May 262015

None of these people is me.

I’m seriously considering a legal change of my name to include the words “Ass Backwards” in it. I mean, I’m not fooling anyone anyway, so I might as well be up-front about it.

Case-in-point: Instead of writing a chronologically oriented and comprehensive review of the recently concluded Maryland Deathfest XIII, I just started tossing out random collections of photos over the last three days, mainly as a way of explaining why I wasn’t doing much of anything else for the site. And now, rather than starting over with something that actually looks like a thoughtful report on an amazing event, I’m going to continue with what I started and fill in the gaps I left, working my way backward to the pre-fest show last Wednesday.

Once again, there will be more of my photos in the continuation of this series than my words, which may come as a continuing relief to many. Continue reading »

Nov 202013

One of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done at NCS was the “FINLAND TRIBUTE WEEK” series back at the end of 2010. It was completely unplanned, beginning on December 1 with a post about Amorphis and then continuing on a daily basis through this post on December 17, fueled by a flood of reader suggestions (most of which are collected here). I discovered so damn much great music across a wide spectrum of metal sub-genres (it was, for example, my first introduction to funeral doom) and learned a lot about the history of Finnish metal as well.

One of the great discoveries I made through that impromptu series was Demilich, a ground-breaking band whose first and last full-length album was 1993’s Nespithe. In my Finland Tribute Week post about Demilich, I provided a lot of info about the band and about Nespithe. I won’t repeat that here, but instead send you back to that post for an explanation about why the album — from its head-spinning music to its coded lyrics and album title — is so damned interesting.

Demilich’s Antti Boman has kept the Demilich flame burning by maintaining a web site for many years on which almost all of Demilich’s recorded output is available for free download (here). But now something else is coming that will send the flames higher, and its name is Demilich: 20th Adversary of Emptiness. Continue reading »

Feb 182013

Hey, happy fucking Monday to all you brain-dead metal heads. Here’s a big collection of new music and news that I came across at the start of my bleary-eyed morning today.


I’ve confessed before that straight-up old-school thrash is not among the metal genres that are nearest and dearest to my black heart. In addition, I’ve become even more numb due to the avalanche of re-thrash releases by many new bands who all sound alike to me. But with that said, I’m digging the shit out of a new song clip that premiered today by a Finnish band named Lost Society.

The song title alone hooked me: “Braindead Metal Head”. And then the music Finnish-ed me off. It’s a jet-fueled, out-of-control thrash rocket with multiple warheads. The riffing is catchy as fuck, the vocals are pleasingly drunk on the high energy, and the obligatory guitar solo is a first-class trip to shred city. This is speed metal I can get behind.

The video strings together words of high praise by the likes of Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Schmier (Destruction), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Craig Locicero (Forbidden), and Kragen Lum (Heathen), and they might know what they’re talking about. Continue reading »

Dec 042010

Fuck, but I do love the comments on this site. For a good long while after we started NCS, we didn’t get any, but eventually they grew like magic mushrooms. A big part of the magic, at least for me, is the introductions we’ve gotten to bands we didn’t know about. That’s one of the objectives we had when we started NCS — one we’ve tried to follow through on consistently: Introduce people to new music, usually from bands that aren’t household names, at least here in the U.S. And in the process of trying to do that, we’ve learned about lots of new bands ourselves.

Case in point: this Finland Tribute Week thing we spontaneously started a few days ago. (We could have done this with other countries — and we will — but Finland just kinda emerged as the focal point of its own accord.) We invited suggestions for Finnish metal, and man, did we get them. They’re still coming in — and by all means, don’t stop! (The best place to continue adding suggestions is on this post — it’s a good collection point not only for me but also for readers who are as interested as I am in exploring new sounds.) We’ll still work into the daily posts some of our regular features, and maybe a new album review here and there, but I really don’t see any reason to put an artificial stop to the Finland tribute. The music is so richly varied and so good that it just makes sense to continue rolling with it.

Plus, it’s proving to be such a good antidote to Christmas season fuckery that rolling it right through the holiday is just what a good (witch)doctor would prescribe. Plus, who says we have to define a week by reference to the daily rotation of the Earth on its axis? We’ve discovered that it takes Mercury about 58 Earth-days to rotate once around its axis, which would make a week on Mercury the equivalent of 406 Earth-days. 406 days in a row of Finnish metal might be pushing the envelope past the rupture point, but it sure gives us a lot of leeway while continuing to call this series Finland Tribute Week. We like leeway.

So far, we’ve had three days in a row of Exceptions to the Rule. Don’t get me wrong — the music has been strong despite the presence, in varying degrees, of clean vocals and sweeping melodies. But to be brutally honest, I’ve had this gnawing hunger for something that’s harsh and nasty, like the feeling I get when I’m stuck in a place where I can’t smoke for hours on end. So today, we’re veering back in the more typical NCS direction with Demilich.  (And given how many intriguing recommendations we’ve received, we’ll probably start to double-up on these posts in the coming days, or this thing really will go on for 406 days.)  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »