Jul 092018


(Grant Skelton wrote the following review as an introduction to our premiere of the new two song EP by the blackened death metal band Cryptic Hymn from Louisville, Kentucky.)

Kentucky’s Cryptic Hymn have been known to lurk about the shadowed corridors of No Clean Singing. In 2015, I had the pleasure of reviewing their amazing debut EP Gateways. Now, we are pleased to present their latest bastardized offering, The Vast Unknowing.

Cryptic Hymn christen us first with “Wretched Stimulation,” a title which yields a truly revolting visual in my reprobate imagination. This song is a blistered and ashen frolic that should glut any devotee of death metal. While offering plenty of speed, the track shows that Cryptic Hymn are not the least bit afraid of tempo changes. I could say you’ll find the track stuck in your head, but more than likely it will find its way into your veins. Continue reading »

Jun 202018


(Grant Skelton provides this review of a collaborative live recording by the Chicago doom band Disrotted and the Japanese harsh noise artist Guilty C, and introduces our premiere of a full stream of the sounds.)

In 2015, Disrotted contributed a gargantuan grotesquerie of a track for a split with Japanese powerviolence veterans Su19b. The track, entitled “Infernal Torment,” is nearly half an hour of droning, staggering madness. The song is a stroke of subversive genius, further compounded by the fact that Disrotted enlisted the help of Japanese noise artist Guilty C to collaborate on it. Continue reading »

May 042018


(Yesterday we posted Grant Skelton’s very interesting review of the unusual debut album by Death. Void. Terror. (brought forth last month by Iron Bonehead Productions), and today we’re following that with his e-mail interview of this mysterious entity, which is also… interesting.)


How was Death. Void. Terror. conceived? Whether musical or otherwise, what are some of the inspirations behind the music?

Death. Void. Terror. is an entity conceived for a single purpose: to serve as a vessel for the Great Monolith, a true sole true finality that we as practitioners are subservient to. There are no other inspirations, musical or otherwise. When I say we are vessels for the Great Monolith, I mean that we convey what is bestowed upon us by it and express this unconsciously through our recordings. Continue reading »

May 032018


(In this post Grant Skelton reviews the debut album by the mysterious band Death. Void. Terror. And we will soon follow this review with his interview of the band [now posted here].)

I’m finding that my avarice for the bizarre is increasing. This year, I’ve been getting lost in clandestine spaces of the interweb. Browsing through many an arcane reliquary, my nocturnal work schedule has been bolstered by drone, dark ambient, neofolk, and even harsh noise. These kinds of soundscapes fit in with my waking hours. And despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that many artists in such genres make music that is, simply put, unpleasant to hear, I am enthralled and even soothed by it.

One such eccentric release is the debut album from Death. Void. Terror. When Iron Bonehead Productions released a sample of To The Great Monolith I, I was instantly interested. The band’s PR release indicated that the 2 tracks were not songs, yea not even compositions. Continue reading »

Apr 272018


(Our friend Grant Skelton returns to NCS with this vivid review of the debut full-length by Virginia’s Foehammer, released on April 6 by Australopithecus Records. It is the second review of the album we’ve published.)

Foehammer’s self-titled EP, which was released in the spring of 2015, was one of the first ventures I made on my descent into doom metal. Up to that point I’d dabbled, almost exclusively, in extreme bands experimenting with increasing the speed at which they played. After nearly 20 years of such apoplectic throttling, something in my psyche (soul?) began to yearn for auditory victuals from the other end of the speed spectrum.

And I dove head-first into the boggy, bottom-heavy bombardment of “Stormcrow.” This track thumped my brain like a warclub. I couldn’t listen to it enough. So naturally I chomped at the bit to review the EP. It teased proficiency; giving us only a flash of what Foehammer could really do.

I’m glad to say that, three years later, Foehammer’s dormancy has ended! A full-length offering has arrived. It is a cavernous, blunt-skulled, Neanderthal brute entitled Second Sight. Continue reading »

Apr 192018


(Grant Skelton wrote this review of the debut album by the Greek/Finnish melodic doom metal band Aeonian Sorrow, released on March 28th.)


Aeonian Sorrow is the name of a new doom metal band masterminded by vocalist and songwriter Gogo Melone. Thanks to some networking via No Clean Singing’s ally Daniel Neagoe (Eye Of Solitude, Clouds), I had the pleasure of hearing Aeonian Sorrow’s debut, Into The Eternity A Moment We Are, prior to its release. With this album, fans of more melodic strains of doom metal are in for a gem. Also, make a point to behold the stirring wreckage depicted in the album’s art. Melone designed all of the band’s logos, and handled the album layout as well.

