Jul 212021


I didn’t try to make this usual Sunday column last Sunday. Just too weary and too hungover, which I did predict on Saturday. By waiting, I came across things that I wouldn’t have written about then, because I didn’t know about them then.

The music in this blackened roundup reinforces my belief (which is reinforced every day) that I will never become bored with extreme music. It continues to evolve, and to be filled with tremendous spirit and inventiveness.

Yeah sure, there’s a lot of boring music being made by metal bands. I encounter plenty of that. You do too. But in general, barring the lightning strike, there’s nothing good in any aspect of our lives that doesn’t require sitting in the stream with the pan in your hand, sifting for the gold until your ass is drenched and your fingers are numb. Here are some nuggets, even if they might slice your fingers and draw blood when you try to grasp them. Continue reading »

Jul 112021


Hate to say it, but this week’s column is in some respects going to be linguistically abbreviated, if not musically. The day job has been a bear this weekend, and on top of that I’m getting together via Zoom in a couple hours with Andy Synn and DGR to record “voice breaks” for our next session as Gimme Metal DJs on July 30 (at noon PDT, 3:00pm EDT, 9:00pm CET). I’m not confident in my ability to ad lib about the music we’ve picked, so I need to make some notes to myself, e.g., “don’t fuck this up!” We’ve picked a lot of good stuff for our two-hour show, so I hope you’ll tune in.

Anyway, my writing eventually peters out today (you’ll see what I’ve done to short-cut things as you move through this collection), but that’s not a sign of lack of enthusiasm or appreciation for the music itself. I do believe it’s all still worth your time.


About three weeks ago in one of these columns I highlighted the release of a giant 24-track sampler by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions. At that time I picked out tracks from three French black metal bands to feature, because they were all from forthcoming albums. I also mentioned that the sampler included tracks from a new split by Limbes (formerly known as Blurr Thrower) and Mütterlein — though I hadn’t yet listened to them. Now I have, and I want to draw special attention to Mütterlein’s track here, in part because it creates such great anticipation for a new Mütterlein album headed our way via Debemur Morti Productions. Continue reading »

Jul 042021


Happy Fourth to all of you in the U.S. Hope you have something worth celebrating, even if it’s mainly the chance to safely commingle in the flesh with people you haven’t seen in a while. As usual on a Sunday, I’m celebrating the discovery of new dire, dismal, demented, and demolishing blackened sounds.

In Part 1 of this thing yesterday I focused on a handful of individual tracks. Today, with some help, I’ve selected a group of full releases — most of which pay little homage to ancestral Scandinavian second-wave black metal. Like yesterday I’ve mostly kept my commentary briefer than usual. I’ve got other tasks ahead of me today, though they won’t include cookouts, fireworks, or drowning in beer.

MORAST (Germany)

I’m bookending this collection with recommendations from starkweather‘s Rennie, beginning with Morast’s new 7″ EP, The Palingenesis, which was released on May 21st by Ván Records/Totenmusik. Continue reading »

Jul 032021


Here in the US we’re in the midst of a big weekend holiday, the biggest of the summer in normal times, and in this time also a celebration of release from covid bondage, though whether it’s anything more than a temporary furlough remains to be seen. But here at NCS I pride myself on observing no holidays, only hangovers. And since I don’t have one today I decided to get a head start on what has turned out to be a two-part edition of this column.

What I’ve chosen for Part 1 are four songs from forthcoming albums, and one from an album that’s been out for five months. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Though Part 2 isn’t written yet, what I have in mind is a selection of recent new full releases. Barring a hangover, it will arrive in the usual spot on Sunday.

GOTMOOR (Belgium)

To begin, I decided to celebrate a different incidence of independence than the one our holiday here commemorates. To explain, I’ll summarize the historical background, which I learned from investigating the Dutch lyrics to this opening song, “Verheft het Vaandel” (“Raise the Banner” in English), by the Flemish band Gotmoor. Continue reading »

Jun 272021


Reporting to you today from the hellish Pacific Northwest heat dome, where the second highest temperature ever recorded in Seattle at any time of the year happened yesterday and new records will be set today and tomorrow, I bring you  Part 2 of today’s expanded column devoted to black-ish metal. I decided to include three new EPs of very different styles, and to bookend them with one advance track from a forthcoming record and one song that opens a recently released album.

ONDFØDT (Finland)

Part 1 of today’s column was entirely devoted to videos, and I thought I’d begin Part 2 with another one. This one is for a song named “Mörkri” from Ondfødt’s new album Norden (their third full-length), which is set for release by Immortal Frost Productions on July 30th.

