Jan 162021
 

 

CLEAN SINGING ALERT!

This past week I missed two days in the rollout of this list, for reasons explained when I was able to resume it. I also mentioned that I might try to catch up this weekend, et voila!

As the alert warns you, or maybe entices you, all three of today’s selections involve singing, and thus run counter to the rule in our site’s title. But as regular NCS visitors know, that’s never been an iron-clad rule. We have always made exceptions where exceptions are well-earned, and they are in the case of these songs. Plus, I found these songs highly infectious, so much so that I could not in good conscience omit from this list. (And these won’t be the last partially or wholly clean-sung songs to make the list.)

CIRITH UNGOL

Reunions and come-backs are a whole lot more miss than hit, but holy shit, have Cirith Ungol been hitting it out of the park since they came back together after almost 20 years of inactivity. Along with some great live shows, their 2018 single “Witch’s Game” was a sign that the band still had it. And last year brought further proof with the release of Forever Black, their first studio album since 1991’s Paradise Lost. Continue reading »

Jun 232020
 

 

(Three months after its release, DGR finally dug into the fourth album by the Québec band Aeternam and is damned glad he did, as explained in this extensive review.)

Easily one of my biggest brick walls in terms of recent writing, because I have kept going back to it, over and over.

I wracked my brain for a while wondering where exactly I had picked up on Montreal’s hybrid symphonic death/folk/blackened-death metal group Aeternam and their new disc released in March, Al Qassam. It’s been a ghost haunting the backlog for a little while now, until it occurred to me that we hadn’t really covered the lead-up to their new disc at all.  Our most recent mention of them was due to vocalist/guitarist Achraf Loudiy appearing on Egyptian death metal group Scarab’s new disc, Martyrs Of The Storm — also released in March.

The whole reason they’d remained in the ‘keep an eye on’ pile was due to a handful of enthusiastic reader recommendations for them in previous years during our year-end list roundups. In fact, I think both 2012’s Moongod and 2017’s Ruins Of Empires are part of my collection now due to those recommendations. So, Al Qassam and its excellent cover art have been waiting for a proper look up and down almost since its announcement.

Given my current quest to sweep through the early parts of the year for anything we might’ve missed on top of the usual collection of albums I’m prone to dive into, finally diving headfirst into Aeternam’s latest felt like a natural thing to do. And wow, what a fantastic choice that has been proving to be. Continue reading »