Mar 232023

(On March 10th Me Saco Un Ojo and Pulverised Records released the excellent debut album of the Costa Rican death metal band Astriferous, and soon afterward Comrade Aleks conducted the following interview with Astriferous members José Pablo Phillips and Felipe Tencio.)

Savage and fearless, Astriferous have spread truly cosmic horror in a form of death metal since 2018. They turned into a trio after minor line-up changes, two demo recordings, and an EP, The Lower Levels of Sentience (2020). Nowadays it consists of two original members, José María Arrea (drums) and Felipe Tencio (guitars, vocals), as well as José Pablo Phillips (bass, vocals), who joined the band later in 2020. One of the founders, Federico Gutiérrez (guitars, vocals), left it around the release of Astriferous’ full-length album Pulsations from the Black Orb.

That album was released little more than a week ago, but I bet that you remember both the album’s artwork and the songs’ insane pressure from an NCS Premiere. These men from Costa Rica know how to play with madness. Continue reading »

Feb 162023

It is a regrettable but inarguable fact that metal bands in many countries outside the commercial behemoths of North America and Western Europe face serious challenges in reaching waiting ears, notwithstanding the explosive spread of streaming services and other digital platforms. If anything, the ease with which underground bands and labels can digitally launch music has just made it harder for truly talented bands to get noticed, like nuggets of gold in a flooding river.

Which brings us to the Costa Rican death metal band Astriferous. It would go too far to say that they are unknown, because their pair of demos in 2019 and 2020, their 2020 EP The Lower Levels of Sentience, and their 2021 split with countrymen Bloodsoaked Necrovoid did earn them devoted fans well beyond their home shores. Yet it’s fair to say that they are still further below the radar than their music deserves.

Hopefully that is all about to change, thanks to a stunningly impressive debut album named Pulsations from the Black Orb that’s now set for international co-release in March by the well-known labels Me Saco Un Ojo and Pulverised Records. Continue reading »

Jan 282023


I’m taking a break from NCS this weekend, so there won’t be a big roundup of recommended new songs and videos today or a SHADES OF BLACK column tomorrow. I’m involved in a big party that’s going to happen tonight, and there are things I need to do to help make it happen. I also know from past experience that I won’t get back to the NCS island HQ until sometime early Sunday morning, and I won’t get back stone-cold sober either.

On top of that I hope to spend a little time trying to figure out which songs to include in the final two days of our Most Infectious Song list next week. (If you don’t know what that is, you can find everything I’ve chosen so far via this link). I’m hoping to figure out some way of doing that without losing my fucking mind, because I’ve still got dozens of songs I’d like to include.

Of course I recoil at the idea of posting anything at NCS without including music, and so although the main point of this post is to keep people from wondering whether a big blank space for this weekend isn’t the result of some personal catastrophe, here’s some music: Continue reading »