Nov 232021


We’ve been writing repeatedly about the superb Greek death metal band Abyssus since the fall of 2015, which saw the release of their debut album Into the Abyss following a series of shorter releases that began in 2012. Since then the band have participated in numerous splits and EPs, and at last are approaching the release of their second full-length. Entitled Death Revival, it will provide a bracing start to the new year, with a January 21 release date set by Transcending Obscurity Records.

For a long time the songcraft of Abyssus has been impressive, but they seem to just get better and better, both maintaining a firm connection to death metal and thrash from the glory days of the late ’80s and early ’90s but also embellishing their songs in ways that make them sound fresh and fiery, a kindling of new heat. We have a prime example of their well-honed talents in the track we’re premiering today, a song that seems to embody its title: “The Witch“. Continue reading »

May 112020


2015 brought the release of the excellent debut album Into the Abyss of a Greek death metal band named Abyssus, a group that began life in 2011 as the solo project of Athenian vocalist and musician Kostas Analytis and now also includes guitarists Panos Gkourmpaliotis and Christos Liakos, bass-player Kostas Ragiadakos, and drummer Jan Westermann.

That album was preceded by a pair of EPs and a trio of splits, all of which were eventually released in a compilation entitled Once Entombed… Additional splits followed the release of the album, and in 2018 Death In Pieces Records released an Abyssus EP named Unleash the Storm from which we proudly premiered a track (“Operation Ranch Hand”) that ultimately made our list of 2018’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs (here).

2019 saw the release of yet another Abyssus split, a four-way conspiracy among Abyssus, Obsecration, Soulskinner, and Malicious Silence under the name Sign of the Covenant of Death. And now we’re in the midst of a new year and it’s time for more music from this tremendous death metal killing machine from Greece.

On July 6th, Death In Pieces Records will release a new Abyssus EP entitled Relics of the Past. Like the last EP, Unleash the Storm, it includes two new Abyssus songs and covers of three others, and we are once again handling a premiere from the EP. It’s the title track, “Relics of the Past“. Continue reading »

May 072020


I know I’m damned lucky to still have a job when so many people have been thrown out of work, but the job has been annoyingly intrusive lately. And by “intrusive”, I mean that it unexpectedly interferes with my grand ideas for NCS posts. This post, for example, is grand and gargantuan, but the job that pays me has delayed its appearance and constricted my time to the point that I’ve had to strip away most of the writing I had in mind. I’m cognizant of the likelihood that depriving you of my complete thoughts will cause widespread weeping.

As the title signifies, I decided to make this round-up death-centric — but there are lots of flavors of death metal represented here and different directions being pursued. I might have figured out a good way to order the flow, but didn’t have time to think about that either. So, just be prepared to bounce around.


“Check this steamroller. Nasum-like grind with choppy tech riffs to break things up. Complete barbarian war vocals. From Tunisia. What the hell, Omination, Ayyur, and now this….” Continue reading »

Jan 312019


Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a habit of jamming four songs together in these installments of the list (tomorrow, there will only be two more). But I was convinced that putting these four tracks together was exactly the right thing to do. Apart from being infectious (duh), they’re all lethal forms of death metal savagery, with spectacular soloing, excitingly malignant vocals, head-cracking rhythms, and killer riffs discharged through a certain kind of chainsawing guitar tone that many of us lap up with glee.

Not coincidentally, I wrote about all of them when they first appeared, and even premiered three of them, so this gives me plenty of chances to quote myself, which is always a real pleasure.


Nick Keller created the album art for the new second full-length by the Austin-based death metal band Morgengrau — and he did his usual spectacular job. Only part of his creation is shown above. More is visible here: Continue reading »

Jan 312018


The superb Greek death metal band Abyssus was on a pretty regular once-a-year release schedule from their debut EP in 2012 to their most recent split in 2016, but last year came and went without a release, although the band continued to be active on stage. But now a new Abyssus EP named Unleash the Storm is headed our way via the Mexican label Death In Pieces Records. It will be released in March and will serve as a kind of precursor to a new Abyssus album, Death Revival, that’s expected within the next year. And we have the good fortune to bring you a song from the new EP today.

