Feb 122020


To try to sum up the music of Ensnared‘s new album Inimicus Generis Humani as “progressive death metal” or “avant-garde death metal” would probably send the wrong signals. It might make people underestimate how vicious, how emotionally disturbing, and how mentally mutilating the music often is. But it’s definitely something very different from the kinds of death metal you come across on the usual beaten paths. Perhaps “interdimensional death metal” would be closer to the mark for music of such predatory spirit and such evil alien allure.

Inimicus Generis Humani is this Swedish band’s frightful and fascinating second album, following 2017’s excellent Dysangelium. The same two labels that released that first record, Invictus Productions and Dark Descent Records, will be releasing this new one on February 14th. Not long to wait, to be sure, but you won’t have to wait a moment longer to listen to the album, because we’re bringing the full stream to you today. Continue reading »

Feb 112020



(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three recommended albums that we largely overlooked last year.)

This week is, thankfully, notably less busy in terms of new releases than the last one was.

In fact the only ones which really jump out at me are the new Ihsahn EP, Telemark (which, as a long-time fan of the man’s work, I found to be a big disappointment), the highly-anticipated full-length from Godthrymm (about which I’ll be writing more later in the week), and the debut record from Washington-based Black Metallers Izthmi (which I’ll also be writing about very soon).

So, taking advantage of this temporary lull, I’ve decided now is the perfect time for another look back at last year so as to give some belated attention to three artists/albums which I/we otherwise didn’t get around to covering at the time. Continue reading »

Feb 102020


(In this post TheMadIsraeli provides recommendations and brief reviews for two EPs, one by the Connecticut band FROGG released in January of this year, and one by North Carolina’s Ergodic coming out in March.)

Sometimes nothing hits you like a simple, effectively written, and short EP. It’s even more impressive when the band reveal themselves to be onto something at another level, or at least a clearly high-quality band who understand their own influences and where they want to take those influences.  FROGG is such a band, combining a good deal of modern and progressive influences to release a debut EP (A Reptilian Dystopia) that represents, at the very least, a promising new face in the technical death metal space. Continue reading »

Feb 072020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the just-released second album by the German band Stoned God.)

There’s a hoary old cliché (with, let’s be honest, some solid basis in fact) that the older you get the less open you are to new sounds and new bands.

Thankfully this hasn’t happened to me yet (and hopefully never will), but I must admit that the more music I’m exposed to the more I seem to be tightening up my standards (although some people still seem to think I like everything equally… which is definitely not the case).

What this means, of course, is that while I still have no issue celebrating and supporting albums which I think are worth listening to, even if they don’t necessarily hit the heights of true greatness, it generally takes something really special to excite me to the point where I start ranting and raving at anyone who’ll listen about how they have to listen to this band/album right now!!!

It doesn’t even need to be something that reinvents the wheel or changes the game – it can just be something that twists or tweaks, or otherwise iterates on, an existing formula in a fresh, exciting way – as long as it gets the neurons firing in that special way, that’s all that matters.

So, with all that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Prog-Death powerhouse Stoned God. Continue reading »

Feb 062020


Within the genre of metal (writ large), the musical hybridization of sub-genres is more common than it used to be. Even the inclusion of musical ingredients from beyond metal altogether is no longer rare. In fact, we might be somewhere near a zenith of cross-breeding and experimentation within our beloved genre.

As we all know, this doesn’t always work out well. Sometimes it produces music that seems bolted together without much regard for the ultimate effect, or lacking any apparent reason. Like the sight of Frankenstein’s monster, we can still see the livid sutures, and would rather turn away with a shudder than embrace it.

But when genre-splicing does work, when the disparate ingredients are harnessed together according to a well-thought-out design in order to create a richness of emotional impacts that would be difficult to achieve in a different way, given the particular interests of the musicians, the results can be unusually powerful and engrossing. The new album, Kenoma, by the Belgian band Sons Of A Wanted Man, is a prime example of that kind of success. With great pleasure, we present a full stream of it today, on the eve of its release by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions. Continue reading »

Feb 052020

God Dethroned


(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three forthcoming or just-released albums by God Dethroned (Netherlands), Horresque (Germany), and Svart Crown (France).)

Genre terms are funny things, aren’t they?

