Jul 202021


After three full-length albums the one-man atmospheric black metal band Arx Atrata from Nottingham, UK, joined forces with Bleakwinter Shrine for a split release named The Warrior Cycle that was revealed in April of this year. Unlike Arx Atrata‘s previous works, this was an instrumental record, but nevertheless it was one that told a story. Arx Atrata‘s alter ego Ben Sizer explains it:

The Warrior Cycle was unusual in that although it was an instrumental release it was built around a strong narrative theme, the idea coming from Bleakwinter Shrine as a way to unify our work on the split record. With no lyrics to explain it, we decided to have the storyline included in the liner notes to give listeners some additional context and help them paint the imagery in their minds while listening to the record. But there was a realization that we could go further and show the storyline visually, setting the music to a short video that really captures the essence of the theme and provides an interpretation of the events within”.

It’s that video that we’re helping to premiere today, and it really is extraordinary. The narrative theme that inspired the music is tragic, and although the events are set in an ancient time, it resonates all too powerfully in our current age. The song in the video, “Succession“, plays upon the heartstrings with mastery, and the beautifully rendered video makes the impact of the music even more heartbreaking and deeply memorable. We’re truly honored to share it. Continue reading »

Jun 272014

(Andy Synn delivers another installment of his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music, of course.)

So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these columns, as my productivity on NCS has been particularly dire recently. While I’m working to correct that though, I thought I might as well use the format of this particular column to try and catch up on a few things we’ve missed out on.

As part of that I’ve decided to shake things up slightly, and give each of these albums a small introduction preceding each haiku. It’s a good time to bring it in, too, as each of these albums fits vaguely under the “Post/Atmospheric Black Metal” banner, so are all somewhat disparately united under a common theme, despite all hailing from different countries around the globe.

Anyway, enough of that blather, on to the poetry! (that sounded way more metal in my head)


A Post/Ambient Black Metal three-piece from San Francisco, Ion released their self-titled debut in April this year and I was immediately blown away. This is a brilliant, mesmerising album of blackened blast beats and gleaming celestial melody, based around a vibrant core of feverish riffs and soaring leads, that gets better and better with each listen. It completely renews my faith in this style of music every time I hear it. Continue reading »