Apr 012022
 


Falls of Rauros

(We’ve reached the end of another month, and thus Gonzo has surfaced with another edition of this column, focusing here on five releases from March 2022.)

I recently made the somewhat ill-advised decision to take a road trip to my old stompin’ grounds of Seattle from my Denver abode. For those not familiar with the length of the trek, it’s about 21 hours by car. Flying out was definitely an option, but there’s always something uniquely appealing about pointing your car in one direction and flooring it for hours on end. If we’re speaking honestly, it’s downright therapeutic.

The “ill-advised” part of the equation came into account when driving through northern Wyoming and Montana. March is not what you’d call a calm month in terms of weather, and there were a couple of parts along desolate highways in which I was white knuckling my way through a snowstorm. There was madness in every direction. Unfettered chaos was all there was for hundreds of miles; one Subaru was a drop in the bucket amid endless 18-wheelers and highway patrol cars.

The good part about all this? I got plenty of time to delve into every album I’d been putting off for a while, and even got surprised by some other stuff I stumbled into. Continue reading »

Jan 162022
 

 

This weekend hasn’t been conducive to my NCS plans. I didn’t have time yesterday morning to post a round-up of new songs and videos, only time enough to share some artwork and news. During Saturday afternoon I plowed through a lot of new tracks and videos that mostly surfaced over the last week, and found a whopping 23 of them that I enjoyed to varying degrees.

Obviously, that’s way too many to post about, even for an OVERFLOWING STREAMS type of round-up. Some sifting was required. But sifting takes time, and for reasons I won’t bore you with it turns out that free time has been in very short supply this weekend. What to do?

Well, what I decided to do was just to say Fuck It and foist all 23 of those songs and videos upon you, with almost no commentary about the music and not even the usual links and artwork, just a small amount of info about the releases that include them. Even with that approach I’m dubious that I’ll get everything ready to go before I have to depart my computer for the rest of the day. So I alphabetized everything by band name and cut the group into two parts.

Part 2 might come tomorrow instead of later today. Sadly, I won’t have time for a SHADES OF BLACK column, though there is some black metal sprinkled through this giant collection, along with music across a big range of other sub-genres. Continue reading »

Apr 072019
 

 

This edition of SHADES OF BLACK is different from most, in two respects. First, my paying job (i.e., not NCS) has been crushing me lately, including this weekend, and I don’t have time to accompany what I’ve chosen with my usual impressions and links. Second, there’s not as much music in this post as you might guess from the title of the post. I’ve made the rare decision to include three album announcements at the end of the column even though there’s no music available for streaming yet. I did that because I’m so excited about those announcements.

ROTTING CHRIST

The first item I’ve chosen is Rotting Christ‘s new video for “In the Name of God“, one of the tracks on their latest album, The Heretics, which was released in mid-February and reviewed here by DGR. As he wrote, The Heretics follows what the band have established as their “blueprint” — a “sort of larger-than-life, titanic paradigm of martial prowess turned black metal.” It doesn’t push the genre or the band’s music forward as much as it represents a summing-up of their career so far, playing to their most familiar strengths. “In the Name of God” is but one example of that. Continue reading »

Jul 112018
 

 

For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Today we’ve got a selection of pics from the first day — and Teddie managed to shoot every band that performed; that’s one good thing about the rotation of bands between two stages, with no overlap. You can see every minute of every show as long as your energy holds out (and that hasn’t been a problem, given the caliber of the bands who’ve thrown themselves into their NWTF performances).

So, without further ado, here are Teddie Taylor’s photos from Day 1 at NWTF 2018. Continue reading »

Feb 192017
 

 

In this Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK I’ve collected advance tracks from four albums plus two full recent releases, all of which I hope you’ll find are worth your time.

FALLS OF RAUROS

I’ve been immensely enjoying the new Falls of Rauros album, Vigilance Perennial, though berating myself for not yet collecting my thoughts in a review. With luck, I’ll get that done in the coming week. For now I’ll just offer a few words about the first advance track from the album, “White Granite“, which premiered at DECIBEL on Friday. Continue reading »

Mar 282016
 

HammerHeart Ostarablot flyer

 

(Our guest from the Midwest, Ben Smasher, was fortunate enough to attend the Ostarablot festival organized by HammerHeart Brewing Co. (the brewery and tap house located in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, that’s co-owned by Austin Lunn of Panopticon) and hosted on March 18-19, 2016, at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. Here’s Ben’s review of the festival, along with some photos and videos the editor has scrounged from the internet.)

