Nov 222022

(October 28th brought the release by Church Road Records of a fourth full-length by Germany’s Implore, and in this review DGR provides a lot of reasons to get enthusiastic about it.)

It’s been a little while since we’ve gotten an album as clearly “bookended” as Implore‘s October release The Burden Of Existence, yet one glance at track times alone and it seems like the masterminds behind the metallic chaos that is Implore got a taste for track-sequencing symmetry.

Implore are not the type of band to go on musical journeys or prog-dalliances, so none of the songs on The Burden Of Existence stretch for time in any sense of the word, but it is fun noticing how the group have three of their four longer songs on The Burden Of Existence positioned within the front two and the back two of the lineup. Of course, when you close out an album with a song called “The Sense Of Endings”, maybe room for subtlety is a couple of train stops away from where we are currently – but alas, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Continue reading »

Nov 172022

(Last month The Antichrist Imperium released their third glorious and reverent ode to Satan under the auspices of the Apocalyptic Witchcraft label. Allowing time for it to settle in, DGR now devotes a long review to it.)

We’re well past a month since the release of The Antichrist Imperium‘s newest album Vol III: Satan In His Original Glory. One of the things we can can say about it is that it will constantly leave you befuddled and may take you about a month to fully wrap your head round it as well.

It is a strange album, from a collective of musicians for whom ‘weird’ has become a consistent throughline in their overall mass of projects to begin with. Voices as a whole and especially their latest volley Breaking The Trauma Bond? Abrasive, weird, fascinating. Ackercocke‘s return Rennaissance In Extremis? Weird as hell and fascinating. Antichrist Imperium when they’re not in full death metal mode? Much the same.

That you have the presence of two of the boulder-punchers from Werewolves in the lineup shows that someone in the band has the mind to attempt some of the most high-minded and far-reaching music and then just as quickly pen some of the dumbest, purposefully one-directional music out there. Continue reading »

Nov 152022

(Late October brought forth MNRK Heavy‘s release of a new album by Spanish Noctem, a band we’ve been following closely and happily for a long time, and now we catch up to the new album with this extensive review by DGR.)

Over the course of six albums Noctem have placed themselves in an interesting spot musically, where it has seemed like the only point of reference for comparison in terms of their musical history was the album prior and nothing more.

The group have gone through some sizeable leaps and shifts in their sound over the years, and many of them are well-documented on this here site. While it seemed like they may have found a niche within the black metal world with their triptych of Oblivion, Exilium, and Haeresis, the following disc The Black Consecration moved away from the overwhelming chaotic madness of those three albums and into a realm much more deep and cavernous than before.

The Black Consecration was Noctem proving their worth to the black metal abyss, and that is really the biggest point of reference when it comes to this Spanish group’s latest album, Credo Certe Ne Cras, because after the band laid their foundation through that preceding album, they have now built upon it by becoming “bigger” in just about every sense imaginable. Continue reading »

Nov 142022

(A new three-track ChestCrush EP has been out in the world for about a week, time enough for DGR to feel comfortable giving it the following review, for those who might have overlooked it.)

ChestCrush is a project we arrived at late in the year 2021. The international group’s first full length Vdelgymia was one that had hovered on the periphery for some time that year, and whenever we got the chance to share it with people, we would bring it up. It’s how the song “Grudge” wound up being spun during one of our Gimme Metal invasions, and we even argued for the brutally rock-headed “Different Shepherds, Same Sheep” as one of the most infectious songs of last year before that list performed its duties and was sent out on an ice floe.

Given that ChestCrush have resolved themselves into a year-over-year churn at the moment, it seems like you can’t discuss the group’s latest EP Apechtheia without lookng at its older sibling, because these are two very distinct releases from one another, not just in terms of musical content but also in terms of lineup: Apechtheia marks the first time that main musician Evangelos Vasilakos has united with Australian drummer Robin Stone and Texas-based death metal vocalist Topias Jokipii. Continue reading »

Nov 072022


(Distortion Music Group released a new album by the Italian marauders Hiss from the Moat in late October, and DGR now gives it an extensive review.)

The Hiss From The Moat story as it has developed over the years is an interesting one. The group started out straddling the line of -core and full-blown brutal death metal, before leaning heavily on the brutal death metal side on their debut album Misanthropy. On top of that, it was a disc that was also pretty indulgent in its own subject matter, packing a tremendous amount of skull-shattering into a little over a half hour]s worth of music.

It seemed for a bit that Hiss From The Moat were more than happy to hop into the wave of drum-kit destruction that was hailing from Italy during the mid-2010s, and drummer James Payne especially proved to be a machine when it came to answering the call. Layering over-top a heap of Satan and general anti-christianity and you’ve got the general recipe for Hiss From The Moat at the time. Continue reading »

Nov 012022

(Here’s DGR‘s extensive review of the new album by Goatwhore, out now on Metal Blade Records.)

There was a block of time during the decade that was the 2010s when it seemed like Goatwhore were unstoppable and ever-present. They released consistently good-to-great albums like clockwork and few bands out there embodied the concept of “professional homeless person” quite like this hard-touring group. It seemed like they were always on the road and ready to answer the call if there was a show that needed its ass saved from a last-minute cancellation. Hell, there were times when the band wouldn’t even be part of an event yet would somehow pop up within the area because what the hell else were Goatwhore going to do with their free time? Not play live?

