May 062021

Ereb Altor


(Nathan Ferreira wrote the following reviews of four new EPs that are all well worth your time.)

In these pandemic-ridden times, I’ve had online discussions with internet cretins about how EP releases may be a more viable format for artists, especially those that rely on touring as an income source. There’s less time and expense required to record, produce, and promote them, and it allows the artists in question to focus more on moving other projects forward – in theory, anyways.

Plus, how often do you actually make it through all those hour-long albums you own front to back in one sitting? Is there really that much of a difference between 25- and 40-minute runtimes in terms of how complete an album feels? If the music is good enough, probably not.

For the reasons above, and because I’ve been seeing an unusual number of artists both bigger and smaller embrace the EP format recently (a sign of the times, perhaps), I thought it was appropriate to give some attention to some of the more bite-sized musical snacks that have caught my ear in the past couple of months. Mini-albums need love too, you know. Continue reading »

May 062021


We’ve been given hints that the members of T.O.M.E. are veterans of the Finnish metal underground, but apart from the drummer (whose identity can be discovered through Metal-Archives), they’ve hidden their names and pedigrees, preferring to let their music represent itself. And what it represents, through their debut album I-III, is a strange and formidably frightening experience, a form of black metal that reveals the members as sonic alchemists, capable of creating creepy spells that take us into some “otherworld” far away from the one we live in, while simultaneously seducing a listener’s reptile brain — the part that makes us move without thinking.

The album will be released by Spread Evil on June 4th, and what we have for you today is the second of its three long tracks, which are denominated only by Roman numerals. But we encourage you to set aside the 14 minutes required to listen to the previously released track “I” first, before moving into the second track that we’re premiering today, which will take 11 more minutes of your time. Trust us, it will all be time well-spent. Continue reading »

May 062021


When I saw the description of Gosudar’s debut album provided by Rotted Life, the Maryland-based label that will release it on May 28th, I figuratively smacked my lips in anticipation:

“With gut-churning vocals and seasick serpentine riffage, Gosudar wind their way through twisted, psychotic arrangements, while never sacrificing their oppressive heaviness for technicality, nor disregarding the sheer power of a razor-sharp hook. It’s a cyclonic style of death metal chaos crucial for fans of Dead Congegration, Mortiferum, and Incantation“.

But of course one can never know how well such enticing previews will match up with the actual sounds until diving into the music itself. Fortunately, in the case of Gosudar’s Morbid Despotic Ritual, they turn out to ring true. This Moscow-based trio have created something special that really will appeal to fans of the afore-mentioned groups, and the song we’re presenting today, “Insurrection of Nephilim“, is powerful evidence of that. Continue reading »

May 062021


(Todd Manning rejoins us with the following review of the debut album by Obsolete, which was released not long ago through Unspeakable Axe Records.)

I don’t know about anyone else, but as time goes on, I find myself more obsessed with groups such as Watchtower, Atheist and Sadus. And now it’s time to add a new name to the list. Riding a fine line between Tech-Thrash and early Death Metal, Animate//Isolate is the stunning debut full-length from Minneapolis-based band Obsolete.

While some bands from the Tech-Thrash movement could create a pretty obscure sound (see Watchtower or Sieges Even’s Steps),  Obsolete never sacrifice immediacy in their quest for mind-bending technicality. The riffs stampede relentlessly, and the harsh vocals are firmly rooted in Death Metal. And while most the beats deconstruct and reassemble classic Thrash workouts, they find opportunities to squeeze in blast beats as well as softer moments. Continue reading »

May 052021

(The long-awaited debut album from Italian Black/Death duo Hadit is set for release this Friday via Sentient Ruin/Caligari Records, and Andy Synn has volunteered to act as Virgil on this journey into the inferno)

After my shameless flirtation with – dare I say it – the “mainstream” (ok, not really, but you know what I mean) earlier this week, it’s high time I got back to the underground, the underdogs, and the underappreciated.

And what better way to do so than with a quick look at the long-awaited, soon-to-be-released, debut album from Italian Death-duo Hadit, whose elaborately titled new album conjures up a sound that is distinctly more occult and “old school” in demeanour and delivery than that of the band’s more popular and blast-happy contemporaries/countrymen?

Continue reading »

May 052021


Those of us who toil at this site draw pleasure from what we do in many ways, but perhaps the most fun comes from presenting explosive surprises — helping to spread the word about new, unheralded bands whose appearance turns out to be something like a big meteor blazing through a night sky. And that’s exactly what we have for you today, in our premiere of the debut EP of the multi-state U.S. band Empty Throne in advance of its release this coming Friday by Wise Blood Records.

This EP, Glossolalia, really is a spectacular experience, one that’s perhaps best enjoyed after hyperventilating, because you may need the extra oxygen. In a nutshell (to borrow the label’s words), “this is hellish and ornate blackened death metal with thrashing rhythms and an epic scope”. It draws upon “the violent propulsion of ‘80s thrash, the agile savagery of death metal circa 1994, with Gothenburg adornments and rabid vocals”, blended with an ambitious scope and the dark atmospherics of late-stage black metal.

And it must also be said that the high-speed instrumental pyrotechnics are likely to find fans among devotees of technical death metal too. Continue reading »

May 052021


It would seem like a paradox to most people (though not to many of the fiends who visit our site) that music which violently and ruthlessly assaults the senses can fuel a feeling of outlandish fun (as well as triggering a big discharge of adrenaline).

When riotous, high-speed brutalization is inflicted with no care for restraint or mercy, it can become terrifically exhilarating rather than repellant — at least when the experience is created by technically skilled executioners and diabolical songwriters. Even better when it becomes apparent that subtle structures and seductive accents exist within the explosive chaos, so that you feel the compulsion to have the experience again and again — and find even more to like about it with each renewal.

All of that is true in the case of “L’Abomination“, the song we’re premiering today from the forthcoming third album by Nephren-Ka, From Agony To Transcendence, which will be released by Dolorem Records on June 25th. Continue reading »

May 052021


(We welcome NF, a new contributor to NCS. He has brought us the following interview of Fredrik Söderberg of the Swedish band DAWN, who should need no introduction, as well as lots of photos, some of which are being published for the first time.)

Fredrik, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It is an absolute pleasure to be having this conversation with you. Let’s go back to the very origin of DAWN. How, where, when, and why did DAWN come to be?

-Fredrik rehearsing-

Fredrik: Thanks for your support. It’s an honor to have this conversation with you today, I really appreciate it! Continue reading »

May 042021

(For his first post of the week, Andy Synn takes aim at three of last month’s most sacred cows… but is he here to slaughter them, or just give them a little push?)

Last month saw the release of several new albums from some pretty big and (in)famous names (well, in Metal terms at least) and a resultant storm of press and PR both leading up to and following on from these releases.

And, to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether it was really worth us commenting on them. After all, they’re all well past the point where write-ups and reviews are going to have any sort of major impact on album sales, and have reached a stage in their careers where the fans are going to praise, and the haters are going to hate, no matter what.

Case in point, I’ve seen people calling the new Cannibal Corpse album “boring” even as others declare that it “pushes the Death Metal genre forward” (it doesn’t, but it’s far from “boring”), I’ve read posts claiming that Gojira are either “just a generic groove-metal act” or “the greatest band of the century” (they’re neither, as it happens), and observed several sites giving the latest Vreid a perfect 10/10 score (c’mon guys, it’s good, but do you really think it’s on the level of, say, Master of Puppets or are you just spitting hype because you know it gets clicks?).

That being the case, however, I still feel like there’s a place for a more measured and “objective” analysis of each of these releases, one which doesn’t exist just to confirm the pre-existing prejudices of its readers, which is why I decided to step up to the plate, take one for the team, and attempt to bring a little bit of balance to the force, by reviewing them all myself.

Continue reading »

May 042021


Like a certain other band whose music was the subject of a premiere today, The Flight of Sleipnir is one we’ve been following for a long time as they’ve accumulated a substantial and increasingly impressive discography. In a feature more than six years ago devoted to their first four albums (created when the band was a duo, bound together by a clear and passionate love of heavy metal, heartfelt melody, and heroic Norse folklore), our Andy Synn characterized the music as a distinctive amalgam “whose earth-shaking, doomy power and sombre, progressive inclinations incorporate binding threads of folk-inflected melody and slithering strands of blackened fury”, while making room for “lengthy acoustic passages and folkish murmurations”.

In our review of the fifth album, V, Andy noted (here) that the songs were, on average, “longer and more intricate than on previous albums, with a greater sense of light and shade than ever before, their hidden depths and subtle secrets concealed beneath waves of gleaming melody and brilliant metallic clarity”. And their sixth album, 2017’s sublime Skadi, only enhanced the strength of the band’s reputation for crafting richly textured, dynamically nuanced, and stylistically diverse conglomerations of massive heaviness, acoustic serenity, and much, much more in between.

And thus we’ve been eagerly awaiting The Flight of Sleipnir’s seventh album, Eventide, which is now calendared for release by Eisenwald on May 28th. From that album, we’re proud to premiere its second advance track, “Servitude“, and to bring you a brief interview with guitarist/bassist Clayton Cushman. Continue reading »