Apr 292017

Schammasch – photo by Andrea Stoppa


Happy Saturday. I’m continuing an effort to catch up on things I spotted over the last week but didn’t have time to write about. For this Part 2, I decided to include mostly news items, and leave a lot of the remaining new music I’d like to recommend for Part 3. Not sure when I’ll get Part 3 done, maybe in time to post later today but most likely for tomorrow.

The first three items here are announcements of new albums, with artwork. The last three are new tape and CD releases that provide reminders about very good releases that originally appeared last year or early this year. And sandwiched in the middle is a bit of recommended new music.


Here at NCS we’re big fans of the Swiss band Schammasch. And so it was exciting to see the band’s announcement this morning that they plan to release a new trilogy of records as the follow-up to last year’s Triangle trilogy. The new series will be entitled The Maldoror Chants, and the first album — The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite — will be released on the 9th of June. Here’s the cover art, along with the band’s description of the new trilogy: Continue reading »

Jun 032016

MDF Merch1
MDF merch

For those just now joining this series about Maryland Deathfest XIV, I’m in the process of highlighting the bands whose performances were the best of the ones I saw and heard in Baltimore beginning on Wednesday of last week.

I’ve organized those bands into four categories (not rigidly defined, mind you). Yesterday’s feature was about “Swedish (and Dutch) Death Metal Supremacy”, and for today’s collection I’m borrowing the title of one of our long-running series about new music — Shades of Black —  because I’m spotlighting six black metal bands of varying styles whose sets I really enjoyed. I’ve again included photos of each band (most of which are gathered at the end of this post). Continue reading »

Jan 102016

Rearview Mirror


Eventually, I’m sure Absu would have popped into my head as a subject for one of these Sunday look-backs at metal from years past. But it happened sooner than later because of the announcement a few days ago that Absu would be embarking on their first full American tour since 2013, with stops in 42 cities — preceding the expected release later this year of their new album Apsu. If you want to check the schedule, scroll to the end of this post.

Apsu will be this North Texas band’s eighth studio album in a career that goes back to 1991, and their first one in six years. It completes a trilogy that began with Absu and Abzu. It will be interesting to hear what the band have concocted for this album. It will also be interesting to see the artwork of the very talented Polish artist Zbigniew Bielak, who we’re told has created separate covers for the CD and LP formats, as well as eight individual art pieces based on the album’s lyrical components.

But the point of this post isn’t to speculate about the next album, it’s to scatter a few tracks from the past. Continue reading »

Sep 102012

The internet is like an ever-flowing stream, and by that I mean downstream of something like this →

One of my jobs here at the NCS metallic island is to sift through all the garbage and toxic waste to find the sparkly little nuggets in the stream that are worth sharing with you. Of course, I only look for the nuggets that are pleasing to my eyes and ears because I’m a selfish bastard. You will either be happy with them or you won’t. Here are the nuggets I came across in my sifting this morning:


This morning my NCS comrade Andy Synn sent me a message that the new Blut Aus Nord album had fallen into the hands of certain unnamed bastards, not including us, and that it included a sweet piece of cover art. However, even after my pestering, he would give me no links to anything, which reinforced my ongoing desire to slap him. Therefore, I had to dive into the putrid intestinal fluids of the interhole to learn what I could.

As you can see, I found the album cover to Cosmosophy, which is indeed sweet (it’s a collaboration between French artist Dehn Sora and Metastazis). I also found that the album is available for pre-order HERE (CD, LP, plus shirt), and that pre-orders will begin shipping from Europe on Sept 21. I also found that the official updated release date (though this may be only for NorthAm) is Oct 10.

As you may know, Cosmosophy is the concluding part of the 777 trilogy that began in 2011 with Sect(s) and The Desanctification. I found this description of the new album: Continue reading »

Jul 132012

I’m still in kind of a work-related trash compactor, except it’s my mind and my time that are being compressed. I’ve had just enough time to glance around the interhole to realize that there’s a fuckload of happenings I’d love to share with our readers, but not enough time to package all of them together in a single post. But rather than just give up, I’m going to dash off a post here and then one or two more a bit later — quickly tossing out at least a few of the items that have caught my eye. This post has a black metal theme.


As they’ve done in the past, The Cartoon Network is again providing free new music as part of their “Adult Swim Singles Program”. Surprisingly, the single they released today is more extreme than what we would have expected. It’s a new single called “Hall of the Masters” from Texas-based Absu, a kvlt black metal band that’s well loved around NCS. It’s a hell-ripping thrasher of a song, and you can download it for free by visiting this page.