That’s why sitting down and gazing over the numbers gap between the group’s 2017 Vengeful Ascension and their latest salvo in early October, Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven, and seeing the five-year mark just looks wild, especially for a band whose previous longest gap between releases was at best on the long side of three. One could only expect that we’d see a release from Goatwhore a whole hell of a lot sooner had we not had to effectively put the world on pause due to a worldwide plague, because otherwise the Goatwhore camp probably would have been out on the road and writing just as hard as they normally do. Continue reading »

Oct 052022

(On October 7th MDD Records will release a new album by the Austrian band Mastic Scum, and it’s our honor to premiere a full stream of it today, preceded by an extensive review prepared by NCS writer DGR.)

It is wild to think that were it not for 2017’s Defy EP almost nine years would have passed between releases for Austria’s Mastic Scum. As it stands. almost nine years between full-lengths is getting up there in time, and five years between an EP and a full-length is pretty lengthy as well. Usually when you get gaps like that it is because the band have gone through massive lineup changes or things behind the scenes, usually resulting in some sort of change in sound. Long-lost groups will return and it will play out like a relaunch of the band in those ways, the prior history something for the books and the current format the defining sounding.

It’s hard to even fathom the amount of shit the world has gone through in the span of time between the December 2013 release of Mastic Scum‘s album CTRL and the impending release of their new album Icon. You’d think that with everything we’ve all been through it would be reflected in the Mastic Scum sound, but Icon is kind of incredible because it’s like the band looked at the ever-shifting sands of heavy metal and the constantly changing scenes in death metal, glanced at their own brand of industrial-strength Terminator-murdering death metal, and just said, “Haha, nope”, things are going to stay exactly the same.

Because Icon picks up right where CTRL left off… like almost from the exact moment, down to the four-letter album title that has been every Mastic Scum full-length. The biggest difference here is that Icon is the first Mastic Scum album since 2005’s Mind not to feature a skull up front and center on the album art in some form. Icon is  Mastic Scum once again pummeling the planet for ten songs. Continue reading »

Oct 032022

(This is another typically extensive review from DGR, and this time the subject of his attention is a new album by Warforged, which is out now on The Artisan Era.)

The launch of Chicago-based Warforged‘s first EP Essence Of The Land was promising. In the weird melange that is the progressive tech/death/prog/seventeen-other-subgenres world that Warforged exists in, that 2014 release felt like it was a few steps ahead of the game: a forecast of where many participants in that particular subsection of the prefix-core genre would be aiming in the future.

In the long run they were correct, because the following five or six years saw a huge explosion in ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ style writing where bands were willing to try anything in order to break out of the endless breakdowns and guitar noodling mold. Warforged just happened to beat everyone to the punch by a few years.

They were so on the forefront of that movement that other than the “Two Demons” single in 2015 it would be almost five years between the EP and the group’s first full-length – the incredibly indulgent hour and twelve minute monster that was 2019’s I: Voice, wherein not a single song would come in under the six-minute mark and about a third of them leapt well over the nine-minute hurdle. Continue reading »

Sep 272022

(On September 16th Unique Leader Records released a new album by the Swiss death metal band Omophagia, and DGR takes a deep dive into it in the following review.)

The day that Omophagia put out an album where the first song isn’t called “Intro” is going to feel like a period of mourning isn’t it? Other than a clockwork two-to-three-year release schedule, there are fewer long-standing patterns out there that one can rely on quite like a band being four albums in and the first song still being called “Intro”. One more album and Omophagia will be able to release an “Intro” song EP.

It is good to see this crew still going though, as the Switzerland-based bruisers are one of the more severely underrated tech-death bands out there. Perhaps due to the unassuming nature of the band or just a general sense of how consistently ‘good’ they have remained throughout their three releases up to their latest one, Rebirth In Black, it seems like Omophagia constantly get the undersell.

What you can say about Omophagia is that despite the appearance of five dudes just making complicated death metal imagery, every one of their releases has sounded different from the one before it. You’ll note the natural evolution in song-writing and just how much Omophagia like a good jackhammer-groove, but that also comes not so much with a move forward but a complete leap somewhere else on the musical explosion map, just to keep things different on the fringes. Rebirth In Black continues that trend. Continue reading »

Sep 262022

(As you’ll see in DGR‘s review below, Mæntra‘s debut album has been perched on his shoulders for a long time, and while it might be easier at this point just to dispense with a write-up, the album wouldn’t allow that.)

I feel that every year I must commend my fellow writers around the hovel that is the NCS office space for having a sense of when to just cut things off and accept that you won’t be able to get around to it in time. It takes a strength of character that, frankly, I just don’t have.

Every year there will be two or three albums that I feel like I have to write about, even as the review backlog grows larger and larger with new discoveries and bigger releases. These releases rest on my shoulders for what seems like forever until I either find the time or finally, shoulders slumped in defeat, admit that yes, I too will not get around to something and the time to shit or get off the pot has long since passed.

Hell, I still occasionally toy with the idea of reviewing a release that came out in January of last year now that I’ve found an easy-to-listen-to copy of it. On the opposite end though, goddamn does it feel good to finally free yourself of the need to speak of a release, when you can find that gap to do so and let the world be damned if they have anything to say about it. Continue reading »