Jul 052024

photo by Zach Johnson

(We present Ben Manzella‘s interview of Cammie and Dobber Beverly from the Houston-based band Oceans of Slumber, whose new album will be released in September by Season of Mist.)

In a time when complexity seems to be despised, I am thrilled by the upcoming LP from Oceans of Slumber. With nine new songs and an intriguing interpretation of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak to end the record, Oceans of Slumber start their time on Season of Mist by releasing a record that feels like an epic novel or adventure film perfectly fit for the overall uncertainty in life.

This isn’t grandiose music that plays to escapist tendencies. For me, as I’ve spent the last few weeks with these songs, this has become the soundtrack of a personal transition that I’m not ready to confront but feel somewhat forced to handle. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, and I welcome songs that match the daunting scale of my mental health as well as my physical limitations due to recent health challenges.

Without turning this into a journal entry, I’d rather share my conversation with  Cammie and Dobber Beverly from Oceans of Slumber. I likely could’ve chatted with them longer, but my internet isn’t the most reliable and I wanted to keep things reasonable. Thanks, again, to Dobber and Cammie for their time, as well as to Will at Season of Mist for helping me arrange this conversation. Continue reading »

Apr 242024

(Our friend Ben Manzella made sure not to miss one of the California dates of the ongoing Cancer Culture Over North America Tour, featuring Decapitated, Septicflesh, Kataklysm, and Allegaeon, and he brought us the following report on the show and lots of his photos.)

After going to shows consistently for close to twenty years, I find some venues hold a nostalgic place in my memory. The Observatory in Santa Ana, formerly known as the Galaxy Theater, is one such place. I rarely attend shows there due to the distance from where I live in southern California; but when I heard Decapitated’s tour would be starting there and I knew I’d be out of town for their other date in the area, I knew I had to figure out a way to be there.

As other US/North American fans of Decapitated will be well aware, the band has not been back to this region of the world since an incident that happened 7 years ago. It was pretty well documented and I don’t think it needs to be further mentioned out of respect for the band in moving forward. If anything, it felt sort of celebratory that their tour started at The Observatory because it was also the last venue they played 7 years ago.

So, with a new album released in 2022 and a strong/eclectic lineup featuring Septicflesh, Kataklysm, and Allegaeon, the Cancer Culture Over North America tour started on a high note. Continue reading »

Mar 212024

(Our friend Ben Manzella caught the March 5 Los Angeles stop of the recently concluded Brainsqueeze Tour 2024, featuring performances by Municipal Waste, Ghoul, Necrot, and Dead Heat, and brought us the following report and his own photos of the event.)

While I can’t claim I’ve been to every venue in Los Angeles, it is still rare I get to attend a show at a venue that has recently opened for business. After the ticket demand proved beyond the capacity of the original venue, The Tankcrimes Records Brainsqueeze tour headlined by Municipal Waste managed to find a more fitting space in the Bellwether.

Along with being the Brainsqueeze tour, this tour is also a celebration of 20 years since the release of Municipal Waste’s record Waste Em’ All. Along with Municipal Waste on the tour are Ghoul, Necrot, and Dead Heat. While every band is heavy in their own right, each band is as similar as they are different; whether that was considered or not, this lineup sold out the Bellwether, which is just over double the capacity of the originally scheduled venue on a Tuesday night. Continue reading »

Mar 062024

(Our friend Ben Manzella returns to NCS with his reflections about and photos of the performances by John Haughm, Dawnbringer, and Agalloch in San Francisco CA on February 17th of this year.)

Im not sure of the origin of the saying, When it rains, it pours.” However, it seemed rather fitting for the night I thankfully made it in to see Agalloch in San Francisco. I had decided to take a brief trip up from Los Angeles for an art event at a gallery called Studio Fallout that was the same day as Agallochs concert and wanted to finally see them live after thinking Id never have a chance when they broke up a few years ago.

Adding to the rarity/uniqueness of the event, Dawnbringer was announced as the opener in their first Bay Area show in close to a decade, and John Haughm of Agalloch started the evening by playing solo material, which is also a rare treat. Continue reading »

Mar 012024

photo ©Jolanda Siemonsa

(Our old friend Ben Manzella returns to NCS with the following interview of Rune Eriksen. The focus is on Vltimas, whose new album EPIC is set for release on March 15th by Season of Mist.)

While there are still a few weeks until Vltimas’ fittingly titled next LP, EPIC, is released, I’m grateful to present this brief conversation with Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen. After editing it for clarity and reading over his answers from our email exchange, I only wish we could have met in person for this conversation. He offered plenty of info, I think, for the few questions presented here.