You can also give it a listen right after the jump. Continue reading »

Apr 122012

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of performances at the second day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival. For his review of the first day’s inferno, go here.)

Day 2, and far more refreshed after a night’s proper sleep, we turned up at the venue a little before Agalloch’s set, allowing us to wander round the various stalls, tattoo showcases, and other assorted gubbins that act as an annex to the main festival. Highlights included some impressive tattoo work, a random assortment of rare/hilarious special editions (including a hugely over-priced and hugely amusing mega-box edition of the new and deplorable Morbid Angel album), and the none-more-metal selection offered by the infamous Neseblod Records stand. To top it all off we were even offered the opportunity to buy some of ICS Vortex’s old leathers. Truly the stuff legends are made of. But all these wonders were mere distractions set against the night’s impressive musical line-up.

Right from the start, Agalloch set out to reclaim and redefine the term “epic” with their tense and scintillating sound, expanding to fill the massive venue with a wall of sonic majesty, roots and branches reaching up to the heavens and penetrating deep into the loam of the earth. Cherry-picking the best tracks from The Mantle, Ashes Against The Grain, and Marrow Of The Spirit, the quartet painted the venue with sound and light, washing over the audience in tidal waves of lush, transcendent noise and focussed power – in particular, “In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion” was both utterly haunting and emotionally exhausting. Even some temporary technical problems were dealt with in an almost seamless manner, the rest of the band maintaining the pulsating heartbeat of ethereal ambience while frontman John Haughm dealt with his misbehaving guitar.

If you’ve never seen Agalloch live, I implore you to do so at any costs; they conjure an atmosphere as intense as any band I have seen (equaling, though not competing with, that of Triptykon on the previous night), but in a manner wholly unique to themselves. It’s the music of nature and nurture, layers and layers of melody and complexity that subtly, and unexpectedly, combine into something overwhelmingly heavy yet effortlessly organic. Continue reading »

Dec 192011

(Tamás Kátai is the man behind a Hungarian band called Thy Catafalque, whose fifth album Rengeteg is one of my favorite recordings of the year,  for reasons I’ll be explaining in a forthcoming review. Also, a song from that album will appear soon on our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. So of course, as part of our Listmania series, I asked Tamás to contribute his list of the year’s best albums — and here we have it.)

10. Baaba KulkaBaaba Kulka

A Polish band with early Iron Maiden covers up to Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album. Why it’s interesting and worthy of note is that they handle the task with exceptional freedom and taste. My faves are the trip-hopish “Aces High” and the beautifully low-key “Flight Of Icarus”. True Warriors Of Heavy Metal keep out!

Continue reading »

Sep 232011

(Our guest contributor Trollfiend proves that it’s possible to write a review of Absu’s new album despite self-inflicted traumatic brain injuries.)

(This is a transcription of a recorded conversation taken pre-review at the Gateway Psychiatric Hospital of one ‘Mr. G—-‘, who at the time of this report is in a fully vegetative state after suffering self-inflicted traumatic brain injuries and who is currently only capable of salivating profusely and muttering occult gibberish.  While two speakers are listed here in the transcript, analysis of the recording by audio experts proves conclusively that both ‘voices’ belong to ‘Mr. G—–‘. Given the nature of the ‘responses’, we have dubbed the ‘second speaker’ accordingly.)

Subconscious: I bet you can’t do a review of the entire new Absu album without using the words ‘black’ or ‘metal’.


Subconscious: It’s so black.  It’s like darkness raped midnight and this is the ebon spawn that they painted black and buried in the bottom of a disused well shaft in a cave. Continue reading »

Sep 062011

Last Thursday, we published BadWolf’s review of Abzu, the next album from Absu. Judging from our internet stats on BadWolf’s post, a lot of people seem to be anxiously awaiting this album, and very interested in hearing what it has to offer. Well, now you can have your first taste of Abzu.

Pitchfork Media, whose audience is somewhat bigger than our own, sort of in the way that Goliath is somewhat bigger than Bambi, was selected to premiere “Abraxas Connexus”, and that song is now streaming RIGHT HERE.

The song is also now available for download via iTunes as a single at this location.

That is all.

Sep 032011

It’s Labor Day Weekend, August is a thing of the past, and as some people count it, summer is over. School is on the verge of resuming for people still attempting to educate themselves, and a ton of new metal tours are looming on the horizon for the fall. And of course, the fall will be filled with new album releases, too. Which brings us to the latest monthly edition of METAL IN THE FORGE.

You know the drill:  In these posts, we collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — this isn’t a cumulative list. If we found out about a new album before August, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. And feel free to tell us about how we fucked up by omitting releases that you’re stoked about. Continue reading »