May 142020
 

 

The first track on the album we’re about to premiere is entitled “Manifest“. In it, a woman delivers a depressing introductory statement, but one that’s difficult to deny. She observes that wars have raged throughout human history, spilling blood in vast rivers, followed by waves of despair and hate, but that somehow history always seems to leave us blind and ignorant. We are preceded by columns of shattered souls, and countless generations of shattered souls will follow us. And so, she says, “every generation will be blinded by mnemocide….”

As to the meaning of “mnemocide”, it seems to refer to the willful erasure of memory. It brings to mind a line in Greoge Orwell’s 1984: “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

That first spoken-word track on the debut album by this Swiss death metal band, who have themselves taken the name Mnemocide, could be understood as a manifesto for the album as a whole, both lyrically and in the dystopian and dismal atmosphere that the music itself generates while, at the same time, the humongous pounding grooves of the songs are ruining our necks. Continue reading »

May 142020
 

 

(Our friend Vonlughlio returns with this review and recommendation of the new album by the death metal band Unmerciful from Topeka, Kansas. The album is out now via Willowtip Records.)

This time around I have the great opportunity to write about Unmerciful’s third album Wrath Encompassed, released via Willowtip Records on April 28th.  This band from Topeka are well known in the BDM scene due to their 2006 debut album Unmercifully Beaten, which is considered a timeless classic in the genre.

As with many projects, Unmerciful suffered a long time through the hazards of time and life with no new music and lineup changes, until their 2016 sophomore effort Ravenous Impulse saw the light of day.  When it was released I must be honest and say that I had mixed feelings about it. Musically it was good, and yet somewhat different from their debut. In particular, the vocals did not go well with me, not that they were bad, but just did not click with me.  The drums were handled by Origin’s John Longstreth (keep in mind that Origin was also formed in Topeka), through a relationship with some of the members from Unmerciful who used to play in the band in the early years. Continue reading »

May 132020
 

 

(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Paradise Lost, which will be released on May 15th by Nuclear Blast Records.)

Every time a legendary, much-loved band releases a new album there seems to be a race as to who can be the first to declare it “their best album ever”.

Some of these people are, of course, the type of overly ardent fan who’ll take any opportunity to demonstrate their devotion to the band (and to anyone else who’s watching), but others, or so I like to think, are simply blinded by the glare of something shiny and new (which, as we all know, is always alluring).

Case in point, I’ve already seen umpteen write-ups of Obsidian declaring it to be a “masterpiece” – it’s not, though it is very good, which I think people will realise once the hype has died down a little and they’ve had time to reassess – largely, or so it seems, due to the fact that it leans further towards the band’s gothier side (think their Draconian Times/One Second period) than the pure Death/Doom of 2017’s Medusa. Continue reading »

May 132020
 

 

As you can see, it’s time for another gigantic round-up. I took extra time and included artwork for this installment. I’m also very happy with the variety of what I chose, which I’ll forewarn you includes a batch of songs at the end which include singing.

QUESTION (Mexico)

Two tracks off the new album by this death metal band from Santiago De Querétaro, Mexico, are now streaming. They provide vivid reminders of just how good Question are, providing ravaging vocals, unpredictable rhythmic shifts, and equally surprising fretwork that moves the music in eerie and freakish directions while also generating an atmosphere of unearthly menace and unhinged mania. Continue reading »

May 122020
 

 

Over the extravagant span of eight albums, the most recent of which we’re streaming in full today, the German band Horn has marched forward on an increasingly distinctive path, diverging from where it began and now blazing a trail of its own through the tangled forests of black metal and entering a clearing in which Horn stands alone. That may sound like an overstatement, but the new album, Mohngang, is a stunning accomplishment that in all its variations and in the richness of its musical textures really is difficult to classify as standing shoulder-to-shoulder with many (or maybe any) other bands.

We’ll provide some further thoughts (and feeble attempts at descriptive verbiage), just to give you some clues as to whether Mohngang is going to strike a chord with you, but there will be no adequate substitute for simply listening to it now, just days before its release by Iron Bonehead Productions on May 15th. Continue reading »

May 122020
 

 

(We present Vonlughlio’s review of the debut album by South Carolina’s Vølus, which is out now via Vargheist Records.)

This time around I have the opportunity to do a small review for a project called Vølus who recently released their debut album Festering Anti-Cosmic Wound. The mastermind behind this effort is Justin Vølus (Putrefying Cadaverment, Flesh Configuration, Maggot Crown, Morgue Walker), who is also owner of the underground label Vargheist Records from South Carolina, USA.

I have able to review some of the bands on his label here at NCS and have been following the label since I discovered them last year (late to the party, I guess).  One of the things that I admired from the get-go was his commitment to his vision/art and how it should be brought to reality. The original conversations were about BDM that went into other genres, mainly Death/Black genres. That is how he introduced us to the bands on the label. Continue reading »

May 112020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Binary Code, which features a guitar solo by Jeff Loomis, artwork by Eliran Kantor, and an instrumental version of the entire record. It will be released on May 15th, with all proceeds donated to Suicide Prevention in honor of a loved one who inspired the new record.)

It’s fitting that my first review to be published the week after my (surprisingly well-received) rant about mediocrity, maturity, and mainstream exposure should be this one, seeing as how perpetual Prog-Metal underdogs (The) Binary Code are exactly the sort of band who could/should be a major, crossover success, and who wouldn’t need to sacrifice their identity, or their integrity, to do so.

This is even more obvious on their upcoming third album, Memento Mori, which is by far their most expressive, immersive, and emotive work yet. Continue reading »

May 082020
 

 

We have already written extensively about the new album Ersetu by the Italian death metal band Devangelic, just as we did about their previous releases. In this case, in addition to praising individual songs that have been previewed in the progress toward the album’s release, we published an enthusiastic review by our friend Vonlughlio, who summed it up as “a mandatory release for every brutal death metal fan”: These guys know their craft supremely well and have taken the time to create something special in their music that will pass the test of time”.

And indeed, despite how impressive Devangelic‘s first two albums were (2014’s Resurrection Denied and 2017’s Phlegethon), they have managed to elevate their music to an even higher (and more nuanced) plane of brutality with Ersetu. We are thus very excited to present a full stream of the record for you now, in advance of its May 15 release by Willowtip Records. Continue reading »

May 072020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the forthcoming seventh album by Germany’s Secrets of the Moon, which will be out on May 8th from Prophecy Productions.)

Like any tool the use of comparisons, comparing one band to another, can easily be abused (remember back when Deafheaven first started to get big and it seemed like every review had to find a way to reference them somehow?) but it can also be an effective way of connecting with readers and putting them in the same mindset as the writer.

Some bands, and some fans, seem to really hate it, however, and can respond with surprising venom and vehemence to any suggestion that their music isn’t totally unique and utterly incomparable…

Now, Secrets of the Moon may not have reacted that badly to the reviews of their previous album, many of which, my own included, included glowing comparisons to the likes of Alice In Chains, Fields of the Nephilim, The Cult, and more, but they clearly took a little bit of umbrage to the use of so many different references to describe their music, so much so that the PR materials for Black House make a big point about how the album can’t be defined with such reductive methods.

And so, in an attempt to respect the band’s wishes, I’ve decided to write the following review without making a single direct comparison to any other bands.

Well, maybe one… Continue reading »

May 072020
 

 

I know I’m damned lucky to still have a job when so many people have been thrown out of work, but the job has been annoyingly intrusive lately. And by “intrusive”, I mean that it unexpectedly interferes with my grand ideas for NCS posts. This post, for example, is grand and gargantuan, but the job that pays me has delayed its appearance and constricted my time to the point that I’ve had to strip away most of the writing I had in mind. I’m cognizant of the likelihood that depriving you of my complete thoughts will cause widespread weeping.

As the title signifies, I decided to make this round-up death-centric — but there are lots of flavors of death metal represented here and different directions being pursued. I might have figured out a good way to order the flow, but didn’t have time to think about that either. So, just be prepared to bounce around.

I THE INTRUDER (Tunisia)

“Check this steamroller. Nasum-like grind with choppy tech riffs to break things up. Complete barbarian war vocals. From Tunisia. What the hell, Omination, Ayyur, and now this….” Continue reading »