Jan 172023


Welcome to Part 12 of this ever-expanding list. More often that not, I’ve had some kind of organizing principle for the songs collected in previous installments, even if it’s been nothing more than the letters which begin the bands’ names.

Today I don’t have any kind of thematic or stylistic grouping. It’s just three songs I really enjoyed from last year and thought should be on this list.

Continue reading »

Jan 012023

Well goddamn it’s a new year. I hope this finds you alive and well, and not in a morgue, a jail, or a hospital ward as a result of whatever you did last night.

My only new year’s resolution is to keep breathing, though that’s not really a resolution because I have no control over it, the breathing or the ceasing to breathe. Que sera, sera. However, I do have a resolution to suggest that you adopt, which is to let no day go by without coming here to have your head rattled and ruined. (Maybe committing to engage in more acts of kindness and caring toward others wouldn’t be a bad idea either, and let some of the music do the hating for us.)

It’s a fitting coincidence that the first day of 2023 falls on a Sunday, allowing me to welcome the new year at NCS by beginning to char it to a crisp, building on whatever fires were started with gunpowder last night. Fitting, because one could argue there is no realistic hope that 2023 will be better than 2022. People will continue being shitty to each other, the Earth will continue taking revenge for the pomposity, the greed, and the negligence of humankind, and the temptation to just hunker down in a bunker for self-preservation will be strong.

On the other hand, some things will still make life worth living, even if the point of existence remains obscure, and one of those is the enjoyment of art in all its forms, even the kind of art that wants to turn the world black. Examples follow. Continue reading »

Mar 062022


Sometimes I begin these columns with well-known names (only if I think the music is good, of course), in an effort to lure visitors into the music of much less well-known bands. I thought about doing that today with new songs and videos by Dark Funeral and Watain, but decided to just move right into obscurity.

Having chosen new stuff by nine different bands, it was going to be hard enough to write very much about them even without also trying to comment about the new singles by those bigger names (if you haven’t heard those tracks, you’ll find them here and here).

AU-DESSUS (Lithuania)

When I heard the first single (“XI”) from this Lithuanian post-black metal band’s 2017 debut album, End of Chapter, I had a suspicion that we had something very special on our hands.

By the time we ourselves premiered the second one (“XII”), I had a firm conviction that this record would stand well out from the pack and become a highlight of the year. Finally being able to hear the full album provided confirmation. It was a powerful release from beginning to end, and was also home to a track (“VI”) that I included in our list of 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

And so it’s exciting news that the band will be releasing a new EP next month through Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions. The first single is also exciting. Continue reading »

Oct 302021

I know I sound like a broken record, but this past week was a crazy one on all fronts for me, and so I did a piss-poor job keeping up with new metal, largely neglecting the NCS in-box and failing to make the usual list of candidates for round-ups. I did make that list this morning, but it took a ton of time, and I didn’t have much room left to dig very deep into it.

However, I dug deep enough to feel some inspiration about what to include in this compilation. I chose music from two Seattle bands that I happened to see in early live performance by both of them at the same show more than four years ago. I picked two more songs that came with Halloween-themed videos, because of course Halloween is tomorrow. And I chose a curveball to throw at the end.

I had a difficult time figuring out what to use as the opening song for the collection, but eventually settled on the one you’re about to witness, in part because of the video’s setting.

BESNA (Slovakia)

I guess Besna couldn’t find a barren warehouse for their live video for “Fúga“, so they had to make do with the ramparts of an ancient castle called Strečno in northern Slovakia, perched atop a 103-metre-high calcite cliff (it was also the location of a World War II battle between the German army and the Czechoslovak resistance). Continue reading »

Sep 142020


As I forecast in Part 1 of this column yesterday, Part 2 focuses on three splits, two of them released within the last week and one of them whose arrival is imminent. And to close this Part, like the first one, I picked an enticing advance track from a forthcoming debut album.


The first split, Intercontinental Death Conspiracy, pairs the UK band Abduction (from Derby) and the Canadian band Nocturnal Prayer (from the wilds of Newfoundland and Labrador). It was released on September 7th by Inferna Profundus Records in variant LP vinyl editions, and digitally. Continue reading »