Mar 232023

Maze of Sothoth

(We have DGR to thank for the following trio of reviews, covering two records just released on March 17th and one that’s coming out on March 24th.)

As we draw closer to the end of March we find ourselves with a veritable bounty of music available to us, and while we do a commendable – cue rim shot here – job trying to keep up with the world of heavy metal, sometimes it’s fun to cast off the task of keeping up and just throw yourself into the river of discoveries as they wash over you.

That’s the case with the three groups here, as we travel to opposite coasts of the US after making a journey into Italy. The one big unifier is the constant death metal hammering, but hey, you’re on NoCleanSinging and that is one of our favorites to traffic in. Continue reading »

Mar 202023

(Sacramento-based writer DGR pulled together the following reviews of albums that surfaced over the last 30 days.)

The tour through the world of heavy metal continues, this time covering a good portion of the planet as we carve our way from Canada through the States and land in Australia for three suitably intense and mind-scarringly mean experiences that saw recent release. We begin with names familiar to longtime NCS readers and end on someone new but a group that’ll instantly appeal to the wall-punchers as decorative artists among our readers.

Tribe Of Pazuzu – Blasphemous Prophecies

It hadn’t occurred to us around here that it had been close to three years for the Canadian crew Tribe Of Pazuzu when it came to the gap between releases, nor the fact that Blasphemous Prophecies represents the group’s official first full-length album.

For those who haven’t been wandering around these fetid halls for a while, Tribe Of Pazuzu unleashed two EPs in late 2019 and early 2020 entitled Heretical Uprising and King Of All Demons. With the year-over-year churn on those particular EPs and each of them clocking in at a stocky five songs and near-twenty minutes each, it felt like the combination of the two together – which the band would eventually release in 2021 – was their debut full-length. Continue reading »

Mar 152023

(DGR was inspired to pick three particular albums from his backlog to review together, which is what you will find below the anime image above.)

Look, sometimes you lay out your “to listen to and potentially review” archives in such a way that the moment strikes you. This is one of those times where the exercise is likely to appeal to just me, and me alone, so indulge me, will you? as I crawl backwards to catch up with even more stuff that has managed to hit throughout the first quarter of this year. Sometimes you do it because the idea you had for the article photo is, in the long run, more than enough.


Portugal’s Oak are likely to grab people’s attention with their sophomore release Disntegrate. Their first for Season Of Mist – after debut Lone was handled by Transcending ObscurityDisintegrate is a near forty-five-minute traversal through the roiling collision of the worlds of death and doom.

Ever-dedicated to their world-building, the two-piece comprising Oak have spent much of the lead-in to the release of Disintegrate painting their music with the visages of lumbering giants, collapsing mountains, and enough Misery to make a 1987 Barnes & Noble jealous. While the lyrical inspirations may be purposefully vague and presented as one large archival screed, the music is recognizably suffocating and slow, at times fitted more as “mood” than artistic piece. When the two lead videos for the album have the group drenched in either snow or fire – with little room for subtlety in between – then you certainly know that there is “something” present here that is going to grab people. Continue reading »

Mar 062023

Endorphins Lost

(DGR has surfaced from what sounds like some hellish recent weeks in his non-NCS life, and brought along with him some mean and explosive music, courtesy of the three bands whose recent releases he reviews below.)

The death and grind side of the heavy metal world is one that seems to be continually spinning no matter what people do to try to stop it. It’s become a machine that is always absorbing new bodies for energy and unleashing it in violent bursts that could make astronomers and physicists take note. The ferocity that is unleashed by such groups is often unmatched, and if they’re not moving in pure, bludgeoning force then it is a series of strikes that are happening so fast you don’t even notice the ground that has been razed alongside you.

The three gathered here come from different corners of the musical world as well as having some actual physical distance between them, with the one unifying theme among them being an unmatched fiery energy, and that they had releases hit in February.

In fact, the releases here get longer as you travel further down the list, but still manage to keep things around twenty-five minutes. February: Short month, short songs, short reviews – let’s party. Continue reading »

Feb 162023

(On February 24th the Finnish band Insomnium will release their ninth album, Anno 1696, via Century Media Records. Today we present DGR‘s extensive review.)

It’s an odd realization when it occurs to you that there are now bands where you can almost speak to their entire history since you started following them. While I can never claim that I got in on the ground floor with Finland’s Insomnium – I was one of the class who got into them via the “Mortal Share” music video – it wasn’t that difficult to dig backwards into the group’s discography, considering that 2006’s Above The Weeping World was only their third full-length.

Hindsight being as it is, it isn’t too hard to see that with Above The Weeping World, Insomnium had already laid out much of the groundwork for what would become ‘their sound’ over the following decade and a half. At the time, every Insomnium release was like a nectar of the gods as the group’s profile seemed to grow slowly but steadily, and it seems like it has only been with the past few releases that they’ve been able to really reap the rewards of that effort.

Of course, numerous lineup additions – with very few full-on member exits – have added to the band’s formula over the years, but 2019’s Heart Like A Grave left them in an interesting spot. It was an album full of ideas and a lot of different contributions, but like many albums of that sort, a whole collective of different ideas and directions can often seem like a collection of completely separate songs with no clear throughline. At times it seemed like Insomnium were working really hard to figure out what an Insomnium release was like after having existed for over twenty years. Continue reading »

Feb 092023

(Ahab rose again from the watery depths with a new album that was released last month by Napalm Records, and today we follow that up with a review of the album by our Sacramento-based writer DGR.)

Turns out that when a solid chunk of your region spends the first three weeks of the year under flash flood warnings and with one of its main highways effectively underwater, leading to some very dramatic New Year’s photos that aren’t too far from your house, it’s hard to keep your thoughts cogent around a nautical-doom album, no matter the quality. Who knew? Apologies to Ahab on that one.

It is wild to think about just how large the gap was between albums for Germany’s underwater-doom specializers. You never would’ve figured that a band who had a pretty solid track record of new releases every three or so years would suddenly see a near-eight-year gap between albums, but alas, to keep things succinct, it had been a sizeable wait for the group’s newest album The Coral Tombs – with only live albums and collections in between to keep people interested. Continue reading »

Feb 072023

(This is DGR‘s extensive review of the debut album by the multi-national band Mithridatum, recently released by Willowtip Records.)

Mithridatum are a new death metal trio that are part of a much larger musical wave taking place within the metal scene. Over recent years the concept of a dissonant death metal band has been a slow-growing sub-section of an already fractured and widely spread subgenre of metal to begin with. Reflective of the large motions in the quest for the nebulous ‘heavy’, many artists have found new vitality in making some of the ugliest and most unapproachable music out there, where a listener can recognize the barest components but otherwise spend just as much time fighting to find the appeal in any of it, or having the music actively reject the idea of approachability.

There’s so much incredibly cool stuff happening within the spinning vortex of sound that emanates from Mithridatum but you’re just as often subjected to nightmarish sonic hellscapes as best as the band could write them. Fascinating? Yes. Friendly? Not a chance in hell. Harrowing may be one of the more apt titles out there for the five songs and thirty-five minutes of music on the group’s first full-length release. Continue reading »

Jan 092023

(On January 27th Season of Mist will release a new album by the Finnish band …And Oceans, and in advance of that we present DGR’s extensive review and streams of all four singles from the album.)

It was only a scant three years ago – closer to two and a half so you don’t have to turn to dust and blow away in the wind yet – that Finland’s …And Oceans unleashed their album Cosmic World Mother, their first with their then newly reformed lineup with an eighteen-year gap between, during which time the group had existed under the name Havoc Unit, unleashed a string of splits and one full-length, and returned to the name …And Oceans with a two-song EP released in 2019.

It’s a complicated history for a complicated and wild band, who’ve traversed a lot of ground between black metal, a more melodic and keyboard-driven form, full industrial, and cycling back around to a current sound that seems to encompass all of those. You could get comfy in one particular sound and think that …And Oceans were going to just spend a whole song belching fire at you. only to hit a massive keyboard break right in the center. It’s why we enjoyed Cosmic World Mother so much around these parts, because there was always something hovering just off the horizon to catch you off guard. Continue reading »

Jan 012023

(The Ukrainian band FLESHGORE hurled us toward the end of a miserable 2022 in a rampage, and DGR says hello to 2023 with a review of this brutal monster in our first post of the new year.)

If nothing else, FLESHGORE are brave for multiple reasons given the state of the world. One of them being that they are brave enough to unleash an album on December 20th, right in the midst of the year-end list season and into the lead-up to void week where nothing happens on account of the holidays, unless you live in a war zone.

I’ve often joked around here that the subjects of today’s writeup must have their name always written in ALL CAPITAL letters. The sort of rock-crushing brutal stupidity that powers their world of death metal is the type in which caveman grunting is the norm, and honestly, having a name that consists of nine letters may be a little bit intense for the type of person this music embodies. That’s why you’ve often seen us joking that their name is always going to be FLESHGORE around here.

Of course, you don’t get to be that way without having struck upon a vein of brutal death metal so pure that you could be considered a lighthouse of the genre, as if anyone hunting for what the world of brutal death metal was up to these days need look no further than the mighty FLESHGORE. Continue reading »

Dec 232022

(At last, the end is upon us. Not the end of our year-end LISTMANIA series (we’re bringing more lists next week), but the end of DGR‘s annual countdown, featuring his Top 10 albums of the year, and a couple of EPs too.)

The final day of the year-end list always has a mixed trove of emotions coming along with it. There’s the relief of finally being able to shut the book on a year – though generally that’s become less and less true as the years have gone on, there’s always something you’ll spot during the holidays that came out two days beforehand – and the greater relief in finally being able to cast this collected musical works out into the wild.

The second one is far more exciting for me because even though it’s just a fifty-album list – and I reiterate, with some surprisingly painful cuts this year, even on stuff I reviewed and enjoyed – there’s knowing that many people may find something in that pile that they’d previously overlooked or just hadn’t gotten a chance to get around to yet. I draw a lot of joy out of knowing that people found music that way – I imagine many people who’re prone to recommending music do – because it makes me feel like even though I’m basically in a ten-foot space clear across the world, I’ve improved someone’s life somewhere in the world incrementally. Even when its a forty-minute long endless blastbeat with someone yelling about the annihilation of the world over the top of it.

This final ten probably won’t shock a lot of you, and looking at it, there’s quite a few bands that’ve been mainstays within my lists over the years. Positions have changed and there’s a couple of new additions, but much like Andy‘s personal top ten, I have my few that I couldn’t help but constantly be drawn into throughout 2022. Continue reading »