Aug 282020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Expander (from Austin, Texas), which Profound Lore Records released on August 21st.)

We don’t often cover much Thrash, or Thrash-adjacent, material here at NCS. For whatever reason it’s something of a blind spot in our regular coverage, and it generally takes a particularly special (or audaciously strange) example of the style to attract our attention.

As you might have guessed, Neuropunk Boostergang is one such example, which is why, just a week after its official release, I’ve decided to write a few words about it.

Of course the fact that we’re turning our gaze towards the realm of Thrash right now, just after the sad and untimely passing of Power Trip frontman Riley Gale, adds an extra dose of poignancy to this write-up, especially when you consider that, much as PT could never be fully summed up by the over-simplistic “Thrash” tag most often applied to their music, likewise Expander don’t fit neatly within the confines of the genre either.

Which is probably why I like them so much. Continue reading »

Feb 192017


We usually begin Sundays here on our metallic island with a REARVIEW MIRROR post, but I decided this week I’d rather use the time to spread around some more new music — even though I did a shitload of that yesterday.

I was also motivated by the fact that the music of the following four bands — three of whom I discovered in the last 48 hours — seemed like it would all go together pretty well, because they’ve all got varying degrees of punk or hardcore in their DNA (though they’re all metal as hell, too). By the time you get to the end of this post, you’ll be smiling through broken teeth.


First up is Expander. They’re ensconced in my old hometown of Austin, Texas. I paused in my musical explorations to check out some music from their new album Endless Computer when I spotted the very recognizable artwork of Luca Carey on the cover. The fact that the album is being released (on May 16th) by Nuclear War Now! was an added inducement, and another nail in the coffin came when I saw that the album was engineered by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Joel Grind. Continue reading »

Nov 202015

Expander cover art


Last weekend I came across an EP named Laws of Power that was digitally released in July by a band named Expander from Austin, Texas. It seized me by the throat so fast and so firmly that I spilled some words about it on Monday of this week (here), while noting that it would be released on tape by Caligari Records. Little did I know at the time that I would be ending the week as I began it — with more music from Expander.

It turns out that this past summer the editors at Metal Sucks selected Expander to be one of 10 unsigned bands who would be given the chance to record new music at Converse Rubber Tracks — Converse’s free recording studio — in either Brooklyn, NY, with producer Will Putney (The Acacia Strain, Suicide Silence, Exhumed), or in Boston, MA, with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Torche). Expander did their thing with Kurt Ballou, and while Metal Sucks earlier premiered one of the two songs they recorded with him, the band have just today released both tracks via Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Nov 162015



In this post I’m reviewing two very different EPs that I discovered only in the last few days but have enjoyed immensely — and by sheer coincidence both bands happen to be based in the place of my birth, Austin, Texas.


Hinayana is the solo project of an Austin musician named Casey Hurd, and Endless is the name of the band’s first demo (released in August 2014). It doesn’t sound like a first stab at creativity, but more like the confident and well-crafted output of a mature band hitting its stride.

The music is a doom-influenced outpouring of melodic death metal, with iron at its core and streamers of beautiful melody swirling around it like phosphorescent creatures in a black, heaving sea. The melodies are moving and memorable, and as the EP progresses, Hurd pitches the intensity in a cycle that ebbs and flows like tides. Big groaning riffs are balanced by rippling lead guitar motifs that really shine. Staggering guitar and bass jabs trade places with the soft pulse of isolated notes. Astral keyboard waves glimmer above dismantling doom chords. The melancholy music sinks like weighted corpses in the deep, yet rises up like a blazing sunrise — the agony and the ecstasy. Through it all, Hurd’s cavernous roars deepen the songs’ wrenching pall of magnificent gloom. Continue reading »