Nov 022018
 

 

If my brain worked better or if I kept better notes about interesting phenomena I could provide an exhaustive list of all the 2018 albums released by notable bands with little or no advance fanfare. Off the top of my head I can name Panopticon, Sargeist, and Kriegsmaschine. And now I can name one more, because yesterday the Polish blackened death metal band In Twilight’s Embrace released a new album without warning.

This is the band’s fifth full-length, following hot on the heels of last year’s Vanitas, which we premiered and reviewed here (at length). Because everyone can listen to it now, and because I’ve only listened to it twice (in rapid succession), having been surprised by its appearance as much as anyone else, I’m only going to share some immediate impressions of Lawa… and they’re obviously positive ones or I’d be keeping them to myself (since at this site we only write about what we want to recommend). Continue reading »

Nov 012018
 

 

Apollyon come our way from Kelowna, British Columbia. Following last year’s release of their debut EP, Immolation, the band are now on the brink of releasing a very impressive debut album named False Light. The official release date is tomorrow, but we’re very happy to bring you a full stream of it today.

The album is an ambitious undertaking, one in which elements of death metal and black metal play dominant roles but don’t exhaust the musical ingredients that Apollyon have woven into a richly textured musical tapestry. Dynamic change is a hallmark of the record, with carefully crafted variations in tempo, style, and mood a significant source of the album’s considerable appeal. And the emotional power of the melodies is as much a strength as the bruising physicality of these tracks and the instrumental prowess demonstrated in their execution. Continue reading »

Oct 312018
 

 

I can’t quite claim that Svpremacist has provided the bookends for my metal listening in 2018, but it’s close. ‘Twas early February when I encountered this Israeli band’s debut EP, with the smile-inducing title of Black Fuck You Metal, and now on this Samhain day they’ve just discharged a follow-on EP, the news of which I’m happily helping to spread around through this post.

The title of the new one is Book Burner, but have no fear, the band continue to proclaim loudly: “Svpremacist plays Black Fuck You Metal exclusively!” They have dedicated this new release “In honor of South American Metal warriors past and present”. Continue reading »

Oct 312018
 

Benighted

 

(As Andy Synn did before him, DGR seems to be making a late-season effort to get caught up on planned reviews before year-end LISTMANIA drowns us all. Three reviews today, and some undisclosed number of further ones ahead.)

What you are reading is the beginning of a feature that has taken way too long and gotten way out of control. Meant to be like its older band-roundup-review siblings in the shorter review realm, the reviews in this post become the subject of a whole lot more talking and yapping since I found so much to enjoy on each release. As a result, the finish line continually moved further and further back.

In fact, the Beyond Creation review was about half-written by the time our own Andy Synn posted his (alongside his review of Gorod’s Aethra for those who missed out) and almost wound up being deleted so as to not commit the NCS “Sin” of double-talking over each other. But pride won out on that front, because I was waaaaaay too fucking proud of the opening paragraphs to let it go, which naturally meant one needed to run his mouth for another….ten. You can see how this is playing out.

Needless to say, there are a few other reviews forthcoming that will have us traveling the world, hopefully to catch us up with all of the music that has washed over us in the past few months (not likely! there’s been so much!) in the form of big name releases, celebratory collections, even an alternate universe debut album from a local Sacramento group. What you’ll find here, therefore, is only the start, beginning with some late-September/early-October releases and carrying on from there. Continue reading »

Oct 302018
 

 

(Despite what the title of this post says, Andy Synn hasn’t managed to review every fine 2018 album and EP we’ve heretofore failed to write about, but he does catch up with more than two dozen of them.)

While lots of blogs/zines are already (or soon will be) switching their focus away from covering new releases and towards consolidating their annual “Best Of…” lists, here on NCS island we’re still doing our very best to bring as many new (and some not so new) albums/artists to your attention as possible.

Of course the truism that “there’s simply too much music out there” remains as painfully accurate as ever, and it pains me to admit that I/we simply can’t cover all the releases we want to, in the depth we want to, no matter how hard we try.

