Oct 232017


Offerings of praise to Satanus and efforts to channel blasphemous rage against the constricting noose of religious piety are commonplace in extreme forms of metal, with widely varying degrees of sincerity and success. But you will find few if any albums this year that channel such inspirations with the degree of inhuman ferocity and stunning violence displayed on the new album by Poland’s Anima Damnata. Their dedication is relentless, their execution merciless, and the impact of what they’ve done is nothing short of breathtaking.

The name of the new album, set for joint release by Godz Ov War and Malignant Voices on November 1, is Nefarious Seed Grows To Bring Forth Supremacy of the Beast. It’s their third full-length in a career that began in the mid-’90s.

About halfway through the album during the first time I heard it I realized that my mouth was hanging open, and had been hanging open since a few minutes into the first track. Even then, despite looking like a carp out of water, I couldn’t close the gaping hole in my face. The sheer speed and unrestrained fury manifested in the music is simply stupefying.

And simply surviving the assault may be as much of a challenge for many listeners as the high standards of destructiveness that the band obviously set for themselves. But for those steely enough to run this gauntlet, you’re in for an exhilarating (and perhaps terrifying) experience as we deliver the premiere of a full album stream today. Continue reading »

Sep 062017


From day to day, we have very few plans here at the NCS HQ, or at least very few that I know of. As the editor I rely mainly on my reflexes, which are like coils of rusted springs, ready to creak into action on a moment’s notice. Our other writers may have plans, but I usually learn of them only when our intrepid pigeon aeronauts arrive with stained scrolls of text wrapped around their legs. I do my creaky best to get their writings ready to go by the next day… or the same day… and quite often those surprises unexpectedly fill up our site with content when only the day before I might have wondered what the hell I would have for you beyond my own frenzied scribbling. Beyond that, the rest of my life occasionally intrudes with other reflex tests.

And so it was that I promised Part 2 of my latest SHADES OF BLACK column would be posted on Monday, and then got surprised… and then was surprised again on Monday… and today will also be full of surprises (at last count, we’ll have six posts today). Anyway, no SHADES OF BLACK today either, but I am going with this selection of new music from five bands, most of which I originally intended to include in that missing Part 2 and a couple that I came across since starting on it. I’m calling this “Hellraisers” because… well… you’ll find out why soon enough.


This is one of the items I discovered most recently — last night, in fact. It’s a new release by Ohio’s Midnight, a cover of “I Don’t Need Society” by D.R.I. It’s a Bandcamp, download-only release, and all profits will be donated to the Red Cross in their efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Various other Midnight CDs, LPs, tapes, patches, and t-shirts are available in bundles along with the new download, and profits from those sales will also be donated to the Red Cross. Continue reading »

Oct 292016



Hey there, happy Saturday to one and all. I kept a list over the last week of (mostly) new music I enjoyed. With the aid of an abacus, I counted how many songs, EPs, and albums were on that list. They added up to 39 (!). I moved some of them into the list of candidates for tomorrow’s Shades of Black post. I then picked the following nine for this playlist. There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to the selections, though I did aim to provide wide genre variety. I hope you find something to like — I liked all this stuff a lot.


This year the influential German band Bethlehem are celebrating their 25th anniversary by releasing a self-titled album (their eighth overall) on December 2 via Prophecy Productions. The album features a new vocalist, i.e., Onielar, from the German black metal band Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, and a new Russian guitarist known as Karzov, who participated significantly in the songwriting.I think it’s worth including this quote from Marcus Losen, Bethlehem‘s drummer in the early years:

“Apparently somebody in this f*cking universe answered my longstanding wish at last. These 10 tracks have the spirit and the balls I missed in Bethlehem for more than 18 years!”

Continue reading »