Jan 022021


Last night I decided not to post anything today and instead spend the time trying to figure out how to begin rolling out my 2020 Most Infectious Songs list next week, and to get my shit together for when my day job starts whomping me in the head again on Monday. I have spent some time on both of those projects but my NCS obsession got the better of me, and I took a break to listen to some things on my ever-burgeoning list of music to check out. From that listening session, I picked what you’ll find in this round-up.

I have made a few compromises, compared to what I usually do in these posts, so I can get back to the other projects a bit faster. The main compromises were to dispense with tracking down, re-sizing, and uploading album art, and to write less.

GATEWAY (Belgium)

Been anxiously awaiting the first preview of music from this death/doom band’s new EP, Flesh Reborn, and it finally arrived today. The ferocity of “Slumbering Crevasses” will maul and mangle you, and the cavernous monstrosity of the vocals and quivering eeriness of the leads may put the hair up on the back of your neck too. When the song slows, it’s still punishing, and even more apocalyptically frightening. Continue reading »

Dec 192020


The past week was hellish in so many ways for so many people, but I know you’re particularly interested in why it was hellish for moi. Hell came for me in the guise of my day job, which doesn’t acknowledge the holiday season nor my NCS responsibilities (which, to be fair, I keep a secret from my employer). I barely had time to do the premieres I’d committed to do and the things I do to pretty-up what other people write before posting them.

No time for listening to other music, no time to sort through the tidal waves of effluvium that hit the NCS in-box, no time to prowl around the interhole looking for things that wouldn’t be the subject of press releases. And so when I awoke this morning I had no plans for what I might post, though I did feel the need to post something. Fortunately, a couple of my NCS comrades shared some links in our top-secret FB group, and even more fortunately what they shared turned out to be songs that fit together extremely well, as you’re about to discover. And they all come with videos!


The new Fleshgod Apocalypse single, “No“, includes all of the band’s signature bombastic ingredients — machine-gun drumming (punctuated by bunker-busting detonations), blizzard-like riffing, soaring operatic vocals mixed with hair-raising roars, extravagant keyboard flurries, glorious melodic guitar soloing, and an atmosphere that’s breathtakingly theatrical. It may or may not include a Britney Spears sample (DGR says it does, but may have been joking, and I can’t hear it). Continue reading »

Feb 272020


Once gain I’m resorting to the round-up format I use when I’ve run out of time to provide my own scintillating commentary about each of the new songs and videos I’ve chosen to throw your way. For the most part, you’ll just have to listen and then imagine how eloquent and evocative I would have been.

In compiling today’s large selection, which is presented in alphabetical order, I had assistance from my colleague DGR. In fact, he recommended six of the 11 items you’ll find here.



This new Abysmal Dawn track, “The Path Of The Totalitarian“, is the second single from the band’s new album Phylogenesis, out April 17th on Season Of Mist. Continue reading »

May 062019


(This is DGR’s review of the new album by the Italian juggernauts Fleshgod Apocalypse, which will be released on May 24th via Nuclear Blast Records.)

At this point in their career every Fleshgod Apocalypse release has moved beyond mere album and into ‘spectacle’ territory, and their newest record, Veleno, proves no different. To repeat a point we’ve been guilty of raising a couple of times now, Fleshgod Apocalypse have made a career out of being the ‘most’. Oracles was their most straightforward brutal death disc — though it’s hard to deny the sheer power in the opening song “In Honour Of Reason” as it transitions from orchestral piece into death metal hurricane. Agony had the most bombast in terms of speed, Labyrinth tried to be the most ‘everything’ and wound up being the loudest amongst the bands discography, and — with Veleno included — King was probably the most orchestral the band have ever become to date.

But, if Veleno follows suit with its predecessors, where does that leave it within a collective that already defines nearly every element of the Fleshgod Apocalypse sound? Well, that’s the interesting part, because when you really nail it down, Veleno could be best described as Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s most carefully crafted spectacle to date. Continue reading »

Apr 022019


(On March 27th our Atlanta-based contributor Tør made his way to The Masquerade venue to take in performances by Aenimus, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Hypocrisy as part of their ongoing national tour. He sent us this report, along with a large batch of his own excellent photos from the show. For a full list of remaining dates on the tour, go here.)

I walk in late and it’s already happening. Openers Aenimus have just taken the stage and are blazing through their set. The crowd is into it: with every riff, the front-row crowd inches closer to the stage monitors. I stand on the side and enjoy the gig -— I like what I’m hearing. The metalcore-tinged proggy riffs take me to a place I’ve been to before but can’t quite recall. I’ve liked what I’ve heard of the new album, Dreamcatcher (Nuclear Blast) so far, and the band doesn’t disappoint live. Despite the solid start to the night, nothing prepares me for what is to come soon. Continue reading »

Mar 092019


I had a weird 24 hours that began Thursday night and ended last night. Not weird enough to be entertaining if described in detail (though it did involve me never making it home until Friday morning), but weird enough that it left me frantically scrambling just to write the two premieres I’d committed to do yesterday, and no time for anything else NCS-related.

Saturday morning arrived with no ideas about what I might do for a Saturday post (and no Waxing Lyrical from Mr. Synn), but it turned out that my NCS comrades had left various exclamatory pieces of news at our on-line meeting ground, and another friend had enthusiastically fired off a link in my direction, and all of that proved quite sufficient for this round-up.


It would go too far to say that we are primed to reflexively shower every Fleshgod Apocalypse release with praise. We have pointed out a few mis-steps by the band here and there. But it’s also true that we get pretty excited whenever something new surfaces (years and years ago there was a running joke at the site that as soon as I finally received the great mountains of gold that Nigerian princes were offering me via e-mail, I would bribe FA to become the NCS house band and play at my home whenever I wanted, which might prove to be every other day). Continue reading »

Sep 022017


(Andy Synn is now lobbying the Oxford English Dictionary for recognition of a new word.)

In case you didn’t know, yesterday saw release of the brand new album by Symphonic Death Metal titans Septic Flesh (yes, I’m still spelling it as two words).

Now while I’m not planning on reviewing it here (that honour will, in all likelihood, fall to DGR), I will say that Codex Omega feels like a big step up from The Great Mass and Titan, the latter of which in particular suffered (in this author’s opinion at least) from a noticeable lack of balance between the “Symphonic” and the “Death Metal” aspects of the band’s sound, with the lion’s share of the effort put into the orchestration, while the drums and riffs (or lack thereof) were treated very much as an afterthought.

And as Codex Omega is such a big improvement on its predecessors in this regard, I felt it might be high time we all got together to discuss the costs/benefits inherent in “symphonisizing” (a word I’ve just invented) your sound. Continue reading »

Feb 022016

Fleshgod APocalypse video


I’ve been gorging myself in newly released (or newly discovered) songs and a few EPs over the last 24 hours. If music were food, I’d be this guy by now — just one more bit of song and I’d explode. To make matters worse (i.e., better), I liked a large percentage of what I saw and heard. So that I can begin getting some of the music up on the site, I’ve divided the collection into multiple parts. More might come today, but definitely tomorrow.

By the way, if you’d like to hear full-album streams of the new Urgehal and Obscura albums, go here and here, respectively.


Fleshgod Apocalypse have been teasing about a new video, and we’ve been speculating internally about which song from their new album (King, reviewed here) would provide the subject matter. Now we know, because today FA premiered their new video for “Cold As Perfection”. Before you watch it, here’s a statement about the video by drummer Francesco Paoli, who also directed the clip along with  filmmaker and photographer Salvatore Perrone. The video, by the way, is NSFW. Continue reading »

Jan 232016



I’m still catching up on the flood of new music and videos that appeared this week, in part because I spent so much time on the flood of new tracks we ourselves premiered since Monday. Because I’m short on time this Saturday, I’m mainly going to let the music speak for itself. Unless I damage myself too badly tonight at a big party I’m attending, I’ll have another collection of recommended new streams tomorrow. But before we get to the music, I have one news item.


In mid-December I posted the news that Norway’s Ragnarok would at long last be releasing a new album named Psychopathology. This week, further details were disclosed, as well as the cover art (above) by Marcelo Vasco (Slayer, Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir). The album will include 11 tracks and will be released by Agonia Records on March 25 in a variety of formats, including a limited-edition CD box set that will include a bonus compilation CD entitled Chaos and Insanity between 1994-2004, which features all of the band’s early demos and EP’s (the compilation will also separately be released on vinyl).

No music to share with you yet, but you can be sure we will as soon as something becomes available for streaming. Continue reading »

Jan 182016

Fleshgod Apocalypse-King


(DGR reviews the new album by Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse.)

It starts with classical music. It always does.

Any time someone tries to trace the roots of heavy metal, we inevitably wind up at the same branching paths. We hit the ’70s and the Black Sabbath era, and that leads us to the blues and from there things get far more nebulous, but through some sort of inherited wisdom over the years we always come back to classical music. Composers like Bach and Wagner are name-dropped left and right, and we always point to the huge, bombastic symphonies and the low, bass-heavy instruments, because these are the deepest roots of our heavy metal lineage.

The tendency to make things ‘heavier’ isn’t a new one, its just the one that musicians have often seen fit to push beyond the most extreme boundaries imaginable. So, the idea of Symphonics being a part of heavy metal was an almost foregone conclusion. It’s slowly worked its way even into death metal – itself a container of the hidden flair for the dramatic – and the two have produced multiple pairings and fantastic bands.

Fleshgod Apocalypse are the natural evolution of that tendency, a group who over the course of four main releases (counting our current subject as well) and an EP have become completely intertwined with symphonic music, writing a pyrotechnic and operatic style of death metal that can’t really be matched. Continue reading »