May 312022

Recommended for fans of: Gorguts, Demilich, Wormed

So I’ve finally found a chance to break my streak of writing about Black Metal bands for The Synn Report, and what better way to do that than with the mind-melting Death Metal madness of Artifical Brain?

And what better time to do so than now, with the band’s self-titled third album (the culmination of their ongoing sci-fi trilogy which began with 2014’s Labyrinth Constellation) due for release at the end of this week?

Those of you already familiar with the group will obviously need no introduction to their sound, and are probably just here to glean a little bit of advanced insight into what their upcoming new album has in store.

But those who are a little more, shall we say, unprepared for the oncoming onslaught of extravagant technicality, extra-terrestrial vocalisations, and extinction-level heaviness, may find themselves a little overwhelmed by what will probably – at first listen – seem like the very epitome of “organised chaos”.

Thankfully, I can reassure you that there most certainly is a method to the band’s musical madness, it just takes a little while to fully acclimatise and tune into the right frequency in order to truly get what’s going on here.

But when you do… things will never be the same again.

Continue reading »

Apr 142022


I intended to complete and post this round-up yesterday, but my fucking day job rudely interfered. In the meantime I’ve been alerted to a bunch of other new songs and videos that surfaced yesterday. Trying to include them now would result in further delay, so I’ll just have to save them for later. Almost half of what you’ll find below came my way via DGR, and one more from a friend and former NCS writer, and the rest I somehow found on my own.


“IT’S GLORIOUS. I mean this is like it fell right out of a time machine from the Colony sessions.” That’s what DGR wrote when he alerted some of his fellow NCS slaves to the existence of this first song, which is the title track to The Halo Effect‘s new album, Days of the Lost. And if you don’t know, one reason for the Colony reference is that this band includes a bunch of former In Flames members (Jesper Strömblad, Niclas Engelin, Peter Iwers, and Daniel Svensson) plus Dark Tranquillity‘s Mikael Stanne behind the mic. Continue reading »

Apr 052017


(Todd Manning wrote this review of the new album by Artificial Brain.)


It’s impossible to know (short of asking them) if New York-based Death Metal quintet Artificial Brain are familiar with such outre philosophies as Cosmic Pessimism or Object-Oriented Ontology, but they certainly seem to have concocted the perfect soundtrack to such occult topics. On their second full-length, Infrared Horizon, due out on April 21st on Profound Lore, they present us with a sound that conjures forth the far reaches of the void of outer space, and the nihilistic possibilities outlined in said philosophies. Continue reading »

Feb 182017


This is the last part of a three-part round-up for this Saturday. Unlike Part 1 and Part 2, this installment is devoted to new music and videos released last week from groups whose names have a pretty high profile, and I would guess that all of the following songs have already made the rounds through much of metaldom without me needing to say much about them.

So, I’m going to just present the songs and videos without commentary, preceded only by some basic info about the releases. But, as always, you should certainly feel free to share your own thoughts in the Comment section.


Album: Atonement
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: February 24
Facebook: Continue reading »

Dec 162014


(We interrupt our seemingly endless series of year-end lists to bring you a video premiere by a band whose 2014 album is cropping up on many of them — with an introduction by Austin Weber.)

Let’s be honest, as far as metal releases go in 2014, few have been as praised and visible throughout numerous year-end lists as Artificial Brain’s Labyrinth Constellation. Thus, the remainder of this year shall be renamed The Year of the Brain. And for good reason! Getting to see them live this year was a mind-blowing experience for me.

While I don’t want to re-hash what I said in my review, I can sum it up as a highly creative album that keeps aggression and white-hot intensity at the forefront in spite of its progressive nature, keeping things oddly catchy while making sure each song has its own identity, effortlessly worming its way into your skull. A lot of metal critics pussy out on putting death metal releases on year-end lists, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw that Labyrinth Constellation has already appeared on so many. Not only that, but another big reason this is The Year of the Brain is because the band were featured in a clip on the CBS show Elementary; and hell, even Lucy Liu says the band’s name in the clip! Continue reading »

Sep 262014


(Austin Weber witnessed the live performances of Artificial Brain, Pyrrhon, and Gigan in Covington, Kentucky, on September 24, 2014, and provides this report and a big collection of photos.)

With this tour, three of the brightest and best modern American death metal bands have united to present one of the best tour lineups of the year — one with no crappy/boring support bands, and with each bringing a defined and unique identity to the table. All three share a similar convention-denying approach and an out-of-the-box nature.

So I made the hour-and-a-half, each way, trek to Covington, KY, near Cincinnati, to take in this most marvelous show. While I have often had Nik Vechery accompany me and take photos, I was unable to line that up, so I took the pictures as well. A few are scattered throughout the review, and the rest are collected at the end.

