Jun 132016

Phobocosm - Bringer of Drought


(In this post Todd Manning provides brief reviews of new releases by Dark Descent and Unspeakable Axe.)

Death might just be the overarching theme of 2016, but the tandem of Dark Descent Records and their sub-imprint Unspeakable Axe are certainly spinning this in their favor by releasing a continuous string of remarkable Death Metal albums. While I have already had the opportunity to talk about new albums from the likes of Ripper, Nucleus, and Hemotoxin, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to gush about a few more albums from the label.


First up is the new album from Montreal-based Phobocosm. Bringer of Drought is the follow-up to their impressive debut Deprived and is nothing short of astonishing. Despite the label’s reputation as being at the forefront of the New Wave of Old School Death Metal, none of these bands seems to be unoriginal or regressive in such a way that causes them to lack their own identity. This is perhaps best illustrated by Phobocosm, who seem to marry the epic feel of classic Neurosis to the Death Metal/Doom hybrid of Inverloch and Disembowelment. Continue reading »

May 112016

Centinex-Doomsday Rituals


I’m still significantly distracted from the mission of NCS these days for personal reasons that I’ve described in previous posts, and that will likely continue to be the case for at least the next week or two. But although the round-ups haven’t been coming as frequently as usual, I did manage to pull this one together over the last few days. All the songs (and one video) are fairly recent and all provide some very tasty flavors of death metal (lots of cool cover art in this post as well). For better or worse, I need to keep my own verbiage short and let the music speak for itself.


That’s a hell of an album cover up there (created by Bahrull Marta of Abomination Imagery) for a hell of a band — Sweden’s Centinex. Their new album Doomsday Rituals is set for release by Agonia Records on July 8.

The band’s current line-up, which is different from the one that released eight albums prior to the disbanding of Centinex in 2005, is truly impressive: Martin Schulman (Demonical) on bass, Sverker Widgren (Demonical, Diabolical) on guitars, Alexander Högbom (October Tide, Spasmodic) on vocals, and Kennet Englund (Interment, Centinex 1999-2003). And so is the new song that premiered yesterday. Continue reading »

Jan 012015


Well, Happy Fucking New Year to all you motherfuckers out there (to bring good luck, I think it’s important to call all our readers “motherfuckers” on the first day of 2015). I hope everyone is beginning the new year in one piece and not too much the worse for wear from whatever you did last night to commemorate the calendar change.

I’m in unusually good shape myself, which is to say that I had a fairly peaceful and alcohol-free evening with my spouse, who resisted my entreaties to get shit-faced. This morning, I want to thank her for once again being the level-headed part of this partnership.

I spent part of this morning web-surfing for new music and found quite a lot worth recommending. Here’s part of what I found, presented in alphabetical order, since I am able to remember the order of the alphabet because I was good last night.

P.S. For those who came here looking for the next installment in our 2014 “Most Infectious Song” series, I’m taking a break for today — so I can figure out which two songs to post next! Continue reading »

Aug 252014

The Swedish label Blood Harvest Records plans to release a series of 7″ EPs between now and year-end. Last month I reviewed five of those EPs (here and here), and today I’ve got the pleasure of bringing you the premiere of one track each from three of them. I’m taking the liberty of repeating my previous review comments as an introduction to each new song, presenting the bands in alphabetical order:



Ascended Dead come our way from San Diego, and include current or former members of Ghoulgotha, whose Blood Harvest EP will also be added at the end of this post. Ascended Dead’s release is a four-song collection entitled Arcane Malevolence, which follows the band’s four-song demo released in 2012.

The label pitches the band with references to the likes of PossessedNecrovore, and the early sounds of Morbid Angel and Sarcofago, and that should give you an idea of what you’re in for. This is thick, murky, grinding death metal, the gears of the monstrous machine choked with grime and spewing noxious fumes as it barrels ahead at a murderous pace.

The songs feature absolutely stand-out drumwork, blistering guitar solos, and a big load of galvanizing riffs, in addition to the reverberating howls of a monstrous vocalist. The music moves so quickly and is so utterly decimating in its philosophy that even after only four songs you may feel like you’ve spent a week in a war zone. Highly recommended. Continue reading »

Jul 272014


The Swedish label Blood Harvest Records plans to release a series of 7″ vinyl EPs between now and year-end. I’ve received advance digital versions of five of them and thought I’d put down a few words about all five, divided into two posts. In this one the subjects are the two EPs that the label announced yesterday it had just received from the pressing plant. The other three are apparently being manufactured now, and I’ll cover those in Part 2 tomorrow.



