Jan 012019


(Here’s the second installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music.)

This segment has some interesting patterns in it. The grindcore power hour makes its appearance here, as I’m a sucker for a whole lot of high-speed songwriting over blasting drums, and there’s still some spill-over from the veterans who remained fairly consistent (which you’ll note, defined a lot of part one). As we reach the bottom of the list you’ll start to see some new faces, stunning debuts and incredible full-lengths, and from here the list only gets more and more wild.

As of this writing I’m not sure how to describe the next few segments, but you’ll note that the albums tend to get a little bit more heartfelt, vicious, and a whole lot more passionate as we get further and further into this list. If anything I’d say the immediate thing I’m noting is that the high-twenties of this affair fully sell me out as having had a giant tech-death party. But right now, let us enjoy this current batch of madness as we bounce around from the worlds of grind, to high speed death metal, to a pleasant prog-death and sludge metal break, only to finally close things out with a tremendous crushing of skulls. Continue reading »

Nov 032018


I thought I’d round up a quintet of videos that surfaced over the last couple of days, in the hope of making your Saturday a bit more entertaining. I’m going to (mostly) dispense with the usual commentary this time and leave you to go exploring on your own. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t want your commentary — so please do leave us some!


The first one is a live recording of Opeth performing the glorious “Ghost of Perdition” on May 11, 2017. It comes from the band’s new live album, Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which was released on November 2nd by Moderbolaget Records and Nuclear Blast on DVD, Blu-Ray, and vinyl formats. Continue reading »

Oct 202018


(In this new edition of our series devoted to lyrics in metal, Andy Synn posed his usual questions to James Malone, vocalist/guitarist of Arsis, whose new album Visitant will be released on November 2nd by Nuclear Blast and Agonia Records.)

If memory serves, my introduction to Virginia-based Technical/Melodic Death Metallers Arsis was way back in 2005 when I stumbled across the shamelessly epic, ultra-bombastic title-track from their recently-released EP, A Diamond for Disease.

Unsurprisingly, I was instantly hooked by the band’s mix of scorching intensity, fret-melting technicality, and shameless, scornful swagger – a sound that was part Carcass, part Death, part Motley Crue – and immediately went out to pick up a copy of the EP as well as their debut album, A Celebration of Guilt (which still stands as, arguably, one of the best Technical and/or Melodic Death Metal albums of all time).

In the years since then I’ve followed the band closely through all their ups and downs, watching as they honed their craft across multiple albums, sticking by them through all their struggles with ill health and line-up changes (including a period where it felt like the group was serving like a boot camp for guitarists looking to level-up their skills before joining bigger, more famous bands), and have always felt like they deserved far more critical acclaim and commercial success than they received.

I am therefore extremely pleased, and more than a little proud, to have (somehow) convinced James Malone, the band’s vocalist/guitarist and prime mover, to participate in this edition of Waxing Lyrical, where he talks about his love of King Diamond, the unexpected influence of Catholicism on the band’s early records, and the surprisingly deep emotions underlying their new, Horror-themed album, Visitant. Continue reading »

Oct 122018


(In this post Andy Synn reviews both The Outer Ones, the new album by Revocation (released by Metal Blade on September 28th), and Visitant, the new album by Arsis (which will be released on November 2nd by Nuclear Blast and Agonia Records).)

It doesn’t take a genius to identify the multiple similarities between the career progression(s) of Arsis and Revocation.

Both bands have become pretty big names in (and around) the Tech Death sphere, both bands are fronted by an impressively talented vocalist/guitarist (James Malone and David Davidson, respectively), and both bands have a rather notable ’80s Metal obsession bubbling away under the surface (stadium-sized Hair Metal in the case of the former, classic Thrash for the latter).

But the similarities don’t end there.

Not only are both bands pretty cover-happy (Revocation have, to date, released covers of Exhorder, Death, Metallica, Morbid Angel, and Slayer, while Arsis have pursued a slightly more eclectic path, covering tracks from Alice Cooper, Depeche Mode, and Corey Hart… as well as a mooted King Diamond cover which, for some reason, never saw the light of day), but both groups also participated in the Scion A/V EP programme in 2012, leading to the creation of the Leper’s Caress and Teratogenesis EPs.

And, even more recently, both bands have just produced (or are about to produce) brand new albums which are amongst the heaviest, and most Death Metal focussed, of their careers. Continue reading »

Sep 072018


It’s been one of those weeks, one of those weeks when for various reasons I just haven’t had time to compile any round-ups of new music. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of those weeks when a ton of new songs and videos have premiered (in addition to those we’ve premiered ourselves). I’ve picked a couple handfuls of those, and divided the collection into two parts. This one includes better-known bands, presented in alphabetical order. The next one will include more obscure names.