The EP includes two brand new songs (“Operation Ranch Hand” and “Unleash The Storm”) and three cover songs from Bathory (“The Rite of Darkness”), Venom (“Warhead”), and Manilla Road (“Open the Gates”). The track we’re premiering is one of those two new original songs, “Operation Ranch Hand“. It is not a country-western song. Continue reading »

Jan 222016

Abyssus-once entombed


Last year brought the release of the excellent debut album (Into the Abyss) of a Greek death metal band named Abyssus, a group that began life in 2011 as the solo project of Athenian vocalist and musician Kostas Analytis and now also includes guitarist Panos Gkourmpaliotis and bass-player Kostas Ragiadakos. And next month we will have more Abyssus music to enjoy as Transcending Obscurity Classics releases Once Entombed…, a compilation of all the music by Abyssus that preceded the new album. Today we bring you a song from the new compilation called “Morbid Inheritance”.

Once Entombed… includes the band’s 2014 split with crust grinders Slaktgrav, their 2014 EP Summon the Dead, (those songs were also included in a split that same year with the Czech band Morbider), the songs from their 2013 split with Greek death metal compatriots Nocturnal Vomit, and finally, the band’s 2012 debut EP Monarch to the Kingdom of the Dead. The music will be presented in reverse chronological order, with the latest material appearing first. It provides a history of how the band began and how their music has evolved — and you get a thrilling and varied ride every step of the way. Continue reading »

Dec 192015

Vader-Future of tyhe Past II


Obviously, we have been in the throes of LISTMANIA, and a lot more lists are coming next week. Between working my gnarled fingers to the bone getting all the lists ready for posting and writing about songs and albums we premiered last week, I haven’t had as much time as usual to peruse new songs and videos. But I did some of that yesterday and this morning, and of course I found a lot of new things I thought were worth throeing your way — excuse me, throwing your way — so much, in fact, that I’ve divided these recommendations into two parts. The second one will come later today. I’ll also have a Shades of Black post for you on Sunday.

I will tell you at the outset that I haven’t heard all of the albums featured below, only a few songs from each one. I’m writing about them now because I fear I’ll never get around to writing a full review. Also, there’s faster stuff and slower stuff collected in this two-part post, and I decided to arrange the music so you go back and forth between the two speeds.


In 1996, Poland’s Vader released an album entitled Future of the Past. That was the third album for a band that had already been in existence for more than a decade, and it included covers of 11 songs by other metal bands whose names are household words. Now, nearly 20 years after the release of that album, Witching Hour Productions has just released Future of the Past II – Hell in the East. It’s a musical celebration of what Vader refers to as “the biggest bands of the Polish metal underground of the ’80s and ’90s”. Continue reading »

Nov 222015

Nachash-Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse


As you can see, I decided to give the “Seen and Heard” title a rest for today, but that’s still what this post really is — another selection of music I’ve come across in recent days that I thought you might enjoy as much as I have. Most of what’s in here is new, some of it only newly discovered by yours truly. As is usually the case, the featured music is stylistically diverse. And because this is a birthday weekend at NCS, I decided to really load up this post with a lot of listening.


We’ll start this collection of music with the debut EP from Norway’s Nachash, a four-track offering entitled Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse. Though it was released in February of this year (through Unborn Productions), I only discovered it recently, and what a discovery it has been.

The four long songs on the EP are rich and multifaceted. The final track “A Necromancer’s Lament”, which is set to play first on Bandcamp, is like a melding of stoner doom and black metal; the riffs are so goddamn delicious that I got pulled headfirst into the rest of the EP as if I’d been sucked into a whirlpool. Continue reading »