Jul 252016

Gorguts tour


Creeping through the NCS e-mail in-box this morning while trying to wake up I spied an item that achieved that objective better than coffee: an announcement by Season of Mist that the phenomenal Gorguts will be mounting a North American tour this fall, with support from Intronaut and Brain Tentacles. Called The Pleiades Dust Tour, it begins on October 3 in Brighton, MA, and travels through assorted other U.S. and Canadian locations for the rest of the month, ending in New York City on the 30th.

As usual in perusing such announcements, I had eyes for only one thing: Would there be a stop in Seattle? Having found that, yes, there will be, I ignored all other info in the flyer — until a Texas-based friend expressed sadness that the tour would be stopping in Austin, Arizona, rather than Austin, Texas. Continue reading »

Apr 072016



We had such a big line-up of premieres and reviews yesterday that I didn’t have time to pull together a round-up of new things, so I’ll do some of that today. As a consequence of waiting, the first couple of items in this round-up of new videos (and one new song excerpt) will no doubt have been seen by most of you already. I still want to leave them here because they’re so good — though I don’t think I need to say much about them. The second two are somewhat more recent, and are by bands who don’t have quite the name recognition among metal heads as the first two, so I’ll spill a few words about those.


Nergal has a reliably interesting artistic vision for Behemoth’s videos, and a knack for enlisting help from talented people in making them a reality — including Sharon Ehman of Toxic Visions for the costume and prop design in this video, among a long list of others (who are identified in the notes to the video here). Of course, the dramatic natural setting for this video is the real star. Continue reading »

Mar 302016

Gorguts European tour flyer


(Andy Synn reports on a show he witnessed earlier this week in Manchester, England, with performances by Gorguts, Psycroptic, Dysrhythmia, and Nero Di Marte. And Andy also shares with us some videos he shot during the show.)

When it comes to running gigs (and I speak from experience not only of booking shows, but running them, and playing them… sometimes all three in the same evening) there’s a wide variety of things that can go wrong. Some of them can be fixed with only a minimum of hassle. Others… cause larger problems. For example, and this is just off the top of my head here, a six-hour ferry delay…

Yes, that’s what happened on Monday, meaning that I arrived at the venue for 6 o’clock (when my ticket stated doors were set) only to find that they’d now been pushed back until 7. Fortunately, I eventually bumped into a couple of mates (Hi Jon! Hi Chris!), which certainly made the whole experience a lot more palatable. UN-fortunately the stated door time came and went, with nary a whisper of anyone being let into the building. Something strange was afoot.

It was gone half 7 when, out of nowhere, the tour bus and trailer suddenly pulled round the corner, unleashing a flurry of activity as band and crew members scrambled to unload the necessary gear and merch and rush it into the venue to set up, with only a quick mention in passing that – with a little luck – the first band was going to be onstage within the hour.

At this point Chris and I retired to a nearby pub to join his Spires bandmates in playing the waiting game in slightly more comfortable surroundings, crossing our fingers that at least some of the lost time would be made up and that none of the bands were going to be dropped from the bill… Continue reading »

Feb 252016

Gorguts-Pleiades' Dust


Here are a few new things I spied over the last 24 hours that I thought you might like, because I sure as hell did.


There’s been a running joke in the comment sections of our annual LISTMANIA series over the last few years. It dates back to a comment left in December 2013 when I re-posted a list from Rolling Stone that named Deafheaven’s Sunbather as the best album of 2013. Not having paid attention to the title of the post or the text that also identified Rolling Stone as the source of the list, some nitwit wrote: “Deafhaven. That’s laughable. Gorguts put out the best METAL album this year – don’t deny it. Stop trying to be different – you’re only appealing to hipsters. Have fun with that. I thought I’d found a credible metal music site to frequent – apparently not. Laters.”

That comment has now jokingly been repeated in our comment section so many times in the subsequent years that I can almost recite it from memory. I shudder to think how often it will appear this December, when there actually IS a new Gorguts release in the year-end running — as it surely will be. Continue reading »

May 142014

(In this post our man BadWolf reviews the performances of Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Gorguts at the Columbus, Ohio stop of the DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR, and the photos are his too!)

For the purposes of this review, let’s accept a false dichotomy: that there is a real and tangible difference between ‘mainstream’ extreme metal music, and ‘underground’ metal music. It’s a bullshit claim perpetuated by a self-important blogosphere and a sometimes-right-sometimes-wrong minority of metalheads with a serious penchant for nostalgia, but assume for a moment that it is true.

If so, then up until three years ago, the large package tour was exclusively in the domain of mainstream metal music. Mayhem, Summer Slaughter, and their progenitor, Ozzfest, are each the domain of the popular music industry. Even the Metal Alliance Tour falls into this trap to a lesser degree (mostly in its over-abundance of bands with too-short set lists).