The heaviness of the bass and the hammering of the drums give the song visceral punch and power, but the mood of the music is severely desolate and distraught, with a haunting feeling of isolation and abandonment that’s matched by the frozen vistas in the video. But the song is a multi-faceted one. A militaristic drum pattern announces a change, with swinging, swaggering, and swirling riffs and scorching blasts of vocal ferocity giving the song a healthy dose of feral, carnal energy — though it becomes cold and cruel before the end. Continue reading »

Jun 272021

photo by Terje Johansen


You might have noticed that I didn’t publish the usual Saturday round-up yesterday. I’ll spare you the reasons, but will say that I spent hours going through dozens of new songs and videos that I’d added to my enormous listening list over the last week. Some of those were black metal songs of different styles. I made some hard choices about which of those to include in this usual Sunday column, but still wound up with enough for a two-parter.

What you’ll find in Part 1 are four new videos, two of them for songs from releases that have been out in the world for a while and two of them for tracks off forthcoming albums.


I learned about the first video through a press release by Peaceville Records that arrived yesterday. I had to scroll through lots of text and photos about Darkthrone’s new album before coming to the Mork news, and I haven’t yet seen any reports about the video on social media or elsewhere. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit in writing about it, but the press release treated the video as something that had already premiered, so it seems fair game. I assume word will spread further on Monday.

The song featured in the video, “Født Til Å Herske”, happens to be one of my favorites on Mork’s newest album, Katedralen, which is packed with strong songs. “Født Til Å Herske” includes a guest vocal appearance by Kampfar’s Dolk (who also appears in this video), and the additional tonal texture and feeling he adds to the song is one reason why it stands out to me. Continue reading »

Jun 202021


Did you think there would be no SHADES OF BLACK today? If so, you were very nearly right. I had a repeat of the Friday-night/Saturday-morning experience which I reported in yesterday’s video roundup: going out with a big group of friends last night, staying up really late, overindulging intoxicants, and sleeping like a hibernating bear until very little was left of this morning. I nearly decided to just abandon this column for one Sunday. But the old NCS obsessive-compulsive disorder finally wouldn’t allow that.

So what did I hurriedly decide to do? I decided to pick three new songs off a giant sampler released on Friday by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions. Continue reading »

Jun 132021


Sadly, I’m hurrying to complete this Sunday’s collection because, not so sadly, I slept much later than usual. I didn’t get much of a head start on the column yesterday, so the preponderance of the effort was left to these rapidly waning morning hours. Fortunately, as always, you’ll have the music streams, which are more important than my too-meager words anyway.

As bookends for the collection I’ve chosen advance tracks from forthcoming records, and in the middle are three complete new releases.


The opening song I’ve chosen, “Ymir“, combines dismal chords and sprightly, pinging keys, a skipping kind of march and a hammering gallop, nasty growls and scorching screams. The music becomes panoramic and magisterial, and flickering guitars give it bursts of ebullience, but the music’s overarching moods are ominous and anguished. The accompanying video is fascinating. Continue reading »

Jun 062021


I nearly didn’t include the new Mayhem and Darkthrone songs in this column, because I thought anyone who would visit us today would have already heard them. Plus, as is generally true of NCS as a whole, I tend to focus on less-heralded bands than the ones whose names are household words. On the other hand, those are two of black metal’s most influential bands, and getting new songs from both of them in the same week seems like something especially noteworthy, especially for a column like this one. So, they’re both here.

After that I shifted the focus to more obscure names, and by coincidence almost all of them are UK groups.


Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando is a Mayhem EP that will be released on July 9th by Century Media. The dual title signifies that the EP includes three original tracks (“Voces Ab Alta,” “Black Glass Communion,” and “Everlasting Dying Flame”) as well as covers of classic punk tracks from Discharge (“In Defense Of Our Future”, Dead Kennedys (“Hellnation”), Rudimentary Peni (“Only Death”), and the Ramones (“Commando”). The song that emerged last week is one of those original tracks, which was initially recorded during the band’s Daemon sessions. Continue reading »

May 302021

Ritual Moon


Especially after yesterday’s humongous round-up it probably wasn’t smart for me to follow it with another one, but that’s what I’ve done. As you’ve probably figured out by now, careful thinking and reflection never have much to do with my NCS contributions. Impulse and enthusiasm tend to rule the day.


I had intended to fully explore this L.A. band’s January 2021 debut album after listening to an advance track many months ago, but never got back to it until my comrade DGR recently posted about it. He figured it would be up my alley. It definitely is. Continue reading »