Apr 202022

(Andy Synn presents a review, and full premiere, of the new album by Minnesota’s Feral Light)

Let me tell you a bit about how premieres work here at NCS.

Generally speaking, a label (or a band) will contact us at some point in advance of the release date of whatever they want us to host – whether it’s a single, a video, or a full album stream – and ask us directly if we’d like to handle a premiere for them.

Before we say yes we have to check two things – firstly, do we have time and space in our schedule to actually do the hosting (the more lead-in time we have the better, obviously)? And, secondly, do we actually like the music enough to want to host it?

This latter question is definitely the more important of the two. After all, we only want to promote things that we honestly think are good – we do have some integrity, after all – so we need to be sure that what we’re premiering is something that’s definitely worth your time, and ours.

Every so often, however, things just seem to line up and we’ll get offered a premiere for something which we were already writing about… which is exactly what happened in the case of Psychic Contortions, the upcoming fourth album (set for release this Friday by I, Voidhanger) from Feral Light.

Continue reading »

Mar 122022

I spent hours yesterday (no exaggeration) assembling a list of new songs and videos that surfaced just since Monday. I kept at it, even knowing full well that as the list grew I was just making it harder on myself in deciding what to include in this Saturday round-up.

And then I remembered the legend of Alexander the Great and how he solved the seemingly insurmountable problem of untying a knot in the palace of the former kings of Phrygia at Gordium, a feat that was prophesied to make the knot-solver the eventual ruler of all Asia: He cut the knot in half with a single stroke of his sword.

I cut my own Gordian knot by deciding to focus on advance songs (all of which were revealed just yesterday) from just one label’s forthcoming releases. It’s a special label, as anyone knows who has indulged in its many past releases. In December its future became clouded with uncertainty when the label owner (Luciano) fell prey to covid and was hospitalized in intensive care, with his life hanging by a thread. Continue reading »

Dec 102021

(Next week Andy Synn begins his annual roll-out of year-end lists as part of his ongoing attempt to cover as many different albums from the last twelve months as possible – but, before then, he’d like to draw your attention to some of the shorter, but no less sweet, releases from 2021) 

Well, well, well… it’s been a whole year since we last did this little dance hasn’t it?

Sure, it might seem like it’s been longer than that, for a number of different reasons that we really don’t have time or space to go into here, but it’s actually only been twelve months.

Those twelve months have been absolutely packed with music though, and today we’re going to be taking a look, and a listen, to some – not all, of course, just as many as I managed to actually hear, so don’t get too upset when you realise that this isn’t totally comprehensive – of the EPs that were released this year, beginning with a general round-up of everything that I can remember and recommend, and closing with a countdown of my ten favourite short-form releases of the year.

So let us begin… Continue reading »

Jan 222021


Last September at NCS Andy Synn devoted the 125th edition of his Synn Report (here) to the discography of Minnesota-based Feral Light, whose music he recommended for fans of  Tombs, Cobalt, and Wolvhammer. In Andy’s words, Feral Light (drummer Andrew Reesen and guitarist/vocalist Andy Schoengrund) “deal in a gritty, gruesomely groovesome brand of Black ‘n’ Roll which has, over the years, also developed an increasingly savage-yet-sombre (not to mention ever-so-slightly proggy) edge to it”.

The latest record in their discography as it existed at the time of Andy’s retrospective was the 2020 album Life Vapor, which he characterized as Feral Light‘s “darkest record yet”, a “more refined and more atmosphere-heavy album than either of its predecessors”, but also “even more focussed and ferocious”: “[F]or what it might lack (or sacrifice) in terms of bombastic hooks and swaggering attitude it more than makes up for in sheer intensity and potent staying-power, making for an overall more fulfilling, and no less thrilling, listening experience from start to finish.”

If you haven’t yet encountered Feral Light, you should definitely check out Life Vapor — but you really couldn’t go wrong with any of their albums. And thankfully, the band continue to forge ahead. On February 26th they will be releasing a new three-song EP named Ceremonial Tower, and today it’s our pleasure to premiere one of those three tracks — “Conjoint Lightlessness“. Continue reading »

Sep 302020


(For the September 2020 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn focuses on the discography of Minnesota-based Feral Light, including a review of their 2020 album Life Vapor.)

Recommended for fans of: Tombs, Cobalt, Wolvhammer

So while these guys weren’t my original choice for this month’s Synn Report, the truth is I’ve been itching for a chance to write more about them for a while now, particularly since we didn’t manage to publish a review of the band’s third album, Life Vapor, (although we did host a premiere for it) when it was released back in May, so I’m more than happy that things worked out this way.

