Jun 072023

In 2019 very few (if any) people foresaw all the global upheavals that the immediately following years would produce — a global pandemic, the damage caused by rapidly accelerating climate change, and a ravaging war in Europe, among other catastrophes. The Australian band Claret Ash didn’t foresee them either, at least not in all of those specifics, but what happened did depressingly dovetail with an imaginative narrative they had already begun, and informed where it would then unfold in a tale of societal collapse.

In December of last year, almost five years after the release of their last album The Great Adjudication: Fragment Two, the band began a new musical sequence called WORLDTORN. As explained by the band in an exclusive interview you’ll find at the end of this feature, it “picks up from where the last album, The Great Adjudication, finished by focusing on events after the collapse of society and the eradication of humanity”.

Clarest Ash launched WORLDTORN in December with the single “GATEWAYS” (reviewed by us here). Thematically, it described a world in turmoil, reeling from an “anthropocentric holocaust” during which nature had mutated and become the supreme force and humans were forced into hiding.

And now Claret Ash will be following that initial chapter of their continuing narrative with a second installment, a new EP named WORLDTORN: Anemoia that’s set for release on CD and digital formats by Hypnotic Dirge Records on August 11, 2023. In addition to the afore-mentioned interview, it’s our pleasure today to premiere the EP’s electrifying opening song, “Cascadence of the Twilight“. Continue reading »

Dec 162022

I’ve been reading my friend Andy‘s writing about metal for more than a decade, and even so, what he’s done this week had been mind-boggling. I marveled at how much music he listened to this year and at his ability to make year-end selections, organize them, and write about them distinctively. I mean hell, I marvel at how much time it must have taken him just to put all the embedded links to the streams in his articles this week!

All of which is to say that his week-long series of lists deserves the spotlight, and deserves all the time it would take you to go through them and make your own discoveries. His series ends today, but LISTMANIA will roll on next week as we begin posting year-end lists from other NCS contributors, including the annual five-part list from DGR.

Last weekend I announced that, by design, we wouldn’t have the normal volume of premieres on the calendar this week in order to keep the focus on Andy‘s series (and a few lists I’ve shared from “big platform” sites). I thought I might take advantage of the lull in premieres by compiling more new-music roundups during the week than I can usually manage. I admit that does seem a bit inconsistent with the goal of keeping the focus on year-end lists, but the lure of spreading the word about new music is a powerful one.

I did manage to get a roundup done on Monday, but failed at the next chance on Wednesday because of interference from paying work. Today, as you can see, I was able to follow through. I’ve also got things lined up for the usual Saturday roundup too. Continue reading »

Aug 032021


More than three years have passed since the release of The Great Adjudication by the Australian band Claret Ash, and even longer since Fragment One of this two-part album first appeared. But the memory of it hasn’t dimmed among those of us who became captivated by it. As our own Andy Synn wrote in a review accompanying our full premiere in April 2018, there’s “a plethora of blackened brilliance on display across the length and breadth of this album”, evoking comparisons to the likes of Wolves In The Throne Room, Der Weg Einer Freiheit, and early-2000s-era Gorgoroth.

The planet has been engulfed in turmoils of unforeseen nature and scope since The Great Adjudication, and it appears that Claret Ash have themselves changed, at least in their line-up, yet The Great Adjudication lives on as a formidable example of riff-heavy aggression melded with soul-stirring melody. As a reminder of what a fine album it was (and is), and perhaps as a sign of something new brewing in the Claret Ash bastion, we’re today presenting a brand new video for a tumultuous yet also captivating track that appeared on Fragment Two of The Great Adjudication — “Like Tears In Rain“. Continue reading »

Apr 162018


(We are very happy to present the premiere stream of the new album by Claret Ash in advance of its April 30 release by Casus Belli Musica and Beverina, preceded by Andy Synn’s review.)


Reviewing this album has been something of a strange experience for me, since I’ve actually already written about half of it last year, when the first five tracks were released as The Great Adjudication: Fragment One.

Now though, with the addition of seven more songs (which, I suppose, collectively make up Fragment Two), the band are all set to release the complete version of The Great Adjudication next month in its full, seventy-five minute glory.

The big question of course, is whether the Australian quartet’s gamble is going to pay off, whether these additional tracks will serve to enhance and improve that initial experience, or whether their decision to split the record up into two separate sequences of songs – and then attempt to recombine them for the album proper – is going to blow up in their faces. Continue reading »

Jan 242018


Because of an event-filled out-of-town trip last weekend I wasn’t able to prepare a SHADES OF BLACK column for Sunday, or anything for Saturday. Fortunately, DGR stepped in with a 3-part SEEN AND HEARD round-up that launched on Saturday and continued through Monday. Now I’m going to do something similar, with this column’s usual focus on black metal. I’ve amassed a substantial collection of new music and a few news items that also interested me. I’ve organized them in alphabetical order and divided the list into three parts, with the goal of posting Parts 2 and 3 tomorrow and Friday.

Of course, in the meantime the odds are that I’ll find something else I’d like to include, which may necessitate screwing up the alphabetized ordering.


I’m beginning Part 1 of this collection with the first of a trio of enticing news items I’ve included here. As announced today by Agonia Records, the Greek occult black metal band Acherontas (whose gear is pictured above) will be releasing a seventh studio album this spring. Yes, it’s true that Acherontas released an album only last year — Amarta अमर्त (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II) — but that’s no reason to be any less excited to receive a new one.

As for why this new one is appearing so quickly on the heels of the last one, the press release we received included this statement by the band: Continue reading »

Nov 022017


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new EP by the Australian black metal band Claret Ash, released yesterday via Bandcamp.)

Do you feel that? That faint, but growing, tingling on the back of your neck? That slowly developing sense of dread?

If you’re a writer/reviewer like me, you’ll recognise it almost immediately. That’s the sensation that time is running out, that the year is almost over, and yet there’s still so much left unsaid and unwritten.

And while I’m slowly starting to put together my usual yearly round-up to be published next month, I’m also still trying my hardest to award some coverage (and criticism) to as many albums and EPs as possible before the inevitable completion of the current solar cycle.

So, without further ado… here’s some rambling thoughts on the new EP by Aussie Black Metallers Claret Ash. Continue reading »

Aug 112017


In this post I continue an end-of-week round-up that I began here earlier today. I’ll post a third installment on Saturday. In this one, we have new music from five favorites of our site, all of whom are returning this year with new releases.


I’ve already published two previous posts about the new Enslaved album, E, even without any music to share with you. Now we finally have an advance track, “Storm Son“, which arrived today in the form of an animated music video designed by Josh Graham.

The song is a 10-minute beguiler, described as follows by songwriter/guitarist Ivar Bjørnson: Continue reading »

Jun 262015


We had a busy day at the site yesterday, and I thought I wouldn’t have time to explore new music. But my wife decided to strand me at home last night while she went out and whooped it up with some friends of hers, and so what was I to do? I damn sure wasn’t going to venture into the loris compound by myself; my wife’s good with a knife and she usually has my back, but without her I’m not getting close to those devious fuckers. So instead I decided leave the loris ninjas to their own devices, hunker down at the computer, and drown myself in new metal. Here is a collection of new stuff from four bands that helped me pleasantly pass the time.


Let’s first have a round of applause for Juanjo Castellano, because goddamn, is his cover art for the new EP by Avulsed the absolute shit, or what? Continue reading »