Dec 292021


(For the years 2012 through 2015 an NCS supporter from India who went by the name deckard cain contributed some interesting year-end lists that we posted as part of our annual Listmania series, and he reviewed songs and albums for us too during that same interval. Then he drifted away, but he has returned after a six-year absence with a new YE list that’s worth your investigation.)

Ever come across that often ludicrous brand of idiot who will tell you without any scruples “Oh metal! Yes! I had a phase when I listened to Metallica when I was younger”? Suggesting perhaps that it was a phase that normal humans just wean out of? An affront to our sensibilities yes, but we reply with a modicum of decency, “Oh cool! That’s good to know”. Most of us that follow this brand of music, more often than not, respect all other genres in its variedness. But then there is this guy.

When a world is as mangled as it is today, it’s been our vaccine against the virus of life. It’s been that soothing salve. It’s been our choice of anodyne. It’s been our muse. It’s always been everything to us all.

Of course! Most of us listen to it as leisure as well and for that pure sense of enjoyment that is often our wont. Nolan Gasser, a musicologist, suggests in his book Why you like it: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste that one tends to have a particular affiliation for music we lend an ear to in our formative years (think late teens/early adulthood). To that end, I feel that while musical tastes may vary, that anger and fire we looked to in early stages of our lives is always with us to the grave. Some of us stuck onto metal and some of us found it in our later years to clearly resonate with the fire that was lit ages ago. Coloured as they are by our different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds.

I think then, it’s important to harken back to our good times and yet hold that familiar pain, that slice of reality, that these last two years have bequeathed to us….close… Holding them tight…. So tight that we may hope for a better future or be swallowed by it! Lending us, at the least, some sense of perseverance (success be damned!).

So, let’s get started shall we? Tune our channels to dread 666 and find solace within it! Continue reading »

Feb 072018


(After an absence of more than two years, our old comrade deckard cain has returned to NCS with a guest review of the fourth album by the Swedish band Agrimonia, which was released by Southern Lord on January 26th.)


In an Old English medical manuscript, ‘Agrimonia’ was cited as an herb, a panacea for all supposed ailments.

‘If it be leyd under mann’s heed,
He shal sleepyn as he were deed;
He shal never drede ne wakyn
Till fro under his heed it be takyn.’

Daniel Ekeroth’s Swedish Death Metal paints quite a vivid picture of the country’s trajectory into death metal haven, the first chapter of which is dedicated entirely to hardcore punk and its variants. The gradual shift from heavy metal to speed/power to thrash metal might as well have been wholly discarded in favour for a much more two-way exchange between hardcore and death metal.

There are exceptions to this, of course, but for the sake of brevity one cannot dissociate one from the other. Most of the now seminal Swedish death metal bands had a background in hardcore punk and crust, and one cannot miss the clear crossover spirit that so pervades the earlier releases of said bands. So, the Swedish lineage may be considered a tad different from other strains. Continue reading »

Dec 312015


deckard cain YE list


(After quite an absence, our old comrade deckard cain rejoins us with a list of his favorites — both metal and not-metal — from 2015.)

And yet another year of death, destruction, and hopelessness has come to pass. Religion still culls by the thousands, earthquakes still shake people’s idea of reality, capitalism and poverty are still in vogue, guns have turned into mouthpieces, digital connectivity is constantly separating man from himself. No longer do we have communities nor are we individuals, just a floating image of what could have been on somebody’s idea of a mirror. The Damocles sword no longer hangs over our heads, it is recast into the guillotine that falls ever so swiftly, upon our neutered minds.

Paranoia will consume us before the source from where it stems does……

And here, solace is only found in the darkest of places… in that very form of music that finds its essence in the throes of realism. Continue reading »

Dec 192014

(We welcome our old friend deckard cain back to the site. He brings us his list of the 50(ish) best albums of 2014, listed in no particular order, despite the appearance of numbers.)

Greetings brethren!

And yet another morbid year turns to dust, leaving only ashes in its wake. Dread sells on the television, nations bathe in the crudity of oil, religions find legitimacy through violence, virus and vermin swing the scythe ever so swiftly, and the world inches ever forward to becoming an all encompassing panopticon.

Our lives are doomed. But there is beauty in doom. And music in all its glorious manifestations (let alone metal) keeps our sanity at bay. 2015 was good for metal. And so shall it be with each passing year. More doom equates to more room, nay more cause for metal to remain relevant.

Imagine. Several years from now, as humanity is laid decimated or completely brought to naught, an alien species lands and scours the land for the remnants of a civilization that once was. They find amidst the rubble of a once glorious city, caked in the dust of the preceding eons, a curious looking circular disc. With the words etched, stark in their prophetic reach, “The Dead of the World”.

And with that I start the first entry in my list. Continue reading »