Feb 292024

(Our editor wasn’t able to compile a list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs from 2023, but our supporter Vizzah Harri, a resident of Hanoi, Vietnam, has stepped in to fill the void. We published Parts 1 and 2 of his list here and here, and now we’re proceeding with Part 3. The remaining three parts will follow in fairly short order.)

We were awaiting that infectious list with keening anticipation, and it being Islander’s baby, for a while there we were genuinely a bit worried whether he was okay. But as of this writing on the last day of the year of the rabbit (albeit the cat in ‘Nam, and yes it is already deep into lunar January, but Gregorian January and now Feb have been an unequivocal cornucopia of quality releases, so whether anyone is even interested anymore in the year just past is anyone’s guess) we are still blessed with the presence of NCS’ inimitable editor.

I told myself I need to get the second part out before the 1st day in the lunar calendar, today was that day but – like that saying when people imbibe early in the morning – it is certainly noon somewhere in the world (again, it’s almost March as I edit this again so just assume that I work on Africa time, a loose concept in my motherland). Time and the perception thereof, just like any other palpable or imperceptible agent, can inform cultures and so I implore you to disengage from the now and harken back. I ended up cutting up one follow-up into 5 parts… Continue reading »

Aug 022023

(Andy Synn presents a killer collection of British Black Metal to tantalise/traumatise your ears)

As I may have mentioned a few times already, my experience of 2023 so far has been that the proggier side of the spectrum has been producing a lot of the most interesting and impressive albums of the year.

Sure, I know there’s been a lot of digital ink spilled about the health and fertility of the Death Metal scene as well but, to my ears at least, most of it has erred more towards just “good” rather than “great”, with a lot of the praise seemingly confusing “quantity” for “quality”.

But we also shouldn’t count out our more blackened brethren either, as there’s been a slow but steady drip-feed of absolutely fantastic Black Metal albums coming out over the last six-seven months too, and today’s edition of “The Best of British” features three more examples that could well throw some discord into your end of year lists come December time.

Continue reading »

Jan 292019


Unlike some people I know, I have zero problem with current bands slavishly devoting themselves to the sounds of black metal from the early-mid ’90s, as long as they’ve got the talent to express their devotion in credibly cold and grippingly hostile fashion.

But it so happens that the black metal songs I’ve added to the list today (which are among my favorites of the last year) aren’t of the slavishly old-school variety, yet no one would accuse any of the bands of being new-school posers either, with merely a trim-picked riff or two as the basis for claims of “blackened” sound. The albums in which these tracks appeared were also uniformly excellent.


Unbound was the creation of an (almost) entirely new incarnation of Sargeist, with only mainman Shatraug remaining from the line-up which gave us such gems as Disciples of the Heinous Path and Let The Devil In, but it too turned out to be brilliant. Given that the new line-up included a guitarist from Nightbringer, a bassist who dwells within the Saturnian Mist, and two members who provide bass and vocals for Desolate Shrine, all of whom (along with Shatraug) stand out in the sharpened production of this record, that should have come as no surprise. Continue reading »

Dec 302018


Here we are, nearing the end of that strange seven-day period that begins with the Christmas holiday and ends with New Year’s Day, when many of us have more lazy free time than usual but also experience something like sensory overload from an onslaught of family, friends, food, drink, commercialized excess everywhere you turn, and the looming dread of a new year beginning with a return to jobs and no more holiday reprieves on the visible horizon. It can be both a joyous time of year and a depressing one, more of the former than the latter if you’re lucky, but with both conditions defined with greater intensity than the plodding progression of a normal week.

Even as odd and disorienting as this annual occurrence usually is, the one we’re in the midst of now has struck me as even more bewildering, even comically so, from my perspective as an obsessive fan of extreme music with a compulsion to share recommendations. On that front at least, things are supposed to slow down, with fewer albums being released (given the likelihood they’ll be overlooked against the background froth of so many other holiday diversions) and something of a pause in the promotional activity around albums slated for release in the new year, including the debut of new songs. And while that has in fact happened to a degree, it’s been a smaller degree than usual, especially in the genres of music that are the focus of this column. Continue reading »

Nov 232018


Deitus proclaim that “it is through suffering that the fruits of salvation shall be found”, and they have named their new album Via Dolorosa — Latin for “the Way of Suffering” or “the Way of Sorrow”. The words may be best known (at least in certain communities) as the name of the road in the Old City of Jerusalem that Jesus walked in agony toward the place of his crucifixion, but it could equally be considered the path of human life in general. As envisioned in the music of Deitus, pain is inevitable, and yet it can lead to illumination.

The song we present today, which is the new album’s title track, is, in a word, stunning. True to this UK band’s statement of principle, it is a powerful expression of suffering, heart-ache, and transcendence. Continue reading »