Jun 272020


This is a follow-on to another gigantic round-up I posted yesterday, and almost all of the songs and videos below were released during the last five days.

I may have mentioned that although my day-job (which still hasn’t reopened) is in Seattle, I live on an island in Puget Sound. Living here has lots of pluses and a few minuses, one of which is that whenever one of the weather gods so much as sneezes the power and the internet go out, which is what happened this morning.

So, I’ve been using my phone as a hot spot. That has slowed me down, and has made doing this tedious enough that I’ve not only cut back on my words but also largely left these items without the usual purchase links, Facebook pages, and other info about the records. I’ll try to go back and fill all that in when doing it is a less annoying process.

CIRKELN (Sweden)

An epic musical narrative, both gloom shrouded and frenzied, melancholy and murderous, haunting and majestic. Seemingly a Tolkein-esque tale told by an orc bred in the subterranean halls of Utumno and raging against his enslavement, the dramatic song blends numerous heavy metal styles to very good effect. Continue reading »

Jun 262020


The Colorado-based melodic death metal band Buried Realm made quite a splash with its debut album The Ichor Carcinoma in 2017. It showcased the guitar wizardry and vocal dynamics of the band’s alter ego, solo artist Josh Dummer, and featured guest performances by such luminaries as such as Christopher Amott (Arch Enemy, Armageddon), Peter Wichers (Soilwork), Teemu Mäntysaari (Wintersun), and Travis Montgomery (Threat Signal, Jeff Loomis band). We summed it up as “so astoundingly exuberant and kaleidoscopic that it takes your breath away to hear it.”

Now Buried Realm is returning with a sophomore full-length named Embodiment of the Divine, which will be released on July 24th. Josh Dummer‘s songwriting and extravagant guitar talents are still the heart of the music, but he has again enlisted a tremendous array of guest performers. And as we did for the first album, we’re again premiering a song from the new one, a thoroughly exciting track called “The Wonder and Terror of Fortune“. Continue reading »

Jun 262020


“This release is likely to induce head-banging, living room moshing, raising of the horns, and many invisible oranges and ‘metal’ faces!” That was the enthusiastic message that Redefining Darkness Records sent to the label’s Bandcamp followers yesterday about In the Morgue of Angels, the debut album of the blasphemous New Hampshire quintet Angel Morgue, which RDR will be releasing on August 7th. And as if that come-on weren’t persuasive enough, Redefining Darkness also recommended the album for fans of Incantation, Immolation, Desolate, and Cruciamentum.

I’ve learned through experience that this label’s enthusiasm is genuine, and their taste in metallic extremity dependable. Still, to borrow the unofficial motto of Missouri, I prefer that someone “show me”. And I’ve been shown, in convincing fashion, and now we’ll show you that the words and name-drops above aren’t empty, but very well-founded. To do that we’re sharing today the first single released from the album — the well-named “Cosmic Torment“. Continue reading »

Jun 262020


On Sunday I mentioned that I had a big block of time over the weekend that I was able to spend listening to new music. Almost everything I’ve selected for the following set of recommendations came out of that listening session. I resisted the impulse to replace a lot of those selections with things that came out this week, but I did add three of the tracks that surfaced during this week. Hopefully I’ll get to more of those in tomorrow’s round-up. The music today is presented in alphabetical order by band name.


I’m starting with something that’s not entirely new. It’s a debut album by Anopheli from Oakland, California (and other places), that was originally released in 2o15 (and I wrote about it here at that time). But the band had the album re-mastered by the same man who mastered the original release — the veteran producer Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden. He explained the changes: “”Things to listen for. It’s less overloaded and everything is more articulate. The overall low end is deeper, the high end is clearer. The drums snap better and interfere less with the other instruments.” Continue reading »

Jun 262020


(Here is DGR’s review of the latest album by Finland’s Wolfheart, which is out now on Napalm Records.)

If you’ve been following, with …And Oceans and Feastem having gotten reviews, Wolfheart marks three from Finland that had been hanging out in the backlog pile.

With the April release of Wolves Of Karelia, it is clear that by their fifth full-length album — their second for Napalm Records after their couple on SpinefarmWolfheart have found a pretty solid niche for themselves. Performing epic-length hybrids of folk metal, melodeath, and a very light airing of the sort of ice and melancholy that affects their region’s branch of the doom metal tree, Wolfheart have for some time now been the ultimate representation of frontman/guitarist and project owner Tuomas Saukkonen‘s musical consciousness.

