Apr 072024

Last week I came across a verse from American poet and novelist Charles Bukowski that begins this way: “our public hell creates a / private hell and / there is no hell / except on / earth.”

Hell is a realm that exists in human imagination and belief too — a place in parallel to earthly existence or what comes after life. That is one way it exists on earth, even if it has no other existence, in addition to the public and private hells Bukowski wrote about — the hells that human beings make for others and for themselves.

I’m thinking about all these hells today, the realms of demons and the realms of human depravity and anguish, because I happened upon a sequence of new black metal songs and videos that I can only think of as hellish in one or more of those ways. Those songs fill up a lot of today’s collection.

But I only quoted part of Bukowski‘s verse. After positing that there is no hell except on earth he wrote: Continue reading »

Mar 152016



With their new album Vulturine, Finland’s Draugnim have created the kind of music which takes that jaded, sour, petulant roommate in the tenement of your mind, kicks it to the street, and rouses that part of you (maybe long dormant but not quite dead) that yearns to go out and fight for something glorious — to defy the odds and cast caution to the wind, even if blood and death loom ahead. But the music is also as heart-breaking as it is heart-swelling, as tragic as it is vengeful and warlike.

It’s the kind of particularly Northern European blending of black metal, melodic death metal, and folk metal (aka “pagan metal”) that brings to mind, and fully merits, that much-used word “epic” — but it’s so full of fiery passion and genuine conviction that it never becomes theatrical or calculatingly bombastic. It’s an intense, intensely moving, and deeply memorable experience. Continue reading »

Mar 032016



Although we don’t often write about trailers for albums that include mere snippets of music when there are so many complete songs and albums to spread around, we made an exception last month for the teaser reel for Draugnim‘s new album, Vulturine. In addition to the eye-catching visuals, even the brief excerpt of music in the video was arresting. And now, in cooperation with Debemur Morti Productions, we have the good fortune of bringing you the premiere of a complete song from the album: “A Passage In Fire“.

Vulturine comes six years after this Finnish pagan metal band’s last album, Horizons Low. In a career that began in the late ’90s, the band’s three core members have remained the same — Morior (composing, guitars), Chimedra (vocals, lyrics), and Turms (bass, lyrics) — and their experience, talent, and persistence have produced an album that has definitely been worth the wait. Continue reading »

Feb 172016

Mordbrand-Hymns of the Rotten


Man, the flood of enticing new metal just doesn’t stop. In only the last couple of days I’ve found so many new songs I’ve become excited about that I could write a half-dozen of these round-up posts just for today, and by the time I finished I’d probably be able to find just as many new things for tomorrow. Sadly, my time is not completely my own, and my fucking day job is nagging at me, so this will have to do for now.

But before I get to a few of the new songs that have peaked my interest (two of which are well-earned exceptions to our “Rule”), I’ll start with a new compilation of previously released songs that’s well worth your time.


Mordbrand will be a familiar name to regular NCS visitors — because I’ve written about virtually every one of their releases. And I’ve done that because everything they’ve done to date has been so damned good. And now they’ve revealed a new release that provides both an efficient jumping-on point for people new to the band and a welcome collection for existing fans. Continue reading »