Oct 202020

Daughter Chaos


(Andy Synn returns to NCS from the injured list and brings us reviews of three excellent EPs released in September or October of this year.)

Some of you may have noticed (or maybe you didn’t, I don’t know how much attention you’re all paying) that I haven’t published anything here at NCS for a little while.

The reason for this is that last weekend (not the one just gone, the one before that) I managed to do myself an injury – not the worst I’ve ever had, but significant enough to affect my life – that has basically kept me in pretty much constant pain, and prevented me from sleeping more than an hour or two at a time, ever since.

As a result I really haven’t been in any mental or physical shape to focus on my writing here, hence my absence over the last week or so.

Thankfully I’m slowly beginning to heal up (and have gained access to some better drugs) meaning I’m now finally capable of diving back into the massive backlog of bands/releases which has developed over the last few days/weeks/months, so expect to be hearing a lot more from me – about a lot of new releases – over the next several days.

And to start things off, here are three pretty damn killer EPs from three pretty damn killer bands. Continue reading »

Oct 162020


The Swedish duo known as Murdryck began musical life in 1999 as a “Blackened Dark Ambient” project, disappeared for a time, and then rejuvenated themselves as a Black Metal band in 2014. Thereafter, they released two excellent albums, 2016’s Antologi MMXV (reviewed here at NCS) and 2019’s Födelsen. And then, to the sorrow of Murdryck’s fans, they disbanded. But it turns out that the two men behind Murdryck weren’t finished after all.

That duo — bassist/vocalist Lars Hansson and guitarist Adam Chapman — came back together early this past summer, inspired to renew their cooperation in pursuit of fresh ideas. Adopting the name Åskog, they ensconced themselves in a decrepit forest house owned by Lars deep in the woods of Värmland and wrote four songs between July and August. As they explain, the themes of the music were spawned by the band’s presence in that old forest house, with its own morbid history and its wilderness setting, during a time when the Covid-19 pandemic turned the world into chaos: “You only have to watch nature documentaries to realize the natural world is truly a horrific place. The great outdoors is romanticized, but the reality is it is brutal with no room for concession or concern.”

But what kind of music was born of this reunion, and Åskog’s focus on the cold and harsh brutality of nature? You are about to find out, because today we’re streaming Varg, Åskog‘s first demo, on the eve of its October 17 release. In its digital edition, it includes two of the four songs written this past summer, and a cassette tape edition will include a third one as a bonus. Continue reading »

Oct 062020



(Here’s a triptych of EP reviews by Andy Synn.)

One of the (many) great things about writing for this site is that, free from the concerns of having to sell ad space or keep to print deadlines, we’re basically free to write about what we want, when we want to.

So, for example, if I want to dedicate an article to reviewing three releases all situated somewhere along the Blackened Crust/Hardcore spectrum… then I can do!

And if those three releases all happen to be EPs, and not albums… it’s all good!

And then if one of them was, in fact, originally released back in February, even though I’m only just getting to writing about it now… well, that’s not a problem either! Continue reading »

Oct 062020


For those of you who may only now be discovering Throane for the first time, it is the solo project of Dehn Sora, whose name will be familiar to many as the visual artist whose creations have adorned the covers of albums by a multitude of well-regarded bands. Because he is a graphic artist and designer, and a collector of vinyl records himself, the visual presentation of Throane’s music in its physical packaging is inseparable from the sound. And so the conception of Throane’s new EP Une Balle Dans Le Pied (which will be released on October 16th by Debemur Morti Productions) was as much rooted in an image as it was in an imagining of the sound, and thus there are multiple layers of meaning to be found here.

The EP’s title translates to “a bullet in the foot”, a French expression symbolizing the act of sabotaging oneself. The cover image depicts Sora’s sister, a choice that recalls previous releases in which Sora has featured individuals close to him, with a personal symbolism. He explains: “Working as a nurse in different services, her daily routine makes her face death, addicted personalities, terminally ill people. Walking through their homes, their souls. Walking on broken glass. But forced to get rid of it, at the end of every day. To stand still. And keep walking.”

But the image is ambiguous. Sora again explains: Continue reading »

Oct 062020


(In this review DGR praises the new record by Los Angeles-based Choke Me, which was released in June by Riot Ready Records.)

Speaking of releases that have fallen firmly in the category of “have listened to a ton since its sliding across my proverbial desk”, L.A’s Choke Me and their album The Cousin Of Death – released  in late June via Riot Ready Records – is the latest candidate to build itself a very comfortable nest in that pile.

There’s a few reasons for this: One is that this disc is fast. The band dub themselves “fastcore”, so at the very least this should be an easily attainable goal, and The Cousin of Death clocks in at about twenty-five minutes over twelve songs. The second is that The Cousin Of Death is cathartic. It nails the feeling of lashing out within the first few songs and retains that sort of ferocity for the entirety of its run time, the dual vocal assault provided by its bassist and guitarist amplifying that effect.

Third, whether intentional or something that just popped up during the songwriting sessions, nearly every song here has some sort of flash point where the group shift from comfortable death and grind riffs into full on blasting hell, as if every song seeks to light itself on fire and be fully immolated by its ending. That moment where the tempo accelerates into full speed is so much fun that even though it happens over and over throughout The Cousin Of Death proves that Choke Me have really gripped on to something.

Finally, I have a soft spot for just about any release that contains as much bile within it as a song like “You Aren’t Special” does. Continue reading »

Oct 022020


The title of Ventr’s debut EP — Numinous Negativity — is nearly perfect for the music. Numinous, Luminous Negativity might be slightly better. But the title has meaning beyond the sensations of the music and the visions they spawn in the mind. We’ll come to that momentarily.

The EP may be a debut recording, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a first effort. The band are Portuguese, and the EP will be released by Signal Rex (on October 9th), but the music doesn’t fit neatly into the kind of raw black metal aesthetic that you might expect from those facts.

As for the conceptual underpinning, we’re told that the title refers to “a spiritual and/or religious form of negative perception – the mysteries in the works within the omnipresence of the Devil.” Continue reading »

Sep 302020


This is an example of “better late than never”, to put it mildly. Humanity Is Cancer wrote the songs on their forthcoming self-titled debut EP back in 2014/2015, as guitarist Thomas Haywood was just about to launch his two labels, Redefining Darkness Records and Seeing Red Records, whose releases have received considerable acclaim in the ensuing years. As a result of the effort devoted to the labels, the EP was put on hold — but it will now finally see the horrid light of a November day in a truly terrible year that has abundantly proven the truth of the band’s name.

And it is definitely better late than never. The four songs on the EP are all terrific, delivering with considerable mastery a style of death metal that draws upon the influence of Aeon, post-Barnes Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, early Decapitated, and Bloodbath. The music’s immediately addictive rhythms are pulverizing, its morbid, preternatural melodies are memorable and haunting, and it achieves heights of ferocity that are spine-tingling. Continue reading »

Sep 232020


Not all metal bands, and in fact very few of them, unite behind a concept that’s as harrowing and as intriguing as the music they make. This isn’t intended as a criticism of bands who are content to make music that isn’t rooted in a conceptual vision or narrative. Good music is good music, regardless of its inspiration. And by the same token, a thought-provoking concept doesn’t make mediocre music any better. Yet when the two come together, the experience is even more special.

The Chilean trio Montaña Sagrada (“the Sacred Mountain”) have based their debut EP The Living Green, which we’re premiering in full today in advance of its September 25 release, on an especially intriguing (and mysterious) conception. Set during the 15th and 16th centuries, it focuses on a powerful group of people located on what would become known as Chiloé Island, a large island off the southern coast of Chile. “Shrouded in myth and protected by irrational fear”, these people had a firm hold on the population, with plans for domination that rivaled those of the European colonial powers. The band explain: Continue reading »

Sep 182020


(Here’s Vonlughlio’s review of the debut EP by Dripped, which was released in August by Ungodly Ruins Productions.)

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a small review, but life (work and family) has taken a lot of my time, not leaving much to do something I like (writing and promoting music) but overall can’t complain. Anyway, I’m taking the opportunity now to talk about a new project called Dripped (Australia/Ukraine) that was formed back in 2019 with members of Corpseflesh, Septik Piggery, and Cranial Osteotomy.

The band signed to Ungodly Ruins Productions and this past August released their debut EP, Putrescent Omniscience, which consists of six songs that introduce what this new project has to offer — and I have to say that I am loving these 15 minutes of pure force with no fillers. This is an EP that just blew me away at first listen and should get more recognition in the scene. Continue reading »

Sep 142020


In just two days Loud Rage Music will release Nebuisa, a new EP by the Romanian band Ordinul Negru, but you won’t have to wait to hear it, because we’re presenting a full stream today.

The EP seems to be a bit of a musical collage, at least in the way the songs came together, but the combined effect of the four tracks is to create a ravaging and ravishing experience. The music is richly multi-faceted, often intricate, and elaborate in its combination of moods and energies, again proving that Ordinul Negru‘s approach to black metal, which includes inventive songwriting and superior musicicianship, is neither conventional nor mundane. It stirs up the emotions but equally arouses the imagination, and has an electrifying visceral impact as well. Continue reading »