Sep 252020

Mr. Bungle by Buzz Osborne


(Gonzo brings us another Friday selection of new songs.)

We talk a lot at NCS about how utterly fucking wild this year has been. As September winds down and we all welcome the fall (that’s autumn, not the imminent collapse of society), it seems like the metal community is pulling out all the stops to close out the year – familiar faces releasing some of their strongest work in years, newcomers putting out amazing debuts, and unexpected surprises materializing out of seemingly nowhere.

This week is no exception to any of that. It’s a glorious mix of old, new, and “holy shit these guys still make albums?” Continue reading »

Sep 182020


(Here’s another Friday round-up of new music compiled by Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo.)

I, for one, am looking forward to cooler weather.

Not only will cooler temperatures bring about an overdue ending of the wildfires currently making life miserable for the Northwest, but also an ideal environment for listening to your audial brutality of choice.

And while it’s certainly kvlt as fuck to stand in the middle of a Norwegian forest in corpse paint and spiky gauntlets while cranking up the lo-fi black metal, it’s by no means required. Some of this week’s new releases may inspire it, though. Continue reading »

Sep 072020

TOMBS (photo by Dan Higgins)


EDITOR’S CONFESSION: Is it possible? Could I have actually failed to post the second installment of this series by our contributor Gonzo on Friday, just like I was late in posting the first one? Even though it’s called NEW MUSIC FRIDAY? Hell yes! It’s true! I fucked up two weeks in a row! But I’m risking covid to visit a tattoo parlor today to have NEW MUSIC FRIDAY tattooed on my forehead so I’ll never forget again. Of course, when looking in the mirror it will read YADIRF CISUM WEN.


The show must go on.

Given the quality output so far in a year otherwise mired with seemingly every kind of imaginable strife dominating the headlines, you’d think those words were the mantra of every working band out there.

Some of those themes of the year, as it turns out, make for excellent and timely material to write songs out of. I have no doubt that we’ll start seeing more and more of it start to emerge as we trudge on through this supremely uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing timeline we’re living through. This week [Editor’s Correction: last week!] has dropped a few hints of what’s to come, with spectacular results. Continue reading »

Aug 292020

Fates Warning


(Because your humble NCS editor has done a shit job compiling new-music round-ups in recent weeks, our contributor Gonzo stepped up and offered to begin doing that himself on Fridays, and this is the first edition. It actually would have been posted yesterday, on Friday, except your humble editor fucked that up too.)

Suffice to say, it’s been a fucking weird year.

Weirder, perhaps, is the fact that so much new music keeps rolling out from all corners of the earth; weirder still is that most of it is quality material instead of half-assed live albums, comps, EPs, singles and cover albums.

Most of it.

(I’m looking at you, In Flames.)

Before I start spiraling into a tirade about my odious thoughts on the Clayman reboot, allow me to get right to it: Yesterday, August 28, marked another Friday in this endlessly bizarre, dystopian and occasionally terrifying timeline we all just call “2020,” and it marked another day of new metal coming to assault our eardrums.

This one’s a glorious mix of old and new, and some stuff I’ve been anxiously awaiting for a while. Continue reading »

May 252020


(Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo has provided the following review of the new album by the multi-national band Sojourner, which is out now on Napalm Records.)

In all its forms and mutations, you could use a lot of adjectives to describe metal: Brutal. Powerful. Aggressive. Loud. Dynamic. Technical. And dare I say: Beautiful?

Some bands dabble in a “pretty” side at times, and it might work for them as a temporary gimmick or when forcing it into the occasional power ballad. But avid listeners are gonna know when you’re phoning it in, and as a result, the “beautiful” side gets buried under layers of the aforementioned adjectives. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with sheer, unabashed brutality (we ARE metalheads, for fuck’s sake), bands that succeed in combining the beautiful with the brutal can wield an almost overwhelming amount of power when they use it to write songs.

This brings us to Sojourner, a six-piece multi-national atmospheric black metal band, and their monumental new album Premonitions. Continue reading »

Apr 302020


(Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo wrote the following review of the debut album by the Swedish named Sweven, which was released on March 20 by Ván Records.)

When I found out Swedish weirdos Morbus Chron had called it quits after releasing one of the best albums of 2014, Sweven, it was disappointing news. Blending a smorgasbord of musical elements ranging from the throaty assault of Horrendous and the tempered patience of Opeth to ’70s psychedelia, Sweven showcased a band that was positioned to carve their own path through a saturated metallic universe.

Six years after Sweven’s release, that path has taken an unexpected detour. Morbus Chron frontman, guitarist, and songwriter Robert Andersson has unveiled The Eternal Resonance, the debut album from his newest band, Sweven. Continue reading »

Apr 202020


(Andy Synn recently wrote a three-line haiku of the new album by Irist, but now we have a second (and lengthier) opinion by Seattle-based writer Gonzo. The album is out now via Nuclear Blast.)

Atlanta sludge/prog unit Irist may be only one album into their young careers, but one listen to their ferocious debut Order of the Mind would have you believe otherwise. Both satisfyingly brutal and tastefully melodic throughout, the album displays the precise technicality of Mastodon and Gojira mixed with the savagery of early Soulfly. The result is something that scratches an itch you might not even realize you had.

Boasting thunderous riffs, head-nodding grooves, vocals that blast like sandpaper on balsa wood, and a rhythm section that sounds determined to use your head as a snare drum, Order of the Mind pummels its way through its 10-track length like it has something to prove. Given that it’s a major-label debut, maybe that was intentional. What it proves, though, is something bigger — it sees Irist obviously paying homage to the influences of the aforementioned bands, but it adds a layer of originality that’s markedly harder to pull off. Continue reading »

Apr 132020


(Seattle-based writer Gonzo returns to NCS with this review of a new album by the star-studded Old Man Gloom, whose release day was accelerated by the band and Profound Lore Records and is out now.)

Never the types to be conventional, post-hardcore/sludge superheroes Old Man Gloom have again released not one, but two, new albums: Seminar VIII: The Lightness of Meaning, and Seminar IX: The Darkness of Being. Originally not scheduled to be released until May 22, the band decided to stagger the double effort with a surprise release of Seminar IX back in late March. Seminar VIII will keep its original release date of May 22.

To limit any head-spinning confusion, this review covers Seminar IX.

Confused yet? Good, me too. Continue reading »

Feb 252020


(Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo brings us this review of the the fifth studio album by U.S. progressive metal pioneers Psychotic Waltz, and their first music in 23 years, released on February 14th by InsideOutMusic.)

Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when a criminally underrated band emerges from the ether after years of radio silence and releases some of their best work. Since that seems to be the trend lately for metal bands, reformed prog metal gurus Psychotic Waltz have decided to follow suit, surprising the world with the release of their newest album, The God-Shaped Void. Continue reading »

Dec 312019


(This year we were joined by a Seattle-based writer who goes by the nickname Gonzo. He has contributed both lively concert reviews and equally lively album reviews, and today he brings us Part 2 of a year-end list that sings the praises of 20 albums — the top 10 of them today, and you can read about the first 10 here.)

The top 10 was a tough one this year, but whittling it down to the final product turned out to be a helluva fun time. The theme of the year seemed to be “pushing boundaries,” and I think my #1 choice did that better than any other crazy genre-defying piece of music I heard all year.

While I go smoke the rest of this joint, go read the rest of my list. Continue reading »