Feb 272021


This past week we had fewer posts per day than usual, and it saddens me to say this will continue for the next two weeks. The reason is that I’m in the midst of a project for my fucking day job that’s crushing my NCS time. I mean, you can’t build an electrodynamic particle accelerator without some concentrated effort.

I’ve still made commitments to host song and album premieres on many days between now and the end of this project on the Ideas of March, but even that’s going to stop during the final days of the effort. Apart from writing the premieres and passing my hand over what other people write before posting their stuff, I’m really not going to have time for anything else. This weekend is therefore kind of a last hurrah for round-ups for a while.

For this collection I’ve ignored bigger names and stayed pretty deep underground, and you’ll see that the music connects with my current dark moods. I’ve deferred the black metal until tomorrow’s column.


I decided to begin with the most recent of the discoveries I’ve collected here, a single released just yesterday that was brought to my attention overnight by Rennie (starkweather). Continue reading »

Feb 262021


It’s time for a return visit by a hard-to-define metal band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, whom we’ve been writing about since 2018 when they released their first EP, Cosmic Cauldron. They followed that release with a second EP, A Burnt Offering, in 2020. Metal-Archives now classifies them as “Split-up”, but the accuracy of that is questionable, given that they’ve completed a third EP named Sledmetal which is set for release on March 9th.

This new EP is a five-track offering, and we accepted an invitation to premiere one of them. Problem was, the band left it up to us to pick the track. That turned out to be a maddeningly difficult choice because all the tracks are so damned good. So the band took pity on us and said, what about two tracks? We jumped at that chance (though it was still a tough call), and so now we’re presenting streams of two songs from Sledmetal — “Psycho Kid” and “Reptile Lords“. Continue reading »

Feb 262021


(We present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Yves Allaire, the man behind the Quebec black metal band Nordicwinter, whose newest album Sorrow will be released by Hypnotic Dirge on March 26th.)

I’m the wrong person if you need to know something new about black metal, but from time to time some blackened promos hit my mailbox. This time it was Nordicwinter, a Canadian one-man band started by Yves Allaire about 15 years ago. I found its relatively new album Desolation among a few fresh releases from Hypnotic Dirge and was attracted by Nordicwinter’s bleak and atmospheric sound. Also Yves tends towards mid-paced themes with some cold, almost epic melodic lines, and I dig such depressive themes that avoid the faster side of black metal.

The winter is almost done, so let’s keep it here a bit longer with some Canadian black metal. Continue reading »

Feb 252021


Loud, raucous, and ravishing sounds tend to be our daily fare around here. And perhaps because of that, the striking contrast created by Wÿntër Àrvń‘s new album Abysses is all the more stunning. Rather than ignite raging bonfires it instead places glowing embers beneath the imagination, and alters moods in a way that is, in a word, magical.

Abysses is almost entirely instrumental and the instruments are entirely acoustic, though their tones are varied and the combination of them is always captivating. The bounty of the music is enhanced by the joinder of a new member in this former solo project, and by guest appearances. And it’s our great pleasure to present a full stream of the record today, in advance of its release by the distinctive Antiq Records label on March 1st. Continue reading »

Feb 252021


To bring your week to a fiendishly delicious end, we are fiendishly excited to deliver a very cool video for a very cool song off the forthcoming second album by the Danish death metal band Shadowspawn. The album’s name is Biology of Disbelief, and it will be released by Emanzipation Productions on April 16th.

This new song, “Under The Blood Red Moon“, radiates evil from every pore, and the video does as well, while presenting an interesting juxtaposition of imagery in the rendering of the band members’ performances. There are so many things to like about the song, but one of them that jumps out is Bue Torin Jensen‘s voice. It’s such a voracious snarl, a kind of devouring vortex of savagery — but you can make out every word, and there’s a great temptation to growl and howl right along with him, especially when he extends the word “MOOOOOON“, raising his voice to a blood-curdling scream. (Well, at least you can roar along with him in your head, because few of us can actually make sounds like this with our own larynxes). Continue reading »

Feb 242021


Whatever you might guess about the sounds of a band who chose a name like Anime Torment, we can assure you that their brand of death metal is ruthlessly devoted to brutalizing savagery. The horrifying cover art created by Erskine Designs for this Czech band’s new EP Void Terror might be a better tip-off to the crazed slaughtering and bone-smashing cruelty the EP inflicts upon listeners.

That EP is set for release on February 25th by Slovak Metal Army, but you’ll have a chance today to run yourselves through its gauntlet via our early stream of all six songs. Continue reading »

Feb 242021


(For the February 2021 edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy Synn reviews the accumulated discography of the Polish band Sunnata, whose newest album is set for release on February 26.)

