Dec 042021


I’m going to dispense with an elaborate introduction to this Saturday’s round-up of new and newly discovered songs and videos. I’ll say only that it includes one complete album, one complete EP, and an assortment of tracks from forthcoming releases — and that the music bounces around quite a it, so don’t think you’ll be allowed to lock in to any one stylistic groove.


Five years is a long time between releases, but save for a very short 2019 split, that’s how long it’s been since we’ve had something new from this enormously impressive Philadelphia band. But the ticking clock got re-set yesterday when Coffin Dust released a new album (their third), the name of which is Nightmare Vision. Continue reading »

Nov 252021

The Norwegian trio Abhorration (guitarist/vocalist Magnus, bassist Andreas, and drummer Øyvind) are a relatively new formation, having started life just last year, but their resumes portended quality, even before any of the music became public — because those members hail from such bands as Condor, Nekromantheon, Hecatomb, Resonaut, Purple Hill Witch, and Obliteration.

We hope that the foregoing list of bands has already peaked your interest in discovering what Abhorration‘s music is all about (it certainly peaked ours). The publicity distributed by Invictus Productions, which will release the band’s debut EP After Winter Comes War, makes further reference to death metal in the vein of such legends as classic Sadistic Intent, Morbid Angel, Possessed, and early Vader, which kindles even more interest.

All of this created high expectations in these quarters, and it’s such a pleasure to proclaim that those expectations were not merely met but exceeded. And thus it’s with genuine delight that we present a full stream of this heart-pounding EP for you today. Continue reading »

Nov 222021

(Ryan Dyer, who made his NCS debut touting the insanity of one-man bands in China and followed that by trumpeting the destructiveness of Calgary’s Whorrify, now returns to the Chinese scene with this new review.)

Guangzhou, China’s Horror of Pestilence are a group of metallic conductors who specialize in creating tech-deathcore savagery blended with symphonic elements, taking the genre beyond its preconceived limitations. Their new EP Illiterate Construction // Inaudible Deterioration marks a pivot for the band, as a new guitarist from Hong Kong-based Massacre of Mothman has recently joined up for further collaborations on their next full-length LP.

Still, there are some Dune-sized ear worms found on this EP such as Middle Eastern elements leading into the snarling “Exiled Revenant.” A tasty saxophone solo also shows up, bringing to mind the brass attack used by Japanese black metal masters Sigh. “God Given. Hell Risen” features some ear-catching dual vocal melodies – another surprise from the plague ragers. Continue reading »

Nov 222021


Gourmand‘s new EP To Bring To Nothing is the kind of thing that demands to be heard repeatedly, in part because the experience is so electrifying and frequently head-hooking, but also because there’s so much to unpack. Every one of the three songs is so intricate and so surprising in its rapidly mutating configurations that it’s almost too much for the normal human mind to assimilate in just one run-through. And it’s such a kaleidoscopic rush that even after repeated listens it still sounds new — because the odds are you’ll detect something (or many things) for the first time that you missed before.

“Progressive death metal” might the closest genre label for what this collective from Kansas City, Missouri have created here, though the technical exuberance of the execution and the labyrinthine compositional approach suggests a more multi-hyphened hybrid. As their name implies, they are connoisseurs of many tastes. The music is certifiably savage, but also remarkably elaborate (and pleasingly groovesome just when you think you’ve become thoroughly discombobulated). Continue reading »

Nov 052021

(Ryan Dyer, who last appeared in our pages touting the insanity of one-man bands in China, now returns to trumpet the destructiveness of Calgary’s Whorrify.)

In the annals of Canadian metal history, according to, there have been at least 5000 Canadian metal bands. In Calgary, specifically, there have been over 200. I often wonder what would happen if all of these band members were situated in one place, like a little island. Whorrify are the new settlers on this island arriving via surfboards, wearing Thrilla Krew threads and setting foot on this beach like they were grind messiahs. Continue reading »

Oct 242021


As promised, this is Part 2 of the column I began here earlier today. It includes reviews and streams of two recently released albums, a track from a forthcoming debut full-length, and a very promising two-song demo.


In the summer of this year I premiered a song and video for this next album of atmospheric black metal (which is self-titled though it’s the band’s third full-length). Sometimes that’s the best I can do to help spread the word about a new release, but for this one I felt I should do something more.

