Jun 062017


(DGR reviews the new album by North Carolina’s Æther Realm., which will be released tomorrow.)

An almost four-year gap between albums isn’t too unheard of these days. Metal, when it wants to, moves at a glacial pace, and as much as we love to assume everyone runs on the two-year cycle, there are always going to be a bunch of outliers. Æther Realm are one such band, with the gap between their debut album One Chosen By The Gods and the group’s soon-to-be-released sophomore disc Tarot being close to four years — though the band themselves have alleviated that a bit with a very healthy bit of touring, show playing, and a slow drip of singles that has actually made the time seem to disappear faster than one would think.

A sophomore disc can represent a huge shift for a band, especially one like Æther Realm, who had a very succesful first disc — one that really did prove the concept behind the band in one go and contained a healthy grasp of really catchy songs. For a band that at one point jokingly had as part of their online bio “We are not from Finland”, it certainly wasn’t hard to draw conclusions as to which groups the Æther Realm crew really, really loved and drew a ton of inspiration from. A second album of the same style, though, no matter how good the band might do it, becomes a harder sell, and with Tarot it seems like even Æther Realm recognized that. Continue reading »

Jun 162015


Still in Texas, still working my ass off (but not on NCS), still not able to listen to much metal — but I did have time for a quick swim through the effluent of the interhole, and these things caught my eye (and ears).


Thanks to my NCS comrade Andy Synn, I saw the striking cover art above, by Valnoir Mortasonge, which Finland’s Amorphis posted on their Facebook wall, along with this announcement: Continue reading »

Mar 162015


(DGR hath delivered the following round-up of two new EPs and one new single.)

It’s been a little while since I’ve had time to really trawl around the internet and pen up one of these humongous roundups — mostly because smaller descriptions have been mutating into full album reviews. Often, I’ve used this kind of feature to help folks catch up with stuff they might have missed (or that we missed) and discover things that may have happened weeks ago, but flew under our collective radars. This time we’re having a little fun and attempting to bring a theme with this one — the theme of desaturated artwork, because what is more METAL than black-and-white artwork?

The answer is “nothing”, for it is bereft of all color, like our hardened and blackened souls. So I present unto you the most recent collection of things I have found, which actually share not one, but two things connected to the printed format: They are in black-and-white, and I was really fucking slow in writing about them and getting them out to you. Continue reading »

Jan 252014

Welcome to Part 11 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

That’s right, three songs today instead of two. I have reasons for grouping them together, but not because they’re similar. In fact, the styles of metal are quite different. I’ve put them together in this post because all three bands are relative newcomers, they’re all from the U.S., and they’ve already given us ample cause to expect great things from them in the future — because what they’ve already accomplished is pretty great. Of course, these three songs are also damned infectious.


This Minneapolis-based band will not be a new name for followers of NCS because we’ve been covering them closely since June 2011, when I included them in a feature that focused on a handful of promising bands I’d found who had less than 100 Facebook likes (they’re over 2,000 now). Musically, Oak Pantheon haven’t been standing still since then. Every new release seems to bring surprises — and further proof that their talents are as expansive as their musical interests.

Their latest release was a 2013 split with Amiensus (yet another very promising U.S. band), which I reviewed here. Oak Pantheon’s contribution to the split is a song entitled “A Gathering”. It manages to rock very hard while also being worthy of the label “epic”. I thought the riffs were ridiculously catchy when I first heard it, and time has only confirmed my first impressions — I’ve been drawn back to the song a lot over the last three months. It was a foregone conclusion that “A Gathering” would have a place on this list. Listen: Continue reading »

Dec 032013

I decided to take another break from vacationing to browse the interhole for news and new music, because I continue to have this paranoid suspicion that things continue too happen even when I’m not paying attention. And hellfire and damnation, did I quickly find many items of interest! I’ve collected three items in this post and will try to package up the others in a post tomorrow . . . because vacationing calls me like a siren, and I forgot to stuff my ears with wax.


As explained in this review, the debut album by Norway’s BlodsgardMonument — is in my humble opinion one of the year’s best, and certainly one of my personal favorites. Yesterday brought the premiere of the first music video for the album, for a song named “Sjeler Vil Brenne” (“souls will burn”). It’s a great song, and the video, though mysterious, is transfixing.

