Oct 312018



(As Andy Synn did before him, DGR seems to be making a late-season effort to get caught up on planned reviews before year-end LISTMANIA drowns us all. Three reviews today, and some undisclosed number of further ones ahead.)

What you are reading is the beginning of a feature that has taken way too long and gotten way out of control. Meant to be like its older band-roundup-review siblings in the shorter review realm, the reviews in this post become the subject of a whole lot more talking and yapping since I found so much to enjoy on each release. As a result, the finish line continually moved further and further back.

In fact, the Beyond Creation review was about half-written by the time our own Andy Synn posted his (alongside his review of Gorod’s Aethra for those who missed out) and almost wound up being deleted so as to not commit the NCS “Sin” of double-talking over each other. But pride won out on that front, because I was waaaaaay too fucking proud of the opening paragraphs to let it go, which naturally meant one needed to run his mouth for another….ten. You can see how this is playing out.

Needless to say, there are a few other reviews forthcoming that will have us traveling the world, hopefully to catch us up with all of the music that has washed over us in the past few months (not likely! there’s been so much!) in the form of big name releases, celebratory collections, even an alternate universe debut album from a local Sacramento group. What you’ll find here, therefore, is only the start, beginning with some late-September/early-October releases and carrying on from there. Continue reading »

Sep 262018


This was hard. I spent more than an hour yesterday just going through all the e-mails that had landed in the NCS e-mail septic tank in-box since I left on vacation last Friday and, from what I found there, adding to the endless list of new music and videos I thought might be worth checking out. And then I started going through what I’d added to the list, listening and watching until I had to make myself stop.

I found a great many dramatically different things I thought would be worth sharing, so many that I picked 10 of them for this post. And that’s not counting such things as Revolver’s exclusive song premiere for Devouring Star, the just-released split by Ragana and Thou, Terror’s new track, or the new track by Minsk that premiered at DECIBEL, among others. (You see what I did there?)

We’ve got three premiere features of our own today that I need to finish, so I’ve got to keep my own commentary in this post a bit briefer than usual.


First up is the title track from At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds, the new album by the Boston death metal band Zealotry. It will be released on December 7th through Unspeakable Axe Records. Continue reading »

Feb 212014

Now this is some truly heart-warming news, at least for my black heart. The organizers of PAGANFEST AMERICA PART V have just announced the schedule of dates — which I will share with you in a moment. But first, here are five reasons why this is worth noticing:

Korpiklaani:  They are a band that I think are worth seeing whenever the opportunity presents itself. It doesn’t even matter if their music isn’t in your regular rotation. I’ve seen them twice, and I’m completely sold. Jonne Järvelä is a magnetic, high-energy, infectiously good-natured frontman, the smiling Buddha-like bass-player Jarkko Aaltonen has an epic beard, they sing a lot about drinking, and they know how to rock the fuck out in a live setting.

Turisas: Never seen them, but based on concert videos I’ve watched, I’m betting they will be tons of fun too.

Chthonic: Their last two albums are really good (I hadn’t fully climbed on the Chthonic bandwagon before then), and based on videos, they also look like they know how to put on a kickass show. Continue reading »

Feb 112014

Culled here from the ever-flowing effluent of the interhole are four new ear- and eye-pleasing treats, with a bit of impressionistic verbiage. The songs have nothing in common, except my liking for them.


Mantar (above) are a new two-piece band, half German and half Turkish, whose debut album Death By Burning is scheduled for North American release by Svart Records on February 25. I previously wrote about one advance song, “Spit”. Today DECIBEL delivered the premiere of a music video for a second one, “White Nights”.

Men at work, wolves at work, strobes in the studio, shadows in the forest (and something else in the forest), amps and pines. The squeal of feedback, the squall of a fuzz-bombed guitar, riffs that open wounds, vocals that cauterize them, drum strikes that will bring you to your knees. Stripped-down and flesh-stripping, obliterating and head-nodding. Continue reading »

Nov 122013

(Andy Synn reviews the concert delivered by Norway’s Satyricon and Taiwan’s Chthonic last weekend in Manchester, England.)

One thing I have learned this past week is that gigs in the US and the UK run on different time-scales. Whereas our American cousins like to start late and run long, more and more I’m seeing British gigs start early and run to a merciless time-scale.

I’m also seeing more and more shows without an “opener”, as such, relying on the main bands to provide all the necessary draw (a decision which makes clear sense in a lot of ways, as tonight’s sold-out crowd demonstrated).


Case in point – tonight’s doors opened at 7:00, and Chthonic hit the stage at 7:30 on the dot, proceeding to pummel us all with 30 minutes of streamlined melodic black/death metal, augmented by oriental keyboard orchestrations and some righteous Taiwanese ire. Continue reading »

Oct 292013

In this post we bring you three globe-spanning videos that premiered either yesterday or today, with our performers hailing from the exotic locales of Ohio, Taiwan, Iceland, and Japan.


