Jan 032019


(Here’s the fourth installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music. The concluding Top 10 will appear tomorrow.)

A confession: For a long time the only words in this whole writeup prior to me breaking the whole thing into five parts and actually listing the bands was just a whole bunch of swear words. Even though I’ve been doing this for nine years now I still will occasionally try things I learned in writing classes over the years or even some things I’ve read about since then. Stream-of-consciousness writing is one of those, but the only thing I’ve learned from doing that in the context of talking about albums of the year is that I’ve assembled a pretty neat collection of permutations of the word ‘fuck’ that I’ve gathered from popular culture over the years.

It was at this point that I began going back through our review archives so that I could even remember what came out this year. Metal-Archives is also a tremendous help in that regard, since I often can’t remember what I talked about in January unless I’ve listened to it since then. It’s also one of my favorite things to do because I get to have a laugh at how far back I have to go in the segment tagged ‘Reviews’ on the site. I know that we’ve missed more than a few albums, but as it stands now,  our first review of something from 2018 is about forty pages back. And there can be anywhere between five to fifteen albums per page of results — depending on how we grouped them for each article.

I know that’s just reflective of the ‘relentless march of hashtag content’ that the internet has become, but it still makes me smile. If I ever need a reminder that heavy metal is — somehow, despite all the odds and all the editorials about rock music dying — a lively as all hell genre, that’s enough for me. I guess there will always be room for cathartic release via loud instruments, or the various experimentations outside of the tradional music sphere to which this genre loans itself. Continue reading »

Feb 272018


(Michigan’s seafaring Dagon have set sail again after seven years ashore, and DGR follows along in their wake like a gleeful porpoise with this detailed review.)


Few albums out there start with a song quite as victorious as Dagon’s Back To The Sea does. Its title track is an anthemic opening number, leading off the lengthy excursion back into the world of nautically themed melo-death from the Lansing, Michigan based group after a seven-year absence. Holding more thinly veiled symbolism than one might expect from a band who’ve made their headway in the metal scene by pulling tales from mythology, the history of piracy, and general apocalyptic tales of the ocean, the song “Back To The Sea” quickly throws aside all pretention in favor of a quick-moving guitar part and a constant refrain of “going back, back to the sea!”, which is an event that has been a long time coming for fans of the band.

The comeback disc is a hard trick to execute, but after a succesful crowdfunding campaign (which we posted about here, mostly to get folks some foam shark fins because the merchandising opportunity amused us) the group, who had developed a bit of a cult following after the release of their 2009 album Terraphobic and its followup EP, 2011’s Vindication, have managed to do just that. Back To The Sea contains 13 songs of hydro-powered, lead-guitar-charged melodeath led by a combo of cat-shrieking highs from drummer Truck and hefty low growls from bassist Randall, and while it’s not exactly breaking the mold genre-wise, it proves to be a whole hell of a lot of fun. Continue reading »

Jan 202018

Dagon (photo credit: Chuck Marshall)


(DGR has stepped into the round-up void left by our editor this past week and has produced a three-part collection of recent songs and videos. Parts 2 and 3 will be presented on Sunday and Monday.)

The first couple weeks of the new year often feel like a machine slowly lurching back to life as people wake up from their respective holiday binges and try their damndest to shake the rust off, kick the tires, and get things back to into gear.

Both the news and the writing fronts often have that same year-opening feeling of machines lurching back into life after a couple weeks of dormancy — in the case of NCS it’s because we buried ourselves in the yearly Listmania event in which numerous lists of albums toppled over each another like the zombie anthills from the World War Z (in name only) film.

Three weeks into January, and judging by the handful of massive Seen and Heard and Overflowing Streams posts we’ve had to put up, you could say that we’ve solved the getting things into gear issue as our beloved musical genre has already offloaded numerous news bits upon us. I, your ever-faithful servant, have been doing my best to go along with my ragged fish net and catch everything that might’ve slipped by us — which in the case of this post dates back to last week and then some. Continue reading »

Aug 282017


(DGR prepared the following round-up, featuring three items of news and new music that surfaced last week.)

Last week was a densely packed week for metal, with a lot of huge names like Arch Enemy, Ghost, and Mastodon all releasing music videos, and that wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg in metal news. There was so much that seemed to land backloaded onto Friday that it seemed like metal had just decided to spin up into one of its whirling torrents of destruction modes. Thus I once again step in to write about some of the things that caught my interest within the tornado of heavy metal that thrashed about over the week.

This time around we’re going to do a little traveling again, with two musical releases from Sacramento’s The Kennedy Veil, and Austria’s Belphegor, and then we’re going to take a look at the crowdfunding campaign from Lansing, Michigan’s own Dagon and their latest quest to write more ocean-themed death metal.


It’s been some time since we last heard from Sacramento’s hyperspeed death metal group The Kennedy Veil. In the time since 2014’s Trinity Of Falsehood, The Kennedy Veil have seen the addition of a new vocalist, Monte Barnard, whose resume includes a ton of live vocalist work for groups like Alterbeast, Fallujah, and Thy Art Is Murder, in addition to having been the vocalist for The Antioch Synopsis and the short-lived Soma Ras. Last week the band were finally able to release details about their new disc, Imperium — which is due out October 20th — as well as release a new song, which premiered at Decibel. Continue reading »

Nov 172014

(In this post we welcome back metal interviewer Karina Noctum. In this post she talked with Dagon of the black metal band Inquisition during the Under the Black Sun festival in Germany this past summer.)


