also now streaming on a recently established Bandcamp page for their new album. Continue reading »

Aug 192019


18 minutes of eldritch lurch ‘n’ crunch“. Sometimes it’s hard to improve on a good publicist’s summing-up, and in few words that is indeed a very good description of the “crushing ruminations” (another stolen phrase) displayed across the four tracks of Abysmalist’s debut demo, Reflections of Horror. A solemn and shivering bow must also be aimed in the direction of Abysmalist for their selection of a title for the demo, because electrifying horrors live and breathe within its supernatural confines.

Formed by two veterans of the Bay Area crust and hardcore underground, Abysmalist indulge their affections for Bolt Thrower, Obituary, and other “pre-blastbeat death metal” from the early ’90s (one more stolen phrase), as well as an attraction to such authors as Clive Barker and Patrick Süskind, whose works provided lyrical inspiration. And like authors such as those, the eerie reverberations and ghastly vocals in their music send chills down the spine even as the band pound and eviscerate or drag us through dank crypts like rotten but still breathing corpses. Continue reading »

Aug 182019


Although Part 1 of this death-centric round-up (here) included a mountain of new music, the mountain is about to grow to greater heights as a result of continued vulcanism in the underground. What I’ve chosen for Part 2 are a new album released on Friday, and recent advance tracks from three forthcoming full-lengths.


In 2015, after the release of the uber-powerful Gesundrian, Diocletian split up, but the dissolution wasn’t permanent. Guitarist Atrociter re-formed this New Zealand war-metal strike-force with a new line-up that also includes Rigel Walshe (Dawn of Azazel) at bass and vocals, guitarist M.H. (ex-Heresiarch), E. M. at drums, and Impurath from Black Witchery as lead vocalist. That group has recorded a “comeback” Diocletian album entitled Amongst The Flames Of A Burning God that was released two days ago by Profound Lore. Continue reading »

Aug 172019


It would have been better if I had managed to get a round-up done for yesterday, because fewer people visit NCS on Saturdays than on any other day of the week. Which makes it even more puzzling that I’m planning to present a two-part collection of new music on this Saturday, on top of Andy’s latest Waxing Lyrical interview. It’s not a rational plan, but I can’t help myself.

It happened that most of the music I wanted to recommend today lined up under the giant banner of death metal (though black metal is also in the mix), hence the title of this post rather than the usual “Seen and Heard” moniker. Part 2 (which might have to wait until tomorrow) will include a new album which surfaced yesterday in full, and caught me by surprise, as well as a few other recent selections. There are some surprises in Part 1 too.


Former NCS scribe Joseph Schafer pointed me enthusiastically to the first item in this collection, the just-released debut EP of Putrescine, who claim their inspirations from “the great works of Carcass, Morbid Angel, and the modern hellworld that is the political landscape”. Countless bands have been influenced by Carcass (early Carcass in this case) and Morbid Angel, but this San Diego trio immediately stand out from the pack. Continue reading »

Aug 162019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Australian black metal band Deadspace, which was just released today.)

It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to observe the musical progression of Australian DSBM collective Deadspace since I first stumbled across their Gravity EP in 2016, watching with ever-increasing interest as the band shifted, slowly but surely, away from the goth-inflected anguish of their early days towards a much more aggressive, much more “pure”, Black Metal approach in recent years.

However, it seems like the group’s steady transition away from their gothic/depressive roots has caused some consternation in their fanbase, to the point where they took the unexpected step of releasing a lengthy statement alongside their new album explicitly stating that they’d outgrown or moved beyond the “DSBM” label of their youth, and that The Grand Disillusionment shouldn’t be considered or judged as such.

Which is a little ironic when you realise that there are moments on TGD where the group hearken back towards the DSBM side of things more than they have done in quite some time… Continue reading »

Aug 152019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the third album by the Russian band Shokran, which was released in February of this year.)

There are a couple of reasons I selected the third album from Russian quartet Shokran as my second review of the week.

Firstly, switching out the grimness and grime of Shadow Tentacles in favour of the polished, melodically-stylised sounds of Ethereal makes for some welcome contrast, both for me and (hopefully) for the reader, and forces me to switch up my writing a little in a way that that doesn’t just involve googling additional synonyms for “dark” and “brooding”.

Secondly, it’s been a while since I threw a major curveball at the site, and the amount of gleaming, hyper-emotive clean-sung melody scattered liberally across the length and breadth of this record certainly makes it a bit different in that regard! Continue reading »

Aug 142019


Edmonton-based musicians Davis Hay and Michael Sparks joined forces only a few months ago under the name Sophist with the aim of creating a hybrid of black metal and grind, drawing inspiration from the disparate antecedents of such bands as Napalm Death and Rotten Sound as well as Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, and Anaal Nathrakh. The first fruits of their collaboration is an EP called Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto, with lyrical themes drawn from a text called “Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon”. The EP will be released on August 16th, but we have a full stream for you today.

The EP consists of three complete songs, as well as instrumental-only versions of those same three tracks. As presented in the YouTube stream below, the songs tend to flow from one to the next, creating a sense of being hurled further and further into a hellish occult realm where the listeners senses are under constant assault. Continue reading »

Aug 132019


The four men behind Cruickshank don’t advertise their resumes, though they’re definitely not newcomers to heavy music. They’re Canadian, but probably don’t dwell in Iqaluit, Nunavut, despite what their Bandcamp page says. They obviously don’t feel confined by genre boundaries in their music, nor by any commitment to orderly song structures. In fact, the tracks on their self-titled debut album are so riotously unchained that it’s hard to imagine how they were conceived and planned out, and almost equally hard to imagine how they were executed so immaculately.

As the album blasts its way through your skull like an unstoppable juggernaut, you can grasp elements of sludge, doom, hardcore, grind, noise rock, punk, and probably some other ingredients, if you’re interested in trying to locate the songs in a genre grid. But good luck trying to come up with a hyphenated genre descriptor that you could rattle off your tongue without getting your tongue twisted. Even just trying to meticulously follow the path of the songs would be a twisted exercise. It’s better to just abandon any temptation to dissect the songs or figure out what inspired them. Turn off the rational calculator in your head and just allow yourself to be bludgeoned and bamboozled. Continue reading »

Aug 132019


(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the latest album by the Mississippi-based death metal band Uzumaki, which was given a CD release last month by Vargeist Records.)

There comes a time for all of us when we are introduced to a project that has been going for a while, but we’ve overlooked, and once you make that discovery you’re immediately hooked. This was the case for me with the band Uzumaki, a death metal outfit run solely by Mr. Jared Moran, who creates complex and obscure songs that blow you away. That’s how I felt when listening to Uzumaki‘s latest offering, Spoken in Tongues. This record was digitally released last year, but thanks to Vargheist Records it has been captured in a physical format this year.

In planning for this small write-up I wanted to get familiar with Uzumaki’s complete catalogue. So I listened to the first album, Glossolalia, released back in 2012, and moved forward toward the newest one. I was curious to see if there had been some progression within the music or if instead it had become stale over time, and also to get a sense of the overall sound across the releases. Continue reading »