Dec 262022

Over the last five years we’ve devoted no fewer than seven articles to the music of the French death metal band Iron Flesh, most recently Andy Synn‘s review of their second full-length Summoning the Putrid in 2020. But just last month Iron Flesh released a third album, that one entitled Limb After Limb, and we can’t let the year go by without paying attention to them once again.

In commenting on the last Iron Flesh full-length before this most recent one, Andy suggested you “think Grave/Dismember meets Autopsy/Hypocrisy, with a little bit of early Paradise Lost and Edge of Sanity added for good measure”.

The newest album, out now on War Anthem Records and Cudgel Metal Mailorder, is a weighty offering, featuring 10 tracks of widely varying lengths, and they provide varying experiences as well. Continue reading »

Dec 232022

This aging year will soon expire, but is still capable of birthing metal releases as if it were still young and fecund, right up to the bitter end. And so on December 30th Horror Pain Gore Death Productions will reissue a storming split of unholy (and unconventional) black thrash that features the savage talents of Pagan Rites from Sweden and Vulcan Tyrant from the Netherlands.

You have ears and we have thoughts to prepare them for the onslaught to come at the end of this feature. Continue reading »

Dec 232022

(NCS contributor Axel Stormbreaker returns today with a review of the new album by the multi-faceted Mute Ocean black metal project from Saint Petersburg, Russia.)

Despite how metal implementations have been maneuvering their way around jazz themes for more than two decades, few existing examples manage to present an approach equally concise to Mute Ocean’s Caravan. A record inspiring, unifying, as well as controversial to the beliefs of the few; or the many, depending on a random reader’s viewpoint. An in-depth review follows.

I seriously don’t like most lyrics. My elusive boredom may well reach a point when I’d rather sit all day watching the paint dry, than reading the actual verses of most songs I enjoy. Before anyone feels offended, lemme clarify here: I state this while I too used to be an awful lyricist back in the day. Especially, since the art of great lyricism rivals poetry; a tree that bears fruit, only when thoughts stretch the very fabric of reality.

Did that sound pretentious? Well, not really. See, myself, I function more like an old-school computer. Analytical, methodical, calculative, with a dry sense of humor on top of everything. Aspects that could probably help anyone become somewhat of a bearable writer, yet a horrible lyricist in any regard. Reading interviews, liner notes, as well as finding out the deeper thoughts that construct an artist’s view do always seem interesting. But reading the said lyrical part? Man, that tends to feel nothing besides a colossal waste of time. Continue reading »

Dec 222022

(Andy Synn chooses the new album from Iceland’s Misþyrming as his final review of the year)

It’s crazy to think, now that I’m forced to reflect upon it, how long my (admittedly one-sided) relationship with Misþyrming has been going on.

After discovering them just prior to the 2015 edition of Inferno Festival (where I was fortunate enough to see them perform as part of a truly stacked three-band line-up of them, Sinmara, and Svartidauði), I’ve since written glowingly about them multiple times (and included both their previous albums in my annual “Great” list without hesitation) and also caught them live on several subsequent (and, arguably, superior) occasions.

And now, once again, Misþyrming have returned – almost without warning, and with very little fanfare – with a new album (and a new drummer) to give us all the punishment we deserve.

Continue reading »

Dec 202022

It’s the time of year when many of us are reflecting on what we heard in 2022, sorting it out, making lists, reducing our bank account balances… but for the moment I’m thinking about a musical plague that infected me last year for which a cure hasn’t yet been developed.

That plague, Crepitation Of Phlegethon, was the full-length debut of Occulsed. It ushered listeners into a world of terrors, a world created from sounds that spawned electrifying visions of horror and disease, of madness and mayhem, and of blood-freezing intrusions from spectral realms. As I wrote at the time we premiered it:

“It takes a rare kind of talent to make an album like this one, a death metal album that creates such a viscerally disturbing impact, one that preys upon its listeners’ most deep-seated fears and does so in such thrilling and paradoxically enthralling fashion…. It’s all rotten to the core and as creepy as confinement in a coffin filled with wriggling maggots…. The moods change as well, though almost all the moods are ghastly. The music is both predatory and hopeless, noxious and deranged, horrifyingly imperious and seemingly gleeful in its deviant revels”.