The film was made by an Australian company named Shining Dark Productions. Interestingly, Blodsgard have stated that they left the video interpretation of the song entirely in the production company’s hands, “as we believe in the integrity of the artist and the importance of complete artistic control”. Perhaps a risky move, but one that I think worked in this instance. Continue reading »

Jan 032013

We’ve been following North Carolina’s Æther Realm quite closely since discovering their auspicious debut EP Odin Will Provide (2011). At last, the band have completed their first album — One Chosen By the Gods — which is scheduled for release on January 8. And today, we’re pleased to give you an advance listen to the entire album.

But don’t dither around, because this full-album stream will only be up for one day. And as for what we think of the music, it’s very, very good. For a detailed assessment, check out DGR’s review posted a bit earlier today.

To find out more about Æther Realm, visit them on Facebook via this link. To learn how to order the album, go HERE.

Now, do yourself a favor and check out our exclusive premiere of the music right after the jump. Continue reading »

Jan 032013


(In this post, NCS writer DGR reviews the debut album by Æther Realm, which is scheduled for release on January 8 and can be ordered here.)

Æther Realm are a four-piece melodic death metal band from Greenville, North Carolina. They’re a bunch of young upstarts who have found the recipe to make music that sounds so much like their influences that they have shot past the point of merely paying tribute and landed right next to them.

Their brand of melo-death falls heavily into the realms of bands such as Ensiferum, Kalmah, and Turisas. There’s enough of the pagan sound as promoted by the aforementioned bands, but with a hurdy-gurdy folk influence as well, to make a band located on the east coast of the United States sound like they hail from the colder sections of Europe. They’ve even jokingly had a note on their Facebook page which states,  ‘We Are Not From Finland’.

For much of the last year, Æther Realm have been building toward the release of their debut album, One Chosen By The Gods, and that is now set for January 8. One Chosen By The Gods is a nine-song affair, and if you’ve been following this band for a bit (I gave them a small shoutout in my 2011 year end roundup here at NCS, so maybe since then?) then you’re probably already familiar with three of the tracks (“Swampwitch”, “Ravensong”, “Odin Will Provide”). But of course the album delivers much more.

And if you haven’t previously been exposed to Æther Realm, then One Chosen By The Gods will come as one of the lead-off pleasant surprises of 2013.

Continue reading »

Sep 232012

Our Sacramento-based contributor DGR hit me with a flurry of e-mails this morning, bringing to light a multitude of musical developments for your entertainment. I’ve now packaged them in this Sunday edition of the “Seen and Heard” post.


DGR began covering the work of this East Coast duo during the days of the sadly departed The Number of the Blog, and he introduced their work to NCS beginning last January. In addition to creating their own original songs, The Neologist have also been recording cover songs as tributes to their influences. They’ve made an entire In Flames cover album titled In Flames We Trust: Volume I, and they’ve also been releasing tracks from a work in progress by the name of Working the Soil, which will eventually become a complete album of Soilwork covers. And everything they’re doing is . . . free (or available on Bandcamp with a “name your price” option).

Today’s news is that The Neologist have just released their sophomore album of original music, The Promise of Eternal Separation.  This new album comes with a variety of “extras”, including a cover version of “Red Clouds” by Disarmonia Mundi, a dub-step remix of “A Call To Harms” by Jester Strikes, and two bonus tracks from the band’s Kazakhstan release and Vatican City release (both of which are due in October 2012).

DGR promises a review of The Promise of Eternal Separation, but the music is already streaming and available for download on Bandcamp (here), so go check that out. But that’s not all we have from The Neologist camp. Continue reading »

May 282012

(Here’s a round-up of recent news and music from DemiGodRaven about Katatonia, Æther Realm, Fear Factory, Shadows Fall, and The Browning.)

Katatonia’s new album: Dead End Kings (August 27th)

Over the past two weeks Katatonia have done a pretty interesting publicity bit on their Facebook page by putting up a picture of what looked like a dead tree branch in some snow and then slowly adding letters and more to the branch, eventually revealing that it was something more of a dead shrub and that the letters would spell an album title and release date for the group’s new upcoming disc.

Now they’ve completed the whole picture, and yes, it’s got branches on it alright, but it is something more than that. It’s looks like a dead bird wearing a crown, and the album title for their new disc will be Dead End Kings. It has an August release date, appearing a day later in the US than in Europe, but the difference of a day really isn’t that huge when you have the internet essentially spreading everything around at light speed. The moment anything from this album is out I’m sure it’ll be all over youtube, so if you have to wait a day you can find solace in at least streaming the songs that way. The image for you folks to check out is above, all Facebook banner-styled. Continue reading »