Sep 182015

Flag of Great Britain


(Following the first part of this two-part series that we posted yesterday, Andy Synn reviews three more albums by British bands.)

So for the second part of this (extremely limited) series, let’s delve into the UK’s too-often-overlooked and underappreciated Black Metal scene, shall we?

Now, much like the Black Metal scene in any country, the real gems of the UK scene are (in my opinion at least) far too often occluded and denied the attention they deserve by the hordes of corpse-painted copycats which clutter the scene like maggots, each one somehow convinced that their particular brand of insipid Satanic bluster makes them a unique and special proposition.

Whether it’s the pasty-faced nerds (replete with appropriately “evil” pseudonyms) whose music sounds more like the soundtrack to a late 90s RPG, or the ramshackle racket put out by the trve-kvlt-elite, who equate a lack of musical talent or identity with “integrity”… there’s just as much opportunity for those without any creative vision to simply ape the sounds of their forebears as there is a chance for those with real vision to express themselves.

And perhaps that’s as it should be. It is, after all, the way of the world. Thankfully, however, there are always going to be those who are simply better than others, diamonds in the rough shining more brightly than those around them could ever hope to.

And so I’ve (hopefully) picked out three of them for you today. Continue reading »

Dec 112014


I’m really backlogged in listening to new music, and the list of things worth checking out grows on a daily basis. Last night I did manage to sift through part of my collection of enticing links and found this quintet of tracks that I thought were worth throwing your way. Diversity is again the organizing principle.


The UK’s Ethereal, about whom we’ve written frequently in the past, have been signed by Candlelight Records, and the first release for their new label will be an album entitled Opus Aethereum (due in February 2015). The very cool cover art for the album is above and was rendered by Tripple Seis Design.

But the first song in this collection isn’t from the new album. It’s a cover of Darkthrone’s “Fucked Up and Ready To Die” from 2003’s Hate Them. Ethereal recorded it for a Darkthrone tribute album named One Cold Night In Norway, which will be released as a free download through Speed Slaughter Productions on December 13. Ethereal recently uploaded their cover to YouTube, and it’s excellent — dark, ravenous, brooding in its atmospherics, heavy as granite yet ghostly in its void-faring journey — and ultimately a swarming assault on the senses. Continue reading »

Jan 162014

Earlier today I posted a delayed round-up of new music and newsy things that I intended to post yesterday. This round-up is somewhat more timely, and collects three songs and related news that I just discovered today and that I heartily commend to your attention, in alphabetical order.


Alterbeast (formerly comically known as the Gary Busey Amber Alert) are a Sacramento band I first heard about through my NCS comrade DGR (who wrote this review of one of their live shows last October). They are now among the Unique Leader stable of artists, and this spring Unique Leader plans to release their debut album Immortal.

Yesterday we got a first look at the album’s striking cover art by the talented Raymond Swanland (click the image above to see it in its full glory), and we also got a premiere of the album’s first track, “Flesh Bound Text”. You may momentarily be lulled by the piano and violin intro, but you will be jolted fully upright by the tech-death onslaught that follows. It flies like a highly accelerated horde of bats awakened from their slumber by a grenade detonation. But as jet-fueled and acrobatic as the instrumental performances are, what makes the song even more noteworthy are the start-stop dynamics and the deft incorporation of a swirling guitar melody. Awful damned impressive. Continue reading »

Feb 242013

(Andy Synn wishes to bring a show to your attention.)

So Islander’s been kind enough to let me use NCS for more of my own nefarious purposes, in this case bringing some attention to a big show we have down in London next week.

Now I’m not sure how many of our readers are UK-based, nor how many of you crazy foreign-types have friends over here in this green and pleasant land, but if you are/do, then perhaps you’ll consider coming along and witnessing nine of the UK’s finest black and death metal bands tear up the stage at The Electrowerkz at an event headlined by Belgium’s finest purveyors of obsidian majesty, Enthroned.

That being the case, I thought it would be prudent to introduce you all to the various bands performing, so you can pick and choose your own favourites.

Aeon Promotions in association with Nazgul Agency presents… Continue reading »

Nov 222012

(Andy Synn was both performer and spectator at the November 16 show in Derby, England, headlined by Dark Fortress and he provides both this concert review and video clips of each band’s performance.)

So the boys in Bloodguard and I were lucky enough to score an opening slot for one of my all-time favourite black metal bands, Germany’s own Dark Fortress. Needless to say we rocked the place mightily, but I also thought I’d take the opportunity to review the show, and get some video footage of each band for you all.  I am a river to my people.



Up first were Liverpool-based black metal monsters Ethereal. Performing as a four piece, due to a last minute problem with their line-up, the group shot through an all too brief, but absolutely blistering set of raucous, blood-curdling black metal. Blasting through an array of material drawn from their two EPs, Hell’s Divine Existence and Revelation Beast, the group hit hard with a sound that was neither overly primitive nor excessively polished, but utterly raw and ravenous in equal measure. Continue reading »