Apr 272023

(DGR unexpectedly fell into the self-titled debut album by the “insanely talented” German technical death metal band Metasphæra, released near the end of March, and as you’ll see from the following review, he’s damned glad he did.)

There are a few patterns that have developed throughout my years writing for this site. One of the main ones occurs during the bit of a lull that leads up to May’s sort of panicked backfilling of the site as we launch fully into festival season, a lull wherein we have the ability to fall down a whole lot of rabbit holes.

Much as we as a site will shovel song after song in front of you as we discover music that we think might perk a few ears, so too do we enjoy having that done to us – somewhat – and one of those main methods comes from entering the whirling vortex of metal across social media and seeing what it kicks back at us.

YouTube is often one such source, and such was the case with German tech-death group Metasphaera (typeset Metasphæra) and their self-titled album. Continue reading »

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 »

Apr 042023

(Here’s DGR‘s review of the new album by Finland’s Rotten Sound, which is out now on Season of Mist.)

The thing to keep in mind with Rotten Sound‘s newest album Apocalypse – arriving almost five years after the group’s last recorded material in the 2018 EP Suffer To Abuse and almost seven years if you want to stick strictly to full lengths in 2016’s Abuse To Suffer – is that it is the sort of grind album that starts and stops. That makes no sense, you say, every album has a beginning and end, what sort of difference does an album starting and stopping have to do with the descriptor of an album?

To refine it a bit, let’s treat Apocalypse this way: There is no build up to Apocalypse and there is no wind-down in Apocalypse, at any point, at all. You hit ‘play’ on the album’s first song and Rotten Sound are already screaming at a thousand miles an hour and every song after that does the same. The start/stop mechanism is the most perfunctory in existence. It’s a quick blast of feedback and the song is over with not a single song getting close to the two-minute mark. Continue reading »

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 »