Mar 222023

(Today’s edition of “The Best of British” features a bunch of old favourites)

While we absolutely love highlighting the work of new bands and artists, we’re also loyal followers of bands we’ve covered in the past, and make a point of keeping our ears to the ground about what they’re working on as best we’re able.

So today I’m going to be introducing (or reintroducing) you to three bands whose newest releases haven’t actually come out yet… but which will be with us very soon… with Dawn Ray’d‘s new album set for release this coming Friday, and the new albums from Allfather and Ohhms following next week.

This, of course, makes this a perfect jumping on point for new fans, and a great opportunity for existing ones to get a feel for what’s about to hit their ears!

Continue reading »

Jan 142023


No, this isn’t a weather report on what’s happening in California this Saturday. The post title is just a sign that I decided to “go big” with today’s collection of new songs and videos.

The time it takes me to write up each day’s selections for our 2022 Most Infectious Song list (and surely you’ve been looking at those, haven’t you?) has prevented me from doing any “Seen and Heard” round-ups since January 4th, and consequently the pile of new things has grown to mountainous proportions. Hence the temptation to make this roundup a big one, even though what remains still looks like a mountain.

On the other hand, today IS a Saturday, and coming up I have both a work meeting and an NFL football playoff game I need to watch, even though the odds of our local team winning are remote, so to save time I’ve mostly dispensed with album art and order links, and cut back on the usual verbiage. I’ve organized these according to genre and style. Don’t forget I’ll have another column tomorrow, devoted to shades of black metal. Continue reading »

Oct 292019


(For the second day in a row we have a show review by Andy Synn, this time devoted to performances by Dawn Ray’d, Underdark, and Arboricidio in Andy’s hometown of Nottingham, UK, on October 25th, 2019.)

Two shows in two days? How rock and/or roll of me!

All joking aside, seeing two of the UK Metal scene’s current standard-bearers – Conjurer yesterday, Dawn Ray’d tonight – playing my home town was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss, especially since the latter show (the one you’re about to read about) was being held at Stuck On A Name Studios, which is where I/we practice and record too! Continue reading »

Sep 092019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Liverpool-based black metal trio Dawn Ray’d, which will be released on October 25 by Prosthetic Records.)

It’s a bold move for a band to wear their politics loudly and proudly on their sleeves these days.

Actually, scratch that… it’s always been risky for bands to speak openly about their political allegiance, be it left, right, or otherwise, despite Metal’s long history – from “War Pigs” to “Suffer the Children” to “Toxic Garbage Island” – of speaking out against militarism, corruption, and other societal ills.

After all, politics (along with religion) is one of the things that seems to bring out our most tribal instincts, often in the worst possible ways.

The risks for any band are, therefore, quite obvious. The more political you get, and the more polemical you become, the more you risk dividing and alienating your potential audience, and most artists, at some point in their careers, find a way to balance their musical ambitions with what they want to communicate so as to reach as many listeners as possible.

But, of course, where Dawn Ray’d are concerned, such compromise clearly isn’t an option. Continue reading »

May 212018


The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. We asked Teddie to introduce herself first, to those of you who may not be familiar with her work:

“I am an Alabama transplant currently residing in the glorious swamp that is New Orleans. Growing up, I regularly went on adventures to photograph the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast and thought I’d eventually pursue nature photography. I’ve always been involved with the arts, whether it be attempting to dance or taking vocal lessons, and fell hard and fast into music photography during a college internship at the local rock radio station. A few years and seemingly hundreds of deafening nights in small bars later and I am an intern at Relapse Records and Earsplit PR and travel regularly to interview and take photos of musicians I adore. I apologize in advance if my tall, camera-hauling self blocks your view or whacks you with a camera during a show.”

And with that preamble, here are some of Teddie’s photos from the first day at Roadburn 2018: Continue reading »

May 192018


(In this week’s edition of Waxing Lyrical, Andy Synn posed questions about lyrics to Simon Barr, vocalist of one of our own favorite bands, Dawn Ray’d.)

