May 202024

(Is the new Gatecreeper a trendkiller, or just a trend-follower? Andy Synn sets out to find out)

Let me ask you a question – how important is originality to you?

No, it’s not a trick question. After all, I’ve stated before that making a good (or great) album doesn’t necessarily require you to be particularly original – let’s face it, the Metal scene does tend to love a good throwback (sometimes too much) – as long as the execution and (more importantly) the songwriting are good enough.

Case in point – Gatecreeper‘s third album is basically a Dismember record in all but name.

But while Dark Superstition has definitely gained an advantage by standing on the shoulders of giants, it remains to be seen whether it has the songs to properly stand on its own two (or ten) feet.

Continue reading »

Mar 142024

What I’ve assembled for visitors today is an even dozen songs and videos from bands spread across six countries and a variety of genres (and at least one that’s not really metal), including death metal, black metal, sludge, doom, post-metal, progressive metal, deathcore, folk-metal, and some things that are harder to pin down. If you don’t find something to like, it must be because you searched for “no spring cleaning”.

One thing you’ll figure out fairly soon is that a lot of today’s songs rock out, providing some very catchy head-movers. There’s also singing (or close to it) in some of them (gasp!). But of course I’ve sprinkled in some ravagers too, and because I’ve arranged these songs and videos in alphabetical order by band name, one of those comes first.

AL-NAMROOD (Saudi Arabia)

The first song is “Lisan Al Nar” (Tongue of Fire) from AlNamrood‘s new album Al Aqrab, to be released by Shaytan Productions on June 9th. Continue reading »

Feb 022021


(Here’s Gonzo’s review of the unexpected new album by Arizona’s Gatecreeper, which was discharged by Closed Casket Activities on January 13th.)

From the endlessly bizarre timeline in which it’s being released to the sheer out-of-nowhere, smack-you-upside-the-head-and-run surprise of the release itself, I think it’s safe to say nobody saw this album coming.

And maybe that’s the point. After all, bands like Gatecreeper don’t really entertain much in the way of being subtle. Their bludgeoning songwriting, pounding rhythm section, and Chase Mason’s unearthly howl have solidified the band’s sound as instantly recognizable in the death metal underground.

And even though those elements are as present as ever on An Unexpected Reality, this sonic blowtorch falls a little short of the decimation it wants to inflict. Continue reading »

Jan 132021

Good morning/afternoon/evening my friends and a hearty “remain indoors” to you all.

Andy Synn here, stepping in for our great and glorious leader who, sadly, can’t be with you/us right now. And for good reason.

Well, I say “good”, but there’s actually nothing “good” about it. Due to inclement, semi-apocalyptic, weather conditions, our beloved overlord is currently without power, internet, or (for the most part) phone signal, meaning that he hasn’t been able to put together any of the posts he had planned for today.

We’re hopeful that, at some point, he’ll have his access to the grid (and therefore the web) restored, but for now we’d just like to issue an apology for the technical difficulties we’re currently experiencing.

Don’t worry though, it wouldn’t be an NCS post without at least some new music, so after the jump I’m going to share a few quick thoughts on a certain EP which dropped just last night (along with the requisite bandcamp embed, obviously) so we don’t feel like today has been a total waste.

Continue reading »

Oct 072019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Arizona death metal band Gatecreeper, which has just been released by Relapse Records.)

I’ve been making my way through the Will Forte-led comedy/drama (dramedy?) series The Last Man On Earth recently, having missed out on it when it first aired.

This has very little to do with Gatecreeper, to be entirely honest, except to allow me to say that Deserted continues to prove that Death Metal is still “alive in Tucson”. Continue reading »

Sep 042019


Sometimes there’s a through-line or organizing principle of some kind in the selections I make for these round-ups. Sometimes it’s just what the category tag says, the one I chose almost 10 years ago for posts like this one — Random Fucking Music — just a random scattering of things I’ve happened upon and enjoy.  Today, I do think there’s a through-line: Almost all of the following tracks are neck-wreckers, though I’ve put one track in the middle of the run that’s less brutishly head-moving and more progressively dynamic (though I think you’ll want to move your head to that one as well).


Formed in 1989, the Danish death metal band Konkhra had quite a run, releasing six studio albums, a live album, and a handful of other shorter releases from 1990 through 2009 — and then the machine ground to a halt. However, now ten years later, Konkhra have revived, and if Metal-Archives is to be believed, the current line-up dates back to the recordings of the early and mid-90s. Continue reading »

Aug 072019


This makes the fourth round-up in the last 7 days, and the sixth one if you count the two-part SHADES OF BLACK I compiled for last Sunday and Monday. I know this isn’t going to continue. Eventually my fucking day job or some distraction in my personal life is going to put the squeeze on my NCS time again, and the new-music round-ups will dwindle. But I’m doing my best to make hay while the sun shines before things get overcast again.

As for what I chose today, the main themes are cranial trauma and reflexive movement. Lots of cool album art in here too.


Man it’s good to get a new Gatecreeper album. Their first one, Sonoran Depravation, was killer, and all the short releases they’ve made since then have been too. The new one, Deserted, will be released by Relapse Records on October 4th. The first single, “Boiled Over“, is accurately described by the band as an effort to mix “the melodic side of Bolt Thrower with the crushing heaviness and groove of bands like Obituary or Crowbar“. Continue reading »

Jul 122018


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. Continue reading »

Jan 102018


There’s a megaton of explosive stuff in this mid-week round-up of recommended new sounds, so I’ll dispense with an introduction and just move right to the music.


Gatecreeper’s debut album Sonoran Depravaton was so damned good, a true highlight of 2016 and the source of a song (“Craving Flesh”) that I put on our list of that year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Their EP from last November, Sweltering Madness, was also damned good, a meshing together of dismal, stomping brutality and maniacal, earth-shaking obliteration. And so when I saw that Gatecreeper had released a new song yesterday I nearly soiled myself in my haste to listen to it. Continue reading »

Nov 112017


You can go long or you can go short. You can pound your musical erogenous zones or you can shrivel up and go dry from something far outside the rim of your bullseye. You can fragment your mind or feel it coalescing in configurations that become receivers of new visions. Every day there are new opportunities.

I’m speaking of metal, of course. I got doses of all those experiences this week, but bit off almost more than I could chew with this week’s flood of premieres, and got squeezed by my fucking day job on top of that, so I failed to compile a round-up until now, and hence it’s a big one.

Catching up is an impossibility, of course, and this time it happens that my choices (all the way up to the last one) are mainly indulgences in a particular mood rather than my usual effort to throw darts all over the metal dartboard. The one thing I haven’t done is incorporate black metal, because I have tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column for that.


We’ve been writing about this Greek band for years, beginning with their first single in 2013 and including their second one in 2015, their debut EP released the same year (and reviewed by DGR here), their amazing single and video from last year, “The Rain”, the first single (“Seeds of Deception”0 from their debut album, The Untamed Wilderness, which will be released by Lifeforce Records on November 24th, and the second one (“Shade of the Sun”). And now there’s a third, accompanied by a video. Continue reading »