The occultocrati’s sole entity in this realm has become the Decibel Magazine Tour, which year after year has presented solid and cohesive lineups that stand on the razor’s edge between critical acclaim and commercial viability. It was a bold move in 2012: when I caught that first Decibel tour (reviewed here), there was no guarantee it would happen again. Who could have predicted the way that the tour would break the careers of bands like In Solitude, or poise groups like Behemoth and Watain for the kind of massive album sales they’ve enjoyed since. Continue reading »

Jan 162014

Welcome to Part 6 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

You can think of this latest group of songs as the “comeback” edition of the series. All three songs come from bands who made incredibly exciting returns to the metal scene during 2013 after extended absences, ranging from to 8 years to 17 years. Their 2013 albums surely must rank among the strongest comebacks in metal history, and they have also been widely recognized as three of the best albums of last year. They’re presented here in alphabetical order.


Did any metal album of 2013 draw more attention than Surgical Steel (reviewed by us here)?  It was so highly anticipated that if it had been merely good, massive disappointment would have been the inevitable result. Yet Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, and Dan Wilding pulled off a tour de force that left all but the most hide-bound doubters smiling. Continue reading »

Dec 252013

I have my own opinions about Christmas and the whole holiday season surrounding it, the kind of opinions that used to provoke an annual rant on this site (such as this one, which still receives new visits at this time of year despite its age). But there will be no rant this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t changed my opinions. However, it has dawned on me that spewing vitriol about the holiday is somewhat inconsistent with what we stand for at NCS. Life delivers more than enough frustration, aggravation, hurt feelings, pain, sorrow, loneliness, parking tickets, and bad food without us adding to the negativity. I like to think that what we’re about at NCS is delivering things that make life better, e.g., some daily metal and generally good-humored prose.

Despite its shortcomings, Christmas does make life better for some people (though certainly not all). Some people hold the holiday as a sacred occasion. It gives some people an occasion to enjoy the company of family and friends. For others, it evokes warm memories of years gone by. Some simply enjoy the pretty lights and the chance to stuff themselves with yummy eats. In general, I think it’s wrong to put down activities that make people happy, as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others in the process, even if such activities don’t do much for me. So, this year I won’t be complaining about Christmas. Continue reading »

Aug 052013

Luc Lemay clearly has a split personality. One of them is a modernist composer, capable of creating intricate, avant-garde pieces fit for performance by a chamber orchestra, but transposed to the standard gear of a metal band. The other is a ravenous beast the size of a house. Gorguts’ new album, Colored Sands, is the result of a beautiful partnership between those two unexpectedly amicable facets of Lemay’s personality.

But although Lemay may be the visionary-in-chief of this ground-breaking band, it must quickly be said that Colored Sands owes much to the other people he enlisted for the first Gorguts recording in more than a decade. Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston added their own string arrangements to Lemay’s compositions, in addition to each writing a song of his own for the album, and drummer John Longstreath stands out every bit as much, throughout the album, as the trio of other unusually skilled performers.

Given the impressive collection of talent behind the new release and the reverence with which Gorguts’ previous albums are discussed among serious aficionados of technical death metal, expectations for Colored Sands have been high. Under those circumstances, the current foursome would be forgiven if they had fallen short, but they didn’t. Continue reading »

Jul 292013

The day is still young out here in the Pacific Northwest, but it has already brought us a handful of notable premieres. Without further ado, here’s one of them (more to come).


The new Gorguts album, Colored Sands, is so full of win it almost beggars description. Nevertheless, in due course we will attempt to do it justice in a review. In the meantime, Decibel magazine has given us the premiere of a third song from the album, and this time it’s the title track. Here’s what the band’s founder Luc Lemay has said about the song:

“‘Colored Sands’ tells the story about the intricate, poetic, mystic ritual of drawing sand mandalas. Tibetan pilgrims can walk for months, sometime a whole year, prostrating face to the ground every tree footsteps until they reach the place where the mandala will be executed.

Once the mandala completed, the monks will dismantle the mandala, and take the sands to the closest stream of water. This stream will bring the sands to the river, the river to the immensity of the ocean to spread the mandala’s peace and beauty to the planet…

The single harmonic, in the beginning of the song, pictures a single grain of sand hitting the ground…then with the pattern in 5 slowly appearing, illustrates the five elements in the Tibetan philosophy such as: air, water, fire, earth and space which are embodied in the mandala through their specific colors. From there the mandala slowly takes form in the music.” Continue reading »

Jul 102013

Is it too soon to add the new Gorguts album, Colored Sands, to Best of 2013 year-end lists? I suppose it is, since we only have two songs from the new album to go on, but holy hell, are they good!

The newest one just premiered at Blabbermouth. It’s called “An Ocean Of Wisdom”. It’s heavy as hell, dark as night, and instrumentally acrobatic (as you would expect). It manages to be a dense, dynamic, complex, brutal, and atmospheric song all at the same time, while also providing the kind of top-shelf instrumental performances we knew the talent in this band would deliver.

Colored Sands will be released on August 30 in Europe and September 3 in North America via Season Of Mist. Here’s “An Ocean of Wisdom” (and big thanks to Vonlughlio for tipping me about this): Continue reading »