Jul 112018


(This is Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by Deafheaven, which will be released on July 13th by Anti Records.)

Like everything after Roads to Judah this new album is going to offend metalheads, especially considering how this time it weighs more heavily on their post-rock side.

The first time I saw these guys they were opening for Alcest and blew them off the stage. The energy seemed very genuine, though it felt more like a hardcore show than a black metal one. I am not going to debate how troo or cvlt they are, but focus on what is actually going with their music as it’s being delivered to us in 2018. Continue reading »

May 242017


The latest edition of Roadburn Festival took place at Tilburg, The Netherlands, on April 20-23, 2017, and L.A.-based photographer extraordinaire Levan TK was there to capture the performances on film.

We are fortunate to bring you some of his amazing photos, divided among the days of the festival, with his photos from the first day in this post.

P.S. Levan was quick to get us these photos. The delay in sharing them is entirely the fault of our half-wit editor, who will be flogged in public at a location to be announced. Continue reading »

Nov 302015


(Wil Cifer penned these reviews of three November shows in Atlanta, Georgia.)

Here’s a snapshot of metal onstage and in the flesh. Over the course of the past week I caught three different metal shows at three different venues with the genres spanning from industrial to thrash to black metal.

The first of these was almost on the periphery of what most might consider metal when Author & Punisher played The Earl, a hipster dive bar with a venue in the back.

We arrived just in time to catch the Portland duo Muscle and Marrow. Never really gave their last studio album The Human Cry the time to immerse myself in it, but their live show changed the way I think of them. There are metal elements to what they do, but I would not call them a metal band. Even then, of the three shows, I would say they were the most emotionally heavy band of the week. This was channeled in a very honest physical manner. Singer/ guitarist Kira Clark’s voice goes from an almost black-metal-like scathing scream to a vulnerable soprano. The duo implemented samples and layers of vocals triggered from a laptop off stage, but in comparison to Author & Punisher they were very organic. Continue reading »

Sep 282015

Deafheaven-New Bermuda


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Deafheaven.)

Deafheaven are not the first black metal band to inject elements of post-rock and shoe-gaze into the mix, things that bands like Amesoeurs and Agalloch are praised for. Deafheaven did this without the use of clean singing as well. They became a point of contention with their 2013 album Sunbather. It was praised by the more mainstream press and found the band bringing their brand of so-called black metal to such questionable audiences as Bonnaroo. Accusations of the band being “Hipster Metal” flew on message boards everywhere.

Then there are those who could not put Sunbather on enough top ten lists and listed this new one as one of the most anticipated albums of 2015, before the band stepped into the studio. Can this album live up to the hype? Continue reading »

Sep 162015



Yesterday brought a lot of new song and video premieres, from both “big names” in our blessed world of metal and not-so-big names. Since I have so many new things I want to bring to your attention, I decided to split the round-up into two parts. I’m putting the “big names” in this post.


Poland’s Behemoth premiered a new music video yesterday, and this one is for the title track to their last full-length, The Satanist. The video was directed by Andrzej Dragan and it’s unquestionably well-made and engrossing. It also stars an actress whose wide-eyed and slightly skeletal face is perfect for the video’s very lost protagonist.

As for the interpretation of the video, we have the fairly straight-forward description of the director, who conceived of the video based on the music, and the more occult interpretation of its symbolism by Nergal. First, the words of Mr. Dragan: Continue reading »

Aug 222014

Adult Swim is releasing a new track from SF’s Deafheaven on Monday. It will be available for free download. The song’s name is “From the Kettle To the Coil”. It bears many of the by-now well-known Deafheaven musical characteristics — it includes lush melodies, George Clarke shrieks his guts out, and the guitarists and drummer blaze away when they’re not going for slow and shimmering.

But… Clarke also hits some roaring lows (and some low cleans) this time around, and the riffs get jagged and punchy. But in a nutshell, if you like Deafheaven (as I do), you will like this song (a lot, because it’s one of their best), and if you don’t you probably won’t. Listen next, and if you do like what you hear, this is the place to get it on Monday: Continue reading »

Jul 092014

(Guest writer Ben Manzella wrote the following review of the July 2 performances by Deafheaven and Wreck and Reference in San Francisco on July 2, 2014, and took the accompanying photos as well.)