Unfortunately, the camera I borrowed from my roommate I had never used before, and due to putting Gigan up for the night on the evening preceding the show, I had no time to mess with various photo settings, exposure settings, and the like. So, while shooting the show I had fun going nuts switching up the ISO settings and varying the exposure speed to trippy effect, although I didn’t get as many pictures of Artificial Brain as I would have liked.

Still, I think I got some wild shots that express the energy and insanity of the bands who played. I missed most of the opening band, whose name I did not catch, so I focused on shooting and covering the bands who were touring. I was pleasantly surprised that the sound for the small venue in question, Backstage Cafe, was excellent and perfectly captured the spirit and vitality of all the bands present. Continue reading »

Jul 262014

Happy goddamned Saturday to one and all. I’m in the middle of a mini-vacation with family and friends, which means I’ve spent more time over the last 24 hours making lists of new music to check out than actually listening or writing. But I hate to let a day go by without posting something at NCS (that’s happened on a grand total of 3 days since we started this site in November 2009), so here are a few quick things I’d like to recommend. With luck, I’ll have a few more to bring your way tomorrow.


As previously reported here, the Ukrainian black metal band Blood of Kingu (started by Roman Sayenko of Drudkh) will be releasing their third album via Season of Mist on September 2 in North America (and August 29 everywhere else). The title is Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon. Last month Terrorizer premiered the first advance track from the album — “Enshrined in the Nethermost Lairs Beneath the Oceans” — and a few days ago Metal Underground premiered a second track. Continue reading »

Feb 282014

(In this post Austin Weber reviews the debut album by Artificial Brain.)

Most mentions of Artificial Brain focus principally on the fact that Revocation guitarist Dan Gargiulo is in in the band and that it’s his group. From what I’ve read in interviews it would seem he helped found it, and he no doubt writes a lot of the music. However, I feel that writing about Artificial Brain from this angle could be a disservice to the highly talented efforts of the other band members. As a group Artificial Brain offer an odd mix of old school and new school death metal shot through with alien black metal, and the way they make it all come together is frequently surprising and varied. They have enough different flavors to interest a wide range of fans as they touch on straight-up brutal, ambient and atmospherically focused, technical, and grimly dissonant jaunts — often within the same song.

If other black/death is a grim peering into hell, then Artificial Brain is the work of Lovecraftian monsters peering out from unearthly realms — ready and willing to inflict horror on the cosmos. Labyrinth Constellation is truly unsettling, and its monstrous, cold depths echo the band’s space themes eloquently. Continue reading »

Jan 272014

I came across some new live videos last night that I’d like to share. The first two are performances by Ævangelist and Artificial Brain at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar on January 25, 2014. I’ve been following both bands for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve seen what they look like on stage.

The new album by ÆvangelistOmen Ex Simulacra, was released last November by Debemur Morti. For my money, the most compelling track on a very compelling album is the long closing song “Abysscape”. To quote what I’ve previously written, it’s “a dense, bottomless, indigo whirlpool of doom, made for immersion. Immense grinding guitars match up with immense, horrific vocals and stunning drumwork. Alien keyboard melodies call out like the cries of homeless souls. The ravaging music alternately storms and drifts. You look into the void, and ‘Abysscape’ is there, looking back at you.”

How nice that the Ævangelist video filmed at St. Vitus by Frank Huang was the performance of “Abysscape”. And how nice that the alien nature of the song was matched by an otherworldly performance, beginning with the band’s live bassist — ][ — shrieking his lungs out for minutes on end before the song kicks into gear and lead vocalist Ascaris starts discharging his horrific, abyssal roars. Performing against a red backdrop but nearly immersed in shadow, both ][ and the band’s musical mastermind Matron Thorn are covered in strange sigils, and the top of Ascaris’ face is concealed by a creepy mask. Visually, the band is as arresting and unsettling to watch as their music is to hear. Continue reading »

Nov 132013

Sales of music CDs in the US are in a state of “terminal decline”, and are projected to continue dropping by an average annual rate of 13% from now through 2017 and will probably never see “any kind of sales increase again”. Ironically, as some believe, they could be saved from complete extinction only by consumers who come to see them as a “nostalgia niche product”.

Maybe a day will come, far off in the future, when history will repeat itself and CDs will experience the resurgence that vinyl sales have been experiencing recently. But even with vinyl sales growing, the total physical market for music in the US is already dwarfed by digital sales, and the disparity is only going to get worse. The same trends are happening globally as well.

As physical sales of music have dropped, some observers have worried that album art would also become less and less significant, both as an art form and as a draw for consumers. I used to be one of those people. But I’ve changed my mind. I don’t base my optimism on any hard data, just my own observations, and so maybe I’m guilty of wishful thinking. But at least in the world of metal, it sure seems that fans still care about quality album art, and that striking album art draws fans into music they would otherwise never discover — even if they’re only buying digital downloads. Continue reading »