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.

CONSTRUCT OF LETHE

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 »

Oct 072015
 

Vreid-Solverv

 

Yesterday I compiled a massive round-up featuring new songs and/or videos by seven bands. But that still didn’t exhaust what I had found in the preceding days. And, metal being such an explosively metastasizing tumor, I’ve found still more things to get excited about since I wrote yesterday’s compilation. So, what the hell, I’ve decided to throw caution to the winds and prepare another even more jam-packed post, with good things from eight bands. Once again, I’m choking back my tendency to shower many words over the music… I’ll just scatter a few droplets instead.

VREID

I’m going to start by telling you about a full-album stream that came rushing up like a freight train at night with the lights off. Which is a way of saying that although we here at NCS are enormous fans of Vreid, we received no advance copy of their new album Sólverv, and just learned that all the songs have now been officially uploaded to YouTube for streaming. Continue reading »

May 132015
 

(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the previous month.)

Welcome back to Essential Entries. April has already passed, and it’s hard to believe. It feels like we – at least those unlucky enough to live in areas that deal with winter – were just freezing ourselves stiff, and now the temperatures are in the 80s. Thank goodness. Winter is awful. Thankfully, good music is the antithesis of such, and we’re loaded this month.

Also, my apologies for getting this up a bit late. Yours truly was out of town for over two weeks, and that resulted in a ton of catch-up listening in order to do this right. No way will this column ever be done half-heartedly!

With that out of the way, let’s get to the tunes.

 

Abyss – Heretical Anatomy

Gritty Canadian death metal. Abyss proves that it’s not all maple syrup and politeness up there. Equal parts catchy and punishing, this proves to be a great debut full-length. Continue reading »

Apr 102015
 

 

Yesterday brought a wealth of new music, and I’ve collected a few of the riches in this post. The first three songs are black metal, and the fourth isn’t — but it’s still obsidian and it still rips.

FALSE

With only an untitled EP in 2011 and a split with Barghest in 2012 — collectively totaling three songs — the Minneapolis black metal band False have established the kind of underground credibility that makes their debut album one of the year’s most highly anticipated releases. For me, “highly anticipated” became an understatement after I saw them perform at last summer’s Gilead Fest in Wisconsin. In a word, the performance was stunning (reviewed here).

Yesterday, Gilead Media announced pre-orders for the album — which is also untitled — and put up the first advance track for streaming on Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Feb 072015
 

I’m finally finished with the project for my fucking day job that has kept me on the U.S. east coast for the last three weeks. Tomorrow I return to Seattle and some semblance of normalcy, both for life in general and for NCS.

I still feel like I’ve been put through a goddamn meat-grinder, and it will take some time to get over being exhausted (and to finish posting what other writers sent me over the last week), but I did spend an hour this morning trying to figure out what I missed in the way of new music over the last couple of days. As usual, given the persistent flood of new metal that’s been coming our way since this new year began, I found A LOT. I’m going to include three new videos in this post. I hope I can get another round-up done tomorrow before heading to the airport.

ENSLAVED

Enslaved’s new album In Times is one of my “most anticipated” 2015 releases, so it’s been frustrating that I haven’t had time to listen to it since our advance copy arrived about a week ago. But this morning I did listen to the first advance track, “Thurisaz Dreaming”, which began streaming as a lyric video at Noisey yesterday along with an excellent interview of Ivar Bjørnson. Continue reading »

Nov 182013
 

It’s been an action-packed day here at NCS, with some ass to mouth plus three album reviews and two song premieres — and I had two more reviews ready to go, but I’ve deferred those until tomorrow so that we don’t overdose you with awesomenessness. But at the risk of giving you a manic sugar high, I thought I’d round up some of the best things I saw and heard today. We’ll begin with a couple of announcements and end with a new song and a new video

SUNN O))) and ULVER

One week ago I reported about a cryptic announcement by Southern Lord that seemed to suggest a long-rumored collaboration between Sunn O))) and Ulver was about to become a consumable reality. Today we got a more informative announcement, i.e., that these two storied bands have indeed collaborated to create a three-track recording entitled Terrestrials — “a trio of movements which flow like magma beneath the Earth’s crust, sonically uninhibited, unpredictably cosmic, haunting and stirring, yet simultaneously ceremonious and beautiful.”

Southern Lord will be releasing Terrestrials in February 2014, the cover can be seen above, and we are promised that over the course of the next month details shall be dribbled out concerning “the story of how this alliance and recording came to be.” Continue reading »