Ceremonial are a Chilean band with two previous demos to their credit. Their Blood Harvest release is a four-song offering entitled Ars Magicka. The music is a blazing blitzkrieg of black thrash, a rapacious attack of rapid-fire riffs, booming bass, and acrobatic drumwork, with utterly venomous, echoing vocals. Continue reading »

Jul 122014

It was a rare Friday night for your humble editor, in that your humble editor didn’t get completely shit-faced. This means that I was able to listen to music on this Saturday morning without experiencing severe brain pain and heaving waves of nausea. I made my way through a long list of new songs and videos I had collected over the last few days, from which I’ve sifted a still pretty long list of things I commend to your ears and eyes, presented in alphabetical order with a minimum of words. But before getting to those, here’s a piece of somewhat older news I only discovered recently.


Over the years since I began getting into metal I’ve done a lot of deep diving back into music that was released before I wised up, but I didn’t know about Dawn until just a few days ago. They were formed circa 1990 by guitarist Fredrik Söderberg (Cranium) and recorded a smattering of demos plus two albums (1994’s Nær Sólen Gar Niþer For Evogher and 1998’s Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy)) before disbanding for nearly a decade. They’ve reactivated, and the line-up now includes, in addition to Söderberg, original vocalist Henke Forss (Retaliation) plus drummer Tomas Asklund (Gorgoroth, ex-Dissection, ex-Dark Funeral) and bass player Philip von Segebaden (ex-Afflicted, ex-Cranium). That’s a hell of a line-up.

Beginning in April, Century Media has reissued the band’s discography from the 1990s on vinyl, and Dawn have also been working on a new album. A “semi-official rehearsal track” has been up on YouTube for a while, though the song title apparently isn’t correct. Here it is, followed by a full stream of Slaughtersun: Continue reading »

Dec 012013

(Back in September our guest writer Leperkahn introduced us to three San Diego bands with which to despise the city’s mayor, Bob Filner. Now Leperkahn returns with some new goodies. Also, another mayor to despise.)

Hello again, fellow NCSers. It’s been a while since I’ve posted around here, but the maelstrom of calculus, Common App, and my job at sdmetal.com ate up a lot of time. Alas, the stream of records has slowed recently, so I haven’t had anything to review, and I have this whole week off. Thus, I return to spread metal and to procrastinate those essays.

Much like my second post for this site, this will be a round-up of various San Diego(ish) metal bands worth hearing. This was going to be a fully death-metal-themed list, but then the final band in this post popped up in my mind, thus skewing that. Also, since my last San Diego metal roundup, we have found a mayor to outdo even Bob Filner in his depravity – Rob Ford. Thus, politics will be kept out of this metal, unless you consider this metal in politics: Continue reading »

Oct 032012

This is another “Seen and Heard” post. I just got tired of calling them “Seen and Heard”. I thought about spelling it “Scene and Herd”, just to fuck with people a bit, except those words would really send the wrong message about today’s bands.

Dead Beyond Buried (UK), Ghoulgotha (U.S.), and Shades of Retribution (India) are underground collectives who are each doing their own thing their own way (and by my lights, the right way). They will draw fans not from scene kids or those who travel in herds but from metalheads with discerning taste. You’ll see (and hear) what I mean. Their music makes me want to do my part to help elevate their visibility.

So without further ado, here are the items I came across yesterday via e-mails to NCS and perusal of the interhole that I thought were worth spreading around.


I really liked this London-based band’s last album on the Seige of Amida label, Inheritors of Hell (2010), but I had kind of forgotten about them. Their name popped up on my radar screen again recently as one of the bands highly recommended by Ageless Oblivion guitarist David Porter in the Porter interview conducted by our Andy Synn not long ago. Not much later I saw that they would be self-releasing a new album (The Dark Era) in the near future, and that was welcome news. And then I saw that they had released a music video a few days ago for one of the new tracks, “Cold Black Stars”, and I got even more interested.

Man, what a surprise! The video, which was filmed, animated and edited by Joe Slatter (www.thedarkpower.co.uk), is one of the best I’ve seen this year. The animation, and how it alternates and eventually merges with the band performance, is fascinating. And the song itself . . . Continue reading »