Mar 262014

My friend and NCS colleague Andy Synn is the vocalist for Beyond Grace. My objectivity about the band’s new EP, Monstrous, could therefore be called into question. But the truth (so help me Satan) is that I’m writing about it for the same reason I write about every other song, EP, or album I choose to write about: I’m enthusiastic about the music. (Andy, by the way, doesn’t even know I’ve written this review.)

The three songs on Monstrous represent a change of course for this band formerly called Bloodguard, so if you happen to be familiar with their work, its time to turn the page and listen again. What you will hear is something like Spawn of Possession with more convulsive grooves, or Blotted Science with unexpected digressions and more sharp teeth, or The Black Dahlia Murder with an added progressive bent.

If you’re up on those references, then you may be ready for the combination of jabbing, jamming riffs, serpentine melodies, sparkling solos, and an enveloping atmosphere of alien menace that make up Monstrous. Continue reading »

Feb 062014

As many of you know, NCS writer Andy Synn is the frontman for a UK band named Bloodguard — or rather they used to be named Bloodguard. As of today, the Bloodguard name has been laid to rest. Henceforth, the band shall be known as Beyond Grace. And in addition to spreading the word about that change, we’re delighted to bring you the intergalactic premiere of the band’s new video for the song “Panopticon”, which is also being released via Bandcamp as a single.

But before premiering the video I’m going to turn this post over to Mr Synn, who explains the name change, future plans for the band, and other news. — Islander


So… where to start? The decision to change our name was not an easy one to make. We realise it comes with potential costs, but it also has a host of benefits we just couldn’t overlook.

Why the new name? A lot of reasons really. The old one doesn’t really suit us anymore, it fits awkwardly in some ways, and is surprisingly hard to get people to remember. Whereas the new name suits the lyrical direction – more socio-political, more transhumanist – and the new sound of the band – heavier, more technical, more death metal – much better.

Plus it sounds way cooler when you growl it onstage.

Bloodguard is no more… Beyond Grace is born. Continue reading »

Oct 012013

(Here we have a message from Andy Synn . . .) 

That’s right NCS ne’er do wells and miscreants, it’s about time for me to abuse my lofty position here at the site in order to promote and advertise one of my bands again.

I know it’s corrupt, and entirely motivated by self-interest… but it’s also pretty cool, I promise.

So suck it up… bitch.

Come the end of November Bloodguard will be embarking on a week long tour of the UK’s finest small venues – some of which we’ve played before, some of which will be entirely new to us – as main support for Lithuanian melodic death metal types Awakening Sun. Continue reading »

Jun 122013

(Andy Synn is doing a quick last-minute plug for three shows in England that begin tomorrow night and run through Saturday night, featuring his band Bloodguard. Book your flights without delay!)

So this may be a little last-minute, but honestly, I’ve been so busy booking these shows, getting the other bands sorted, practicing, promoting… I haven’t had much time to write for NCS at all, let alone use it as a platform to advertise the show!

Still, I’m taking the chance now, so open your eyes, and your minds, and check out the various bands we’ve got sharing the stage with us over the next couple of days.

If you’re really feeling generous, you should come on down, and drag your friends along too! The more support we get (and the more t-shirts we can sell) the better things will be!

After the jump, all the dates, and links to all the bands! Continue reading »

Feb 242013

(Andy Synn wishes to bring a show to your attention.)

So Islander’s been kind enough to let me use NCS for more of my own nefarious purposes, in this case bringing some attention to a big show we have down in London next week.

Now I’m not sure how many of our readers are UK-based, nor how many of you crazy foreign-types have friends over here in this green and pleasant land, but if you are/do, then perhaps you’ll consider coming along and witnessing nine of the UK’s finest black and death metal bands tear up the stage at The Electrowerkz at an event headlined by Belgium’s finest purveyors of obsidian majesty, Enthroned.

That being the case, I thought it would be prudent to introduce you all to the various bands performing, so you can pick and choose your own favourites.

Aeon Promotions in association with Nazgul Agency presents… Continue reading »

Feb 162013

I have more than three friends. I think the exact number is four or five, depending on the day. So the fact that I’m only writing about three shouldn’t be misunderstood as implying that there are only three.

With that out of the way, here’s a shout-out to Phro, Andy Synn, and Valley of Steel. And if you have a problem with me using space on this blog to crow about my friends, please send the words “Fuck You” scribbled in crayon on a piece of paper and mail it in a stamped, self-addressed envelope.


As many of you know . . . as all of you should know . . . occasional NCS contributor and long-time supporter Phro has his own blog (Phro Metal) on which he publishes all manner of speculative, mainly Phro-written, fiction. Okay, “all manner” is an exaggeration. To be more accurate, it’s the manner of speculative fiction that’s hyperviolent, sexual, and psychotic. In other words, it’s fun for the whole family!

