May 162019


(This is Evan Clark‘s review of the new album by Virginia’s Inter Arma, which was released by Relapse Records on April 12th.)

There are few pleasures like that of rediscovering a beloved band through a new release. In 2016 I discovered Inter Arma through their then-new album Paradise Gallows and I was quickly swayed and enamored with their unique take on blackened metal. I am remiss to say that I did not spend much time digging into their back catalog, but that may have to change. With Sulphur English, the band’s fourth full-length, the Virginian quintet return to bludgeon listeners with another sample of dour, unhinged, and apocalyptic metal. Precision, beauty, and the juxtaposition of those two traits with sheer destruction were the defining qualities of that earlier record. On Sulphur English, the band have taken those qualities to new levels, and have left a trail of misery in their wake. Continue reading »

May 082019


(We welcome guest contributor Evan Clark, who has written at a couple of other metal sites in the past, and whose first thoughts at NCS concern the debut album of Belzebubs, which was released on April 25th.)

Belzebubs is an interesting beast that owes some similarities to acts such as Metalocalypse or Ghost. The band is the real-world manifestation of a fictional band within a popular webcomic, all three sharing the same name. The webcomic plays out like a family-oriented newspaper strip, but with the added benefit of the central characters all being doused in a heavy dose of black metal chic. Belzebubs in our world maintains the face and act of the fictitious band, and has been deployed upon our world with its members anonymous.

The creator J.P. Ahonen seems to have hired well-known or at least competent metal musicians to write and coordinate material that could feasibly stem from the fictitious band. The mystery of who is actually performing on the record is quite intriguing, with many people suspecting members of Insomnium — the vocalists for the two bands sound eerily similar — yet the true wonder can be found from the fact that the album, in its current state, exists at all. Continue reading »