Jul 302022


A couple of updates for you weekend visitors: First, I’ve had to rush today’s roundup, thanks to a late start on the day and way too many new songs and videos to go through in order to make these choices. Due to the rushing, I had to leave lots of good stuff on “the cutting room floor”, despite how many choices I made.

Except in the context of deadly sins and circles of Hell (the violent and bestial one), 7 is a lucky number, so I initially decided to stop there. But I couldn’t help myself, and so pushed it to 10 instead, presented alphabetically by band name.

Second, I’m going to a big party in Seattle tonight. It was originally scheduled to happen in January, but last winter’s covid surge fucked those plans. It will be very late before I get back to the NCS island headquarters, and there’s at least a 50/50 chance I’ll wake up on Sunday with a hangover, and a 100% chance that most of the morning will be gone by the time I open my red eyes. Which means we may not have a Shades of Black column tomorrow. Continue reading »

Feb 192022


Man, what a week. I couldn’t wait for it to end. One day after another when I got slammed by my fucking day job, a nasty reminder that NCS is a “hobby” for me (and everyone else here). It lives only when the rest of daily life permits it to live.

It didn’t take long before I had to abandon any close review of our in-box or other sources I turn to for new metal. I made no lists of new songs and videos to check out for a possible round-up, and I haven’t tried to catch up this morning. But I wanted to pick at least a few new songs to share at the site today, and wound up picking eight. I’ll tell you how I did that at the end of this post.


I decided to begin with “Grave Emperor“, a new single by this North Carolina death metal band, whose 2020 demo and 2021 EP Psychic Devastation I showered with praise when they came out. In the case of that EP I wrote: “These songs are so eccentric and intricately plotted that I’m tempted to call them ‘avant-garde’, but ‘progressive death metal’ is also certainly suitable (and you might be tempted to stick ‘blackened’ in there as well). Whatever label you might want to attach, it’s an exciting new work from a band that just get more and more worthy of very close attention.” Continue reading »