Jul 132018
 

 

If you look at Sloth Herder’s Facebook profile, you’ll see that they’ve chosen “Power-slob” as the description of their musical genre, and “abandon pop sensibility” as the summing up of their band interests, which is pretty funny. And in a way, it kind of makes sense — because trying to pin down the band’s music is a bit like trying to pin a glob of mercury to the dashboard of a moving car. Elsewhere, I’ve seen it described as “demented avant-death/grind”, “blackened doom/grind”, and “a dynamic clusterfuck of seething brilliance”. Their debut album, 2017’s No Pity, No Sunrise, spawned comparisons to such wide-ranging acts as Antigama and Pyrrhon, Yautja and Gaza (among many others).

I myself have resisted the temptation to whip up some kind of genre descriptor in my previous writings about the band, because I don’t like the convulsions that happen when my brain knots up. I’m content just to whip up some adjectives in an effort to capture the convulsing effects of Sloth Herder’s music. Speaking of which, we do have some new Sloth Herder music to present. It’s a track named “Sacred Coward“, which is one of two tracks on a new single that the band will be releasing through their Bandcamp page on July 20. Continue reading »

Jul 132018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Germany’s Centaurus-A, their first after a nine-year absence.)

Is nine years a sufficient break between releases to call Means of Escape a “comeback” album? Answers on a postcard, please.

Whether it is or it isn’t though, it’s still a significant enough gap that I think most fans (myself included) had essentially accepted that Centaurus-A’s impressive debut, Side-Effects Expected, was going to wind up as one of those underappreciated underground classics whose impact and influence was destined to be appreciated solely by a few lucky listeners who just happened to have been in the right place, at the right time.

And yet, almost out of the blue, the Centaurus-A machine suddenly came back online in April of this year with the announcement that news of their demise had been greatly exaggerated, and that a brand new album was set to be released very soon… a new album which eventually dropped on the 13th of June, exactly one month ago today. Continue reading »

Jul 132018
 

 

Today, the very lucky 13th of July, is the release date for Gold and Rust, the new EP by the one-man, New Jersey-based death metal project Engulf. It comes adorned with a wonderful cover created by Misanthropic-Art, which by itself should be an irresistible invitation to explore this music even if you weren’t already aware of Engulf‘s capabilities, as first revealed through last year’s Subsumed Atrocities EP (which also featured an eye-grabbing cover by the same artist). And those capabilities continue to be strikingly impressive.

All credit goes to Hal Microutsicos, who again proves himself to be a guitar wizard, but one who uses his sorcerous talents in the service of genuinely ferocious death metal onslaughts that get  pulses racing and skulls fracturing, even as they get eyes popping wide over his technical proficiency. Continue reading »

Jul 132018
 

 

This is obviously a big end-of-week round-up. Today the size of the round-up will be in inverse proportion to the volume of words in my descriptions of the music, because I have three premieres to write and there would have been more except I exercised some rare restraint and started saying No.

What is it about this day that makes it so popular for premieres and releases? Could it be that there is only one other Friday in 2018 like it (and that one occurred three months ago)?

I arranged the music in alphabetical order by band name because I couldn’t think of a more logical way to stitch these sounds together.

BONEHUNTER

This time Bonehunter chose to keep the rampaging bear’s penis less prominent on the magnificent cover of their new album (rendered by Joe Petagno), to the disappointment of some and the relief of others (as long as they don’t look to closely at that tongue). But how does the music on Children of the Atom compare to the tunes on this Finnish band’s more prominently erect last record, Sexual Panic Human Machine? Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

I suppose I ought to confess at the outset that as a resident of the Seattle area for a couple of decades, I became a devoted fan of Drawn and Quartered long ago. Because they’ve been long-time fixtures in the Seattle underground for a couple of decades themselves, that means I’ve been able to watch them perform on numerous occasions, and have always left with a sore neck and a crooked, fiendish smile on my face. It therefore won’t surprise you to learn that I’ve had their new album The One Who Lurks high up on my radar screen since it was first announced — especially since six long years have passed since their last one, Feeding Hell’s Furnace.

That confession, by the way, wasn’t intended as an acknowledgment of any kind of bias. This band earned my loyalty (and that of many others, both here and around the globe) because they’re just really damned good. I say it only because I was prepared to like the album, based on history, before I ever heard it.

But I will say that, even with that history of enjoying records and performances, this new full-length still surprised me. It proves not only that Drawn and Quartered have plenty of gas left in the tank, but that they’ve tapped into some kind of eldritch fuel source that ups the octane even further beyond the premium juice that has driven the pistons of this savage death machine before. Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

Some weeks it seems I find a new favorite band as often as the sun rises. Today, that band is the Norwegian trio Nachash. And in their case I have no doubt they will keep a hard grip on my loyalty for many sunrises to come. This new song we’re about to present from their debut album Phantasmal Trinunity (due for an August 10 release by Shadow Kingdom) is a prime example of why that is. Its name, which is an immediate clue — but only one clue — to what the music delivers, is “Vortex Spectre“.

Combining elements of black metal and death metal, the music is decidedly supernatural in its atmosphere, but the band also display a keen grasp on the irresistible pull of propulsive rhythms and hook-laden heavy-metal riffing, and the result is a track that’s powerfully addictive. Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

Roughly two years ago we had the pleasure of premiering The Path To Absence, a very impressive first EP by the Venetian band Askesis, which moved me to write: “The songs are dynamic and usually straddle the smoking crevasse between occult death metal and black metal, with a strong stench of doom in the mix as well. When the music is moving at full threshing speed, or bounding with punk-influenced rhythms, it gets the blood pumping… but the sense that something in the shadows hungers for your blood is never far away.”

Now it’s our good fortune to present a new Askesis EP, the name of which is Black Ontology, and it’s even more impressive than the previous one. The two women and two men in this band have succeeded in establishing their own distinctive “personality”, crafting a sequence of songs that continually brings the word “sorcerous” to the mind of this writer. It’s packed with physically arresting (and constantly changing) rhythms, yet it also creates atmospheres of brooding menace and of fiery infernal celebration, like the accompaniment to witches and warlocks cavorting around a pyre whose extravagant flames spear upward into the night sky. Continue reading »

Jul 122018
 

 

(We present Andy Synn’s review of the just-released new EP by Hatalom from Québec City, Québec, Canada.)

So I’ve decided that this week is going to be a Tech-Death focussed one for me, beginning with my review of the new Obscura disc on Monday, and continuing today with this quick run-down of the debut EP by Canadian quartet Hatalom. Continue reading »

Jul 112018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Today we’ve got a selection of pics from the first day — and Teddie managed to shoot every band that performed; that’s one good thing about the rotation of bands between two stages, with no overlap. You can see every minute of every show as long as your energy holds out (and that hasn’t been a problem, given the caliber of the bands who’ve thrown themselves into their NWTF performances).

So, without further ado, here are Teddie Taylor’s photos from Day 1 at NWTF 2018. Continue reading »