A summer night in San Francisco typically means you can wear a jacket. As someone who grew up in the sunnier part of California (the Los Angeles/San Pedro area), I enjoy this fact. As the line began to form outside The Great American Music Hall, I started to assess the crowd from my point of view. It’s always interesting to see what kind of crowd is attracted to any show, but what do you get when the show consists of a pairing of noise/metal/experimental music (Wreck and Reference) and what is often described as the hipster darling of Black Metal (Deafheaven)?

Now before I go any further, don’t misunderstand me; I’ve been a fan of Deafheaven since their album Roads to Judah was released and I’m thrilled they’ve found a rare amount of success, especially in the times we live in. I won’t deny, though, that it’s not exactly your typical “uber-kvltist” that you’ll see at a Deafheaven show. But I digress — I have nothing but respect for the guys in both bands. Continue reading »

Feb 142014

At last we’ve arrived at the final installment of our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I could have gone on, but since we’re half-way through February it seemed time to stop and spend more time on what 2014 is bringing us.

I want to thank my fellow NCS writers and our readers for suggesting songs from albums that I missed last year; this list has included a lot of those recommendations. I also beg your forgiveness for not including other recommendations, and for otherwise omitting or simply overlooking other great songs from last year.

On Monday I’ll have a a post with a few more concluding thoughts and a complete list of every song in this series, collected in one place. (For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three songs I’m announcing today, click here.)


I suppose there’s some irony in my choice of this next song (and the one that follows it) for our concluding installment — it includes a lot of clean singing. Beyond that, it is one of the more mellow, more pop-oriented songs DT have ever done (of the gothic/doom variety), one of the songs on 2013’s Construct that links arms with the style that DT explored in Projector. But Mikael Stanne’s clean singing is emotionally resonant, and the song also delivers his equally emotive harsh growls, along with some hammering Gothenburg riffs. Continue reading »

Dec 172013

I’ve sure been seeing a lot of “hipster” the last few weeks, as year-end lists of metal have been rolling out and people have been commenting on them. There are certain albums, mainly Deafheaven’s Sunbather, that routinely get blasted with the “hipster” label. Earlier today we even got a “hipster” comment on one of the lists we posted at NCS — applied to Ghost BC’s Infestissumam.

“Hipster” is a word I almost never use, mainly because I’m not sure what it means. I do know that it’s a disparaging, belittling, derogatory label of some kind. As used in the metal community, maybe it’s supposed to mean “not true metal” or “not good metal”. But the sense I get is that it’s used most often to mean “metal that people who aren’t metal heads like” — and apparently, the more non-metalheads who like a metal album, the worse it must be.

I definitely get the sense that Deafheaven have been victimized by that latter situation. The album is showing up on all sorts of year-end lists at big entertainment web sites, often mixed together with music from other genres such as indie and hip-hop. For some people, that seems to be enough to brand Deafheaven’s music “hipster metal”. I suspect something similar has happened to Ghost BC (I even wrote about the phenomenon here). This bothers me. Continue reading »

Jul 042013

Happy Fourth of July to all you U.S. denizens. I don’t really go in for flag-waving hoo-hah, but this will nevertheless be the only NCS post for Independence Day (so it will be a jumbo round-up). My wife and I will be entertaining some special visitors from the other side of our Great Land this afternoon, and then tonight we’ll be mourning one of the members of the intrepid NCS aeronaut pigeon squadron, who deliver most of our metal news to us.

They got confused and delivered some of the items you’ll be hearing today to one of our neighbors, and after he heard what it was, he opened fire, mortally wounding one of those brave flyers. She will live in our hearts forever. We’re planning a simple grave-side ceremony, followed by ritual execution of one of the neighbor’s kids. I suggested we just put out an eye, but half measures weren’t acceptable to the other aeronauts. And really, who can blame them?

It’s a stirring sight to witness a small screaming child dropped into a pit of spikes from 100 feet by pigeons flying in the Missing Man formation, and painted in the death markings of their race with a mixture of pigeon shit and ditch water.  Better than fireworks.


What better way to begin celebrating the Birth Of Our Nation than with some Icelandic metal? Yes, I know it’s a cliched thing to do on the 4th, but I’m old-fashioned at heart. Continue reading »