Aug 012019


Thrash comes in a variety of flavors, even if the metalsphere hasn’t been quite as maniacally devoted to concocting sub-genre labels as it has in the case of death metal, black metal, or just about everything else. So, to say that Sabotage is a thrash band only goes so far in giving you a sign-post to the direction of their music. Even to add the further data point that they claim influence from Bay Area thrash doesn’t tell the whole story.

As you’ll discover through our premiere of this Indian quintet’s debut EP in advance of its August 3rd release, they’re definitely skilled at cooking up the kind of high-voltage riffs that are capable of getting a mosh it into a full froth. But this isn’t “party thrash”. Although you certainly can party hard to this music, these dudes are bone-breakers, with a penchant for brutal grooves, and an equal flare for anthemic melody, spectacular soloing, and politically charged lyricism, all of which elevates their fierce music above a lot of the been-there, done-that, beer-soaked sloppiness that we also call thrash. Continue reading »

Jul 192019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new EP by the Spanish technical death metal band Wormed, which was released on July 19th by Season of Mist.)

Wormed are, without a doubt, one of the more ridiculous acts in Metal.

And I mean that entirely as a compliment.

Despite conventional wisdom that “less is more” the Spanish quartet have made a career out of their seemingly endless pursuit of ludicrous excess, with practically every song (and album) attempting to be faster, heavier, and louder – more beats per minute, more notes per second, more babbling sci-fi nonsense – than the one before it.

It’s perhaps ironic, then, to find that the band’s latest EP strongly suggests that sometimes less IS more, as these four tracks prove to be just the right bite-sized portion to allow both new and old listeners to get their fill of brutal techstravagance without feeling like their overstuffed brains are going to explode at the end of it. Continue reading »

Jul 192019


Before we move into the weekend I want to recommend two EPs. The first was released last night — I happened to notice the Bandcamp alert in my e-mail not long after it landed there, and bought it immediately. The second was released in May, but I overlooked it until a friend pointed me to it earlier this week — and it was love at first listen.


To any regular visitors at NCS my admiration (okay, “adoration” is probably more accurate) of Rebel Wizard‘s music is well-known. Having been so consistently enthusiastic about B. Nekrasov‘s previous releases under this moniker, I was predisposed to like this one (I’ve already confessed that I bought it before listening to it). Conceivably, I could have been disappointed, in which case you would not be reading these words. Obviously, however, I’m very happy with my impulsive purchase. Continue reading »

Jul 192019


(This is Vonlughlio’s review of a debut EP by the California technical death/grind band Marburg, which was released in a CD edition by Vargheist Records on July 5th.)

This time around I would like to talk about the band Marburg from Los Angeles, California. They are a Tech Death/Grind group that formed back in 2015 and digitally released their debut EP Polemicist in 2016. At some point they signed with the South Carolina label Vargheist Records, which has recently released the EP on CD.

Getting the chance to listen to their music, I did not have any idea how it would sound, and ohh boy, this turned out to be a pleasant surprise, to say the least. For me, the sound is natural, and all the instruments play a key role in delivering in-your-face grind with tech ingredients that make it even more enjoyable. The first song, “Fuck You”, is the perfect introduction, giving the listener a taste of the wild ride they are about to experience. Once I hit play, the energy in the music was unquestionable, and the talent showcased here is superb. Continue reading »

Jul 072019


As you can see, I’ve planned a two-part SOB again. I doubt I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today, and even if I do, I think I’ll defer it to Monday anyway. With so many new-music round-ups lately, I’m afraid we’re at risk of overloading people already, especially because this Part 1 includes four full releases in addition to the two advance tracks I’ve placed at the beginning (and there are additional complete releases in what I have in mind for Part 2)..


We’ve been closely following the progress of the Spanish band Noctem since 2011, when they released their second album, Oblivion. Four of us have written about the band over the years since then, amassing 16 different posts about them (including two interviews). Obviously, we are fans. But we have equally been persistently curious about what they would do next.

Noctem’s music has always been a blend of death and black metal, but the sound hasn’t remained stagnant. It might go too far to say there has been a continuous trajectory over time, but in general it seems like in the earlier years they were more death-metal focused, whereas the last album, 2016’s Haeresis, leaned more toward the black metal elements in their sound. Based on the title track from their new album, The Black Consecration, it sounds like they’re leaning even harder in that direction, and have in other ways made shifts in sound from their last record. Continue reading »

May 232019


(DGR reviews the new EP by Polish extreme metal veterans Vader, which will be released on May 31st by Nuclear Blast.)

