Mar 052024

(Daniel Barkasi returns with another collection of album reviews and streams today, focusing on records that dropped in February 2024.)

Surprise – we’re back like Legia Warsaw Ultras! What in the hell am I talking about? Quite simply the height of professional level trolling, performed by Polish football Ultras. These groups can be extreme (to put it mildly), but credit is due for a move this epic. Me returning for February can’t come close, but hopefully we’ll be able to leave you with some music that you won’t soon forget.

‘Tis been an excellent month, as you’ve seen by the plethora of quality releases covered here at NCS. The end of winter is slowly approaching, and the release schedule only gets more packed in from here. Counting Hours brought the dim melancholy, Keres crushed us with a death metal onslaught, Borknagar is still soldering on at a high level, and Solbrud put out the musical equivalent of a full marathon (way less physical exertion required).

This month brings quite a sampling that’s a tad heavy on the post-black atmospheric variety, but variety is indeed the spice of metal happiness, so there’s also a mix of progressive, death, black and doom in various forms to gnaw into like a Mackinaw Peach. Just don’t lose your taste buds when they’re in season. Buford’s got your back, though. Continue reading »

Dec 252020


Childhood memories tend to be fuzzy, at least around the edges. I have some vivid ones, but can’t always place them in chronological order. For example, I have some very clear memories of opening Christmas presents with my brother, and the rest of my family happily watching our glee. Some of those happened on Christmas Eve, and some upon waking on Christmas Day. Having been infected by the Santa Claus myth, I assume the memories from the daybreak celebrations were the earlier ones, and the nighttime ones happened after our family figured out (rightly or wrongly) that we had wised up about the myth, but I can’t be sure.

What I do know is that the nighttime gift-openings were more magical, even if they didn’t square with the notion of deliveries by Santa and the reindeer while my brother and I were off in the Land of Nod. Maybe it’s because the lights and ornaments on the Yule trees shown more brightly (our family wisely turned off all other lights in the room). Maybe there are other reasons why those memories are more scintillating, but if so, those reasons are… fuzzy… kind of like the gauzy light that shrouds these recollections in my mind. Continue reading »