May 122023

(What follows is Wil Cifer‘s review of Black Flame Eternal, the new album by Cloak which will be released on May 26th by Season of Mist.)

The Atlanta metal scene exists within a 9-mile radius of hipster filth pits. During my time in Atlanta I found myself woven into the fabric of this PBR-stained seediness. From that vantage point I watched Cloak claw their way past the battle vests and IPAs to become the gloomy black metal band capable of writing anthemic symphonies of shadow found on their third album Black Flame Eternal.

The praise I bestow on these guys is hard-fought, as I have warmed up to them a little more with each album, due to me being a huge Watain fan. Rather than win me over with the sonic similarities, it made me ask why should I listen to this when I own everything by both Watain and Dissection? Continue reading »

Oct 312019


(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Atlanta’s Cloak, which was released by Season of Mist on October 25th and includes cover art by Adam Burke.)

Cloak’s 2017 album To Venomous Depths showed a great deal of potential. I wanted to hear more of who they were than who they aspired to be. The album was dark and melodic enough for me to invest the time in their sophomore album.

This new album finds the band giving me what I originally wanted from their debut. They are still more committed to sounding Swedish than devoting themselves to black metal, and I am fine with this. After all, there are 100 blast-beaters sitting in my emails every morning. I want something fresh, not warmed up, even if it’s warmed in the fires of hell. Continue reading »

Nov 012018


I didn’t go trick-or-treating last night, or dress up for a costume party, or make any ritual sacrifices of kids in the neighborhood, much as I wanted to. No one came to our door asking for handouts either; the human heads impaled on spikes apparently did a good job protecting the perimeter of the NCS headquarters, though the ungodly screams coming out of the loris compound may have also played a role.

I was left to celebrate Halloween by listening to new metal, and man, there was a shitload of it to catch up with. There might be another day of the year when more metal bands and labels release new music than on Halloween, but I doubt it. Releasing cover songs also seems to be a Halloween thing. I picked just a few tracks to share around today… though I’m beginning with one that didn’t come out yesterday, though last night was when I first got around to hearing it.


In March of 2014 we had the privilege of premiering a full stream of the sixth album by the Parisian band Dirge, and I’m mentioning that because I decided to quote myself as a way of introducing their new seventh album. There are few things I enjoy more than quoting myself. Continue reading »

Jan 182018


I’m a bit rushed today, thanks to rude interference by my fucking day job, so… no multi-paragraph preamble to this edition of my growing list of infectious songs. I’ll just say that I grouped all three of these bands together because, each in their own way, they achieved success last year through genre-blending.


When I heard the first single (“XI”) from this Lithuanian band’s debut album, End of Chapter, I had a suspicion that we had something very special on our hands. By the time we ourselves premiered the second one (“XII”), I had a firm conviction that this record would stand well out from the pack and become a highlight of the year. Finally being able to hear the full album provided confirmation. Continue reading »

Sep 132017

We’ve arrived at the middle of the work week and I find myself in the mood to round up and share with you a couple of news items and six new songs, two of which are accompanied by videos that are well above average. I’ll cut this introduction short and just dive right in…


Three years ago At the Gates returned with their first new studio album in 19 years. The reception seems to have stoked the fires even further, because they’ve written 11 new songs that they plan to begin recording soon. And according to their announcement from earlier this week, they are feeling “more inspired than perhaps ever before”. They also allege that the new record will be “by far the most comprehensive album of the band to date, and will span all the way across the different elements of the band’s sound”. Continue reading »

Aug 232017


The unwelcome intrusion of non-blog life has forced me to truncate my usual verbose reactions to the music I’ve selected in this mid-week round-up (cue the weeping and the gnashing of teeth), but I wanted to be prompt in spreading the word about the following items, all of which appeared either yesterday or this morning.

I picked these five new songs in part because they provide a quite varied array of what metal in the modern era has to offer.


The new Bell Witch album, Mirror Reaper, will be released by Profound Lore on October 20, with an album cover by Mariusz Lewandowski that we won’t soon forget. The album consists of one continuous 83-minute piece that unfolds as a single track. Continue reading »

May 312016



(Grant Skelton introduces our premiere of a song from the new EP by Cloak.)

The self-titled debut EP from Atlanta, Georgia’s Cloak will be released June 20 on Boris Records. No Clean Singing is proud to present you, our diabolical denizens, with an exclusive stream of the second track from the EP.

The Hunger” is a brooding, blackened track that’s full of ire and venom. But whereas most black metal likes to go right for your throat with a cleaver, Cloak prefer to nick slowly away. Less like an impalement and more like the Chinese “death by a thousand cuts.” The track has a bitter, foaming motif further expounded by the ghostly piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment just prior to the three-minute mark. Spooky melodic leads from guitarist Max Brigham and guitarist/vocalist Scott Taysom work in tandem with the latter’s blistered, grainy vocals. Continue reading »

Apr 042016



NCS IntroductionKaptain Carbon returns to NCS with a review of the second Blood of the Wolf Fest , which took place in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 26-27, 2016.  He also took all of the photos that accompany the review — most of which you will find at the end.  Kaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.

“He is Risen!”, they shouted in an authentic southern accent with mocking glee. This was Easter Sunday in the thick of Kentucky during one lull between songs at the second Blood of the Wolf festival. The crowd celebrated the fact that it was, in fact, Easter sunday and the whole weekend was centered around macabre imagery of rising dead. What I am surprised about in this anecdote was not the fact that it happened but how little it happened over the course of Good Friday to the holiest of Sundays. In fact, the whole festival, which drew bands and fans from the midwest and eastern coast of the US, appeared to be more grateful than blasphemous. How can you really be spiteful when you have three days of gorgeous weather, a craft beer garden, and a host of raw, unyielding death metal bands? Continue reading »