Recommended for fans of: Yob, Mastodon, Isis

Formed in 2013 from the ashes of the band’s previous Stoner Rock incarnation (some traces of which can still be heard here and there), Polish sound-shamans Sunnata have been on our radar here at NCS for quite some time now but, if I’m not mistaken, this edition of The Synn Report marks the first time that one of our main writers has settled down to actually cover them in any real depth.

So, since the band’s fourth album is set for release on Friday, now seems like the perfect time to try and get to grips with their discography, whose hypnotically heavy vibes and ritualistic rhythms blend proggy Doom and doomy Post-Metal influences with a dose of Sludge-soaked swagger and a dash of gritty Grunge to provide a tasty helping of what I’ve decided to dub “Progressive Post-Doom”. Continue reading »

Feb 242021


For those of you unfamiliar with baseball, a curveball is a pitch that causes the batter to expect it will cross the plate in one place, but instead it dives, or veers, or does both. When thrown well, it’s a nasty thing because it confounds and discombobulates the hitter and may make them feel foolish for swinging and missing so badly.

I actually enjoy throwing musical curveballs at our visitors even though I don’t do it often. Usually people come here expecting harsh, extreme, and perhaps very unsettling sensations, but the music may veer away. Which is what is about to happen.

It’s fitting that today’s veering pitch comes from Opium Warlords, because the man behind the project has himself been a living musical curveball for more than 30 years. Perhaps best known as Albert Witchfinder for his work with Reverend Bizarre, Sami Albert Hynninen has been involved in many diverse projects, and even just focusing on this one, you never know where a new release by Opium Warlords is going to go until you experience it. Continue reading »

Feb 242021


(This time Comrade Aleks interviews one of the members of the unorthodox Peruvian metal band Kranium, whose roots go back to the early ’90s and whose new album Uma Tullu (which you can stream below) was released on December 1st, 2020.)

Kranium is a legend of the Peruvian underground. The band was formed in 1985 as Murder but since 1986 it’s been known as Kranium. Their early material tended towards savage a thrash/death meta, but years passed, some members left and others joined the band, and their first full-length Testimonios finally was released in 1999. The story behind its making is long and far from easy, as Kranium drew the attention of the Swedish label Plasmatica Records  who promised to fund their recording sessions but had a hard time, and lack of money prolonged recordings for almost three years.

This material appears to be a mix between traditional doom metal with a bit of a raw edge, lyrics in Spanish, and arrangements of traditional Peruvian instruments. I’m surprised that this album is a kind of “lost gem”, forgive me this cliché, and I hope Kranium’s new and authentic-as-always album Uma Tullu (released in December 2020) will reach more listeners all over the world.

The band’s lineup has changed, yet its core remains the same: Eloy Arturo (guitars, songwriting) is one of the founding members, and Mito Espíritu (guitars, wind instruments, charango) has been in the band since 1991 (there was a break for a few years, but it doesn’t make a difference). Dennis Yamazato (drums) has played in Kranium since 2005, and Ian Chang (bass) since 2010. Our current guest Christian Meléndez (vocals, keyboards) is a relatively new member — his experience in Kranium is “just” ten years. But he’s quiet a talkative collocutor, and I’m glad we had this interview. Continue reading »

Feb 232021


(In this review Andy Synn turns his attention to the new album by Illinois-based Pan-Amerikan Native Front, which was released earlier this month.)

The more I think about Black Metal (and, trust me, I spend a lot of time thinking about Black Metal) the more it occurs to me just what an astounding paradox the genre is.

Founded by a bunch of no-good Norwegian punks (though if you called them “punks” to their faces you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the response) whose back-story has since been retold and mythologised almost beyond recognition, Black Metal was originally just one big “fuck you” to the rest of the world, a purposefully introverted and isolationist rejection of ideas such as popularity, normality, and musicianship.

And yet, somehow, despite this – or, perhaps, because of this – it’s gone on to become not only a global phenomenon, but one of the most artistically adventurous and progressive genres in all of Metal.

How did this happen? Well, for me, it’s the underlying primitivism of Black Metal which makes it such an unexpectedly universal musical language.

Whether they knew it or not, those crazy kids somehow managed to tap into something truly primal and innately human with those ramshackle early recordings, something which connected with people all around the world and which they could then use as the foundation of their own art, and as a way to tell their own stories.

Stories like Little Turtle’s War. Continue reading »