Jan 202018

Dagon (photo credit: Chuck Marshall)


(DGR has stepped into the round-up void left by our editor this past week and has produced a three-part collection of recent songs and videos. Parts 2 and 3 will be presented on Sunday and Monday.)

The first couple weeks of the new year often feel like a machine slowly lurching back to life as people wake up from their respective holiday binges and try their damndest to shake the rust off, kick the tires, and get things back to into gear.

Both the news and the writing fronts often have that same year-opening feeling of machines lurching back into life after a couple weeks of dormancy — in the case of NCS it’s because we buried ourselves in the yearly Listmania event in which numerous lists of albums toppled over each another like the zombie anthills from the World War Z (in name only) film.

Three weeks into January, and judging by the handful of massive Seen and Heard and Overflowing Streams posts we’ve had to put up, you could say that we’ve solved the getting things into gear issue as our beloved musical genre has already offloaded numerous news bits upon us. I, your ever-faithful servant, have been doing my best to go along with my ragged fish net and catch everything that might’ve slipped by us — which in the case of this post dates back to last week and then some. Continue reading »

Dec 122017



(Like the good cowboy he is, DGR has stepped forward to handle round-up duty today.)

We at NCS are big fans of posts full of genre whiplash, and this roundup of things that caught our eyes and ears last week will likely be one of those. We try to always keep our giant fish net of news-and-music catching open for stuff to fall in and we like to clean it out whenever we get the chance, even though you would’ve figured that last week things should have slowed down just a bit…you would think.

However, just because it’s close to the end of the year and time for everyone to begin writing up summaries of their favorite albums of 2017, and just because our editor managed to escape from the loris horde encircling the NCS compound for a vacation, does not mean heavy metal got the hint and decided to slow down for a bit. We did here in our little comfortable corner of the ‘net, but that doesn’t mean everyone did. And so we go outside to clean off the radar dish and see what landed in the net over the past week. Continue reading »

Mar 032014

(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Sacramento’s Alterbeast.)

Alterbeast are a group who have been rapidly moving through the Sacramento music scene for a while now, previously operating under the name Gary Busey Amber Alert (G.B.A.A. for short). Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to catch them live over the years could’ve told you that they had huge potential to go places — at the very least to escape the confines of this cowtown. Seeing the group live was like witnessing a controlled series of explosions through a tech-death lense. Thus it was that the group’s signing to Unique Leader came as no shock; the only question was whether the band could capture the intensity of those live performances on a disc.

The group’s name change came with a lineup change as well, meaning that Alterbeast and their new disc Immortal feels almost like the launch of an entirely new band. We at NCS waited eagerly to hear what would be captured on the album, as Immortal remained in the forge for some time — being hammered out at multiple studios, including familiar names like Mayhemness in Sacramento, Castle Ultimate (who have recorded multiple Sacramento groups — you’ll recognize Zack Ohren’s booming drum recording instantly), and Augmented Audio out in LA.

With Immortal still a couple weeks out, we finally got our grubby, disgusting hands on the album and we can confirm for you this much: Alterbeast have themselves one of the strongest launch discs in some time, a relentless, quick, calculatingly violent mix of the current tech-death metal scene, brutal death, and even some of the dark, heavy groove sounds that bands such as Black Dahlia make their trade on. Continue reading »

Jan 162014

Earlier today I posted a delayed round-up of new music and newsy things that I intended to post yesterday. This round-up is somewhat more timely, and collects three songs and related news that I just discovered today and that I heartily commend to your attention, in alphabetical order.


Alterbeast (formerly comically known as the Gary Busey Amber Alert) are a Sacramento band I first heard about through my NCS comrade DGR (who wrote this review of one of their live shows last October). They are now among the Unique Leader stable of artists, and this spring Unique Leader plans to release their debut album Immortal.

Yesterday we got a first look at the album’s striking cover art by the talented Raymond Swanland (click the image above to see it in its full glory), and we also got a premiere of the album’s first track, “Flesh Bound Text”. You may momentarily be lulled by the piano and violin intro, but you will be jolted fully upright by the tech-death onslaught that follows. It flies like a highly accelerated horde of bats awakened from their slumber by a grenade detonation. But as jet-fueled and acrobatic as the instrumental performances are, what makes the song even more noteworthy are the start-stop dynamics and the deft incorporation of a swirling guitar melody. Awful damned impressive. Continue reading »

Oct 132013

(In this post DGR reviews the CD release show of Conducting From the Grave (with friends) at The Boardwalk venue in Orangevale, California, on October 5, 2013.)

Saturday (Oct 5) was exciting for a several reasons. First, it was my chance to see Conducting From The Grave take the stage fresh off the release of their new disc. Second, I also got to see Soma Ras again. Third, I’d get to see the newly christened Alterbeast and find out if my generally high opinion of them from their GBAA days would still hold up. And finally, and I swear this is true, I would finally get to see Fallujah — more on that later.

The whole show was basically a celebration for the Conducting guys, and they were treated like conquering heroes the whole night, with a pretty packed Boardwalk venue and a crowd receptive to every band who took the stage. Also, holy shit, were there a lot of cameras at the venue too; I guess quite a few people wanted to have their own bootlegs of the show that night.

One of them was right next to me for the whole show, someone who I would later find out was working for clothing/media company Atrocious Works (Home site and Facebook page) and has been posting the material online as he has uploaded it. You should obviously check them out because they’re adding to the huge archive of live shows on the net that are out of Sacramento venues, and a huge thanks to them for that. Right now, the videos consist of front-row views (and damn good sound quality) of Alterbeast, Lifeforms, and Conducting From The Grave. Continue reading »