Yesterday, Phro became a published author in a compilation that’s actually available for sale on Amazon as a Kindle download. It’s called FULL METAL ORGASM #69003, and at this writing it’s ranked #27,271 in paid sales on Kindle. I would like to make a big push to get that ranking up to #27,270. I’ve done my part by downloading it to my own Kindle, which is now making a low moaning noise and beginning to smoke. The screen is also beginning to look like an Etch-A-Sketch that’s just been given a good shake. Continue reading »

Jan 162013

The next edition of the fantabulous Bloodstock Open Air festival will take place on August 8-11, 2013, at Catton Park in Derbyshire, UK. Bloodstock is running a Metal 2 the Masses competition for unsigned bands, with the winner being selected to play the New Blood stage at the festival. The competition is open to bands from all over the world, though to enter you have to upload a film of your band playing an original song live. The winner will be decided by fan votes.

As you should know by now, NCS writer Andy Synn is the frontman for a UK metal band named Bloodguard — and Bloodguard has entered the Metal 2 the Masses competition. And they need your damned votes to win this thing and get the chance to play live at the Bloodstock festival!

To enter the competition, Andy and his comrades have uploaded a live video of themselves performing the original Bloodguard song “Singularity” live at the Vic Inn — and you can watch it at the end of this post, or at the Metal 2 the Masses site. Continue reading »

Nov 222012

(Andy Synn was both performer and spectator at the November 16 show in Derby, England, headlined by Dark Fortress and he provides both this concert review and video clips of each band’s performance.)

So the boys in Bloodguard and I were lucky enough to score an opening slot for one of my all-time favourite black metal bands, Germany’s own Dark Fortress. Needless to say we rocked the place mightily, but I also thought I’d take the opportunity to review the show, and get some video footage of each band for you all.  I am a river to my people.



Up first were Liverpool-based black metal monsters Ethereal. Performing as a four piece, due to a last minute problem with their line-up, the group shot through an all too brief, but absolutely blistering set of raucous, blood-curdling black metal. Blasting through an array of material drawn from their two EPs, Hell’s Divine Existence and Revelation Beast, the group hit hard with a sound that was neither overly primitive nor excessively polished, but utterly raw and ravenous in equal measure. Continue reading »

Jul 302012

On August 12, 2012, the Closing Ceremony will mark the end of the 2012 London Olympic Games.  Two days later, on August 14, Demonic Resurrection, Bloodguard, Karybdis, and one more band to be announced will finish off whatever is left of London with a free live show at The Unicorn Camden.

The Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games will be entitled “A Symphony of British Music” and will be broadcast worldwide. The DR-Bloodguard-Karybdis show will be entitled “Darkness Over London” and it will not be broadcast anywhere. Only those fortunate enough to appear in person at The Unicorn will get to witness the darkness, and they will not have to endure an endless parade of commercials, or an endless parade of athletes. They will also not have to pay anything to enter the venue, because the show is free.

A total cast of 4,100 performers will take part in the London 2012 Closing Ceremonies. A somewhat smaller cast will take part in “Darkness Over London”. However, it is unlikely that they will be wearing ridiculous costumes, opting instead for tasteful band shirts, or no shirts at all. We have not been advised as to whether they will be wearing pants. It will not cost anything to find out what they are wearing or not wearing, because the show will be free.

Organizers of the Closing Ceremony have reported that the August 12 event will feature “some of the country’s most globally successful musicians, along with some of the industry’s stars of tomorrow”. This means it is highly unlikely that the Closing Ceremony will include any metal bands, and therefore it is highly likely that it will be boring as shit. “Darkness Over London”, however, will feature some terrifically ass-kicking metal by three rising stars in the only industry that matters — The Industry of Metal. Continue reading »

Mar 262012

Earlier this month, Andy Synn passed his 18-month anniversary as a writer for NCS. His first post was a review of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra album. In all that time, Andy has rarely mentioned that in addition to writing about metal, he is also the vocalist for a UK metal band called Bloodguard. Maybe it’s that famous British reserve, or perhaps it’s because Andy is a gentleman and a scholar in addition to being a writer and a howler. I, however, am not limited by good manners or any sense of humility, and I have some news about Bloodguard that needs to be spread like the plague.

First, the band have now set the official track-listing for their debut album, Patterns In The Infinite, and this is it:

1. Eye Of The Paradox
2. Vanguard
3. Footsteps (Of The Dead)
4. Our Lady Of The Flood
5. Black Math Ritual
6. Panopticon
7. Final Prayer
8. Bridgeburner

After the jump, you’ll find an album preview video that will give you a taste of what the songs sound like in their unmixed form, although the order of the samples in the video doesn’t match the track-listing. But first, there’s even bigger news, because I’ve discovered from Andy the identities of five guests whose talents will be enhancing Bloodguard’s new album — and it’s quite an exciting list: Arthur von Nagle (Cormorant), Michiel Dekker and Ivo Hilgenkamp (The Monolith Deathcult), Seth Hecox (Becoming the Archetype), and Demonstealer (Demonic Resurrection). Continue reading »