DAY 1

Hammerheart Brewing Company and the amazing people that comprise it consistently put themselves second to their intentions.  Austin once said to me, “I want to make beer that brings people together.”  So, as it would turn out, if you bring the world’s best beer and music under one roof, the best people in North America will join in a two-day celebration of the vernal equinox.

Though 2014’s Winterblot was a pretty remarkable event for bringing UK’s Wodensthrone to the US shores alongside some of America’s finest bands, Ostarablot brought artists from even further reaches to Minnesota.  Vemod traversed all the way from Norway and Germany’s Waldgeflüster came a long way as well. Continue reading »

Jun 272015
 

 

In case you missed the announcement last week, I’ve resumed the roll-out of our list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs — a scant five months (ugh) after the last installment in the series. If perchance you don’t know what this list is about, you can find an explanation here.

Today’s two additions to the list are a bit out of the ordinary, because both songs are long. There’s a lot to be said for long-form music, but I would guess that “infectious” isn’t a word that typically springs to mind. In the case of these two songs, however, I think it fits.

FALLS OF RAUROS

Very tough choice, this one. Not the choice to include something from this band’s album Believe In No Coming Shore — that was a given (though the songs on the band’s 2014 split with Panopticon were also strong contenders) — but which song? That was the hard decision. Continue reading »

Sep 302014
 

 

(Our brother Leperkahn continues to shoulder the burden of rounding up news and new music during my vacation from that task.)

Attempting to do Islander’s job is WAAAAY harder than I ever would’ve thought it to be. Luckily, unlike the last stream dump, this one has a bit of a theme, namely that they’re all full-album streams.

STENCH

The NCS camp in general has expressed widespread approval for Stench’s new album Venture – we even went as far as to premiere a track from it here . It’s now streaming in full at Decibel here. I think at this point we’ve said our part on this one – now it’s your turn to voice your opinion.

The album is slotted to come out October 7th via Agonia Records – look for it at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stench-official/213520935347849 Continue reading »

Sep 042014
 

(In this post, we share guest contributor Ben Smasher’s review of the forthcoming new album by Falls of Rauros. We will post a second review on Monday.)

Album reviews have pretty much become moot these days. It takes less time to go to youtube and listen to any album than it does to read a total stranger’s thoughts on it. So I try to write reviews only when I feel intensely moved to do so, so that I can create something that offers my personal insight into the music and how I relate to it, in the hopes that you can maybe understand it better after reflecting on my perspective. This album is enthralling, among so many other things:

Believe In No Coming Shore seems almost incidental to me. Falls of Rauros have come such a long way as a band since their beginnings, that when realizing the vast and elaborate scope of their progression and direction, this album seems like a mere checkpoint upon their journey to becoming one of the most fascinating and memorable bands that have graced my ears. They already are that in my eyes, but the path that they are paving with each release is one that utterly disregards boundaries, exudes personality, and gently breathes magnificently vivid tapestries that are absolutely unique to Maine’s Falls of Rauros. Continue reading »

Aug 292014
 

 

Those of you who can’t let a day go by without visiting our humble site, by which of course I mean all of you, have undoubtedly noticed that I haven’t been very good about posting round-ups this week. There are reasons, but I’ll just acknowledge my failure, express my deep regret, ask for God’s forgiveness, and try to turn the page (I got that sentence out of the Official Politicians’ Handbook For What To Say When You’re Caught In Bed With A Dead Girl Or A Live Boy).

Many, many things have happened over the last few days that are worth noting, but I’ll just mention three of them for now.

BYZANTINE

The resurrection of West Virginia’s Byzantine has been all but complete, with the release of a stellar comeback album in 2013 and the commencement of work for a follow-up record (To Release Is To Resolve) now in progress. But one thing has been missing: A Tour!

Well, finally, it appears that’s going to happen, too. Today the band announced the Release To Resolve Tour, which will be their first tour in 7 years. It begins and ends in West Virginia and includes an appearance at the CMJ Showcase in New York City. They will be supported by New York’s IKILLYA and by Thy Will Be Done from Providence, RI. The schedule as it currently exists (with a few specific locations still to be announced) is below: Continue reading »