It doesn’t feel that long ago that we were musing on the idea, prompted by Vader’s previous EP Iron Times — prior to the full-length The Empire in 2016 — that the group’s habit of putting out an EP just before an album release often served as excellent preview of where the long-running Polish death-metal/thrash-metal group’s head-space was currently at, and what sort of album we might be getting from them soon after.

It’s a serious consideration with Vader, because unlike many other death/thrash hybrids the group often aren’t a hardcore fusion of genres, where elements from both are clearly recognizable all the time. Vader have two methods of operation: They can actually be a full-blown thrash band, or a fully furious death metal band. When they mix the two, they often lean hard into one side. When they are in a full-on thrash mood, it is like they could’ve easily headed the genre as a whole, and when they go for the blast-furnace style of death metal played at high pace, it seems like they could do the same thing there. Continue reading »

May 162019


It’s fair to say that most of our premieres, even for genuinely underground bands who are seeking neither fame nor fortune, are arranged by PR agents and labels — but certainly not all. Our mission is only to spread the word about metal that makes a strong and positive impression, music that moves us and that we think might move you, regardless of how we learn about it. Here is an example of that, which came our way via a message from the band itself, and which we then sought permission to premiere.

The band is Lux Nigrum (“black light”), which is the work of Chilean solo artist Azerate, aided by session drummers. On this new EP, Burning the Eternal Return, the drums were performed (with extraordinary skill) by Holycaust, the man behind the Chlean black/thrash band Morbid Holocaust. Conceptually, the EP is about “the destruction of the cosmic order imposed by false gods through the sacrifice of the Ouroboros (when you can recognize it’s representation as a tyrannical form of eternal emptiness and absurd repression) putting an end to the cycle of life and death”, and thus it concerns “rejecting the life given (not denying it) and dissolving the ego that binds us in an earthly way, to accept the return to the Primordial Chaos”. Continue reading »

May 132019


Gustaf Fröding, who died in 1911, is considered “one of the greatest poets of verse that Sweden has ever produced”. In his own life he struggled with alcoholism and mental illness, and according to the same source just quoted, “His poetry combines formal virtuosity with a sympathy for the ordinary, the neglected and the down-trodden, sometimes written with his own dialect. It is highly musical and lends itself to musical setting….”

While musical adaptations of Fröding’s verse have been wide-ranging, the range is even wider now because the Swedish death metal band Mordbrand have made two of Fröding’s poems the lyrical subject of songs that will be released digitally and in a 7″ vinyl format on May 15th, via De:Nihil Records — and today it’s our pleasure to present streams of both tracks: “Döden” and “Efter Döden“. Continue reading »

May 102019


With this review I’m making amends as well as a recommendation. Every year I encounter dozens of new records I wish I had time to write about, and often even intend to write about, but nevertheless fail to mention. In 2016 one of those was a self-titled EP by the Irish duo Gourd, a mountainously heavy and monumentally disturbing creation whose substantial run-time not only called into question Gourd’s classification of the release as an EP but also threatened the long-term well-being of anyone who listened to it.

I intended to write about Gourd, and should have, but Cursed Monk Records‘ impending release of a new Gourd EP, Moldering Aberrations, affords a chance for personal redemption. In one fell swoop I get to insist that you listen to that 2016 record AND that you check out this new one at the earliest opportunity, especially if there’s just too damned much happiness in your life. Continue reading »

May 102019


Much could be written (and has been written) about Ungoliant, the dark spider queen “from before the world” who played a role in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Silmarillion and was mentioned in The Lord of the Rings. Also known as Gloomweaver (because she was capable of generating impenetrable darkness), she gave birth to a race of giant spiders, and her own unremitting hunger was so great that she consumed herself.

With that bit of background, it becomes apparent from the music of the Ukrainian symphonic black metal band Ungoliantha why they based their name on that giant dark spider. One might find other clues to the music from the spooky cover art of their new EP, The Howl in the Waste — a collage of black cats, skulls, and Gothic spires. There is indeed an atmosphere of supernatural horror and terrible grandeur that pervades the EP, manifested in different ways across its five tracks — all of which we’re streaming today in this exclusive premiere. Continue reading »