May 182018
 

 

Within the more heartless and slaughtering corners of the extreme metal underground there has been a decades-long competition to reach the deepest, coldest caverns of devastation and despair, and to weaponize the horrors found within the crushing pressures of those abyssal chasms. The Belgian one-man death/doom band Gateway has been one of the more dedicated and successful combatants in that race to the bottom. Boundless Torture is Gateway’s latest offering, an EP that’s being digitally released today.

This is terrifying titanism, of the kind that spawns a reflexive cascade of metaphors from the more emotional and less analytical reviewers out there, such as yours truly. The sound is immense, dense, abrasive, blood-congealing, and (perhaps perversely) electrifying. Continue reading »

May 182018
 

 

Contact with the Entity is the debut EP by the Italian progressive death metal band Coexistence, and it’s an enormously impressive first foot forward, displaying the kind of song-writing assurance, creative exuberance, and striking performance skill that one would expect from a band much further into their career. We’re very happy to be the bearer of a full stream of the music today, in advance of its release on May 21st.

The EP consists of four tracks, including a brief but disturbing interlude after the head-spinning rush of the first two songs. And those first two tracks, as well as the last one, really are the kind of kaleidoscopic experiences that open eyes wide. All the performers are technically adept; the music is atmospherically rich and wonderfully dynamic; it’s compulsively physical; and it’s loaded with wide-ranging progressive flourishes that include ventures into jazz-fusion-like mind-bending. Continue reading »

May 142018
 

 

(Andy Synn dragged himself from his sick bed long enough to pen this review of the new EP by The Isolation Process, which was released through Bandcamp on March 30th.)

So my original plan for this week was to unleash a Black Metal focussed “dirty half-dozen” on you all as a way of clearing out some of the massive backlog which has developed over the last 4-5 months.

Unfortunately, I’m currently stricken with some sort of soul-sucking flu-bug which is sapping a lot of my energy, so, while I work on kicking that, you’re going to have to settle for something shorter and sweeter, in the shape of the new EP by Swedish Alt-Metal three-piece The Isolation Process. Continue reading »

May 142018
 

 

(After a seven-month hiatus, we present the continuation of a series of reviews prepared by our Russian connoisseur of all things doom, Comrade Aleks.)

First, I was busy finishing the Doom Metal Lexicanum book, and then I put the weight of the “Lexicanum II” project on my shoulders, but blood calls for revenge! And I have some obligations, so here are four overviews of doom albums you may have missed at the end of 2017.

 

Alastor: Blood On Satan’s Claw (Ljudkassett!)

Blood On Satan’s Claw is the second Alastor EP for 2017, and actually I wonder why they didn’t release one full-length album instead. This time the Swedish quartet prepared two ten-minute tracks with a deep psychedelic touch and pop-occult lyrics. The record surpasses its predecessor, Blood Magic, with more effective songwriting and delivery, though the production is on the same underground level. The vocals on these new songs sound different. Actually I was thinking that Alastor had recruited a lady on vocals, but I was wrong. It’s still their bass-player, R, who sings. Continue reading »

May 132018
 

 

There’s a mountain of black music in today’s column — five full releases, the shortest of which is more than 20 minutes long. Moreover, one of those releases is a single song that itself tops 20 minutes in length. I don’t expect everyone to make their way through all of this; tastes do vary, as does the amount of time people are prepared to set aside for the exploration of new music. Recognizing that, I’ve provided previews of the music (at least as I hear it), and in the case of the releases other than the two that consist of long-form monoliths, I’ve selected specific songs that I think provide a good test for whether you’ll like the rest of what’s there.

PLAGUESTORM

Eternal Throne is the debut EP by a Swedish black metal band (from Malmö) named Plaguestorm. According to the two labels who are releasing it (Helter Skelter and Blood Harvest), it was recorded in 2015 but is only now being released for the first time due to unspecified “hardships and delays”. Their description of the music peaked my interest:

Eternal Throne, they wrote, “features four tracks in 21 minutes, where all possible aspects of black metal is being mixed into one, big gruesome bowl where everything from the classic guitar leads of Mercyful Fate, and the chaotic mayhem of Katharsis has its righteous place”. Continue reading »

May 112018
 


Hundred Year Old Man

(Andy Synn delivers another installment in a series focused on recent releases by UK bands.)