James Malone sports a shaven head in the Arsis video that appeared overnight, but still screams like a banshee and is obviously still capable of cooking up some tasty riffs, while the people around him help put the spurs to this galloping, groove-some new song and spice it up with a bit of occult aroma, too. Speaking of which… Continue reading »

Jul 292016

Meshuggah revolver ad-2


I mentioned in a post earlier this week that I’ve been distracted during nights this week by a televised political convention (because I am a political junkie with low willpower), and I also had to make a quick out-of-town trip. Metal didn’t wait for me while I was diverted, and so I have an immense list of new things from the last few days that I want to recommend. I’ve cut the list down to a mere 10 items, which I’ve collected here. Seriously, I’m aware that 10 is a lot, so I’ve choked back my usual desire to spill a lot of words.

I’m starting with two news items and then following those with 8 new songs or videos, presented in alphabetical order by the name of the artist.


I no longer subscribe to Revolver magazine. If I still had the subscription, I might have seen the full-page ad at the top of this post, which so far seems to be the only disclosure that Meshuggah’s new album The Violent Sleep of Reason will be released by Nuclear Blast on October 7. Here’s another fan pic of the ad: Continue reading »

Jun 012015


(In this post our man DGR reviews a Sacramento performance by Sepultura, Destruction, Arsis, Boris the Blade, and Micawber.)

Two shows in two days can sometimes be a difficult prospect, especially when you’re used to working those evenings. When you’ve barely recovered from one, dragging yourself to another can feel like a herculean labor. You don’t have the ‘holy shit I’m here’ adrenaline of being at a festival, it’s just two separate events on two different days, and as it would turn out, on two fairly different scales.

The previous night before this show, I wind up seeing Anaal Nathrakh in a venue the size of a fairly large kitchen (that show reviewed here), and this time I was slated to see Sepultura at Ace Of Spades — a venue that I have lavished many loving words over, mostly in hopes that they keep booking metal shows because they have a knack for bringing bands that normally wouldn’t roll through to Sacramento. Of course, you have to keep in mind that this show was a fairly large cultural icon at this point, with both Sepultura and Destruction being long-running international bands at about thirty years a piece. Hell, this was a Sepultura thirty-year anniversary tour, all things considered. (While we’re on the subject, Boris The Blade turned out to be from Australia, meaning this was quite the international tour.) Continue reading »

Sep 222014


“Supergroups” are hit or miss affairs. The combination of musicians drawn from well-known and very talented bands sometimes turns out to be less than the sum of its parts. That may turn out to be true of Necromancing the Stone (though I’m betting it won’t), but at least they’ve scored a win with the selection of their band name.

Necromancing the Stone is a new band whose line-up includes these musicians:

James Malone (Arsis) (guitars)
Ryan ‘Bart’ Williams (ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) (bass)
Jeramie Kling (The Absence) (drums)
Justin Wood (Brimstone Coven) (guitars)
John Williams (Brimstone Coven) (vocals)

As for the music, the band have recorded a three-song EP named Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead that will be released tomorrow. It will be available on Bandcamp, and shirts are already available at this location. The EP was mixed by Peter Tagtgren at Studio Abyss, with additional mixing by Eyal Levi at Audiohammer Studios. The EP’s cover art, which you cane see next, was created by Mark Riddick: Continue reading »

Aug 272013

(All of the regular NCS staffers have been together in Seattle since last week and collectively took in the performances by Wintersun, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Arsis at Studio Seven on August 23. In this post Andy Synn reviews the show and shares with us some video clips that he filmed that night.)

So… we may have missed Starkill. Apologies all. We were busy having drinks across town at The Oak (very cool place by the way) and ended up staying a bit later than we’d anticipated.

No worries though, because we made it to the venue just in time for Arsis who were, for me, at least, the most anticipated band of the night.


I’ve never seen James Malone and his melodeath marauders before, but I’ve been a fan of the band ever since they released A Celebration of Guilt, so this was a big moment for me, and the band did not disappoint at all.

Malone himself is both a fantastic guitarist and a vicious vocalist, shredding and riffing away flawlessly while barking his venomous, diseased lyrics. Continue reading »

Aug 242013

This is a photo by Jun Tiangja of rice terraces in the Philippines. It has nothing to do with anything else in this post. I just think it’s beautiful.

I forewarned you that there would be a drop in NCS content for about one week beginning yesterday because I planned to confer, converse, and otherwise hob-nob with my brother wizards here in the Emerald City. And if you’re now laughing at the notion of yours truly and my fellow NCS scribes being characterized as wizards, you’re welcome.

All of us have indeed congregated in Seattle, with BadWolf arriving yesterday afternoon and TheMadIsraeli, Andy Synn, and DGR swooping in at various times on Thursday. And though I expected our collective blog time would dwindle drastically, I didn’t foresee that we wouldn’t post a goddamn thing yesterday, not even a notice saying we wouldn’t be posting a goddamned thing yesterday.

We’ve fallen down on the job because I think we’ve been enjoying each other’s company. I say “I think” because I’m not a mind-reader and am mainly speaking for myself, and speaking for myself, I am happy to learn that people who seemed like cool dudes over the internet have turned out to be cool dudes in person, too. Continue reading »