Jul 032020

Ars Magna Umbrae


This is a great day for metal fans to support bands with their money. It’s a harrowing day for metal bloggers like myself.

It’s a great day because Bandcamp is again waiving its share of revenues from sales on its site, which means more money generated from purchases and donations goes directly to bands and labels, some of whom are in turn donating proceeds to charitable causes.

It’s a harrowing day because bands and labels have been releasing a HUMONGOUS AMOUNT OF MUSIC to take advantage of the occasion. Beginning yesterday and continuing today, my in-box has exploded with Bandcamp alerts and press releases, and that’s on top of the usual flood of other new music appearing earlier in the week. There’s no way I can sample all of it. But I’ve sampled some of it, and you see the results in this post — or at least some of them.

What I’ve done here is to collect individual songs and videos for new releases (and a few older ones), arranged in alphabetical order by band name. Many of those releases, but not all, can be purchased or pre-ordered on Bandcamp to take advantage of the revenue-share waiver. In Part 2 I’ll quickly throw out recommendations for complete new releases that would also be good candidates for your Bandcamp purchases. Continue reading »

Jul 032020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new covers EP by the German band Mantar, (a favorite at our site since the beginning), which is out now on Brutal Panda Records.)

Is it just me, or has it been a hell of a long week?

I’m not just talking about things here at NCS either. My job has been keeping me extra busy every single day, and between that and trying to balance things at home and with the band… it seems like I haven’t had a moment to spare, and right now I honestly feel like I could sleep for a week.

Because of that, because of everything that’s been going on, I’ve decided that I wanted to end the week on something a little bit more “fun”. After all, the only reason any of us write here for NCS (it’s certainly not for fame or fortune) is because we enjoy it. And if we’re not enjoying it, then what’s the point?

Thankfully it didn’t take me long to settle on what to write about, as not only are Mantar one of my favourite bands of the last decade but their new covers EP is one hell of way to pay tribute to the group’s influences and inspirations. Continue reading »

Jul 032020


I think even the most devoted fans of thrash would admit that it’s hard to stand out from the pack, especially in 2020, after so many decades have been filled with so many bands and albums, both great and not-so-great. It’s even harder when a band feels a strong bond to such icons of the genre as the early works of Metallica, Slayer, and Death, as well as the continuing influence of Kreator and Demolition Hammer.

And that’s what makes Deathstorm so well worth your time — they relish those influences, and their music is unpretentious and uninterested in trying to reinvent the wheel or reconfiguring it into some new mechanism of propulsion, yet these Austrian wolves still do stand out from the pack. How do they do it? The song we’re premiering today from their upcoming fourth album Dread Shall Reign (which will be released by Dying Victims Productions on July 31st) will show you how — in spades. Continue reading »

Jul 022020


Nodus Tollens n. the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore — that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre — which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.
– The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

That definition tells you more than you might guess about the debut album of the band who took the phrase as its name. The title of that album, Melancholic Waters Ablaze with the Fires of Loss, is another significant clue. As that title suggests, and as the band’s lone member Cicatrix has described, the album was created “as an emotional exorcism, and the lyrics reflect it, dealing with grief, broken relationship, and ultimately hope, each in their turn”.

The musical expression of such emotions is of course not unique to Nodus Tollens, but as you’ll discover today through our premiere of the complete album, the manner of expression is unusual, the emotional power of the music is penetrating, and the flow of styles and moods, both within each song and among them, is enthralling. Continue reading »

Jul 022020


If you’re a fan of such bands as Nasum, Pig Destroyer, Rotten Sound, and Napalm Death, we’ll lay favorable odds that you’re going to eat up Bain de Sang‘s new EP like a ravenous wolf. It takes only 11 minutes for the seven tracks on Sacrificed For A Load Of Filth And Lies to rampage through your cranium, almost too fast to take in, but the EP leaves a powerful impression, and you’ll probably find yourself letting it run riot through your mind a few more times in straight succession.

It’s immediately clear that Bain de Sang know what the hell they’re doing, and it’s not a shock that this Parisian band’s brand of grindcore and powerviolence is so electrifying and addictive because the band’s line-up includes ex-members of Blockheads, Comity, Judoboy, Sofy Major, and Department of Correction. Moreover, they’ve already played at Hellfest and Obscene Extreme, and shared the stage with the likes of Magrudergrind, Primitive Man, Rotten Sound, Gadget, Cloud Rat, Fuck the Facts, and Harm Done.

The EP will be released digitally by Terrain Vague as a name-tour-price download this Friday, July 3rd, which gives you another opportunity to take advantage of Bandcamp’s waiver of their revenue share on music sales if you want to make a donation. And people who prefer physical editions can also order them from Terrain Vague, who plans a release date of September 4th for those. And to make those decisions very easy, we’ve got a full stream of the EP for you right now. Continue reading »

Jul 022020


July 3rd will be another day when Bandcamp waives its share of revenue from sales of music on the site. On that day 30 bands from across the world of extreme music will release a digital-only compilation designed to add their voices to the struggle against systemic racism and police brutality and to raise money in support of those causes, with all proceeds donated to racial justice organizations, including Black Lives Matter and Life After Hate.

