May 142024

(In this column Andy Synn focuses on short-form releases that emerged in recent months.)

It seems like every year I make a promise – to myself, if no-one else – to stay more on top of covering all the various EPs and short-form releases that come out… and every year I fail miserably.

Well, here’s my chance to make up for that by digging back into the last six months and selecting a handful of heavy/harsh/heartfelt releases for you all to check out.

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Apr 202024

This has been an unusual week for me. I broke out of my hermit-like existence (originally provoked by covid but comfortably extending to the present) and made a quick Wednesday-Friday trip to Texas for a celebration of an old friend. The travel part of it was an annoying hassle; the celebration part of it was great.

During that trip I didn’t accomplish much for NCS. Among the things I didn’t accomplish was paying attention to the emergence of new songs and videos I might want to celebrate today. I bookmarked a few things in even more random fashion than usual while away and quickly spotted a few more things this morning.

These roundups are never comprehensive; this one skims the surface even more lightly. Kind of like a flying fish briefly airborne, with bigger toothsome things hungrily rocketing up from below without warning, jaws gnashing for a bite. The following things jumped up and bit me. Continue reading »

Jul 172023

(Andy Synn digs deep into Agriculture‘s highly-anticipated debut album, out this Friday)

The Circle Chant, the debut EP from self-described “ecstatic Black Metal” band Agriculture, received a lot of hype – in certain circles, at least – when it was released last year.

And while I, perhaps unsurprisingly, felt that some of these reactions were a little overblown – two really good tracks and two bits of filler content does not make for a great release overall, in my book – the best moments of the EP (most specifically the opening title-track, which is basically five minutes of raw emotional energy in musical form) convinced me to keep an eye and an ear open for whatever the band did next.

Which is where their self-titled album comes in.

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