Feb 012022

First Fragment

As explained yesterday, I decided to plow through my self-imposed end-of-January deadline for finishing this list because it became apparent to me that I had overlooked a number of tracks that really needed to be included. Worse than that, I had really given short-shrift to a few entire genres of extreme metal. Since one of my objectives for the list has been to give a snapshot of what the preceding year brought us across a range of genres, that deficiency needed to be remedied, at least to some extent.

Technical death metal is one of the genres that hasn’t really gotten the exposure it deserves in the list as it exists so far. Today’s installment is an effort to at least partially make up for that, and I’ve also included a technically adept band whose music is often classified as melodic black/death.


“Let’s face it, 2021 has been a ridiculous year for the Tech Death scene.” That’s how Andy Synn began his review of First Fragment’s Gloire Éternelle, and who could argue with that? But it’s also fair to say that despite the intensity of the competition First Fragment still stood out. Continue reading »

Oct 272021

(Andy Synn continues today’s torrent of technicality with a review of the astonishing new album by First Fragment)

Let’s face it, 2021 has been a ridiculous year for the Tech Death scene.

Of course, last year’s lockdown probably played a big part in that, forcing bands to sit at home and practice until their fingers bled, but we’ve also seen many of these artists demonstrating a major improvement not just in their shredding abilities but in their songwriting skills too.

Sure, the sheer glut of bands showing off their technical talents means that, inevitably, some them are a little interchangeable (especially vocally, but that’s a discussion for another day), but I’ve really been struck by the variety of different approaches – from a laser-like focus on supersonic speed to lethal injections of stupefying slam or flickering flirtations with angular dissonance – adopted by many of the genre’s leading lights as a way of differentiating them from their peers.

And while First Fragment have always been distinguished by their almost symphonic virtuosity, Gloire Éternelle makes it more clear than ever that the band’s music is designed, if not solely for musicians, then at the very least for those with a real appreciation of musicianship, first and foremost.

Continue reading »

Sep 252021


To avoid boring you and offending vegetarians and vegans out there, I’ll spare you the details, but I have to pick up an animal carcass and then burn wood in a pit for about 6 hours today before burying it. There’s a lot to be said about staring at fire for 6 hours, but I’m going to drink anyway.

And anyway, because this all has to get started soon and because I slept in, I’m unable to write this morning. Even in the “Overflowing Streams” format I usually manage to write a couple sentences about the new music and videos I’ve chosen and then leave pre-order and Facebook links. I don’t even have time to do that today. In the 11+ years of NCS I can’t remember another time when all I’ve done is installed the music streams and videos. I guess there’s a first time for everything.

To salve my wounded conscience I did decide to (mostly) limit this collection to what I consider well-known bands because you’ll probably have a good idea about what’s coming without me providing any guidance. But there may still be a few surprises.

P.S. There’s no new music from Lock Up in this collection. I just like Khaos Diktator‘s cover art for the band’s new album. The first single, “Dark Force Of Conviction”, will be coming on September 30th with a video. Continue reading »

Aug 062021


Over the last few days my NCS comrades (well, mainly DGR) have been shoveling links at me for new songs and videos, in anticipation that I would put together a round-up by today — which is a Bandcamp Friday. Most of those links were for music by bigger-name bands. The thought was that I could also add more obscure names, and that the allure of the bigger names might help introduce the lesser-knowns to more fans.

The problem is that the pile of links has grown to gargantuan proportions, which has made it tougher for me to insert as many other discoveries as I might want and still write up some thoughts about everything. Ah well, there’s always tomorrow. Here’s the A-to-Z deluge I have for today, in alphabetical order.


Prepare for relentless high-speed bludgeoning and crazed fretwork mania as a big rabid mastiff barks in your face at equally high speed. Exhilarating! Continue reading »

Jul 172021


This may be the only NCS post of the weekend, and even this one is hurried. I have a work meeting this morning. There’s also a celebration planned for tonight that I have to prepare for. What the hell kind of party requires hours of preparation? One that involves speech-making. But it’s still a party, and has all the earmarks of one that’s going to keep me up past midnight, which means a very late awakening on Sunday and some unpredictable degree of mental incapacitation, which is why there may not be a SHADES OF BLACK column tomorrow.

As for today’s metal roundup: I posted a big one yesterday exclusively devoted to new songs with videos, but big as it was it still didn’t exhaust all the good new tracks that surfaced over the last week. And of course it didn’t include the usual Friday flood of new song reveals. A few of my NCS comrades made sure I didn’t overlook what that Friday flood flung up on the beach, and I’ve included a few of their suggestions as well as a few of my own picks that I left out of that video-only roundup yesterday. Coincidentally all the songs included here also came with videos, hence the title of this post.

What’s missing today, for the most part, is my own commentary. I’ll give you a minute to dab the tears from your eyes… and then on we go…. Continue reading »

Feb 112019


(Andy Synn wants you to know that he took in another show. This time, Obscura, Fallujah, Allegaeon, and First Fragment drew him to the environs of London on February 8th, yielding this report plus video of the event.)

For whatever reason, possibly known only to the gods themselves, tonight’s show was one of three big package-tours plying their metallic wares in the capital all on the same evening, with Behemoth/At The Gates/Wolves In The Throne Room on at Kentish Town Forum and Psycroptic/Aversion’s Crown/Within Destruction/Hadal Maw/Hollow World making The Dome in Tufnell Park their home for the evening.

Thankfully, as I’d caught the latter tour a few days earlier in Manchester, my choice between the remaining two options was an easy one to make, as while I’m a fan of practically all the bands on both bills (to a greater or lesser extent), I wasn’t hugely taken with either of the most recent Behemoth and At The Gates albums, whereas I was very high on the most recent Obscura album (and, spoiler alert, the upcoming new Fallujah too).

So it was off to the O2 in Islington for me! Continue reading »