Jun 072023

The story of New England-based I, Destroyer is an unusual one, perhaps best summed up as a tale of indomitable perseverance in the shadows of the underground. As we write this, the band are on the eve of their 20th anniversary, and yet (with a new lineup in place) are only now about to release their first official EP as a label release.

Those two decades did see the production of four I, Destroyer demos, but they were self-released and usually passed along by hand to friends, fans, and other bands. Moreover, although those four demos collectively included 21 songs, they totaled only about 38 minutes of music. The new EP — Cold, Dead Hands — is nearly 25 minutes all by itself, spread across 6 tracks. If you do the math, you’ll figure out that these songs on average are longer than anything the band have done before.

These songs are also dynamic and expertly executed assaults. And make no mistake, they are indeed vicious assaults, relentlessly pulse-pounding attacks of black thrash and speed metal, but with enough changes in momentum and mood (and plenty of technically eye-popping performances) to keep listeners perched on the edge of their seats. It’s raw and nasty, fetid as well as ferocious, both feral and freaked-out — a wild ride from beginning to end.

And so, it’s with fiendish pleasure that we present a full stream of Cold, Dead Hands today in advance of its June 9th co-release by Eternal Death and Born for Burning. Continue reading »

Jun 062023

(Here’s DGR’s review of a little-known EP from March that made a favorable impression on him.)

Another one for the short but sweet pile to break things up a bit and from a part of the world we don’t get to travel to too often.

Dragdown are – for lack of a better term – a melodeath group hailing from Japan, hybridizing a few different styles together but mostly hewing close to the groove-focused and galloping offshoots of the melodeath scene and even cramming some metalcore guitar chug into the auditory violence. Dragdown are big fans of the super-aggressive verse and clean-sung chorus approach but have an interesting tact for it in that they don’t really ‘lighten up’ for the glory-chorus segments. Dragdown clearly like the part where the drummer takes a ‘can’t stop, won’t stop’ approach to things.

The group’s newest EP Antisocial arrived in the middle of March and found itself collected up in the great NCS content maw, and wow, has this one taken a while to get around to. It’s hovered in the background for a bit but Antisocial isn’t the easiest EP to get a hold of, and since there was a brief musical lull we now have the time to dive into it. Continue reading »

Jun 042023

I won’t repeat everything I wrote here yesterday about why I’ve fallen behind in my usual attempts to keep up with newly released music (you’re welcome). Suffice to say, for this column I followed the same blunt-instrument, cutting-the-Gordian-knot strategy as I did yesterday.


At the risk of being accused of clickbaiting, or at least bait-and-switch, I’m starting with a piece of welcome news — but it isn’t accompanied by music.

The news is that on August 25th Debemur Morti Productions will release the second part of Blut Aus Nord‘s Disharmonium album series — Disharmonium – Nahab — accompanied by the chilling cover art of Polish artist Maciej Kamuda. That’s an earlier date than a previously announced calendar spot in September. Continue reading »

May 302023

(What you will find below is NCS writer DGR‘s review of a new EP by Finland’s Omnium Gatherum, which will be released on June 2nd by Century Media Records.)

There’s always a fair share of carny/used-car-salesman when it comes to catching someone’s eye with a new release, and especially when it comes to an EP, so if you had told us ages ago that Finland’s Omnium Gatherum were going to put out an EP that included a cover of the song “Maniac”, we probably would have assumed that’s what was going on. However, in 2021 Omnium Gatherum would put out Origin, which was a release so bathed in musical neon and earworm synth lines that it makes perfect sense for them to cover a song like “Maniac” – if anything it’s perfectly in line with what the band are up to these days.

That forthcoming EP, Slasher, consists of the new title song, the aforementioned attention grabber of a cover, and then two songs that were taken from the Origin recording sessions, roughly translating to the simple conclusion that if you loved Origin, you’re going to like Slasher because it is quite simply more Origin.

If you’ve enjoyed Omnium Gatherum throughout the years, and especially as they’ve embraced their campier side post-The Burning Cold, you’re also going to dig hard into the Slasher EP because even with an eighteen-minute run time, Omnium Gatherum still find a way to create some absolutely lush music with plenty of hair-blowing-in-the-wind-esque guitar and keyboard soloing to justify its time with you. Continue reading »

May 292023

(In the following review DGR catches up with the latest release by the Australian band Orpheus Omega, an EP that surfaced last month.)

Even though we’ve often dwelled within the realms of the dark and heavy – our site background having been a giant pile of skulls for over a decade now – we’re not above and beyond traipsing into the ligher side of metal from time to time. We’ve featured a-plenty of clean singing over the years, usually when used effectively and not just as ‘product’ to provide a radio-worth chorus, and yes, there are a few of us in this burnt-out shell of a building that like them some good ol’ fashioned melodeath keyboard cheese.

When a band buys wholly into that sort of bullshit, it’s difficult to not cheer along, and Australia’s Orpheus Omega have proudly flown that flag for some years now, fully ensconced in the ‘no, this is what we make’ mentality with full admiration for the era of early-aughts melodeath when the synth work became especially prominent and was a constant traveling companion of whomever decided to kick out the next guitar solo.

