Apr 242023

(Here we have DGR‘s review of a new EP released by the Swedish band Demonical, which has been out since the end of March on Agonia Records.)

There have been a string of singles and EP releases in the past couple of months and the grouping of them has been all over the place — many consisting of bonus tracks that were on international editions or ultra-exclusive songs, others being odd experiments, and some being the more traditional “yes, we are working hard on new stuff, here’s what we’ve been up to recently”.

Demonical‘s newest EP release is along the lines of the third one, although part of the reason we’re checking in with them is due to Demonical changing vocalists, so its partly that the band are still going (which is good news, given that 2022’s Mass Destroyer was pretty strong) and partly “here’s what we’re going to sound like now” with new vocalist Charlie Fryksell at the helm.

Not to shock anyone, but the two songs present on Into Victory – the title track and a cover of The Ramones‘ “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” that plays it remarkably straight – continue Demonical‘s pattern of being particularly strong and very capable of bringing the earth-rumbling gallop that you come to this style of death metal for. Continue reading »

May 302022

(Here’s DGR‘s review of the new album by the Swedish death metal band Demonical, released earlier this month by Agonia Records.)

Demonical operate like clockwork. They’re one of the least presumptuous bands out there, playing a style of music that requires very little pretense to understand from the get-go. You know what you’re in for with a Demonical album by this point and they’ve stuck rigidly to that formula for some time.

They’ll have eight songs for you, weighing in at a little over half an hour, and the cover art will likely be of the same school of the last few releases from them. Mass Destroyer is the group’s second release with the current lineup; one that saw some minor shifting right around the time bassist Martin Schulman‘s other project Centinex went through lineup changes as well, but you’ll recognize Mass Destroyer as a Demonical release quickly. Continue reading »

Feb 122022

Demonical – Photo by Jens Ryden

For the last three weeks I’ve stayed away from hard liquor because I’d forgotten where the off-switch was. Beer and wine were still on the alcohol menu because, for whatever reason, it was a lot easier to find the off-switch. But last night I hung out at a bar with an old friend. I’d never been to that particular bar and was surprised to see a bottle of Brennivin sitting on the shelf. I couldn’t resist. This morning I’m brutally reminded why I decided to stay away from the hard stuff for a while.

Fortunately, I picked all the music for this round-up after hours of listening that happened before I met my friend. Because I’m getting a late and painful start this morning, I’m going to launch this post without any commentary about the songs. I’ll probably come back and add the commentary later today, not because anyone needs that but because I like doing it; at least I like doing it when my head is functioning.

Part of the fun in making these choices yesterday was discovering that I could present them in short blocks, creating small groups of songs that seemed to work well together. In doing that I divided the music into five Parts. Hopefully you’ll get what I was thinking, but even if you don’t get the connections I hope you’ll still dig the music. I sure as hell did. Continue reading »

Oct 292020


(This is the third installment in a seven-album review orgy by our man DGR, who is attempting to free his mind for year-end season by clearing away a backlog of write-ups for albums he has enjoyed in 2020. Today’s subject is the newest album by the long-running Swedish death metal band Demonical, which was released on October 23rd by Agonia Records.)

Even though Demonical have been around for six albums and a swath of material in between, it’s been interesting to watch how the band have wound up unintentionally re-contextualized alongside bassist Martin Schulman‘s other works, like Centinex. The two groups share common DNA through Demonical’s initial founding around a core of former Centinex crew and the timing of their releases being so close to each other. It makes it seem as if the two are playing off of each other.

Whereas Centinex is rooted firmly in a classic Swede-death sound and all the rock-striking-boulder thump that is contained therein, Demonical are the other side of that death metal coin, a more modern-sounding project that sidles up perfectly alongside the distorted chainsaw riff and blasting drums of today. Both groups have also maintained very fluid lineups, with both gaining new vocalists in place of October Tide‘s multi-talented – and at one point very prolific – Alexander Högbom. Demonical have been a little more steady in comparison to Centinex’s full refresh, but the additions of Christofer Säterdal on vocals and returning drummer Ronnie Bergerstäl in the time between Chaos Manifesto and the group’s newest album World Domination has certainly kept things interesting. Continue reading »

Oct 092020


This is pretty much a DGR round-up, since it was he who urged the first three new songs and videos in this collection. They’re all from bands who’ve been around for a long time, from 14 years to more than 30 years (but are still kicking ass). To justify my own existence, I picked two more, one from a more obscure band than those first three but whose name is rising fast, and a second from an even more obscure name that I suspect will soon become better-known.

I have approximately 53 other new songs I’d also like to share with you. Maybe later. There’s a fly that’s making the rounds on the morning news interviews, so I need to check that out.


Devil’s Spawn Attack” is the closing track on Necrophobic’s new album, Dawn of the Damned. I smell a review simmering in the NCS mess hall that questions the wisdom of that choice — not a question about the quality of the song (which is damned good), but about its position in the running order. But I’ll let that writer speak for himself in due course; maybe he’ll change his mind. Meanwhile, I’ll speak my own mind. Continue reading »

Feb 262019


All three songs in this installment of the list (which I assure you will be coming to an end this week) are flavors of death metal, but very different flavors, as you shall see.


We had the good fortune of hosting not one, but two, song premieres leading up to the release of Construct of Lethe‘s powerful 2018 album, Exiler. The first of those was “Rot of Augury”, and the second was “Terraces of Purgation”. Both were really good songs from a granite-solid album — and I didn’t pick either one of them for this list. Continue reading »

Dec 312018


(DGR is actually turning NCS into a coffee table book, but slowly, one day at a time, from now through Friday.)

