May 252020



(With this post Andy Synn embarks on a week-long excursion into shades of doom, beginning with this trio of reviews.)

So far this year the majority of my writing has tended to focus more on the Death and Black side(s) of things, with maybe a bit of Tech/Prog/’core thrown into the mix when the mood strikes me.

But, for whatever reason, very little from the doomier end of the metallic spectrum has grabbed my attention.

This was a little concerning. After all, every year there are several doom-laden diamonds which make my “Critical Top Ten List” with ease – the last few years alone have given us fantastic albums from Fvneral Fvkk, Sinistro, Loss, and more – but so far 2020 seemed to be really lagging behind.

Or so I thought… because over the last couple of weeks I’ve dug up, unearthed, or just randomly stumbled across so many brilliant Doom (or Doom adjacent) albums – some not yet released for public consumption, some a full five months old already – that I’ve decided to dedicate this entire week to the dreary, desolate, delights of the genre, beginning with the new albums from Exgenesis (CO/SE), Funeralopolis (CH), and Sorcerer (SE). Continue reading »

Apr 102020



I wondered whether the words “pandemic” and “pandemonium” were linguistically related. So I did some research.

Pandemic“, a word that originated in the 1660s in reference to disease, means “incident to a whole people or region” and derives from the Late Latin word pandemus, and in turn from the Greek pandemos, meaning to “pertain to all people; public, common” (from pan– “all” and dēmos “people”).

On the other hand, “pandemonium” was coined by John Milton in 1667 in Paradise Lost (though he spelled it “Pandæmonium”) as the name of the palace built in the middle of Hell, “the high capital of Satan and all his peers,” and the abode of all the demons. He built the name from the Greek pan– “all” and the Late Latin daemonium (“evil spirit”), which in turn derived from the Greek daimonion (“inferior divine power”) and daimōn “lesser god”.

So, although pandemics often produce pandemonium, as we’re witnessing, the words aren’t very closely related.

Now that we’re finished with your home-schooling for the day, let’s move on to the musical pandemonium I selected for this round-up. By coincidence, all the music comes from bands who are established favorites of our site. Continue reading »

Dec 112015

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(So far, our year-end LISTMANIA series has mostly been devoted to year-end lists from other sites and print zines, but today we begin rolling out our own lists, and we start with the first of six that Andy Synn is preparing. Every day next week we’ll post his remaining five.)


Such is the chaos that is my life at the moment (in between trying to get my End of Year List/s done, I’ve also been putting together a PhD proposal/application, booking a photo shoot for Beyond Grace, TRYING to book shows for next year for us, and helping some good friends move house) that I almost forgot about my annual semi-traditional round-up of all the great EPs I’ve heard this year!

Yes, yes, I know there are several bloggers and/or sites out there who argue that EPs should be considered right alongside full-length albums when it comes to summing up matters at the end of the year… but I’m not one of them.

No, I think EPs deserve their own category, and their own specific focus, and so I’ve written this little round-up to give some of the year’s shortest, sharpest, releases their due. Continue reading »

Oct 202015



(DGR reviews the new album by Enshine.)

Jari Lindholm is one of those musicians who surrounds himself with incredible talent, having been involved now in a handful of projects over the years  and beginning to find himself having multiple releases within one year. Two of the projects that he is a part of are two-man melo-doom groups. Though they lie on different sides of a very finite spectrum, both are still playing a brand of ethereal doom that has always felt decidedly European, even as more groups in North America seem to be mastering it recently.

The first release of these two-man collaborations hit earlier this year, with Exgenesis releasing its first EP in the form of the soul-crushing bleakness of Aphotic Veil. Exgenesis sees Lindholm paired with musician Alejandro Lotero for a project that spans a pretty good chunk of the globe. Continue reading »

Mar 042015


(In this post Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by Exgenesis, whose members are from Sweden and Columbia.)

As far as I can recall, it’s usually in the first quarter of every year when I discover one of my big new musical surprises. Previous examples of this (admittedly, rather vague) trend were my discovery of Restoration by Amiensus in 2013, and the self-titled debut by Ion last year. So, as you can imagine, I’ve been keenly awaiting this year’s discovery, whatever it may be… and Aphotic Veil is definitely it.

Exgenesis is the fruit of a collaboration between two men, Jari Lindholm (Sweden) and Alejandro Lotero (Colombia), which delivers a fantastically fresh and frankly rather ferocious take on Melodic Death/Doom metal a la Daylight Dies/Swallow The Sun/October Tide, breathing new life into this well-worn sound with little more than a keen grasp of dynamics and superior song-writing ability.

The five tracks which make up Aphotic Veil weave together an enviable series of groaning, titanic riffs and grim, torturous growls with punishing flourishes of bone-cracking drum work and touches of darkly beautiful melody, wrapped up in a claustrophobic atmosphere of brooding shadows and haunting half-light which hints at some blackened marrow in the band’s bones. Continue reading »