We’ve been fans of UK Black Metal three-piece Dawn Ray’d for a long time now, ever since we stumbled across their debut EP, A Thorn, A Blight (which I reviewed, eventually, a little under a year after it came out).

Mixing politics and passion, searing social activism and savage blackened invective, the band’s follow-up full-length, The Unlawful Assembly, quickly became one of the best-received and best-reviewed albums of last year (including here at NCS), which is why I’m pleased to have been able to corral the band’s vocalist (and occasional violinist) Simon Barr for this latest edition of Waxing Lyrical. Continue reading »

Nov 202017


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the performances by The Infernal Sea, Dawn Ray’d, and Underdark in Nottingham, UK, on November 17, 2017, accompanied by videos he made during the show.)

I’m not sure why, but this November has been absolutely jam-packed with gigs, so much so that I’ve had to be a little bit picky about what I go to, and when, simply because of all the different pressures on my time and attention (not to mention my wallet).

But there was no way I was going to miss this one, considering that between them Dawn Ray’d and The Infernal Sea have produced two of the best Black Metal albums of recent years. Continue reading »

Sep 112017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the UK’s Dawn Ray’d, which will be released on October 2nd.)

Despite what some people might have you believe, Black Metal is not, nor has it ever really been, a monolith.

In fact if you look back at the early days of the scene, and in particular those responsible for laying its foundations, you’ll quickly become aware of the variety of personalities, approaches, and opinions which, collectively, contributed to the genesis of the nascent genre, while also planting the seeds for the variety of different styles and sub-genres to come.

Of course while the guiding principle of Black Metal may well be “do what thou will”, this doesn’t mean you can claim that anything is Black Metal. There are certain markers you still need to hit, certain rules you might say, that apply even here.

But within these (relatively loose) confines you’ll find a world of different approaches, different beliefs, different ideologies – from nihilism to humanism, asceticism to Satanism – all clashing and coalescing in a tumultuous display of pure passion and unflinching intensity.

Which is why, regardless of what you might think about their personalities or their politics, I have little hesitation in declaring The Unlawful Assembly to be one of the best Black Metal albums of the year. Continue reading »

Aug 212017


The UK black metal band Dawn Ray’d made a stunning advent last year with their debut EP, A Thorn, A Blight, a collection of six songs that my comrade Andy Synn described as “vivid and visceral”, an onslaught of “pure, refined fury and anguish, stripped down to its most basic, most human, form,” manifesting “supreme confidence and ruthless aggression”. And now Dawn Ray’d are returning with their first full-length LP.

The Unlawful Assembly is the name of this new album, and it’s projected for release in October. It’s divided into two parts, The Wild Service and The Wild Magic, composed of “equal parts malice and spite, and ethereality and exultation”. And today we present the album’s second track, an immensely powerful and multifaceted song called “The Abyssal Plain“. Continue reading »

Aug 222016

Dawn Rayd-A Thorn A Blight


(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP of the UK band Dawn Ray’d, which is out now on Bandcamp.)

As our contributor Wil Cifer wrote recently, “Crust seems to be a hot buzzword when it comes to underground metal these days”, to the extent I’m even starting to see it edge out the near-ubiquitous over-use of the terms “blackened” and “Black Metal” in certain places (but don’t you worry, I have a whole other column percolating in my head about THAT particular topic).

It seems to be one of those terms designed to bestow instant underground-cred on a band, whether or not it’s actually reflected in any aspects of their music, and, as such, I’ve seen it crudely co-opted multiple times by bands and writers who don’t seem to know (or care) what it means, they just want the artificial credibility and cultural capital it bestows.

I’m saying all this as a preamble because I want to make it clear right away that – even though their unwavering anti-NSBM, anti-fascist stance and sharp, punk-edged sound certainly gives them more claim to the term than some others I’ve seen – gritty Black Metal three-piece Dawn Ray’d don’t seem to care one way or the other whether you call them “Crust” or not.

They’re just happy to let the music speak for itself. Continue reading »