The compilation is named Overgrow To Overthrow, and it will be released tomorrow through the Bandcamp page of Bindrune Recordings. It features artists as varied as Doom, Panopticon, Obsequiae, Agathocles, Thou, Chaos Moon, Outlaw Order, Deviated Instinct, Dawn Ray’d, and many others, who have provided a collection of brand new tracks, cover songs, remixes, live cuts, and re-recorded tracks.

It provides an opportunity for metal and punk fans not only to add a lot of great music to their collections, but to do it in a way that provides money to worthy causes at a time when the contributions can be maximized by taking advantage of Bandcamp’s waiver day. We’re supporting this effort by helping to spread the word about it. Below you’ll find statements about the comp from the people behind Overgrow To Overthrow along with more details about the music and how to get it. Continue reading »

Jul 012020


(Andy Synn has chosen to devote his SYNN REPORT for the month of June to the discography of the French band Exocrine, whose new album Maelstrom was released by Unique Leader on June 26th.)

Recommended for fans of: The Faceless, Gorod, Beneath the Massacre

The purpose of The Synn Report is, obviously, to give our readers an overview of the background and back-catalogue of whatever band I select each month.

One of the great things about this approach, of course, is that it allows all of us (myself included) to see just how the band in question has evolved over the course of their career.

In the case of French four-piece Exocrine the band’s evolution has led them to grow from some relatively humble beginnings into something far more titanic, and if 2018’s blazing Molten Giant didn’t convince you of the group’s tech-tastic lethality then perhaps their recently released fourth record, Maelstrom, will?

Before then, of course, there’s three other albums to sink your teeth into… Continue reading »

Jul 012020


Like most of you I’m curious and enjoy learning. It’s fair to say that a lot of metal bands and their music and lyrics don’t trigger curiosity or create learning experiences, even when their songs are very good. But when that happens, it’s a welcome bonus, and that happened in the case of the song and video premiere we’re presenting here.

The band whose music is the subject of the premiere are in Peru. Their name is Runa. Curious about the name, I did a little research and learned that “runa” is a name that speakers of the Quechua language (which originated in Peru but is found in many dialects throughout other South American countries) use to refer to themselves. According to this article, the word translates to “person”, but when Quechua speakers call themselves Runa, it means “the people”. I also learned that up to the present time Quechuas continue to be victims of political conflicts and ethnic persecution.

Runa (the band) draw upon ancestral culture in the creation of their music. Their new record, which will be released by the Peruvian label Guts ‘N’ Blood Records and follows by five years a debut EP named Bullets Of Annihilation, is titled Entrance To The Ancestral Wisdom. But, as the band’s vocalist/guitarist Alex explains, Runa’s mystical themes are also “immersed in magic, quantum, and alchemy”. The music through which they express these themes embraces the early raw power of death metal and the acidic viciousness of black metal. Continue reading »

Jul 012020


In the space of the last week or so, I have posted articles, one of which I wrote, that promoted the music of bands with past connections to labels with strong ties to white supremacist bands, or whose music has itself, at least in the past, incorporated lyrical themes that can be understood to espouse white nationalism. In the case of the article I wrote, I was unaware of any such history. In the other case, I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. But that’s no excuse. I fucked up, and I have to own up to and apologize for that.

(Just so we’re clear, I’m writing this in the first person because none of the other writers at NCS had anything to do with these mistakes and were quite unhappy about them.)

Posting the music of such bands was not intended to be any kind of “dog whistle”, or to reflect the principles of this site. We have no interest in promoting the music of bands who espouse or associate themselves with racism, anti-Semitism, or other similarly toxic belief systems. I want to make that as clear and explicit as I can. I’ve written that before, but I’ve undermined the message through my own actions. Continue reading »

Jun 302020


On their new third album, Spectres of Bloodshed, the international duo known as Blood Stronghold have created a musical soundscape that’s out of this world. To be sure, the music has visceral, physically compulsive energy, but it creates fantastical visions of ancient and mythical domains. It seems to draw menacing and vicious power from lycanthropic spirits but also spawns mental images of tragic grandeur and heart-swelling splendor. It’s a fashioning of black metal that’s both carnal and elegant, both blood-pumping and mesmerizing. It seems to hearken back to a long-lost age — or to one that only exists in the imagination. Once heard, it’s not easily forgotten.

And hear it you shall, because today we present a full stream in advance of the album’s release on vinyl LP by Nebular Carcoma and Satanik Requiem. Continue reading »