So consider this article a voluntary mea culpa acknowledging our limitations and a (probably futile) attempt to make amends a little bit to all the bands and artists who we may have missed or ignored over the last several months, as well as to shine a light on a couple of upcoming releases you’ll probably want to keep your eyes/ears open for. Continue reading »

Oct 292018
 

 

(Vonlughlio prepared this review of the new album by Certainly Demented, which will be released on November 15th by the Russian label Lord of the Sick Recordings.)

For me this year in Brutal Death Metal has been another good one. I’ve found new bands, and more familiar ones have released new material that’s been better that their previous efforts. In my last appearance at NCS my small write-up was for a band called Insidious Squelching Penetration that I recently discovered and just fell in love with at first listen, and I mention that because I’m now turning to another band that came out of nowhere to take over my soul.

The band is Certainly Demented (and they certainly are), with their debut album Inhaling The Fragances of Insanity, to be released via Lord of the Sick Recordings this November 15th. Continue reading »

Oct 282018
 

 

I’m in the midst of a 4-day vacation in Las Vegas with my spouse and her sister and sister’s husband. Blogging has not been on the menu of activities. Getting more than about 4 hours of sleep a night hasn’t been on the menu either.

I did manage to extricate myself from one outing this morning, but spent an hour on the phone with internet support trying to get good enough wi-fi in the hotel room to stream music. Long story short: my time alone is now about to run out, and so this edition of SHADES OF BLACK is going to be shorter than usual.

EZKATON

In April of this year I came across a spellbinder of a song from the debut album of this Ukrainian black metal band, and quickly showered it with praise. Later, I discovered that the album as a whole (Plague for the Empires: Time) was also really powerful. And now Ezkaton will soon be releasing a new EP. Continue reading »

Oct 252018
 

 

“It’s death metal” doesn’t really tell you very much, which is why fans of extreme music long ago began inventing an ever-expanding, increasingly-hyphenated roster of sub-genres. I suppose one of those is “ritualistic death metal”, a kind of phrase that’s difficult to define but you sort of know it when you hear it… sort of. However, my use of the label “Death Rituals” for occasional posts like this one isn’t really intended to describe the style of music, it’s just a short-hand preview of the fact that I’ve decided to devote a round-up of new music to different styles of death metal, and that’s what you’ll find below.

SULPHUR AEON

I’ll go out on a limb and assert that Sulphur Aeon’s Swallowed By the Ocean’s Tide was one of the most explosive death metal debuts of the last 10 years. It didn’t hurt that the cover art by Ola Larsson was equally attention-grabbing. Together, the art and the music vaulted this German band onto the radar screens of fans and critics across the metal-listening parts of the globe in strikingly impressive fashion, and they cemented their reputation with 2015’s Gateway to the Antisphere. Now Sulphur Aeon and Ola Larsson have joined forces again for the band’s third album, The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos. Continue reading »

Oct 242018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Cryptopsy, which is set to drop this Friday, October 26th.)

So I didn’t intend for this week to be some sort of “Seven Days of Tech Death”-style celebration, but considering that on Saturday I published an interview with James Malone from Arsis, on Monday my reviews of the new Beyond Creation and Gorod albums went up, and I already have a suitably tech-tastic edition of The Synn Report lined up for Friday… well, it looks like things have ended up that way regardless.

So, I thought to myself, why not stick with this trend and pen a few thoughts about the soon-to-be-released new EP from those stalwart sons of Canadian darkness, Cryptopsy? Continue reading »

Oct 222018
 

 

(Andy Synn has packaged two reviews into this post, addressing the new albums of Beyond Creation, released by Season of Mist on October 12th, and of Gorod, which was released on October 19th through OverPowered Records.)

When I initially wrote and published “A Tale of Two Albums”, comparing and contrasting the most recent Arsis and Revocation records, I had absolutely no intention of ever writing a sequel or follow-up.

However, in conversation with my friends/bandmates recently we got to chatting about the new Beyond Creation and Gorod releases, and I realised that these two would also make great fodder for a co-feature of their own, not only because both bands are going to be on tour together very soon, but also because both Algorythm and Aethra find their respective creators making an effort to expand and redefine their sound… although one of the two albums is certainly more successful than the other in this regard. Continue reading »