May 042019


I did listen to these songs on a Saturday, but it wasn’t this Saturday. It was a week ago while I was in Houston, but for reasons I explained last weekend I didn’t have either the time or a clear enough head to write anything. And then, as forecast, my day job prevented me from doing anything more than write premieres last week.

So here we are, 10 days since the last round-up of new music I posted. Do I try to catch up with all the new stuff that’s come out over the last week, or just go with what I would have done last weekend if I’d had the time? I decided on the latter plan, because it will probably take me the rest of the day just to figure out what I missed. Maybe some of what’s below will be new to you anyway.


There are some old favorites among the bands I chose for this round-up, beginning with the veteran Kansas City collective, Ares KingdomChuck Keller (guitar), Mike Miller (drums), and Alex Blume (bass, vocals). Their fourth album, By the Light of Their Destruction, will be released on May 15th (CD and vinyl) by Nuclear War Now! Productions, and the song below is a track named “Eighteen Degrees Beneath“. Continue reading »

Oct 022018


Short But Sweet” is the tag we usually apply to reviews and streams of EPs and other releases that are less than album-length; we would apply the tag consistently except sometimes I forget to add it. Today I’m adding it when in one instance I probably shouldn’t, since one of the following releases is classified as an album — though it’s only about six minutes longer than one of the following EPs. But I’m late getting to it and wanted to say something about it without further delay.

This post is “Short But Sweet” for another reason: Pressed for time, I’m not able to write respectable reviews, just brief words of praise about each of these four items. I’ll add that each of these occupies a different genre space from the others, so you should check out all of them even if some don’t hit your own sweet spot.


My interest in this Kansas City death-thrashing band, whose recording roots go back into the mid-’90s, extends to the very early days of this site — the first review I wrote about their music was in May 2010, about six months after I launched NCS. I’ve written more things about them since then, not only because their music is so damned good but also because I also got interested in their personal stories. Continue reading »

Aug 042015

Ares Kingdom-The Unburiable Dead


I’ve been distracted by a combination of personal obligations and the demands of my fucking day job. As some of you may have noticed, we didn’t post anything on Sunday, which was only the seventh calendar day in five and a half years when that has happened, and we had only two posts yesterday. So great is the daily flood of metal that even a few days of distraction means that we get very far behind in our attempts to keep up with all the new music. Catching up would be a herculean task, but in this post I’ve made a modest effort to round up some (and only some) of the good new music and video streams that have surfaced since the end of last week.

This collection is incomplete, but it’s still a long playlist of recommendations — presented in alphabetical order by band name, with a rare paucity of words from me about the music. Your thoughts about these sights and sounds will be welcome, as always.


Roughly two years after the release of their last album, Veneration, Kansas City’s Ares Kingdom are about to drop a new one. The name is The Unburiable Dead, and the CD release is projected for early September on Nuclear War Now!, with LPs to follow. The album cover, which I think is wonderful, is based on a piece by the German artist George Grosz (1893 – 1959) called “The Pit“. When a friend of the band told me about the cover, he included this quote by the artist, who led a fascinating and tumultuous life: Continue reading »

May 052015

Ares Kingdom in Berlin, 2011 — photo by Anan Tan

I’m doing something I don’t think I’ve ever done before — re-posting on the site something we’ve previously published (with just a few word changes). There’s a reason why I’m doing this, which you’ll find in a postscript at the end.

I wrote this almost exactly five years ago, when this site was about six months old. I was a little inebriated when I wrote it; I tend to get emotional when I’ve had a few shots. But re-reading it last night, for the first time since I wrote it, I decided it still reflects what I believe. And I think there’s a decent chance that very few people who are visiting our site these days will have seen it five years ago anyway; we’ve grown a bit since then. So, here we go…


I suppose this topic is sappy, and sappy isn’t metal. But maybe it really is. You be the judge. And if you conclude this is just too much emotional tripe, chalk it up to an excess of tequila

What motivated me to write about parents (besides too much tequila) was my recent piece on an awesome KC band called Ares Kingdom and their album Incendiary, and some messages we received in response to it. In addition to praising the music, I praised the album art — the kind of thing that many bands do poorly, and that’s often lost in our download culture when it’s done well. Continue reading »

Oct 092012

Here are a few items of interest I saw between yesterday and today that I thought were worth throwing in your general direction. Catch!


A Frail Becoming, the new album by North Carolina’s Daylight Dies, is being officially released today by Candlelight Records. It’s very, very good. I hope we will have a review soon, because the album deserves whatever we can do to help spread the word.

The latest song to be released for streaming is the album’s fourth track, “Dreaming of Breathing”, which is the subject of a music video directed by Ramon Boutviseth that debuted yesterday. It’s a beautifully filmed video, and the narrative portion suits the moody, dreamlike ambience of the music, while the band footage suits all the thundering that Daylight Dies do so well in their doom-influenced brand of melodic death metal.

Check it out next . . . Continue reading »

May 152010

I suppose this topic is sappy, and sappy isn’t metal. But maybe it really is. You be the judge. And if you conclude this is just too much emotional tripe, chalk it up to an excess of tequila

What motivated us to write about parents (besides too much tequila) was our recent piece on an awesome KC band called Ares Kingdom and some messages we received in response to it. In addition to praising the music, we praised the album art — the kind of thing that many bands do poorly, and that’s often lost in our download culture when it’s done well.

The album art on the Ares Kingdom release is truly inspired, though you’ll never see what we mean unless you fork over the dough to buy a CD. As we explained in our review, the 16-page booklet that comes with the CD is a montage of historical artwork by many artists (including the cover art, which was created by Joseph Pennell in the last year of World War I), and the lyrics are written over the top of the art in beautiful silver calligraphy.

We read the liner notes too quickly and wrote in our review that the calligraphy was done by this band’s awesome guitarist Chuck Keller. That appears to have been an error, as was pointed out by a comment on our post by Splash.  According to the comment, it was done by Chuck’s father. And that (along with the fucking tequila) made us think about parents.

We don’t know Chuck Keller, or his dad. What we do know is this: We don’t deserve our parents. We don’t “earn” them. They are who they are, and we are who we are. If they love and support us (as appears to be true of Chuck Keller’s dad), that’s a gift, for which we should be fucking thankful. If they fail to understand us, or worse, if they undermine and damage us, it’s usually not our fault, though we so powerfully take our cues from them that we think it is. (more of this after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

May 132010

With damned few exceptions, we only write about bands we like. So if you come here often, you’re used to reading compliments about this band or that one. If we only give compliments — even when we really mean every one of them — maybe it starts to get difficult to make an impact with our praise. What do superlatives really mean when everything you say is a superlative?

Some people say that about us, but we really don’t fucking care. We ain’t changing our ways. Plus, we think we know how to make clear when a band really throws us out into an abyss of awesomeness that’s deep and wide — when a collective of musicians truly caves in our skulls in an irreparable way. Today is one of those days, the band is Ares Kingdom, and the album is aptly called Incendiary.

This is one of those instances when we feel especially challenged in our ability to accurately describe in words a sensation produced by powerful sounds. Obviously, we’re gonna try, but all we can hope to achieve is rough justice. You gotta listen for yourself to really understand what these dudes have pulled off.

How to sum this up? What’s striking about this band is their ability to connect deeply to the roots of thrash and death metal and make those sounds come alive with the same power and authenticity that have caused the genres to live as long as they have, but at the same time to create something new and amazing.  (continue reading after the jump, and listen to an awesome song from Ares Kingdom . . .) Continue reading »