Where in the world did that plague come from? How was it spawned, how did it grow into such a mal-formed but unforgettable monstrosity? We have answers today. Continue reading »

Dec 192022

(Last week we published our friend Gonzo‘s report on Day One of the recent Decibel Metal & Beer Fest in Denver, and now we’ve got his write-up on the second day’s performances and beers.)

Day 2 at any festival always comes with a price – exhaustion, overstimulation, tinnitus, alcohol poisoning, IBS… the possible danger is almost limitless. But so is the potential for having a truly amazing time worth writing about.

For the second day of Decibel Metal & Beer Fest in Denver earlier this month, things could’ve easily gone in any direction for this humble scribe. Continue reading »

Dec 132022

(Our Denver-based contributor Gonzo was in the right place at the right time for the Denver edition of the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest on December 2-3, and kindly provided us the following glowing report, complete with pairings and tqsting notes.)

Few pairings are quite as fine as loud music and weapons-grade fermented beverages.

And perhaps no publication has a better grasp of that fine tandem than Decibel, one of the few print magazines in heavy music that’s still going strong. Fortunately for those of us in the Rocky Mountains (and a good chunk of intrepid travelers), the good folks at Decibel announced this year that they’d be bringing their celebrated Metal & Beer Fest to Denver for the first time.

After soldiering through a glorious 48 hours of incredible music and outstanding ales, IPAs, stouts, lagers, porters, and everything in between, I can confidently say Decibel found the perfect location to invade for this festival. If only my eardrums and liver would agree. Continue reading »

Dec 122022


(Hope Gould returns to NCS with this lively review of the forthcoming debut album by Boston-based black metal band Malleus.)

In 2016, Boston’s Malleus served up a wholly satisfying slab of first-wave-worship black metal with their debut EP, Storm of Witchcraft. Unmistakably channeling Bathory’s evil, primitive approach to Venömhead proto-thrash, Malleus drive their freshly sharpened necromantic blade deep into the heart of black metal’s beginnings. While many bands tap into the same necrotic root, Malleus capture a true metal vitality that is often imitated and rarely replicated.

Revisiting this approach in the subsequent tease of an EP, Night Raids, the underground was left eager for a further glimpse into their portal of the past. At long last, the sinister portal has been re-opened with the announcement of their debut full-length, The Fires of Heaven, set for release on January 27th through Armageddon Label. Continue reading »

Dec 112022

Antecantamenum – Melpomenë

For people who showed up here expecting to find SHADES OF BLACK on this Sunday, you will find some black and “blackened” metal in this round-up, but I decided to expand the musical boundaries. I try to compile music across many metal sub-genres on Saturdays, but couldn’t manage it yesterday because of a Zoom meeting for my fucking day job that began at 8:30 a.m. and lasted until almost 1:00 p.m. It felt like the Bataan Death March except without actual deaths (though when someone dies in a Zoom call it’s not always immediately apparent).

It’s a shame that happened, because even though we’re getting very close to the end of the year, a ton of new metal continues to roll out and I really could have used two weekend columns to highlight some of the new songs and videos instead of just this one. But this one will have to do, at least for now. However, I do believe I can follow it with another one tomorrow. Continue reading »

Dec 092022

(Christopher Luedtke reviews a new EP by the Vegas band HeadGore, which just dropped yesterday. Prepare to have your head gored.)

The state of music today is a frankly daunting and overwhelming landscape. In the last few years alone so many sounds have been converged, soldered, and brought together by odd arcane alchemy in very quick succession. And as this internet experiment slouches onward at lightspeed it becomes increasingly more impossible to hear it all at once, much less in individual doses. It is a thought that crosses my mind as I listen to Las Vegas, NV nocore unit HeadGore. There is a lot going on and going down, and their latest EP A MEAL FIT FOR GOD is a snapshot into the alchemy of everything.

HeadGore has been putting out bizarre iterations of grind, cybergrind, death metal, and electronic music since their 2019 split with Shitnoise Bastards. At once they are primarily a band that fits into the grind category. They do blasts, and the music is fast and noisy, but they very easily transition into the noisecore/noisegrind categories, but then will also flip a track into an electronic break or turn it into an uncomfortable, swampy melodic section. The nature of things seems to be not confining or boxing oneself in, hence nocore. And this latest release A MEAL FIT FOR GOD is the band at their most experimental yet. Continue reading »