Aug 102014

Last weekend (August 2-3) I spent two beautiful days in Denver attending the Denver Black Sky Festival. For someone who had never attended a metal festival of any kind before this year, I’ve had three great experiences in a row — MDF in May, Gilead Fest in July, and now Black Sky in August. I’d like to say I deserved it, but who would I be fooling?

The festival took place at The Gothic Theater and at Moe’s BBQ, both located in the same block on S. Broadway. I made the trip with three compatriots from Seattle, and we met my NCS comrade Badwolf from Toledo in what became an MDF reunion (and an unanticipated turning point for BadWolf’s life). We spent Saturday and Sunday at The Gothic, and missed some bands we ideally would have wanted to see at Moe’s, but had to make some tough choices.

The Gothic is a very cool, spacious, multi-level, vaulted-ceiling venue, with a wrap-around balcony on the second level, a big floor, and a great main stage with good lighting. The festival organizers set up a second stage opposite the main one, just in front of the bar at the rear of the floor. They called it “In the Round”, because its location enabled the audience to stand all around the stage; you could stand behind the second stage as well as in front of it (and you could also look down on it from the balcony above). Continue reading »

Aug 312012

Someone left a comment on one of today’s earlier posts saying “NCS has always been the most long-winded out of all the metal sites.” Really hurt my feelings. Made me feel real low and pouty. Some people just wanna know if the shit is awesome or not. Makes me wanna just clam up and let all this shit that I saw and heard today speak for itself.


New Early Graves album. Red Horse. Out 10/30 on No Sleep Records. Pre-Order available at New song, too. Also called “Red Horse”. Fucken explosive crusty punky grindy mayhem. Pure awesomeness. (thanks Utmu)

Continue reading »

Jun 152012

I’m still trying out reader suggestions for the title of these posts in which I collect recently discovered music and news items, but I’m thinking it still needs work. Anyway, here are things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth passing along. Most of the music is brand new, and it’s all good.

There are six very diverse songs in here, with accompanying art, from Tyrant of Death, Destroyer 666, Early Graves, Death I Am, and Polarization. That’s a lot of music for a single post, but just think of this like a packaging together of three or four posts you’d read on any other metal blog. If you like, you could read and listen a little at a time over the rest of the day. I just don’t feel like chopping it up.


I saw that Tyrant of Death have released a new song. This one is especially easy to pass along, because DGR wrote the following introduction.  Copy and paste . . .

“While not as ridiculous on the release scale so far this year, Tyrant Of Death is still putting out a mighty chunk of music for people to listen to. I reviewed (and introduced some of you to) his work earlier this year with the release of Re-Connect, and in between the time I started and finished that review he released two songs.

He’s released another one now, this time inspired by the new Ridley Scott ‘Not Alien but totally Alien’ movie Prometheus that just came out. Man, is it a doozy, clocking it at almost nine minutes of crushing industrial death. It’s a solo guitar work this time, with the only vocals being samples from the movie and distorted screams (although a couple do sound like T.o.D contributor Lucem Fero). It is, however, totally free and available on The Tyrant Of Death Bandcamp. Plus it does have an awesome song title in, “From Earth To Hell”.

With that intro, enjoy the song right after the jump, and feel free to share thoughts about Prometheus while we’re on that subject. Continue reading »

Aug 062010

Well, I said yesterday I would be done talking about the death of Early Graves vocalist Makh Daniels, and death in general. But Chris Brock and the rest of the band have just posted a note on the Early Graves MySpace page that’s worth sharing with those of you who’ve been following our posts at NCS this week about Makh’s death.

The note includes confirmation about the funeral service that we reported earlier in the week, plus a way to make contributions for the support of the family and to pay for funeral costs, plus news of another memorial show on August 29 in San Francisco.

The note follows after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 052010

I’m older than the average metal blogger. Increasing age brings pluses and minuses. The chief advantage — and sometimes it feels like the only plus — is that it’s better than the fucking alternative. One of the disadvantages is that as the years roll on, you endure more deaths.

Time passes, and people die. People in your family die. Close friends die. People you don’t know but admire from afar, they die, too. Sometimes you see it coming and you can prepare. Sometimes it just knocks you down like all the air has been violently sucked from your lungs.

All deaths of people you know or people you wish you had known are painful. The most painful are the unexpected deaths, particularly when they happen in completely random, apparently meaningless ways, to people who have a lot of life left to live. Like the death of Makh Daniels, the vocalist of Early Graves.

I’ve already written more about this sad event than I probably should have, but I have  few more things to get off my chest, and then I’m done.  Promise. It has to do with whether we can take away any useful lessons from his death — or from the death of anyone.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 042010

We received the following comment from Faeryn James Lee on our post about the death of Early Graves’ vocalist Makh Daniels:

Anyone wishing to attend Makh’s Memorial Service is encouraged to do so. He knows we Love and Miss him.

Memorial Service for Makh Daniels: Monday August 9th @ 2-5pm. Location: Good Shepard Funeral Home/ 901 Oceana Blvd, Pacifica, California. Please bring a food item along w/ you… and please re-post this information so others may attend to pay their respects.

We can’t vouch for the accuracy of this information, but Makh was from Pacifica, and there is a Catholic church (not a funeral home) at this address called The Church of the Good Shepherd. For those of you who live within driving distance of Pacifica, we’ll update this post if we get confirmation of the event.

People are starting to write about Makh’s death. The best one I’ve seen so far is by Cosmo Lee, who knew him, and recently spent time with him for a feature published in the current issue of DECIBEL magazine. Cosmo’s piece is at this location.

