Feb 102013

Here’s our second installment, with one more coming, of a Sunday smorgasbord of new metal for your entertainment and edification. Once again, we’re graced with brand new music from three old favorites around these parts. Let’s cut right to the chase:


This Illinois band is a big favorite of ours; all of our previous ravings about them can be found here. Their last album, 2011’s Omens, garnered these words of praise from Andy Synn: “One of this year’s great discoveries, A Hill To Die Upon ply their trade in the bloodstained arena of blackened death metal, taking their cues from the crushing power of Satanica-era Behemoth and the decaying grooves of Sheol-era Naglfar all wrapped up in a monumental package of fire-brand riffage and pulsing drums that recalls Immortal in their prime.”

Yesterday, A Hill To Die Upon released a new single named “manden med leen”, which can be acquired for the dirt-cheap price of $1 on Bandcamp. The mid-paced song is majestic and magnetic (in part due to the effective addition of keyboards to the band’s repertoire), and includes an unexpected and quite interesting acoustic-sounding interlude. But at its core it still rips and crushes. Killer stuff. Continue reading »

Aug 012012

Between last night and this morning, I’ve come across so much new shit worth spreading around that I’m dividing up the collection into two pieces, this being the first one.

In this post are a new video from Bloodshot Dawn (UK), a new video from A Hill To Die Upon (U.S.), and another new video from Demonic Resurrection (India).


I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve written about this UK band and their self-titled 2012 album, which remains one of my favorite releases of the year (as explained in my January review). In April, we featured an official video for a track from the album called “Visions”, and this morning they released another official video. This time, the song is “Godless”, which is still available for free download at the Bloodshot Dawn Bandcamp page, where you can acquire the whole album, too.

Man, I do dig this song. It kicks you in the head like a pissed-off hyperkinetic mule. Killer riffs, killer drumming, and eye-popping guitar soloing leave no part of your face un-melted. And once again, we have a video — directed, filmed, and edited by Jordan Saunders of Dead Parrot Productions — that visually captures the head-whipping fury of the music. Check it out: Continue reading »

Dec 272011

(We first came across A Hill To Die Upon in an October MISCELLANY post, and since then their name has continued to appear on our site — their 2011 album Omens made Andy Synn’s list of the year’s Great albums as well as his list of Personal Favorites, and we also posted this review of Omens. I asked the band’s drummer and backing vocalist Michael Cook if he would share with us his list of favorite albums from 2011, and lo and behold, he agreed.)

The Horde Thy Blackened Reign (Stromspell Records)

Thy Blackened Reign is one of the best thrash albums ever. I can say that as a man completely uneducated in the school of thrash. So, of course, my opinion won’t hold much weight with thrash fans, but I can urge everyone to buy this album and listen to it. The drums are solid, the guitars are catchy and raw, and the vocals… are… killer… Continue reading »

Dec 222011

(We first came across A Hill To Die Upon in October and posted this feature as an introduction to their strikingly good music. Now, Andy Synn reviews their 2011 album, Omens.)

One of this year’s great discoveries, A Hill To Die Upon ply their trade in the bloodstained arena of blackened death metal, taking their cues from the crushing power of Satanica-era Behemoth and the decaying grooves of Sheol-era Naglfar all wrapped up in a monumental package of fire-brand riffage and pulsing drums that recalls Immortal in their prime.

The album itself is a phenomenal listen, ripe with potential and possessed of a godlike strength and tenacity. As empowering as it is devastating, its perfectly harnessed power grants listeners colossal strength and vigour, enough to challenge all the forces which hold sway upon their lives.

From the moment the imperial march of “Darkness That Can Be Felt” stomps into view, breathing fire and brimstone, A Hill To Die Upon lay all their cards out on the table. The drums pulverise with lightning fast blasting and thunderous kick rolls, while the jack-hammer guitars and rumbling bass combine into a terrifying war-machine of unstoppable groove and power. The majestic chorus refrain showcases the group’s ability to interweave melody and monstrosity, while the skittering guitar solo slices through the song with the cut-throat precision of a straight razor.

The vocals bite and growl with violent intensity, gnashing their teeth through the clashing cymbals and scattergun kick patterns of “The Perfection Of Evil” and the titanic grooves of “Adept In Divinity”. These tracks aptly demonstrate the dominating power of the band’s guitar tone, one akin to the huge, thrumming sound found on the most recent Immortal records but with an unholy life all its own. The former song is a serpentine offering of twisted, barbed-wire riffs and seductive melodies, while the latter is a more controlled burn, primed to ignite in a crippling explosion of earth-shaking drums and scorched earth vocals. Continue reading »

Dec 162011

(This is the last installment in Andy Synn’s week-long series of posts looking back at albums released this year. Andy previously provided his lists of the year’s Great albumsthe Good ones, and the most Disappointing ones, as well as his list of “The Critical Top 10″. For more explanation of what all this means, plus Andy’s picks for the year’s best EPs, visit this location.)

So here we are, the last list of Andy Synn Week (maybe not the official title, but give me something here guys). Here you will find the ten albums that have made the biggest impact on me personally, the ones which make the most frequent appearance on my playlist. Rarely a day goes by without me listening to at least one of these albums, often several times.

You will note that, in contrast to last year, all my favourite albums this year are drawn from my “Great” list. For once, this is definitely coincidental; it just so happens that as I was paring down my overall list of favourite albums to a mere ten entries, I was left solely with albums that I believe are personally, as well as critically, my absolute favourites. It also covers a whole spectrum of albums, some released right back at the very beginning of the year, reaching all the way up to extremely recent releases, so it also serves as a reasonably comprehensive list in terms of the time-frame it covers!

There’s some minor cross-over with yesterday’s list, as some albums were always bound to be both critically and personally fulfilling, but largely you’ll find here a cross-section of my musical preferences from the year. Each album comes with a short explanation of why I love it; not necessarily why it’s the “Best” album of the year, but just why it clicks with me personally. Continue reading »

Oct 132011

I’ve been meaning to write something about this Illinois band since  NCS reader Austin sent me a link to one of their songs a couple weeks ago. Today seemed like a good day to do it, for reasons I’ll explain later.

Their most recent album, Omens, was released in June of this year and followed their 2009 debut album Infinite Titanic Immortal. The core of the band are two brothers, Adam Cook (guitar, bass, lead vocals) and Michael Cook (drums, backing vox). Even before listening to the music, I was struck by the eye-catching cover art for the two albums. The cover of the debut is above and you can see the cover of Omens after the jump.

The two-headed eagle can mean many things, but among others it connects (in my mind) to the imagery of Polish death-metal heavyweights Behemoth because AHTDU’s music reminds me of that band. So far, I’ve only listened to a handful of songs from the two albums, but from what I’ve heard, the music has a similar imperial weight and obsidian edge. The band deliver heavy, crushing rhythms with a controlled, martial drumbeat; fat, groaning riffs augmented by bursts of rapid-fire, blackened-thrash leads and slithering solo’s; and predatory, lionine vocals. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »