May 212019


(Comrade Aleks returns to NCS today with a new interview, and this time his guest is Óscar Del Val of the resurgent Spanish band Dormanth.)

Born in 1993, this Spanish band has always balanced on a verge of death and death-doom metal, giving preference to fast, direct, and aggressive stuff. Dormanth split up in 1996, having only one demo, a split, and a full-length album in their discography, but one of the band’s founders, Óscar Del Val (guitars, vocals), decided to return the band back to life in 2015, and suddenly has succeeded in recording one EP and two full-length albums with a new lineup.

Base Record Production will release a new EP, Abyss, on May 27th, so I got in touch with Óscar to learn more about Dormanth’s past and present. Continue reading »

May 202019

Every song on Hornwood Fell‘s new album Damno Lumina Nocte is named “Vulnera” — the Latin word for “wound” (accompanied by Roman numerals I – VII) — every one of them a projection of “dark landscapes, discomforts, and open wounds of the society we live in”. Every one of them is a cavalcade of disturbances, a mind-warping amalgam of dissonance and derangement that seems to embody mental fracturing and emotional splintering. It is as if the band found Pandora’s Box, and without hesitation opened it, recording the sounds of all the evils within as they escaped in a mad rush of freakish abandon.

This is not easy listening. The music is persistently abrasive and frequently cacophonous. There are twisted melodic motifs and rhythmic patterns that appear often enough to stitch the songs together, often in physically compulsive ways, but things change unpredictably, and veer so sharply and so often that it’s hard for a listener to maintain any balance — like trying to walk a high tightrope that’s being plucked (rapidly) by giant fingers.

It is also, perhaps perversely, an utterly fascinating experience. There is a mad genius at work within these tracks (two of them, actually), and the songs are so weirdly transfixing that the minutes speed by like starlings in flight. Looking away from these deep, festering wounds turns out to be very difficult. Continue reading »

May 202019


For a song named “Hope Annihilator“, it kindles hope — actually it provides more of an assurance than a hope — that heavy metal will live forever. It’s such a damned good song, in part because it so seamlessly interlocks so many classic sounds, and because it’s delivered with such authentic spirit. And, to be fair, it’s also an annihilator.

The song comes from the new fourth album by the Italian band Barbarian, which has a timeless name in addition to a brilliant amalgam of classic sounds: To No God Shall I Kneel. The album will be released on June 7th by Hells Headbangers, with suitably barbaric cover art by Acid Witch’s Shagrat. Continue reading »

May 202019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the first album in 10 years by Rammstein, which was released on May 17th.)

It seems like every year, if not every six months, the Metal Media ™ is overwhelmed with a glut of articles declaiming the imminent “death” of the scene, and asking “who will be the next Metallica?”

Yet amidst all the pontificating, prognosticating, and populist predictions – will it be Trivium (no, despite their best efforts), will it be Slipknot (I hope not), will it be Five Finger Death Punch (dear god no…) – one name seems consistently omitted and overlooked, despite the fact that they’re already quite capable of filling arenas and selling umpteen records without even breaking a sweat.

That band, as the more astute of you might already have guessed, is Rammstein. Continue reading »

May 202019


Wow, 16 days since I posted the last of these new-music round-ups. And that one came 10 days after the one before it. Not a good track record, but my job has been a jealous mistress lately, or more like a starving wolverine hungry for my flesh. It’s unlikely things will improve in the near future, but for different reasons.

In two days, for the 6th year in a row, I’m flying to Baltimore with a bunch of Seattle friends to take in Maryland Deathfest. My NCS comrades Andy Synn and DGR will be there, too, and I doubt they’ll be spending their free time banging out content for NCS either. And then the week after that I’ll be spending a shitload of time helping to put on the third edition of the NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle. My day job probably won’t leave me alone over the next two weeks either.

So, it won’t surprise me if another 16 days pass between today’s round-up and the next one. Or maybe I’ll throw together a round-up that just consists of one new song. Or maybe two, if I skip showers and breakfasts. But today I have five, because I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. Continue reading »

May 192019


(NCS reader, commenter, and frequent source of musical recommendations, HGD, has graciously stepped in to prepare this week’s SHADES OF BLACK column, as he has done before, given that our regular columnist (that would be me) is again unable to do so because of interference from the job that pays the bills around here.)

With Islander being swarmed with work over the last few weeks, I felt the need to step up and do my part to relieve his burden, if only a little. I’m pleased to present today’s Shades of Black column and hope all our regular and not so regular readers find something here that warms their blackened hearts. — HGD Continue reading »

May 172019


(Our Atlanta-Based contributor Tør attended the performance of Meshuggah and The Black Dahlia Murder on May 6th at Buckhead Theater, and provided us with these impressions and many of his photos of the performances, most of which follow the text below.)

It is a rather peculiar scene: a bunch of metal fans lined up on the sidewalk of one the trendiest parts of the city waiting for Meshuggah and The Black Dahlia Murder to perform. The Buckhead Theater is a wonderful venue for all kinds of live music and I am glad I can finally catch a show there for the first time after six years of living in Atlanta. Continue reading »

May 172019


(How long has it been since Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, he of The Number of the Blog, graced our pages with his presence? I could look it up, but how depressing would that be? Better to simply welcome back our old friend, who provides this introduction to an excellent premiere.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It takes something special to break me out of me semi-retirement as it pertains to writing, and for the two or three of you who remember my older works, you might recall my love of Odyssey, the instrumental prog-metal trio from Spokane. Guitarist Jerrick Crites, bassist Jordan Hilker, and drummer Lukas Hilker have been going for over ten years now, despite remaining a mostly regional act, but one of the miracles of the internet is that even a smaller local band can reach a wide audience around the world.

I bring this up because, if the title of this article wasn’t already enough of an indicator, Odyssey have a new song, ‘Hive Mind’, to premiere from the forthcoming new album The Swarm. I have a full review of that coming in about a week, so I’ll save my thoughts on how ‘Hive Mind’ fits into the overall flow of the album, but I can still offer my perspective on the song itself. Continue reading »

May 172019


Old adages aren’t wrong just because they’re old and you’ve heard them over and over again. Take this one for example (attributed to Will Rogers): You never get a second chance to make a first impression. You get one chance, so you’d better make it count.

Intothecrypt’s first chance came when they released the first single from their hour-long debut album, Vakor, about a month ago. And man, did they make a strong impression with “Leti, Voy Nash!“. On the other hand, it wasn’t shocking that the song was so good, given that the Intothecrypt trio were all members of the Russian cult band Scald, whose lone 1996 album Will of Gods Is a Great Power is still spoken of with reverence in doom circles.

Today we’re premiering another song from Vakor in advance of its June 21 release by Ordo MCM that only deepens the strong impression that the band have already made. Continue reading »

May 172019


You’re about to witness one of those lyric videos (less common than we might hope for) that provides enjoyment for the eyes as well as the ears. Like many such videos, it’s based upon the album art, and in this case the cover artist Enric Sant has provided some great material to work with, but Scott Ruud did his usual masterful job and turned that wonderfully realized art into a film that grips the eyes, as the vividly rendered words flash by.

Of course, as good as the video is, it is mainly a well-crafted stage-set, and what really counts is what the performers give us. Here, the performers are the Spanish band Inert, whose members are split between Stockholm and Barcelona, and the music is the title track to their debut album, Vermin.

Despite the band’s name, the new album represents change — Inert have expanded from the original duo to a quartet, and the style of the music has shifted as well, and the results are powerful, and exciting, as you will soon discover. Continue reading »