The lyrics to the title track from Serpents Unleashed tell you a lot about what you hear in the song: “Demonic, defiant, eyes of burning chaos / With darkness at our side / Evil at our command / Crush the weak and feeble, their place within the dust / Rain fire from the shadows / Striking hard and fast / Vomiting the blackest hate / The spawn of wickedness…”

The new video for the song strikes hard and fast, too. Rapidly strobing between shots as the band deliver the goods, the film makes effective use of light and shadow, slo-mo interludes, and split-screen views. Check it out next: Continue reading »

Aug 212013

Chthonic’s 2013 album Bú-Tik, garnered significant praise from our own Andy Synn when he reviewed the album in June, calling it the band’s “greatest attempt so far at speaking the universal, world language, of metal”. Yet with all of the band’s drawing together of diverse musical and cultural strands, he gave the track “Set Fire To The Island” as an example of “pure Chthonic majesty”, describing it as “a venomous mix of symphonic darkness and calculated wrath.”

Today the band released their official music video for that same song, the fourth video released so far from Bú-Tik. Unlike the three previous videos (all of which we’ve featured here), this one is a live performance, filmed at last year’s Mass Battle concert in Taiwan. According to bassist Doris Yeh (you see, I did have a reason for putting that photo up there!):

“This is the live video we shot when we first played the song. It’s the most exciting song to play off the entire album! It has now become a ‘tradition’ for the fans in Taiwan to come to our show with ghost money, they throw in the air to show respect and release all kinds of their emotions. When I see the ghost money thrown in the air, sometimes the scenery before my eyes seems like a dream.”

Watch the video after the jump. You’ll be glad you did. And if “ghost money” is a new term for you, as it was for me, you might try this. Continue reading »

Jun 112013

Within the last 24 hours two of our favorite bands have released new videos. Norway’s Extol have premiered a video for “A Gift Beyond Human Reach”, a song from their forthcoming self-titled album, which is due for release in a couple weeks (the album can be ordered here). It’s a cool song and a cool video to watch — a different kind of performance clip, as you’ll see.

And Taiwan’s Chthonic have released a third video in support of their new album, Bú-Tik, which will be released in North America via Spinefarm Records US digitally on June 18 and on CD June 25 (for pre-orders, go here). The new video is for “Supreme Pain For the Tyrant”. In teh words of the band: “Metalheads travel back in time to 1930s to disrupt a party between Nazis and KMT! Check out the incredible Martial arts, modern dance, debauchery, and Oriental Metal!!”

Both videos are definitely worth seeing and hearing, so go do that righty after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 032013

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Taiwan’s Chthonic.)

Hail true believers!

One of the reasons I elected to review the new Chthonic album, apart from being a huge fan of the band already, was because they’re at such an interesting point in their career right now, one that’s ripe for (over)analysis.

Bear with me, as this might get a little intellectual.

Professor Edward Said was considered one of the founding members of the post-Colonial movement of political/social discourse. He was also responsible for the more specific theoretical approach/consideration of ‘Orientalism’. Now, in a nutshell this posited that Western understanding and concepts of Eastern culture would always be imprecise, due to the necessity of translation – not just verbal, but mental translation – of underlying concepts. It also stated that there’s an inherent reflexivity involved, since we (as Westerners) view and understand the East through reflections on, and comparisons with, ourselves and our own experiences.

Now, more relevantly, it also exposes (in theory at least) that attempts by Eastern culture to bridge this gap are just as hamstrung – they often end up using imagery/translations already established by the West, communicating with us using words/concepts we’ve created already, with all their inherent deficiencies and reliance on familiar, but imprecise, Western analogues.

So what exactly does all this pontificating have to do with Chthonic? Well, due to their current position in the metal world, they’re caught at very much of a crossroads between East and West, culturally, politically, and musically. Continue reading »

May 242013

Here are three new videos I spied this morning. All three are worth your time.


This morning, Taiwan’s Chthonic premiered yet another official video (here) for a song from their forthcoming album Bú-Tik. That album will be released by Spinefarm on May 29 in Taiwan and Japan, May 31 in Europe, June 3 in the UK, and June 18 in North America. The new song is “Sail Into the Sunset’s Fire”. According to the band, it tells a tale of pirates in East Asia during the Age Of Exploration (some of whom eventually settled along Taiwan’s western coast) who sought to overthrow both the Ming Empire of China and the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan.

You don’t get much of a sense about the song’s historical roots in the video. It was filmed in an outdoor swimming pool during an unexpected thunderstorm, and those shots are interspersed with comic-strip graphics. The music in the song itself doesn’t have as much of the ethnic flavor that I most enjoy in what Chthonic have done previously — it’s more of a straight-ahead, Scandinavian-styled melodeath romp. But hey, I’m entertained anyway.

Watch the video next. Continue reading »