About halfway through the year I actually thought I was going to make it through the year-end with a solid Top 30 list and nothing more. For a good chunk of the year, 2018 seemed to move in fits and starts — there would be large batches of album releases and then a couple of quiet weeks, then another small collection, and so on. A lot of the more consistent older guard were on something of an “off year” too, so at first I wasn’t expecting to see a large cast of repeats from two years ago making themselves known. I’ve gotten used to a two-to-three year album cycle, so I half-expected stuff to start pointing towards a real loaded front-half of 2019.

But alas, instead the back-half of 2018 turned out to a be a flood. Not just in bands that I’ve consistently enjoyed either, but a whole bunch of new faces that have either been hammering it out over the years and put out some genuine surprises, or people with some absolutely stunning first-time exposures on my end. Not only that, but who would’ve expected an actually pretty solid -core resurgence, with a lot of groups that had thought to hang it up deciding 2018 would be a good year to resurface and put out some stunningly good releases (at least in some cases).

As a result, 2018 proved to be an absolutely massive year. In some ways I think people’s year-end lists are reflecting just how vibrant the year was for our specific subsection of the musical sphere. While people lament that rock ‘n’ roll is dying or has become lame, heavy metal seems perfectly content to just be the constantly angry and forever roiling collective of music — as if it has found a sort of equilibrium in comparison to the mainstream world outside. Which is how you wind up with stupid shit like this, where I once again have FIFTY (warning ahead of time: if you think this introduction is getting verbose, do I have a surprise for you) albums to talk about in wrapping up this tire fire of a year. Continue reading »

Apr 302018


(We present DGR’s review of the latest album by Demonical, which is out now via Agonia Records.)

Considering the various skulls, demon bones, and other awesome metal ephemera in the album art gracing the front of Demonical’s Chaos Manifesto it is probably a strange situation to open with the idea that, with this album, the comfort-food nature of the Swede-death genre and its effects on your reviewer have been firmly established. There’s something near instantly recognizable in the genre’s chosen pacings and structures that feels immediately familiar and speaks to the lizard segment of one’s brain, so much so that just about any band who embrace the mid-to-high tempo thudding nature of the music are bound to at least put on a decent live show, and, with a genre whose foundations and blueprints are so solidly in place at this point, those who merely follow it with a checklist can at least kick out a decent disc.

Which just makes it all the more difficult for a group to stand out from the pack or, given their aims, to make an album that at least ranks as a “solid good time”. Demonical, a group born from the hiatus of another Swedish purveyor of mid-tempo thudding death metal (Centinex) and now with a lineup that includes a pretty healthy chunk of the newly reactivated version of the aforementioned group — three of whose members were made official in 2017 — have released what could be considered the most straight-shooting Swede-death album of 2018 so far. In Chaos Manifesto there are no pretenses, no real attempts at breaking genre conventions, just a solid eight-track, thirty-six-minute slab of death metal that gives metal fans across the variety of the circle-headbanging genres something to salivate over. Continue reading »

Mar 052018

At the Gates


(DGR has prepared a collection of new songs and videos that appeared over the last couple of weeks, which we’ve divided into three parts, this one being the first.)

By the time you are all reading this it is highly likely that a small collective of the NCS editor (not me) and NCS cohorts (which also doesn’t include me) will have arrived in Iceland, traveling there to attend some bullshit with an excellent lineup known as Oration Festival and generally to have a good time in a foreign country — which I will not be doing, instead being overjoyed that there has been rain the past few days so my car has been getting a decent wash.

Of course, this has in no way left me saltier than the Dead Sea, nor have I turned into the living embodiment of this article at all. I am, instead wishing my compatriots an excellent time in a country (that I haven’t been to) where the weather changes on a dime and will only be slightly amused if they get caught up in a small rainstorm whilst standing outside; they should be used to that anyway.

Since this is happening, I will more than happily bear the yoke of having to deliver the much needed metal news to the world that we might’ve missed, given my general job title of news pelican here, in between whatever else the rest of us who couldn’t go to Iceland have on the docket – which is looking mighty packed – and the general scribblings of the crew in attendance at the show. Continue reading »

Feb 052018


(DGR compiled a round-up of new music to launch our Monday at NCS, an eight-song collection that we’ve divided into two parts, with Part Two slated to come very quickly after this first installment.)


I’m not going to lie to you all, I’ve been pretty distracted around the NCS office as of late. Usually I’ve unleashed a handful of ridiculous-length reviews by this point, but so far the beginning of 2018 has had your buddy here firmly ensconced in the news trenches, freeing up some of the other folks around here to fully dive into the deep and murky waters of all things underground and unlistenable.

It doesn’t help that I’ve also had tabs open alongside the news haul consisting of album streams from Dagon’s victorious return on Back To The Sea, Bloodshot Dawn’s surprisingly tech-death oriented ReanimationAfgrund’s mean and urgently-now The Dystopian, and even the occasional leap back into 2017 with Ireland’s Weed Priest and their stoner doom throwback; all of which are seeing constant listens and hopefully time to deep-dive in the near future. Shit, there is even a new Apophys disc entitled Devoratis that we covered very briefly but need to dive back into.

Of course, now that all of that has been written down, the news flood will get worse and I’ll get something done just in time to watch the moon finally escape Earth’s gravity and go sailing off into space as we’re devoured by the Sun’s outer layers as it goes red giant.

But enough jokes about things that seem preferable to going outside and facing the world. Let’s get on with the music. Continue reading »