Dec 012021


Austin-based BLK OPS haven’t been prolific. Until now, following their formation in 2014, their discography consisted of a pair of 2017 splits (with Cave Bastard and KRVSHR) and a live album released just at the start of the pandemic in 2020. But though their output has been limited, their abrasive but cathartic amalgamation of hardcore, metal, and harsh noise has made a crater-sized impact, harrowing to hear but impossible to forget. And now, at last, we have their debut album, The Heroic Dose.

From what we hear, getting the album to the point of release — which will happen via Roman Numeral Records on December 3rd — has itself been a harrowing and frustrating ordeal. But the considerable time that BLK OPS spent working and re-working the record, that time shows itself in the outcome. The Heroic Dose builds upon all the qualities that made BLK OPS‘ splits so striking, and creates an even more daunting, elaborate, and demanding edifice of sound, which you’ll get to experience in its entirety today. Continue reading »

Dec 012021

(Andy Synn has a long history with Redemptor, so we knew he was the only man for the job when it came to writing about their new album, Agonia, which comes out Friday on SelfMadeGod Records)

I love Death Metal. And, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you do too.

But, as someone who loves Death Metal I do find myself wondering sometimes… where is the genre going?

Let’s face it, there’s only so far, and so fast, that the more “Technical” and/or “Brutal” strains can push things before giving themselves whiplash, crippling arthritis, or an aneurysm, and only so many times that the corpse of “Old School” Death Metal can be dug up for yet another revival before it starts to smell, well, a little off.

What I’m really looking for, then, what I’m hoping for, is a new generation to step up and refine/define a form of Death Metal that’s actually new – call it “Post-Death Metal”, if you’re so inclined – rather than simply presenting something that’s just a flashier or more “extreme” variant of what we already know.

We’re not quite there yet – not as far as I can tell anyway – but it seems to me that there’s several bands already moving in this direction, capturing both the vibe and atmosphere of the genre without precisely fitting in with any one particular sub-style, and Redemptor are clearly right at the forefront of this movement, if the evidence presented on Agonia has anything to say about it.

Continue reading »

Dec 012021


Since 2014 Australia’s Hadal Maw have released two albums (2014’s Senium and 2017’s Olm) as well as a 2018 EP named Charlatan, and throughout that time we’ve followed them closely, as attested by the appearance of 10 different posts in which we’ve discussed their music since 2014. Now we have the chance to focus on them again, because at last they’re releasing a new record destined for detonation at the very end of this miserable year.

The clock continues to tick on the arrival of a new Hadal Maw album, but at least we now have a new four-song EP, the name of which is Oblique Order, and it’s the EP’s jaw-dropping title track that we have for you today. Continue reading »

Dec 012021


(DGR continues an extensive series of reviews this week with the following take on Swallow the Sun‘s new album, which is out now on the Century Media label.)

Swallow The Sun are at a point now in their careers that they’ve become an institution in the realms of all things moody and melancholic. It’s been a journey too, one that has been exceedingly well-documented and at times absolutely heart-wrenching – and not just musically – and in my own personal case, one dating all the way back to 2007’s Hope album. The band are already at two decades of slow, frozen, and moody doom music and it has been interesting watching their trajectory into and out of funeral doom, fuller-sounding death metal, and even moody-rock music. Here at NCS we are very well acquainted with all of those journeys – especially since yours truly is now on the third review for the band with this most recent release.

Moonflowers arrived on November 19th via Century Media Records and comes to us nearly two and a half years after 2019’s When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light. Granted, when you consider that seven of Swallow The Sun‘s eight mainline releases have hit during a period between November and February, you could argue that the group have carved out quite a niche for themselves in the colder months of the year. Continue reading »

Nov 302021

(DGR prepared the following review of the new album by the Swedish band In Mourning, just released on November 26th.)

In Mourning have definitely found a sound since the heady days of 2012 and their release of The Weight Of Oceans. Creating their own loosely conceptual lyrical universe, that album laid the groundwork for just about every release of In Mourning that followed it. While early works in the band’s discography would land them on the radar of prog-death fans – and I will go to bat for Monolith being an absolutely fantastic and underrated release – The Weight Of Oceans and its doom and post-metal influences would be where In Mourning would stake their claim.

Both 2016’s Afterglow and 2019’s Garden Of Storms continued along that path, acting as extensions of that musical world, sometimes wandering down a more death metal oriented path and sometimes going full avant-garde, as Garden Of Storms would reach its tendrils into every crevice it found. Now firmly ensconced in their corner of the progressive death metal world and with an even smaller gap between releases, In Mourning are with us once again with The Bleeding Veil, the group’s sixth full-length and the third release so far to contain seven songs in its track list.

Given that the throughline of The Bleeding Veil and its two most recent siblings is so similar, it’s interesting to see what paths In Mourning have decided to chart this time around. The Bleeding Veil is In Mourning in full focusing mode, as the disc takes all of the different directions that Garden Of Storms shot out and hones them down, refining them into a much more tied and tighter release. Continue reading »

Nov 302021

We’ wrote frequently and favorably about the music of the solo project Haustið (the work of one A. Enrique), which consisted of five demos released in 2018 and 2019. Haustið‘s creator has now prepared a new EP, Gods of the Gaps, although under a new name — Gateways — and today we’re presenting a premiere stream of its captivating title track in advance of the EP’s December 3 release date.

