Nov 052018
 

 

Both Amiensus and Oak Pantheon are from Minnesota. Both bands are long-time favorites at our putrid site, and we’ve been following both since very early days in their development. And now both of them, today, have released a new split named Gathering II.

As the name suggests, this isn’t their first collaboration. Five years ago to the day, they jointly released another split named Gathering. It included one track by each band, and so does Gathering II, but the new release also includes a third track that’s a true musical collaboration in which both bands participated. Continue reading »

Oct 312018
 

 

I can’t quite claim that Svpremacist has provided the bookends for my metal listening in 2018, but it’s close. ‘Twas early February when I encountered this Israeli band’s debut EP, with the smile-inducing title of Black Fuck You Metal, and now on this Samhain day they’ve just discharged a follow-on EP, the news of which I’m happily helping to spread around through this post.

The title of the new one is Book Burner, but have no fear, the band continue to proclaim loudly: “Svpremacist plays Black Fuck You Metal exclusively!” They have dedicated this new release “In honor of South American Metal warriors past and present”. Continue reading »

Oct 282018
 

 

I’m in the midst of a 4-day vacation in Las Vegas with my spouse and her sister and sister’s husband. Blogging has not been on the menu of activities. Getting more than about 4 hours of sleep a night hasn’t been on the menu either.

I did manage to extricate myself from one outing this morning, but spent an hour on the phone with internet support trying to get good enough wi-fi in the hotel room to stream music. Long story short: my time alone is now about to run out, and so this edition of SHADES OF BLACK is going to be shorter than usual.

EZKATON

In April of this year I came across a spellbinder of a song from the debut album of this Ukrainian black metal band, and quickly showered it with praise. Later, I discovered that the album as a whole (Plague for the Empires: Time) was also really powerful. And now Ezkaton will soon be releasing a new EP. Continue reading »

Oct 242018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Cryptopsy, which is set to drop this Friday, October 26th.)

So I didn’t intend for this week to be some sort of “Seven Days of Tech Death”-style celebration, but considering that on Saturday I published an interview with James Malone from Arsis, on Monday my reviews of the new Beyond Creation and Gorod albums went up, and I already have a suitably tech-tastic edition of The Synn Report lined up for Friday… well, it looks like things have ended up that way regardless.

So, I thought to myself, why not stick with this trend and pen a few thoughts about the soon-to-be-released new EP from those stalwart sons of Canadian darkness, Cryptopsy? Continue reading »

Oct 192018
 

 

Today is the release date (through Solitude Productions) for the debut EP, self-titled, of the German band Voidhaven, whose line-up includes members of Crimson Swan and Ophis — and it proves to be a masterful interweaving of traditional doom metal and doom-death that plumbs depths of hopelessness and misery yet has the capacity to send the heart soaring.

Voidhaven is now available for listening through YouTube and Bandcamp streams that we can share with you. It consists of two songs of approximately nine minutes apiece — long enough to cast powerful and lingering spells, but not too long, never risking a fall into monotony. Continue reading »

Oct 192018
 

 

It’s probably a common phenomenon among metal fans to make guesses about a band’s musical genre based on their choice of name. The name Gathering Darkness, for example, might suggest flavors of doom, and when the band first formed 20 years ago, their focus was indeed on a doom-drenched variant of death metal, as reflected in their first demos. But as the years passed, the sound changed, and the suggestion of a dark, atmospheric, doom-centric focus which the name might still convey is no longer reliable.

As the interests of this Spanish band evolved, the focus turned to brutal death metal, but that genre label might itself be a misleading indicator of what the group have created for their new EP, The Inexorable End, which is being released on October 21st in celebration of their 20th anniversary, and which we’re presenting in a full stream today. Continue reading »

Oct 102018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by the English death metal band Seprevation, which was released on September 9th.)

The last time we checked in on Bristolian Death/Thrash droogs Seprevation was… just over a year ago, when they released their Echoes of Mercy EP (and you can read all about that here).

Luckily they haven’t been resting on their laurels in the intervening time, and have not only been gigging their collective arses off, up and down the country, but have also spent some time putting together this brand new collection of sonic savagery which I’m pleased to be able to draw your attention to today. Continue reading »

Oct 022018
 

 

Short But Sweet” is the tag we usually apply to reviews and streams of EPs and other releases that are less than album-length; we would apply the tag consistently except sometimes I forget to add it. Today I’m adding it when in one instance I probably shouldn’t, since one of the following releases is classified as an album — though it’s only about six minutes longer than one of the following EPs. But I’m late getting to it and wanted to say something about it without further delay.

This post is “Short But Sweet” for another reason: Pressed for time, I’m not able to write respectable reviews, just brief words of praise about each of these four items. I’ll add that each of these occupies a different genre space from the others, so you should check out all of them even if some don’t hit your own sweet spot.

ARES KINGDOM

My interest in this Kansas City death-thrashing band, whose recording roots go back into the mid-’90s, extends to the very early days of this site — the first review I wrote about their music was in May 2010, about six months after I launched NCS. I’ve written more things about them since then, not only because their music is so damned good but also because I also got interested in their personal stories. Continue reading »

Sep 282018
 

 

(Andy Synn brings us this review of the crushing new EP by California’s Armed For Apocalypse on the day of its release.)

While I’m still slaving away on this month’s edition of The Synn Report (it’s a big one, and I think you’ll all be very pleased with how it turns out) I’ve realised that, in all likelihood, I’m probably not going to get it done in time for posting today.

It will probably make an appearance early next week, however, so don’t worry.

As a result of this realisation I decided to take a quick look around the ol’ interweb and see what else I might be able to write about in the meantime, so as to tide you all over until Monday.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but the long-awaited comeback EP from Californian Sludgecore quarter Armed For Apocalypse drops today! Continue reading »

Sep 242018
 

 

I returned from a three-day vacation in Eastern Washington’s wine country last night. For three days I listened to no new music of any kind, other than a few songs from a gypsy rock band named Diego’s Umbrella because that’s what one fascinating young winemaker started streaming when I asked him what music he would pick to go along with the art on his label and the fabulous Portuguese red wine in his bottles. When I returned to metal for a couple of hours last night, I experienced an episode of synchronicity (or serendipity — I’m never quite sure how those words differ from each other and am too lazy to look up the definitions).

I don’t mean to suggest that the following three selections of music sound alike (they really don’t). But they nevertheless sounded to me as if they belonged together, in part because they’re unconventional, in part because they reveal technical adroitness harnessed to creative adventurousness, and in part because they tend to twist your thought patterns into different shapes while also triggering more primitive responses.

GERYON

Before Geryon, before Krallice, before Nicholas McMaster and Lev Weinstein moved to New York from Chicago, there was Astomatous. That was the band that these two talented folks used as a vehicle for their creative impulses before moving on to other projects (including the two mentioned in the previous sentence). Astomatous released one album in 2006 (The Beauty of Reason), and they had developed material for a second one, but never brought it to fruition. However, they decided to use some of that material as the basis for a new Geryon EP (Astomatous), which they released through Bandcamp not long ago, without advance fanfare. Continue reading »