Orpheus Omega are just that sort of band, and while their 2019 album Wear Your Sins didn’t quite gel with us as well as we would’ve liked, 2015’s Partum Vita Mortem was a near-perfectly constructed one of those sorts of albums, with plenty of glory-flag waving and power-choruses to turn any listener into a massive dork. Obviously, time doesn’t stand still for anyone and the group have evolved since then but thas one of a handful of things that made the April release of their new EP Portraits interesting. Continue reading »

May 262023

(Not long ago DGR stumbled across the debut EP of Wyoming-based Virulent Genesis, which was released earlier this month, and it struck a nerve, leading to the review you’ll find below.)

Wyoming’s Virulent Genesis arriveD to us by way of AN internet spelunking trip, part of a collection of ‘oh, that looks interesting’ captured in the great maw that is the review backlog. We could wish to provide a much better origin story, like them crashing into our burnt-out shell of an office by way of meteor, or somehow them fixing the goddamned elevator and finding their way into the lobby, but that isn’t the case.

Sometimes, the stars align just right and you get a wild hair to write about an upstart death metal group based out of Wyoming. That’s the case here with Virulent Genesis‘ first release Introduction To Misrule. Continue reading »

May 212023

This Sunday’s tour through the black arts is shorter than usual. Unexpected conflicts have arisen in my day. The confliction in the music was planned.

DUSK CULT (Australia)

Behold, our revelation statement
Bow down, before a dying sun
Yielding, to midnight manifesto
We’ve only just begun

Those words are some of the lyrics to “Black Cloud Worship“, a new song that this Australian band presented two days ago through a dramatic video wherein revelations occur on a rocky, wave-drenched shoreline. I had some idea what to expect from this duo (who are members of Be’lakor and Rainshadow), based on the manifold strengths of their 2021 debut album Embrace the Lunar Age, but the music still left my heart pounding hard. Continue reading »

May 192023

(Our long-time writer DGR has been very busy catching up with recent releases that struck his interest in different ways, and today we begin a daily run of reviews that will carry on through next week. This one is for a new EP by the Scottish band Penny Coffin that was released in April via Dry Cough Records and At With False Noise.)

We’ve long specialized in stumbling headfirst into the world of the oppressively dark and suffocating. Rarely would you see a website describe itself as having a knack for something and it certainly couldn’t be said that we’re skilled seekers of the style; it’s more like a drunken crash through the wall when the entrance door is just two feet over. The latest one to send that shock to our system – or be rudely awakened by our door-crashing — is the group Penny Coffin and their latest release.

Penny Coffin come to us by way of Scotland with their third EP – the band currently on a schedule of one EP a year – Conscripted Morality. Conscripted Morality saw release in early April and was one of the many tumbling into the whirling abyss of the internet discoveries that found themselves captured in the great content maw, with the purpose of allowing us to investigate when things here sort of lightened up.

Playing a style of grossly-heavy death metal with an emphasis on brutalizing and equally brain-rotting guitar chug, it’s shocking that the band haven’t fought their way onto this here site before, because Conscripted Morality‘s brand of bleak-and-grey mud is perfectly suited to find some listeners around here. Continue reading »

May 182023

Portugal’s Gallows Rites are as un-pretentious as they come. In their debut EP Witchcraft and Necro Desecration they announce their steadfast devotion to Lucifer, and never swerve from it. The music is a black thrashing glorification of the lord of Hell and all his minions, often primal and primitive but thoroughly saturated by the stench of sulphur and exulting in the kind of sonic sorcery that brings visions of witches’ covens to the mind’s eye.

Gallows Rites thrive in the fast lane, just as devoted to music that would stir up mosh pits into bloody froths as they are to the glory of the Lightbringer. But they also switch gears and moods in these five songs, in ways that make them even more attention-grabbing.

You will experience all this for yourselves today, because we have a premiere stream of the EP in advance of its release tomorrow — May 19thby Helldprod Records. Continue reading »

May 162023

Almost two years ago we encountered Duhkha, the debut EP by the Polish band Bezdech, summarily describing it as “a hair-raising and head-spinning alchemy of avant-garde black and death metal”, and then adding these words:

This Polish duo paint their disturbing but often electrifying sonic portraits with colors of mind-abrading dissonance, thoroughly unpredictable fretwork maneuvers, and rapidly veering tempos. But the music is just as likely to become cloaked in shrouds of haunting gloom or to dip into streams of soul-shaking misery as it is to spin like a centrifuge of technically impressive lunacy and riotous savagery. And holy shit, the vocals are stunningly rabid and possessed.

Since then Bezdech have expanded their line-up from a two-man studio project to a full four-man band, and have managed to get a few live gigs under their belts. They’ve also been working on new music for a debut album, but have decided to give the world a glimpse of what they’ve been working on via a demo named Tam, gdzie gnijemy pod pomnikami that we’re gratefully premiering today. Continue reading »