Hailing from the grim, snowbound wastes of… Minneapolis, Minnesota… Feral Light (who comprise the dynamic duo of Andrew Reesen on drums and Andy Schoengrund on guitars/vocals) deal in a gritty, gruesomely groovesome brand of Black ‘n’ Roll which has, over the years, also developed an increasingly savage-yet-sombre (not to mention ever-so-slightly proggy) edge to it.

And with three full-length albums now under their belt, I felt it was high time that more of our readers got to know (and love) them as well as I do. Continue reading »

Mar 052020


It’s an absolute thrill for us to welcome the return of Feral Light. Originally a three-piece (and now a duo) from Minnesota formed by ex-members of Wolvhammer, Empires, Manetheren, and Finger of Scorn, they released (through Sentient Ruin) a fantastic debut EP in 2016 — A Sound of Moving Shields — that we wrote about twice (including a song premiere). That was followed by a 2017 debut album, Void/Sanctity (via Innit Records), and then by another full-length in 2019 (also on Innit Records), Fear Rides A Shadow, which prompted our own Andy Synn to praise it in his review as an “effortlessly well-realised example of groovesome, bombastic Black ‘n’ Roll at its very best”.

What we are now looking forward to is a new record named Life Vapor, which will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records on May 8th (CD and digital), with a vinyl edition coming in the fall. And today we’re presenting the first glimpse of the new music through our premiere of a track named “Assuage“. Continue reading »

Feb 272019

Carrion Mother


(Andy Synn chose three recent albums for this collection of reviews and complete music streams, stretching from Germany to Australia to the Upper Midwest of the U.S.)

The word “triage” is a medical term, most frequently deployed in cases of war or natural disaster, which describes the process of prioritising individual cases of illness or injury based upon the severity of their condition and the likelihood that treatment is going to be effective.

And, unfortunately, this often means that difficult choices need to be made about who lives, and who dies, for the greater good.

Now, thankfully, my current situation is nowhere near as serious or as severe as that, but I am increasingly finding myself in the position where I’m having to choose what bands do, and what bands don’t, get written about, due to the combined pressures of limited time and seemingly unlimited music to cover.

So, with that in mind, here are three selections from my ever-growing list of albums which I think deserve some extra effort and attention, with apologies to those many, many bands, who didn’t make the cut. Continue reading »

Aug 092016

Feral Light-A Sound of Moving Shields


Feral Light come our way from Minneapolis, with a three-man line-up consisting of vocalist Jeff Scheuermann (Incarnate Deity, ex-Finger of Scorn), guitarist/bassist Andy Schoengrund (previously a member of such bands as Wolvhammer, Empires, and Manetheren), and drummer Andrew Reesen (ex-Censer). With a 2015 self-titled demo under their belts, on August 19 their debut EP A Sound of Moving Shields will be released on tape (and digitally) by Sentient Ruin Laboratories. Last month I raved about the EP’s first advance track, “Baptized In Shellfire”, and now we have the pleasure of bringing you another new song from the EP, “Hell By Compass“.

With lyrical themes that focus on the self-destructive horrors of human warfare, Feral Light draw upon the traditions of black metal, crust, and hardcore to create music that’s dark, intense, and as raw and grim as a mortal wound. But while the band are very effective at pulling the listener by the throat through a harsh and ravaging gauntlet of hopeless turmoil, the music is multifaceted — it rocks damned hard, and its bleak melodies are capable of leaving a mark in your mind as well. Continue reading »

Jul 292016

Meshuggah revolver ad-2


I mentioned in a post earlier this week that I’ve been distracted during nights this week by a televised political convention (because I am a political junkie with low willpower), and I also had to make a quick out-of-town trip. Metal didn’t wait for me while I was diverted, and so I have an immense list of new things from the last few days that I want to recommend. I’ve cut the list down to a mere 10 items, which I’ve collected here. Seriously, I’m aware that 10 is a lot, so I’ve choked back my usual desire to spill a lot of words.

I’m starting with two news items and then following those with 8 new songs or videos, presented in alphabetical order by the name of the artist.


I no longer subscribe to Revolver magazine. If I still had the subscription, I might have seen the full-page ad at the top of this post, which so far seems to be the only disclosure that Meshuggah’s new album The Violent Sleep of Reason will be released by Nuclear Blast on October 7. Here’s another fan pic of the ad: Continue reading »