Inquisition is a pretty special band for me. I got my first Inquisition tape when I was a child, I was 13. It had a great impact on me on many levels. It was pretty surreal to finally get to talk to Dagon in the woods outside Berlin after so many years. We did this interview in Spanish, so have that in mind.


Inquisition started in South America, how did that influence the band?

I was really young when I moved to Colombia. I was 11 years old at that time. I think the social environment had an impact on me. I was there in the 80’s when the drug-related violence was at its worst. That kind of violence is what Black and Thrash reflect.

There were some metal bands from that time that had an impact on me. Colombian bands like Parabellum, Reencarnacion, inspired me a lot. I took those influences and combined them with classics like Venom and Bathory. But more than anything it was the discipline. It is hard to believe, but Colombian musicians are very disciplined. Colombian culture is pretty strict, at school and everywhere, so it shaped my character. I also took Classic guitar lessons for 8 years with Ciceron Marmolejo, he is pretty renowned there. Through him I learned that there is a spiritual side when it comes to playing. Continue reading »

Oct 182011

(This is Part 2 of a post by BadWolf reviewing the 2011 edition of OGREFEST in Lansing, Michigan. Check out Part 1 HERE.)


Here begin the veteran acts. Wastelander Guitarist/vocalist Xaphan dedicated their set to his 14-year-old daughter, who attentively watched from the side while wearing an Asking Alexandria tee shirt. Ah, the generation gap. She should be proud of her papa; his band is badass.

Wastelander plays to my personal weaknesses with their mixture of black metal, groovy thrash, D-beat/crust punk and just plain ballsy metal-rock with a lyrical focus on post-apocalyptic survival. They sonically recognize Motorhead as the inception of all extreme metal, and play music that would make Lemmy proud, with twists of Amebix, mid-period Bathory, early Venom and NWOBHM-y goodness sprinkled on top. They made me go ‘ooh!’ and headbang from the first second—as they always do.

Growled vocals, big chords, mechanical beats (they used to play with a drum machine) and hairy, sweaty swing made for a compelling forty-five minutes of hair flying. I cannot imagine anyone, be they kvlt-er, beardo, neo-thrasher, or ordinary metalhead, who is immune to the charms of Wastelander. Since then they’re released a split 7” with a band called Abigail. (Their 2010 debut album is Wardrive.)

(more after the jump) Continue reading »

Sep 072011

Last night I came across three new songs — from Nightrage, Dagon, and Skeletonwitch. Each of them individually is blistering. Listening to them all together runs the risk of leaving you like this:

So, y’know, maybe it’s better to listen to one now and then another one tomorrow and then the third one sometime next week. Unless that picture up above would be an improvement in your looks, in which case just GO FOR IT!


Right after the jump, we’ve got the second song to premiere from Insidious, the new album coming on September 27 (a day earlier internationally) from Sweden’s Nightrage. Based on this track (“Hate Turns To Black”) and the one we featured last month (here), this album sounds like it’s going to be the strongest Nightrage release since Sweet Vengeance (2003) and Descent Into Chaos (2005). Continue reading »

Nov 152010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post is from a Midwestern dude who will become a regular guest contributor to NCS, and his NCS nom de plume is BadWolf.]

Michigan is known for many things: the automotive industry, cherries, astronomical rates of violent urban crime. To this list I would add excellent melodic death metal bands that routinely sound straight out of northern Europe. The most well known of these bands is The Black Dahlia Murder, but the underground scene in Michigan is filled with bands that sound quintessentially Swedish. The best of these bands might be Michigan’s best-kept secret, Dagon (there’s a HP Lovecraft reference right in the name — of course they’re quality).

Dagon play melodic death metal reminiscent of NCS favorites Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, full of big chunky riffs and anthemic choruses—this is hook salad, not riff salad. So what? Melodeath bands dealing in earworms are a dime-a-dozen. Where Dagon excels is in the sheer number of subtle neoclassical and prog nuances they add to the formula.

Twin lead guitarists Chris Sharrock and Briant Daniel employ NWOBHM-style guitar harmonies to create a thicker, meatier guitar sound than most (read: over-produced) bands emulating the Gotheburg sound. Bassist/Vocalist Randy Ladiski is the band’s MVP—his prog-tinged six-string basslines propel their songs with an impressive gallop while deepening the melodies and occasionally dipping into funk territory. Randy’s co-vocalist is drummer, Truck Batterbee.

That’s right, singing drummer. Batterbee and Ladiski share vocal duties about 50/50, with Ladiski providing low gutturals and Batterbee handling Abbath-sounding black metal shrieks. Their voices are intense but audible. When listening to Dagon, even a metal novice can easily decipher the lyrics (completely focused on ocean-related topics), which are well-written and poetic if not incredibly insightful. That’s fine, melodic death has never been the genre of choice for stupendous lyricists anyway.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »