Jun 062024

(Below you will find Didrik Mešiček‘s review of a new album by the Saudi Arabian band Al-Namrood, which will be released in just a few days from now.)

There are many of us for whom metal is an essential part of our lives and some might say, rather dramatically, that it’s a matter of life and death. For Al-Namrood, however, that statement is quite literal.

The band’s name translates to “non-believer” and that’s the exact essence the Saudis convey with their music and exactly what could get them potentially executed, which is why they’ve never been able to play a live show as the risk is simply too great. Despite that, the band has been going strong since 2008, and Al Aqrab – to be released on June 9th by Shaytan Productions – will now be their 10th full-length album. Continue reading »

May 292024

(On May 31st Sound Pollution/Black Lodge Records will release the closing album in a trilogy about death by the Swedish band Wormwood, and today we provide Didrik Mešiček‘s review of the new record.)

There are not a lot of bands who haven’t made any bad records but I’d say Wormwood is one of them. The Swedes are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and releasing their newest album, The Star, on May 31st, 2024, on Black Lodge Records. Their previous release, Arkivet, delved a bit into post-metal and came with a rather melancholic, misanthropic view, suggesting mankind deserves death for its role in the current events on the planet, but they’ve been known to involve folkier and more melodic elements in their tracks before that as well, so now it’s time to see what the new release offers. Continue reading »

Apr 112024

(We present Didrik Mešiček‘s review of a forthcoming new album by the Slovenian black metal band Srd, along with a full stream of the album.)

In all my years of writing album reviews, I’ve somehow never covered one of my fellow Slovenian bands, so it’s about time we tick that off the list as well and therefore I’ll be talking about Srd’s new release, entitled Vragvmesiton, today. The band is widely considered to be one of the best acts in Slovenia’s surprisingly numerous, albeit internationally unknown, scene, and for them this will be their third full-length record since their inception in 2016 and it’ll be released on April 19th, 2024 through On Parole Productions.

There are few bands of which I have such an intimate knowledge of their discography, mainly as I have a bad habit of not really checking out earlier releases, but Srd is definitely an exception. Whilst their debut album, Smrti sel, had some indications of where the band wanted to go, it was also quite clear that the band was still trying to find itself, and they did so in Ognja prerok where Srd developed their own unique and consistent sound a lot more and switched to having all of their lyricism in Slovenian.

The evolution with these two releases felt very natural, however it’s with Vragvmesiton that the band strays from that path and seems to meander through some twisted and chaotic Satanic black metal maze. Continue reading »

Apr 032024

(Below you’ll find Didrik Mešiček‘s review of Korpiklaani‘s new studio album, Rankarumpu, which will be released this Friday, April 5th, via Nuclear Blast Records.)

Korpiklaani is one of the first bands I ever properly got into – even though I thought they were way too heavy when I was a very, very different child at the age of about 13. For that reason, they’re one of those bands that will always be a bit more special as we’ve spent a lot of time together many years ago, and in my mind, a new Korpiklaani release can’t possibly be bad. Luckily, one is very close, as Rankarumpu will be released on April 5th through Nuclear Blast.

In more recent history, the band has oscillated quite wildly. From the 2018 release, Kulkija, which was widely considered not great and had an odd, somewhat melancholic, overarching sound that I can only describe as farmy, except for a few tracks that picked up the tempo and involved a bit more of that typical Finnish humppa, to 2021’s Jylhä, which, I still insist, is the band’s best album – at least musically. That is, however, not the same as being the most palatable or having the most drinking songs you can scream along to. Jylhä therefore showed maturity and renewed my faith in the Finns’ ability to write genuinely good music. Continue reading »

Apr 022024

(NCS contributor Didrik Mešiček wrote the following article, shining a spotlight on ten metal festivals from around the world that will take place during 2024.)

The long and winding tunnel that is winter is slowly coming to an end. The snow (by which I, of course, mean fog and endless rain) will retreat and make way for the joys of summer. Now, if you’re reading this in some place that actually sees sunlight more often than every three months and thinking, “Rain? What in the world is this twat on about?”, please send me your address. I’m coming to visit for an undisclosed amount of time.

The unequivocally good thing about summer, however, is that the festival season is in full swing and if you haven’t yet decided where you’re going this year I might have some useful suggestions for you. I’ve tried to include a varied array of geographical location and subgenres, but as customary at NCS, we’re not really as interested in the mainstream goings on and therefore I won’t be telling you to go to Wacken or Hellfest in this list.

Also, with this intro I now declare that summer has officially started (or ended, sorry, Aussies/Kiwis and other creatures of the southern hemisphere). You’re welcome. Continue reading »

Mar 222024

(Didrik Mešiček wrote the following review of a new album by the Faroese band Hamferð, which is being released today by Metal Blade Records.)

The Faroe Islands, a harsh archipelago, technically belonging to Denmark, with a population of roughly 54k people has 14 bands listed on Metal Archives. Ten of those are active and one of those is Hamferð, which is the band whose new release, Men Guðs hond er sterk, I’ll be covering in this article. The band has been around since 2008 and won the Wacken Metal Battle competition in 2012, after which they’ve released two full-length albums, with this being their third, which will come out on March 22nd on Metal Blade Records.

I can’t say I’ve been overly familiar with this band before and mostly only knew them by name, but what really drew me to this record immediately was the title. Men Guðs hond er sterk or, in English, “but God’s hand is strong”, is for some reason one of those phrases that automatically make me very intrigued, as it’s filled with promise and romance.

If we take into account the harshness of the Faroes, the phrase is so much more impactful, as life on the islands can truly be rough and, from what I’ve seen and been told, it truly feels as if you’re at the mercy of some sort of a god and its whims, whether on land or in a fishing boat not far off shore, a lesson captured in the tragic 1915 whaling event that inspired the record. Continue reading »

Jan 172024

(Didrik Mešiček reviews of the new album by Lord Dying ahead of its January 19 release)

The utter nonsense of “new year, new me” is surprisingly somewhat true for me this year as I’m delving into some sludge metal, a subgenre I’ve not really followed much before.

I wasn’t aware of Lord Dying before they had a show here, in Ljubljana, and I was told they were very impressive live and that I should check them out.

It turns out that was a good suggestion and I’m now not at all bitter about missing them. Absolutely not. Continue reading »

Dec 212023

(Didrik Mešiček from Slovenia made his first appearance as a writer at NCS this past September, and has given us six reviews before 2023 has ended. In the feature below he shares his list of the year’s Top 20 metal albums.)

If 2022 felt like the year in which we recovered from the pandemic, 2023 really went into full bloom for me from a musical perspective. I’ve seen around 90 bands live, which is definitely my new record (that I, of course, plan on breaking next year). On the front of new releases, however, I can’t say I found it to be a particularly impressive year and would generally rank the pandemic years higher.

The notable shift for me personally though was that there are a lot more black metal inclusions than usual. Whether this is my personal evolution or a sign of the genre continuing to evolve in a positive manner, as I do believe it has in recent years, or a mix of both, I’m not quite sure. Without further ado, here’s a list of 20 albums that I’ve found either most impressive, most appealing, or just worth pretentiously talking about for one reason or another this year.

For those less gifted in the art of reading, here’s also a link to the Best Of 2023 (only about 6 hours of material) playlist, which is made up of my picks from the albums I talk about here plus a few extra songs that were also released this year: https://open.spotify.com/album/6ePCa1DxMuRWkjddULq6GW?si=zrG_Vu2QTR6IWYOaYptR5w Continue reading »

Nov 032023

(Here we present Didrik Mešiček‘s enthusiastic review of the just-released second album by the Russian black metal band Бѣсъ.)

Well, that’s a lot of signs we’ve not seen before, isn’t it? It turns out this is some sort of old Russian Cyrillic (possibly Old Church Slavonic?) that even I, as a Slav who can generally read Cyrillic, can’t decipher. (I found out after writing this intro that the band translates the album title to “Ov the Devil”.)

Behind the name hides a Moscow-based black metal band, founded as recently as 2019. I first noticed them with their debut album, Кощунства (2020) which already had some really cool tracks and ended up just missing my top 20 list that year. Ѿ Лукáвагѡ was released on October 27th independently. Continue reading »

Nov 012023

(Didrik Mešiček wrote the following review of the third album by the Vancouver-based trio Crystal Coffin, which was just released yesterday.)

In my continued search for black metal that’s not quite the typical ’90s second wave sound that we all love/hate (choose whichever applies to you) I’m often intrigued by qualifying words like melodic, symphonic, or folky before the name of the subgenre. This time it’s the Canadian Crystal Coffin that’s caught my attention, a band that supposedly falls into the melodic group, if Metal Archives are to be believed. Their new album, The Curse of Immortality, will be released independently on the 31st of October, two years after the band’s previous album, The Starway Eternal, and that’s what I’ll be talking about today.  Continue reading »