I learned about Haustið just before Thanksgiving Day in 2018, thanks to a recommendation from Rennie of starkweather, who vividly compared Haustið’s then-latest demo to “a cross of Emanation and Wolok on a suicide mission”. When I wrote about that demo, Howling, the Sol Above, Nothing Below, I described “a surreal quality to the music as it flows along its twisting course, with outbursts of dark, dissonant, thorny permutations interwoven with soulful, gliding, and sinuous instrumental passages, both moody and mystical, that sometimes partake of traditions other than extreme metal”.

The next Haustið recording, released in the spring of 2019, and also discussed here, was a two-track EP named Long Lost Ruins Cried their Black Soot. It was also a marvelously multifaceted experience, with both a “physically” powerful impact and a bitter and chilly atmosphere, delivering one changing experience after another. Continue reading »

Nov 302021

In September of this waning year the Italian label Lethal Scissor Records released a debut EP named The Origin by the Ukrainian extremists Lieweaver. The band first began to coalesce in October 2018 through the union of vocalist Vasiliy Kutsenko, guitarist Alex Choopov, and drummer Bogdan Fesenko. Soon, guitarist Alex Reshetnuk joined the group, and together they released a a debut single, “Paradox Of Creation“. A few months later bassist Bogdan Khoroshilov joined the band, and in February 2021 Ruslan Kovtun (keys/synth) completed the line-up for the recording of The Origin.

What we have for you today is a playthrough video for the EP’s closing track, “Obsessed With Purity“, and it features the talents of guitarists Choopov and Reshetnuk and bassist Khoroshilov. Watching them execute their missions within “Obsessed With Purity” is a fascinating thing to see, and the music has its own fascinations — in addition to delivering a bludgeoning beating. Continue reading »

Nov 302021

Recommended for fans of: Wake, Fawn Limbs, Ion Dissonance

Italian quintet Noise Trail Immersion are a perfect example of how the words we use to describe artists can have a big impact on how they’re perceived by potential listeners.

Case in point, you’ll often see them described as a Mathcore band – that’s apparently why Metal Archives won’t feature them – but that overly-simplistic designation fully fails to capture the totality of their sound, which is just as much an amalgam of chaotic Black Metal, Blackened Grind, and Dissonant Death Metal (and more).

But however you choose to describe them, with four albums under their belt – the most recent of which was released just last week – Noise Trail Immersion are long past due a major feature here at NCS, which is why I’ve chosen them for this edition of The Synn Report.

Continue reading »

Nov 292021

Somehow civilization didn’t collapse yesterday when I failed to post the usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK column, though it did leave a black hole in our site for the day. I had plans for most of the day outside the house that took me away from my computer, and I unexpectedly slept in, so didn’t have time to get it done before departing.

My tentative selections for the column as of yesterday were extensive, which also contributed to my inability to get it done. I thought about cutting back the size of the column today, in an effort to make sure I got it done without further delay, but decided to hell with that. So here it is in all its humongous, twisting and turning, glory, though with only compact commentary — and divided into two Parts, with the second Part projected for tomorrow.


Dissociative Visions/Mystískaos sent out messages over the Thanksgiving holiday announcing four new releases, accompanied by music premieres. Three of those are targeted for release in February, but Hässlig‘s debut album is out now in full. Well, it’s called a full-length, but it falls just shy of 19 minutes across 8 tracks. Its name is Guillotine, and that turns out to be an evocative description; it drops, and heads will roll. Continue reading »

Nov 292021


(Here’s DGR‘s review of the new album by deathgrind superstars Lock Up, just released by Listenable Records.)

While everyone else was enjoying their holiday here in the States and those of us who worked retail dreaded the following day, your reviewer here was waiting patiently for that dreaded following day as well. Not because there was some innate urge to go trample someone in the charge to catch not only a potentially deadly disease but also a deal on a TV, but because that Friday also delivered to us an absolute bludgeoning of new releases to listen to. What this also provided was a fantastic case of genre-whiplash as Voices, In Mourning, and today’s subject Lock Up would also release their newest additions to their collective works.

The Dregs Of Hades is Lock Up‘s fifth full-length release in a pretty long career, but one that has seen newer releases becoming far more frequent than the gaps left between their second and third albums. It also has some new additions to the group. Notably, Nick Barker and his fantastic neverending drum fills have bowed out and Misery Index/Pig Destroyer drum-kit annihilator Adam Jarvis is in. Also, one of the changes that equally grabbed press was the return of Tomas Lindberg back into the fold on vocals – tag-teaming alongside Brutal Truth’s Kevin Sharp for an interesting hardcore punk tinge of gang shouts and dual-pronged vocal attacks to the group’s constantly hair-on-fire style of grind music. Continue reading »