Nov 082021

(Andy Synn was fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Damnation Festival and now reports back with his experiences of all the bands he saw over the course of the day, along with video evidence)

Well, here it is, the very last Damnation Festival at Leeds University, as the event has become so popular now (as evinced by how quickly so many stages reach capacity these days) that the organisers are moving it (back) to Manchester where they’ve found a bigger and (hopefully) better venue for future editions of the fest.

And while this gives 2021 a real “end of an era” feel, it’s obvious that the Damnation team really wanted to see out their time in Leeds with a major bang, delivering – despite some well-documented, and sadly unavoidable, pandemic-based issues – one of the most stacked line-ups they’ve ever had.

Now, one thing I really tried to do this time around was to see (and document) as many sets by bands I hadn’t seen before, and while, in practice, this didn’t always work out – sometimes due to circumstances entirely beyond my control, sometimes just because I really wanted to see certain bands in particular – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by who I actually did manage to catch over the course of the day.

So, without further ado…

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Jun 292021

(Andy Synn once again graces us with reviews of three more bands from his beloved homeland)

So I should probably begin this article with a quick mea culpa.

After making such a big deal about how the last edition of “The Best of British” was the first one in a worryingly long time, I had originally intended for the follow-up to hit the site within a week. Two at the most.

But, as you can guess, life got in the way, and my best laid plans went “aglay”, as the great poet once said.

Still, better late than never, right?

After all, I’m of the opinion that each of these albums – warts and all – fully deserves some coverage here at NCS, and since it’s unlikely that anyone else from the crew is going to be able to fit them in, it looks like it once more falls to me to tell you why you should check out the new albums from Axecatcher, Bossk, and Urne.

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Nov 082016



(Our man in the UK, Andy Synn, attended Damnation Festival 2016 in Leeds on November 5, and provides this report along with videos he made.)

Oh Damnation Festival how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Whereas too many other events seem content to book the same big-name crowd-pleasers, year in and year out, buttressed by an interchangeable selection of generic sound-alikes and contrived gimmicks – all carefully selected purely for their mundane mass-appeal – the Damnation team seem to operate on an unwavering ethos of only booking the bands they truly like, bands (big and small) that they truly believe in, who have something unique or special to offer.

This is how every edition of the festival features an array of bands from multiple different styles, from Death to Prog to Doom to Hardcore to Sludge (and beyond), from across the length and breadth of the underground Metal scene coexisting under one roof and why, over the years, Damnation has seen everyone from Ahab to Asphyx, Carcass to Katatonia, Mono to My Dying Bride, playing to the sort of packed crowds that are a regular occurrence in Europe, but which only rarely seem to be achievable here in the UK.

This helps make Damnation Festival’s line-up a much more interesting affair than many of their peers, as the organisers seem to operate on the principal of “if you build it, they will come”, putting their faith in the belief that the UK scene doesn’t just want to be fed the same old bands and the same old performances, time and time again. And this year was no different, with a wide variety of different acts, of different styles, on display, coupled with a bunch of exclusive performances which practically justified the ticket price on their own! Continue reading »

Apr 062016

Bossk-Audio Noir


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Britain’s Bossk.)

Dream metal serves as a better sub-genre to file this British band’s debut full-length under, rather than dismissing them as post-rock or sludge gaze. Too often post-rock/metal has meant music influenced by Piper At the Gates of Dawn. Before God Speed You! Black Emperor raised their skinny fists, Voivod had already tested those Roger waters on “Nothingface. Instead of trying to re-invent the Floydian wheel, Bossk is giving it a new spin. They bang out a brand of bong-fueled aggression easily agitated into something more overtly metal. Like many of their mellower peers, an incredible guitar tone comes with the job description; it has just taken a decade to make sure it’s dialed in right on this album. Continue reading »

Nov 202012

For most of yesterday and last night, the NCS headquarters was running on generator power and brutally cut off from the internet due to a DSL failure produced by one of our lovely Puget Sound winter storms. At some point while yours truly was sleeping the sleep of the just, the internet connection came back on, and I spent a few hours this morning catching up on what I missed in the world of metal.

Turns out I missed a lot. This is the second of three posts in which I’m collecting the best of what I missed while the NCS HQ was cast into outer darkness yesterday. I’m running through the music in alphabetical order. Featured in this Part 2 are Bossk, Chaos Inception, and Decades of Despair.


Bossk are a band from Kent in the UK whose name rings bells, but whose music was an undiscovered country to me until this morning. It appears that after releasing a couple of EPs, a DVD, and a split, the band called it quits in 2008 or 2009. However, Bossk revived earlier this year and have recorded a new single named “Pick Up Artist” that debuted in September and is still available for free download here.

I found out about the song earlier today and liked it immediately. It begins with pounding drums and sludgy chords and breaks into an up-tempo, post-metal bone-breaker with caustic vocals, lots of low-end punch, and swirling guitar leads. Past the half-way point, the hammering power abruptly stops and the song turns into an almost dreamlike flow of chiming notes and hypnotic rhythms. Damn cool music. Continue reading »