Apr 032014

Over the last 48 hours I found a lot of really good new metal. I’ve picked three of those new songs to feature in this post. The “Shades of Black” post title doesn’t mean all the music is black metal, and it isn’t.


Rotting Hills are a Vancouver sludge/doom band consisting of four drummers, two guitarists, and a bass player (and one of them is a vocalist, too). As far as I can tell, they’ve put out three singles so far, all of which are available on Bandcamp. The second of those, released in mid-2012, is named “Belgrave”. For that song, the band’s Brian Sepanzyk wrote and directed a striking video with a different title — “Seventh Prayer” — that premiered just a few days ago.

Everyone who worked on the video should be congratulated; it’s beautifully made, with a high level of professional skill. And Rotting Hills should be congratulated on the song as well. It’s slow, spare, and deeply sombre, a gradually unfolding piece that moves from the beautifully melancholy to a wrenching cataclysm. The video is one of those prized accomplishments in which the music and the visuals not only complement but also enhance each other. Continue reading »

May 232011

We’re in a never-ending chase, trying to catch up with EP’s and demo’s from unsigned bands who’ve contacted us, or who we’ve found out about through recommendations. I suppose it would be easier, now that we’ve grown a bit, simply to pay attention to well-known bands or full-length label debuts. But we’re trying to remain faithful to one of the founding principles of this site — to show some support to talented unsigned bands from around the world, and in doing that, to provide what we hope will be some entertaining discoveries for NCS readers.

Today, we’ve got two discoveries to share with you: SunLess Rise (Russia) and Black Monolith (San Francisco). Both bands are definitely under the radar — so far — but to the extent merit counts for anything, you should be hearing more about them in the future. About the only thing they have in common (apart from being good) is speed. Otherwise, the styles of music are utterly different.

SunLess Rise should appeal mightily to fans of Children of Bodom, Norther, and Ensiferum. I have more trouble picking out better-known references for Black Monolith — it’s a raw amalgam of black metal, punk, crust, grind, and a really pissed off junkyard dog.

Oh wait, these bands do have one more thing in common — their debut EP’s are available for download at no charge. So, let’s get to it . . . Continue reading »