Jun 022021


(We welcome guest writer Nick Awad, who shares his review of a 2020 black metal split release among Hajduk, Akantha, Nimbifer, and Sørgelig that deserves more attention.)

Though the style of Raw Black Metal is not particularly new, it is currently having a moment. These days, countless bands are emerging from the shadows with ominous promo photos, grainy audio production, and fast-selling physical releases. Depending on who you ask, this is either a golden age or the dumbest thing since the recent OSDM revival. As with most things, there is some validity to either stance. For every worthwhile Raw Black Metal project, there are about a hundred duds. Duds that may check plenty of the grim aesthetic boxes, but offer no real substance. That being said, those aforementioned worthwhile projects are absolute gold. Among those praiseworthy projects is a split released in the late summer of 2020.

Ruins of Humanity is a four-way split full of vicious songwriting and macabre ecstasy. The bands on the release; Hajduk (Bulgaria), Akantha (Greece), Nimbifer (Germany), and Sørgelig (Greece); prove themselves to be an arterial cut above the endless menagerie of aesthetic-obsessed internet vampires. Though the songs on this split do nod to the ideas that precede them, they are far from the soulless riff recitations of a “worship-style” project. They represent a culmination of traditions coupled with modern influence that does not stray from the necessary orthodoxy of the craft of Black Metal. Continue reading »

Sep 202020


I mentioned in the first Part of today’s column that I overcame the usual brain-freeze brought about by the overwhelming volume of interesting new music by separating the attractions into advance tracks and complete new releases. Today’s earlier post was devoted to advance tracks, and I mentioned that I had an idea for how to handle the new complete releases.

In the early days of NCS I began a recurring series called MISCELLANY, which got up to 78 installments before it died away from neglect. The self-imposed rule for that series was that I would pick bands I’d never heard before and listen to one (or maybe two) songs from something new they’d released, record my immediate impressions, and then leave it to readers to decide whether to explore further. That strategy allowed me to sample from albums and EPs that I didn’t have time to review in full, without knowing in advance how the music would strike me (or you).

And that’s almost the same strategy I’ve used in this post — almost, because some of what you’ll find below came to me via recommendations from people I trust. So it’s not quite the shot-in-the-dark of the old MISCELLANY series.


To begin I picked “Pavlína Kováříkov“, the lead-off track from this Hungarian band’s just-released third album, Urbain Noir — and man, I love it. The guitar leads have a kind of yowling but spooky and sorcerous sound, and the way in which In Vacuo introduce and then twist the central melody is ingenious. The song as a whole proves to be a twisting (and twisted) experience – heavy and battering, deep and drilling, moody and murmuring, jolting and groaning, thrilling in its maniacally glittering tremolo’d vibrations and blood-curdling in the hostility of its varying vocals. Continue reading »

Jan 302019


One consequence of agreeing to present so many premieres (four of them yesterday alone!) and persisting with my Infectious Song list (even though it’s already 40 tracks long) is that I have much less time to round up new songs and videos. As a consequence, my list of new things to listen to and write about has become so vast that it resembles a paper version of this scene from a beloved movie.

With more premieres to write for today and another installment of “Most Infectious” as well, I don’t really have time to catch up today, but I did want to quickly mention the music below before turning back to those other labors.


Because of the conditions described above, I’ve barely scratched the surface of Alast, the just-released new album by the Iranian band Integral Rigor, but have had a very warm reaction to what’s gotten under my fingernails so far. Continue reading »