There’s not going to be too much preamble for this edition of “The Best of British”, mainly because I’m currently very busy with work for my day job, work for my band(s), and work for a certain other music magazine, all of which are collectively conspiring to monopolise most of my time at the moment.

Be that as it may, however, I’m hoping there’s enough variety contained within these three albums – some of which you might say are a little bit off our regularly beaten path here at NCS – that most of our readers will be able to find something they can engage with and enjoy. Continue reading »

May 112018
 

 

If you’re looking for titanically heavy music, the kind that will loosen your teeth and vibrate your spinal fluid, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for music that glimmers and shimmers like the northern lights, you’ve also come to the right place. If you want the sounds of tension and pain, lead-weighted gloom and feverish desperation, mechanized warfare and sunrise grandeur, you’ll find that here as well — plus a steady dose of what makes people compulsively bob their heads.

Even if all you know about Hegemone’s new album, We Disappear, is what you just read, you can already tell that they’re devoted to creating contrasts on multiple levels, sometimes by separating and juxtaposing the differences, and often by layering them together. The music surges and subsides, seems to crack the earth and heat the blood to a feverish boil, and spirits the listener away to heights of of perilous and panoramic wonder. Continue reading »

May 102018
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by the UK band Lychgate, released in March by Blood Music.)

If you show up for this album expecting black metal, it might be a jarring turn for you. The fact that it is not black metal but still manages to be just as dark and interesting made me willing to go along for the ride. Not every movement on this shifting landscape of angular chaos connects with me, but I approve of the sense of adventure and rebellion against the black metal status quo.

The atmosphere and melancholy of the first song make the angular math of the guitars more balanced, and they get into some proggy abstraction on “Unity of Opposites” to the point that it might be too much like free-jazz for even Deathspell Omega fans. Like it or not, the band has to be applauded for doing their own thing. Continue reading »

May 092018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by the Australian band Deadspace, released on April 11, 2018.)

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that, no matter how purportedly mainstream or well-known a band is, every review (or interview, or article, etc.) is going to be someone’s first exposure to them.

Of course there are always going to be those who are keen to brag about how they knew so-and-so or such-and-such before everyone else, and crap all over anyone who doesn’t share their intimate connection with what they consider the “true” underground… but I try not to let this discourage me from writing about music I think people might find interesting, regardless of whether it’s considered to be “big” or “cool” or “kvlt” (though I’m not sure if anyone even uses that last one anymore).

Because in the end, that’s what we’re all here for. To find new (and sometimes not-so-new) music we might have missed elsewhere. To seek out new bands and new recommendations, to boldly go… sorry, sorry, got a little bit off-course there… anyway, all this is just a long-winded way for me to say I hope that at least some of you enjoy what you’re about to read/hear. Continue reading »

May 082018
 

 

If you managed to catch the 5772 record released last fall by 夢遊病者 (Sleepwalker), then you already know how difficult it is to describe the music of this band. I haven’t heard anything else like 5772… and I haven’t heard anything else like this band’s new LP either. They have boggled my mind again. “Visionary” seems like too pretentious a word, and “genius” might come off too strong, but it’s definitely ingenious — so bewilderingly creative that I’ve become transfixed by it.

The name of this new release is 一期一会 (Ichi-go ichi-e). That title is a Japanese idiom that can be translated as “for this time only, never again”. I’ve learned from The Font of All Human Knowledge that it is often associated with Japanese tea ceremonies, the characters often “brushed onto scrolls which are hung in the tea room”. “The term reminds people to cherish any gathering that they may take part in, citing the fact that many meetings in life are not repeated. Even when the same group of people can get together again, a particular gathering will never be replicated, and thus, each moment is always once-in-a-lifetime”. Continue reading »