In fact, up until the release of this year’s Dawn Of Solace album Waves — arriving nearly fourteen years after that group’s previous disc — Wolfheart has been his only project for the last seven years and was consistently dishing out enjoyable music, Wolves Of Karelia included (for the early spoiler), on a nearly two-year interval. Other than the addition of new guitarist Vagelis Karzis into the band’s ranks, Wolfheart remain largely unchanged from when they became a full group rather than just a solo project. Continue reading »

Jun 252020


All devoted fans of black metal well know that it encompasses a broad range of variations, even among bands who maintain links to its earliest days. Even the bands who originated the first and second waves did not all follow the same path in the music they made. Truth be told, despite the rigid dictates of some hidebound fans and the debates we could have about when a band has crossed over into territories that don’t merit the name, the variability of black metal is one of its enduring strengths.

What we’re presenting today is proof of that assertion — a split by two abundantly talented groups who are unmistakably black metal bands but who each have their own distinctive approach. Both of them are capable of mounting hostile, diabolical assaults, to be sure, but each of them brings a lot more to the table than blasting fury, and the differences between those other ingredients makes this new album-length split a great one to pick up.

The bands are Black Altar from Poland and Kirkebrann from Norway. Their split is named Deus Inversus, and all the tracks are new and exclusive to this record. It will be released by Odium Records on June 30th, and today you can hear all of it — preceded by our thoughts about what each band has contributed. Continue reading »

Jun 252020


Today we welcome a new contributor to NCS who goes by the name Jet. She has been a DJ and administrator at Metal Messiah Radio as well as staff interviewer for Sick Drummer Magazine and ViaOmega Magazine. Today she has brought us an interview of multi-instrumentalist Scorpios Androctonus, the founder of the black metal band Crimson Moon which has been located in Germany since 1998. The band’s latest album, Mors Vincit Omnia, was released last year by Debemur Morti Productions. Continue reading »

Jun 252020


(As part of his effort to circle back to earlier parts of the year and catch up on stuff we missed, DGR has a good time reviewing the nuclear shockwave of an album released in March by Finland’s Feastem.)

It’s tempting to write short reviews for grind albums, in part because in the time it takes to hammer out some words about them there’s a distinct possibility that you could loop around the whole disc four-to-five times. Feastem’s Graveyard Earth is no different in that regard: Released in March to close off a close-to-seven-year gap between full lengths, Graveyard Earth clocks in at a little under twenty minutes of drum kit battering and shrieking violence.

Grind albums trend toward being quick expulsions of auditory violence and Graveyard Earth is very comfortably nested in that musical family tree. It is – understandably – seething and mean, with a whole range of targets serving as musical clay pigeons for Finland’s Feastem to knock out of the sky, with only one song clearing the two-minute mark.

Feastem move fast and Graveyard Earth will likely toss its fair share of people to the side, and honestly, Graveyard Earth is easily one of those albums better suited for a specific mood. But if you need all-consuming blasts and guitar work that could power you through even the slowest of events, then Graveyard Earth is fantastic.

Especially the way everything hits after the opening bass guitar dirge in the title song, my goodness. Continue reading »

Jun 242020


Regardless of how completely awful the current situation may be on almost too many levels to count, any year that includes a new album by Shed the Skin is a good year, and any day that gives us another chance to premiere their music is going to be a devilishly joyful one regardless of how miserable it might have been otherwise. It should also be a joy for all fans of evil but electrifying death metal.

We’ve been helping to spread the word about Shed the Skin for many years, but hopefully by now they don’t really need any more help. With a veteran line-up drawn from a host of well-known bands, they were able to hit the ground running with their 2014 EP Rebirth Through Brimstone and powered through to even greater acclaim with their first two albums, 2016’s Harrowing Faith and 2018’s We of Scorn. And now their steadfast label Hells Headbangers is poised to release their third album, The Forbidden Arts, on June 26th, and that’s what we’re giving you the chance to hear in full right now. Continue reading »

Jun 242020


Almost a full year before COVID-19 was even a blip on the global radar screen, the Croatian band Kevlar Bikini were exhorting people to stay at home. Or maybe this hardcore punk trio were just voicing their own social disengagement. The title of their new fourth album, OPT-OUTism, which was released on May 22nd by Geenger Records, seems to brandish a philosophy of self-isolation. One of the songs on the album, “Quench“, makes it explicit — and lest you think that track was crafted to be especially relevant in the current viral age, the song was written in February 2019.

Quench” is the subject of the video we’re premiering today. And for those of our usual metalhead NCS visitors who might be feeling either perplexed or skeptical based on the band’s name, put aside any such misgivings and just give the music your attention. Continue reading »