While I often find them very useful as a form of rough-and-ready heuristic shortcut, one which helps me, and my readers, quickly get into the right mindset and formulate our expectations accordingly, their misuse (or outright abuse) can be even more confusing than just saying nothing at all.

It’s even worse when we get down to the fine grain of things, as these terms and definitions become even more nebulous, and it gets harder and harder to tell precisely where Death Metal becomes Blackened Death Metal becomes Melodic Blackened Death Metal becomes Progressive Melodic Blackened Death Metal… and so on, and so forth.

The three albums you’re about to read about all fall somewhere in/along this spectrum (whereabouts exactly is sure to prompt some lively debate), and while all have their flaws (which I’ve not been shy about highlighting) I’m pretty sure many, if not most, of our audience will find something to appreciate from their myriad metallic delights. Continue reading »

Feb 052020


(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by the Norwegian band Kvelertak. The album will be released by Rise Records on February 14th.)

The third album from these Norwegian punks is not only more refined, it is also their first with new vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen. The youthful attitude in his snarl gives more weight to the punk slant of this album.

When punk is referred to here, think more of a ’90s European direction like Refused. Punk is also only one side of the equation, as they also offer a large dose of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar harmonies that have a warm Thin Lizzy-like tone. Not that any of these elements are coming out of left field. They have all been hinted at on the previous albums, but have now been brought further into center stage. Continue reading »

Feb 042020


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the third album by Psalm Zero, which will be released by Last Things Records on February 24th.)

Like many of their NYC brethren, Psalm Zero walk a tightrope of genre-splicing madness, and their latest release Sparta  is another success spurred from that scene. Including such bands as Kayo Dot, Vaura, and Stern, these groups utilize an alchemy which pulls from Metal, ’80s Art Music, Jazz, and Avant Garde among others. While all these groups are excellent at what they do, Psalm Zero might be the most Metal sounding at this point in their career.

Sparta is their third album, their first without guitarist Andrew Hock, and also the first not to appear on Profound Lore. Instead, the record will come out on band leader Charlie Looker’s own Last Things Records. Looker now handles guitar, vocals, synths, and programming and is joined by Ron Varod on bass and the formidable Keith Abrams on drums. With a combined resume that includes work in pretty much all the aforementioned bands and more, Psalm Zero bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Sparta. Continue reading »

Feb 032020


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Sepultura, which will be released on February 7th by Nuclear Blast.)

People occasionally ask us why it is that NCS focusses mainly on underground and/or lesser-known artists over bigger and more famous groups.

The truth is that, as much as we enjoy a lot of big-name bands, it’s simply much more fun, and much more rewarding, to write about something fresh and new than it is to keep on rehashing the same old talking points about the same established acts, about whom there is often very little new to say.

After all, no-one needs to read yet another fawning article about how the new Tool album is the greatest thing to ever happen to music (even though no-one’s heard it yet) or some bored writer’s attempt to explain why Slipknot’s decision to fill most of their new record with radio-friendly ballads is actually the most extreme and rebellious thing possible. Those pieces have been written a million times already, so what more could we possibly add? Heck, what would we want to add?

But there are certain occasions – maybe we feel like we have a fresh angle to cover, or simply want to provide a more balanced and hype-free assessment than the ones we’ve found elsewhere – when we decide to break this self-imposed embargo and dedicate some space to an album or artist who doesn’t necessarily need it… but definitely deserves it.

Enter Quadra. Continue reading »

Feb 032020


(In this post Vonlughlio gives a strong recommendation for the latest album by the Russian black/death metal band Horror God, released last fall by Lavadome Productions.)

Cursed Seeds, the third album by the Russian band Horror God, was released last September by Lavadome Productions. I should confess that I have been following the label for years and become friends with the owner Jan, conversing about Death Metal, likes and dislikes, not seeing eye to eye, all the good stuff friends talk about.

Having said that, it is the music alone on Cursed Seeds that prompted this write-up. I have enjoyed each second from start to finish, because it is a perfect blend of Death/Black influences put into 7 songs totalling 36 minutes of pure fury, desperation, loss, and hope. My first listen turned into three listens in a row, and I found myself enjoying the overall effort from this group more and more each time. Continue reading »