Feb 272023

Extreme metal finds fertile soil in nearly every corner of the globe, though the soil is undeniably less hospitable in some places than others. It is, for example, more difficult for such musicians to become noticed (and possibly more difficult even to indulge their creative interests) in a country like Tunisia, a land where many ancient cultures intersect in the northern-most geography of Africa. But there, Ayyur was born 16 years ago, and has managed to survive and, against all odds, even to thrive.

After Ayyur‘s inception, Metal Archives shows us that the project quickly released an EP, a pair of splits, and a demo in its early years, but then fell silent for nearly a decade. Beginning in 2018 Ayyur has returned, releasing three EPs with only two-year gaps between them (including last year’s Hidden Room Sessions I), and now the band has at last completed a debut album named Prevail, a title which seems to stand for what the band itself has managed to do.

We’re told by the labels which will release it that through this new album of blackened doom metal “the artist observes the desolating reality which surrounds them, finding a personal path and the answers to their own questions”. It is thus also described as “an intimate album, strongly introspective and ruthless at the same time, with lyrics sharp and pungent like blades”. Continue reading »

Oct 292022

…And Oceans

I mentioned last Sunday (and again on Monday) that I wasn’t feeling well, as an explanation for why I didn’t get very much done for NCS last weekend. I also mentioned that I spent that weekend in southern California at a gathering of co-workers from different cities. Within days of everyone getting back home, a half-dozen people reported testing positive for covid, all of whom were fully vaccinated.

I had tested before going on that trip, took another test while I was there, and tested again five days after my last close contact with those people — all the tests were negative. But I’m still feeling sub-par, still congested, sniffling, and lethargic, for the second week in a row.

I don’t know what the hell I have, but there’s obviously a lot of respiratory virus blooming in the country besides covid, with different strains of cold and flu making a triumphant comeback after a couple of years of masking and quarantine restrictions left them lonely. You can take your own lessons from this, but I’d advise you to be careful.

It might be my hopeful imagination, but I think I’m marginally better today than before, or at least feeling well enough to go exploring new music and videos again. Here’s some of what I found (I ticked off a lot of genre boxes with this compilation, plus a couple of elliptical band names): Continue reading »

Apr 092020


Here we go again. I decided not to alphabetize the bands today, but focused instead on structuring this a bit like a playlist of new music, with some ebb and flow and movement among genres as you go through it. I also threw in a curveball, as you’ll see.


Chaotic, violent black/death with mutilating levels of distortion and explosive skull-busting rhythms, coupled with an amalgam of malevolent roars, grotesque growls, unhinged shrieks, and freaked-out, ear-shredding leads. The music also devolves into massive doom stomps saturated by musical misery and accented by gouts of splintering pain. Continue reading »

Nov 182018


I’m not sure how many Parts I’ll finish for this Sunday’s column. I have three in mind, even though that may amount to overload for most readers.


There may be some explanation out there in the interhole about how to pronounce this band’s name, but because I’m hurrying I haven’t looked. As I read it, it resembles the sound I make when clearing my throat upon awakening after a night of too many cigarettes and too much booze. Fortunately, the music on the band’s debut album sounds much better. In fact, it’s so good that it’s startling, and often stunning. Continue reading »