At eight tracks and an hour of total music, Sol Sistere provides a lot to take in. More than merely the accumulated length, the music itself provides a wide-ranging experience. At their heights of intensity, the songs deliver jaw-dropping panoramas of sweeping, soaring, incendiary magnificence, with an emotional impact equal to the colossal sonic impact. The moods are often wrenching, manifesting anguish in shattering ways (the vocals alone are relentlessly shattering). Even when the breathtaking typhoons of sound soften, sorrow usually reigns. Continue reading »

Oct 242021

This turned into a much bigger round-up of black lights than I had anticipated. It started off shorter, but the predicted “bomb cyclone” in the Puget Sound turned into a big fat nothing yesterday, my wife laughed and went off to pal around with a friend, and I had a chunk of time to myself, with the cats peacefully sleeping. And so I expanded this to include three full albums and an EP, in addition to a couple of exciting advance tracks and a debut demo.

To make this large collection more digestible, I’ve divided it into two parts. I’m confident Part 2 will be ready later today, even though at this point it’s only partially written.

Even with the extra time I found yesterday, I’ve still kept my commentary somewhat brief on the longer releases, though I find all of them thrilling and hope you will too. Same goes for the other songs in this collection. Most of the world is a rotten mess, but musicians are still pulling out the stops. Maybe someday people will look back on these days as a covid Renaissance. We’re a miserable species, but we’re indefatigable.


Having been one of those rare people who came to extreme metal late in life, I’m not someone who experienced the foundational genre movements of the ’90s first-hand. And so it was only by reading that I came to understand the role of Eucharist. Continue reading »

Oct 212021


I wrote yesterday that there would be a Part 2 of this mid-week roundup. I wrote that to keep pressure on myself to follow through. Self-pressure doesn’t always work, but it did this time.

Just like the music in yesterday’s installment was geared to keep you on your toes as you move through it, or set you back on your heels, I think this collection will do the same. It consists of three EPs and then a couple of songs from a forthcoming album.


This makes the third time I’ve raved about this solo project of Oklahoma City musician Manuel Garcia, having done so in considering both the 2019 album Life Is A Disease and the self-titled 2017 debut. What makes it even easier to continue raving in the case of Blattaria’s new EP They Seek Power is the realization that Blattaria just keeps moving from strength to greater strength. Continue reading »

Oct 112021


The Absence of Light is the kind of recording that first sells itself by the names of the people who participated in making it.

It’s the work of the Brazilian death metal band The Troops of Doom, whose line-up includes guitarist Jairo “Tormentor” Guedz, a former member of Sepultura’s original lineup playing author and co-author to classic Sepultura albums Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions, alongside bassist/vocalist Alex Kafer (Enterro, Explicit Hate, ex-Necromancer), drummer Alexandre Oliveira (Southern Blacklist, Raising Conviction), and guitarist Marcelo Vasco (Patria, Mysteriis, and an acclaimed graphic artist for the likes of Slayer, Kreator, Machine Head, Soulfly, and Hatebreed).

Moreover, Jeff Becerra of Possessed shared vocals on the track “The Monarch”; Lars Nedland of Borknagar, Solefald, and White Void performed bass on the first three tracks; and Dave Deville conducted the orchestral introduction. As additional icing on the cake, the songs were mixed and mastered by Øystein G. Brun (Borknagar) at Crosound Studio in Norway.

All these names draw attention by themselves, but of course the music must ultimately win people over. The music here is guaranteed to do that, because it’s absolutely electrifying, written and performed with the kind of veteran skill and spirit  you would expect. And you’ll have the chance to experience it through our premiere stream of the EP’s three original tracks today, presented through a video (made by Wanderley Perna) as a single work. Continue reading »

Oct 072021



Time is always fleeting, but I kidnapped enough of it to write some brief reviews and heart-felt recommendations for three very recent short releases that have captivated me (maybe especially because more often than not I’m angry and depressed these days). The SHADES OF BLACK reference in the post title is intended to provide the clue that this is all black metal, but no two of these releases sound alike.


One of the commenters on the Bandcamp page for Sørgelig‘s new EP Slaves of Tomorrow did a very nice job in capturing part of what makes the band, and this EP, so special:

“I love Sorgelig’s utterly ruthless and nihilistic, yet also surprisingly humane and hopeful, take on primal black metal. Yes, we all live ‘in the prison of dead dreams,’ but we *can* dream, we can rage, we can spit in the eyes of our masters and call *them* the slaves. We can burn this blighted hell of a failing so-called civilization to the ground and build something better”. Continue reading »