Oct 092021


(Andy Synn brings us another episode in his series about lyrics in Metal, and today the responses come from A.K. of the French band Decline of the I, whose latest album Johannes was released last spring by Agonia Records.)

I know it’s been a little while since we last published one of these columns – that’s largely because I want the various artists involved to work on them in their own time and without feeling pressured from my end – but the wait has definitely been worth it, as today we’re talking to songwriter, lyricist, and all-round mastermind A.K. of Decline of the I (along with many other bands).

It’s a fascinating piece, mark my words, which touches on the conceptual underpinnings of the group’s first album trilogy, and their next one, as well as the unusual methods involved in composing each record’s vivid yet dreamlike lyrics. Continue reading »

Mar 052021


When writers characterize a piece of music as “ambitious”, that might mean different things to different people, but usually signifies an effort to reach beyond what is commonplace, perhaps through the use of unusual techniques or the creation of rare sounds but more often by trying to more fully engage the listeners’ imaginations and emotions — to create a sensation that takes them places far beyond mundane experience. In all those ways (and others), the new album by the French post-black metal band Decline of the I is ambitious, and it greatly succeeds in realizing those ambitions.

The name of the album is Johannes, and its ambitions actually extend beyond what we hear. For example, there can’t be many black metal albums out there which (as this one does) take their inspiration from the works of Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard. And this album is also the beginning of a new trilogy, following this band’s completion of a previous one, which was inspired by the works of French surgeon and neurologist Henri Laborit.

We’ve already written about the first song that was revealed from the album (“The Veil of Splendid Lies“), and today we bring you a second one in advance of the album’s March 26 release by Agonia Records. Its name is “Diev Vide“. Continue reading »

Feb 172021


What follows is a collection of new songs and videos that different people messaged me about today, plus a few I had noticed in preceding days. With apologies to anyone who might care, I unfortunately don’t have the time to provide as many stumbling brilliant verbal descriptions of the music as I usually do, but nevertheless hope you enjoy all the sounds, as I have.

GOJIRA (France)

Born For One Thing“: feverish tumult with slightly industrialized grooves, trademark atonal pounding, and gripping rhythmic interplay, plus eerie melodic accents… definitely in their comfort zone, and very good…. Continue reading »

Oct 302018


(Despite what the title of this post says, Andy Synn hasn’t managed to review every fine 2018 album and EP we’ve heretofore failed to write about, but he does catch up with more than two dozen of them.)

While lots of blogs/zines are already (or soon will be) switching their focus away from covering new releases and towards consolidating their annual “Best Of…” lists, here on NCS island we’re still doing our very best to bring as many new (and some not so new) albums/artists to your attention as possible.

Of course the truism that “there’s simply too much music out there” remains as painfully accurate as ever, and it pains me to admit that I/we simply can’t cover all the releases we want to, in the depth we want to, no matter how hard we try.

So consider this article a voluntary mea culpa acknowledging our limitations and a (probably futile) attempt to make amends a little bit to all the bands and artists who we may have missed or ignored over the last several months, as well as to shine a light on a couple of upcoming releases you’ll probably want to keep your eyes/ears open for. Continue reading »

Jul 042018


Today is the Independence Day holiday here in the U.S. The first thing I saw upon scanning the local Seattle paper after waking up was a fascinating story that included the photo above, and this headline:


Puget Sound explorers partied so hard for July 4, 1841, a sailor blew up his hand with a howitzer


We’ve come so far since that event, marked by the monument above near Puget Sound, which was reportedly the first official Fourth of July celebration held west of the Mississippi: Now we can blow off our hands without using military armament; inexpensive fireworks will do the job just as well. And what better way to commemorate the birth of the nation than by an orgy of drunkenness and self-inflicted wounds? Continue reading »

Feb 122015


The French band Decline of the I are nearing the release of their second album, a seven-track work entitled Rebellion. We’ve paid close attention to the music as individual tracks have been released for public consumption. Last October we wrote about the first advance track from the album, a song named “Hexenface”, and then covered the premiere of a second one — “Lower Degree of God’s Might” — in mid-January. Now we ourselves have the pleasure of bringing you a third example of what Rebellion holds in store.

The song we’re premiering is “Le rouge, le vide et le tordu” (“The red, the emptiness, the twisted one”), and it is yet another display of the diverse talents of the band’s principal creative force, multi-instrumentalist  A.K., who has also performed in such bands as VorkreistMerrimack, and Malhkebre. Continue reading »

Jan 192015


I was getting bored with those “Seen and Heard” post titles, so I changed  it for today — but that’s still what this is: a collection of new songs that I spotted and heard over the last 24 hours and would like to recommend to you. And since it’s Monday, you know what kind of mood I’m talking about.

P.S. This is a holiday in the U.S., and although I still have to work, we won’t have the usual volume of posts today. Hope you enjoy this one, and the next installment of our “Most Infectious” song list, which will be up a bit later.


When I first saw the album cover (above) for the new album by Texas-based Pyramids, I quipped to some friends: “This is what happens when you let monkeys play with a tape dispenser”. I’m still not sure what the photo signifies, but the music is no joke.

The new album is named A Northern Meadow and it’s set for release by Profound Lore on March 17. And on this album the Pyramids line-up is augmented by some notable guests: Vindsval of Blut Aus Nord; Colin Marston of Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, and Krallice; and composer/musician William Fowler Collins. This will be my first exposure to the band’s music (so far as I can remember), but I’m now very eager to hear the album because the first advance track has now premiered. Continue reading »

Oct 232014


Here’s the second part of a round-up of new things that I began earlier today, collecting some of the news and music I discovered over the last 24 hours that I thought would be worth your time, because they were worth mine.


Where Greater Men Have Fallen is the name of the new Primordial album, due for release by Metal Blade on November 25. The title track premiered previously, and a couple of days ago Stereogum premiered another song, “Come the Flood”.  It’s powerfully heart-wrenching and melancholy in its atmosphere, driven at first by heavy, thumping drumbeats and a flowing curtain wall of guitars, and later by percussion that sounds like gunshots and a vital lead guitar melody. But at the center of the song is its most arresting feature — Nemtheanga’s  high, soul-stirring, dramatic voice. Amazing.

Listen here (Primordial’s FB page is at this location):

http://www.stereogum.com/1713126/primordial-come-the-flood-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/ Continue reading »

Sep 062012

I realize that recently I’ve been making these “Seen and Heard” posts a daily occurrence when I should have been concentrating more in depth on individual albums or EPs. But I’ve been fucking off a lot pressed for time recently, and although I’ve fallen even further behind on reviewing albums and EPs I like, I’m at least trying to keep up with the news — especially news that involves new music that really strikes a chord.

Yesterday was a big fucken bonanza of new music. In fact, I found so many likable new discoveries that I’ll have not one but two of these posts today (and maybe more, depending on how much I fuck off how today goes). This is the first one, and I’m really excited about the songs I’ve collected here, all of which are dramatically different shades of black metal — from Rage Nucléaire (Montreal), Decline of the I (Paris), and Black September (Chicago).


Late June it was when I saw an announcement by Season of Mist that they had signed a four-piece black metal band called Rage Nucléaire. It got my attention because the band was formed by Lord Worm, former vocalist of Cryptopsy. I wrote about the event (here) despite having no music to hear. Now I do.

As SOM begins the ramp-up to the debut of Unrelenting Fucking Hatred, they’ve now disclosed the release dates — Nov. 6 for North America and Oct. 19 for the rest of the [fortunate] world — and they’ve started streaming the album’s opening track, the name of which is “Violence Is Golden”. And you beginning to detect a theme about the music? Continue reading »