If you have yet to pre-order EPIC through Season of Mist, the time is now. This rollercoaster of personality in recorded form hit me like a train from the first listen. The creative trio of David Vincent, Flo Mounier, and Rune is hard to match and even describe. They have crafted an extreme metal record that will stand out not only in the year 2024 but in general, and I would not be surprised to see it on many year-end favorite lists. EPIC is due for release on the 15th of March. Continue reading »

Dec 132023

(Erstwhile NCS contributor Ben Manzella attended the performances of Katatonia, Gost, and Thrown into Exile at the Echoplex in Los Angeles on November 30, 2023, and he has given us the following concert review along with lots of the photos he made during the show.)

Until last night, it had been six years since my last opportunity to see Katatonia live. I wasn’t sure what to expect with what I saw as a confusing three-band lineup on a Thursday night. Even Jonas of Katatonia mentioned as he greeted the audience that he doesn’t often go to gigs on Thursday nights but he and the band greatly appreciated all of us making time to see them. The collective cheer at the Echoplex made it clear the appreciation was mutual. Continue reading »

Dec 182015

Greg Anderson-photo by Peter Best
photo by Peter Best

(NCS contributor Ben Manzella brings us this interview of Greg Anderson, co-founder and mainstay of Sunn O))), Goatsnake, and Southern Lord Records.)

I don’t really know how to introduce this. I feel like I’ve been admiring the work Greg Anderson has been involved with for so long at this point, that this interview was a very surreal experience. As I walked home from my day job, I never could have predicted that I’d be chatting with Greg at all; but this interview is essentially the conversation we had as we discussed the great records he’s been involved with making this year, as well as the shows played, along with what is being planned for next year.


Ben: With the new Sunn O))) album, Kannon, having been released just last week, as well as a run with Goatsnake to end the year, how has everything been going? What’s the general feeling, a bit exciting or overwhelming?

Greg: It’s been good; it’s been busy, for sure. Besides the Goatsnake release earlier this year, there was a bunch of Sunn O))) shows; so it’s been a time of switching back and forth between Goatsnake and Sunn O))). It’s been really good, really busy; but I’m glad. I didn’t exactly plan for it turn out like this, where both albums were released in the same year, but I’m happy with everything. It’s great. Continue reading »

Aug 052015

Scott Kelly and Ben Manzella


(Ben Manzella had the chance to talk with Scott Kelly of Neurosis before the band’s show on August 2, 2015, in Madison, Wisconsin. Ben’s thoughts about the show will follow in a separate post later today.)


With this show being the third date, how has the start of the tour been?

They both went pretty good; we played Lawrence and Minneapolis. Crowds were good at both shows, people were attentive and into the music; really into it emotionally as well, which is really all we can hope for. The club last night wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, just not the right vibe; but the people who ran the venue were nice to us.


I know it’s been about 10 years since doing a run like this. Is it similar to how you remember or different in any ways?

Well we’ve done a few runs in Europe, with the locations being closer together. You don’t have to get on a bus and drive 10 hours overnight, unlike you do in the states. We’ve been doing about 30 to 45 shows a year for a while now, so it’s not totally out of our realm; but give it another 10 days or so and we may be pretty pooped considering we’re not taking any days off. Hopefully we’ll survive relatively unscathed physically; mentally it’s always somewhat of a grind, but you know, tour is always easier than real life when you have responsibilities every day. Other than the show and sound check, you really don’t have much on your plate; so, for me, tour is much simpler than everyday life. Continue reading »

May 062015


(Guest writer Ben Manzella returns to NCS with this review (and his photos) of performances by Inter Arma, Yautja, and Hornss in San Francisco on May 2, 2015.)

Saturday night in San Francisco; if this peninsula of a city doesn’t already feel crowded during the week, you feel it on the weekends. This weekend was interesting, though, considering that in one Saturday night you had to clearly define whether live music was your priority or instead stay in keeping with the modern culture and hype. Basically, sit at home or in a bar eating overpriced food for an overpriced event that ended up being underwhelming (the Pacquaio-Mayweather fight) or go see a metal show. For me it was never a question, the metal show was always going to win; but then it came down to which one?

See, 924 Gilman (a non-profit, volunteer-run, all-ages club beloved by the punk and hardcore scene) was hosting The Body and Full of Hell along with an assortment of what I assume was mostly local support, including Kowloon Walled City; Septic Flesh and Moonspell were incanting their darkness in Oakland; and then Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco (a bar turned venue as of almost 25 years ago) was hosting Inter Arma and Yautja with local support from Hornss. You see the choice I made. Continue reading »