UPDATE: We’ve now communicated directly with Faeryn James Lee, who was a close friend of Makh Daniels, and the funeral information is legit. It can’t be easy doing what he’s doing right now, helping spread the word to people who want to say goodbye to Makh.  Our thanks to him . . .

UPDATE: Thanks also to Stephen Parker from Arkhum, for sharing with us the news about a benefit concert this Friday night in Whittier, California, to help pay for the funeral costs.  Details after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Aug 022010

Just after 5:30 a.m. this morning (Monday), Makh Daniels, the vocalist of Early Graves, lost his life in a highway accident as the members of Early Graves and The Funeral Pyre were driving from Eugene, Oregon, to their next tour stop in Reno. You can read the details in the story after the jump.

I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know Makh Daniels, but I feel ridiculously depressed. I wrote about Early Graves’ music here, and about The Funeral Pyre here. I meant to see both of them when they played Seattle over the weekend, but found myself out of town.

So all I really know about Makh Daniels is the music that he helped to make, and the fact that he was young and talented. I don’t really know, but I would guess that the survivors of this accident from Early Graves and The Funeral Pyre are in rotten shape emotionally, and based on the news story after the jump, some of them were physically injured too.

I don’t think there’s any value in trying to draw lessons from this, because there is no lesson. Pointless deaths happen every day, and there is no rhyme or reason. They are all tragic. They are all fucked up. They are all part of life. Doesn’t make it any easier. Not even a little bit. Continue reading »

Jun 262010


Me: Hey man, can I get a light?

Random Metalhead Outside a Club (“RM”):  Yeah, help yourself.

Me:  Thanks man.  (firing up a coffin nail) So, what did you think of that last band, Early Graves?

RM:  Mayhem, man! Just absolute fuckin’ mayhem!

Me:  Exactly!  It was like bein’ hit by a big fuckin’ truck, wakin’ up with tread marks embedded in your face.

RM:  Fuck yeah! That was some amazingly heavy shit. What the fuck were they playin’?

Me: All those songs were from their new album, Goner.

RM:  Good name for this kind of music, that’s for sure. It’s just, raw, eye-gouging, fuck-it-all shit. It’s like punk rock except with the heaviness dialed into the red zone.

Me: Yeah, I’m with you on that. Kinda reminded me of early Entombed, except faster, Entombed on a grindcore binge. Definitely heavy. That fuzzed-out bass is really up-front in the sound, and the fucking drummer just crushes his shit, absolutely fuckin’ berserk. But you’re right about the punk rock thing. It’s definitely got those punk rhythms and pacing.

RM:  But, you know, it wasn’t all just non-stop scorching. There was that one song that just started grinding down into a sludgy, crusty rhythm. That shit reminded me of this sweet car I used to have, the day the fucking engine just seized up on me. Sounded like the whole fuckin’ thing was coming apart and then it just stopped. Gaskets were just corroded to shit. I had to rebuild the motherfucker with money I didn’t have.

(more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .)

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May 082010

If you visit this site for more than a few days, you’ll realize that our interest in extreme metal spans a pretty broad range. On any given day, if we happen to be writing about a style of metal that isn’t your cuppa tea, just wait a day or two, because we’ll have moved on to a band that plays in a very different genre.

But sometimes in the course of listening to new music we coincidentally find ourselves in a groove. This week, by random chance, we’ve stumbled across bands that play in the chaotic sandbox of grindcore. Yesterday we wrote about Early Graves, a Bay-area band whose music includes grind among its influences. Today our fixation is a band from Portugal called Utopium, and their sound is even more strongly rooted in grind — though they’ve also added some other elements to the mix (just as their name appears to be an amalgamation of Utopia and Opium).

We first heard Utopium a few months ago on a A Tribute to Nasum, a compilation of Nasum covers by bands from all over the world, including the likes of Coldworker, Misery Index, Leng Tch’e, Rotten Sound, Mumakil, and Total Fucking Destruction. Within the last month, Utopium self-released their first album, Conceptive Prescience, and they’ve just made it available for download on that marvelous Bandcamp platform that we wrote about here.

Conceptive Prescience has some rough edges — though some would say that’s exactly what grind is all about — but Utopium has definitely got enough raw talent on display that we’re going to watch their future trajectory with interest.  (more after the jump, including a song to hear and info about where you can download the album . . .) Continue reading »

May 072010

Early Graves is a Bay-area band we hadn’t heard of until yesterday. But a combination of cool cover art for their forthcoming second album (above) plus the following verbiage from their press release grabbed our attention:

San Francisco’s Early Graves have completed the follow up to their 2008 debut We: The Guillotine. Their new record, simply entitled Goner, is a ragged, pissed off amalgamation of heavy self-medication, year long blackouts and all the depression of a thousand yard stare.

Combining the best elements of Hellacopters/Turbonegro rock n’ roll with Black Flag’s and Bad Brains’ inspired hardcore with a crushing balance of both Morbid Angel’s heaviness and the raw intensity of power violence pioneers Dropdead and Masskontroll, Early Graves have set the bar for complete, unhinged self destruction.

“I don’t know…” states vocalist Makh Daniels, “…I guess the record is about alcoholism… and all the bullshit that comes with it. All the ‘why’s?’ and ‘How come’s?’ and our stupid fucking excuses for it. I can’t say that this will be the heaviest record you’ve ever heard or the best recording or the most musically precise but I can say that at least, it’s fucking honest.”

Yeah, so all that plus the cover art got our attention — certainly enough to lead us over to Early Graves’ MySpace page for a listen. (more after the jump . . .)

Continue reading »