Joining Melone’s melancholic menagerie are drummer Saku Moilanen (Red Moon Architect), vocalist Alejandro Lotero (Exgenesis), guitarist Taneli Jämsä (Ghost Voyage, Hukutus), and bassist Pyry Hanski (Mörbid Vomit, Before the Dawn). From this creative collective were sewn seeds that would bring forth an entire orchard of languishing delights. Continue reading »

Apr 042018


(In this post Grant Skelton reviews a new anthology release collecting the music of the Mexican funeral doom band Abyssal, and shares news about Abyssal’s next album.)


“What are we? We live in the dark, everything we see it’s not what it appears to be. We are blind to this world, we are blind amongst ourselves, we live afraid. It is out feat that brings us to commit horrendous acts towards everything that surrounds us, fighting anger with anger, blood for blood. It’s our fear of finding out we are fragile and weak. Human figures on beautiful landscapes that is all we see, for we live in the abyssal plains… Music to be the companion on those long struggles for a better world, doesn’t matter the sound, when melody and meaning come together we feel we are not alone, there’s someone beside us fighting the same fights.”
(From the MMVIII – MMXIV liner notes)



Tijuana, Mexico is the home of Abyssal, a funeral doom band whose upcoming 2018 album (more info on that later) should be on our radar. Although active for a decade, word about Abyssal seems scarce even in dedicated doom circles. Their first 2 albums (Blindness and Landscapes) had only been available on CD-R prior to this year. Thanks to Concreto Records, fans may now enjoy a proper physical release of those two albums as part of an anthology called MMVIII – MMXIV. Rounding out the anthology is Abyssal’s 2014 track “Ad Noctum”. Continue reading »

Jan 052018


(We present NCS contributor Grant Skelton’s excellent 2017 year-end list, curated to present dark releases that haven’t gotten as much attention as they deserve.)


Greetings friends! Regrettably, I’ve been more absent from NCS this year than I would have liked. My spouse and I have been unburdening ourselves of student loan debts, which meant more overtime, which then meant less free time for writing. We’ve a good way to go yet, but we’re much further along than we were. But, I digress. Onward to the list

I went for a bit of a different approach this year. Rather than breaking down the genres (and subsequently driving our editor-in-chief further into mental instability than he already is) I made a single list representing a variety of genres. A caveat: these albums are certainly not ALL of what I think deserves the title of “best” of this year’s releases. Below, you’ll see my criteria. Continue reading »

Sep 112017


Up to a point, you may detect a pattern in the arrangement of the music I’ve selected for this eight-band Monday round-up.

The new Spectral Voice song put me in a certain frame of mind, and that influenced the next three selections after it (my ever-burgeoning list of good new things to write about is so mammoth that I look wherever I can for inspiration to overcome the agony of having to make choices). And then I made a radical change of course for the fifth item, and it in turn inclined me toward the sixth one.

And then we have a video for a song that’s off on a different tangent that was inspired by the writing of our own Grant Skelton, followed by a finisher that’s off on another tangent again (but has a connection to something that precedes it in this collection).


The debut album by this Colorado band (with the same line-up as Blood Incantation, apart from the drummer) is entitled Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing. Based on their previous releases (a sequence of demos and splits) and the staggering live performance I witnessed at California Deathfest in 2016, this album has been on my personal list of most eagerly anticipated 2017 releases for a long time. It’s now set for release by Dark Descent on October 13. Continue reading »

Jul 072017


(We have a little-used category of posts that, for want of a better term, we call “Off Topic”. This is one of those “not metal” posts. But it also fits in another category of posts — “That’s Music — But It’s Not Metal” — which is too complicated to explain in detail, but basically refers to music that isn’t metal, but also kind of is “metal”. I’ll shut up now and let Grant Skelton take it from here.)

I used to loathe country music. Going to college near Nashville, the Mecca of country music, probably didn’t help. Metal was all I wanted to hear. That is, until I discovered late greats like Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zandt.

Whole libraries have been written on each of those two. And even among metal fans, Cash and Van Zandt seem to occupy something of a sacred place. Late last year, Islander gushed over Panzerfaust’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” referring to Cash as, “the most black metal country singer you can find.” Neurot Recordings has released two compilations (Volume I and Volume II) of Townes Van Zandt covers by Scott Kelly, Wino, Mike Scheidt, and Steve Von Till. Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand recorded her creepy rendition of Van Zandt’s song “Rake” for her self-titled 2015 solo album The much-hyped upcoming outlaw country cover album from DevilDriver (whether you hate that idea or love it) further underscores my point.

Don’t get me wrong, the country music you’ll hear on the radio is nothing more than the foul ordure of red-state identity politics. The songs aren’t songs, they’re lists of ideals and symbols that perpetuate a mythical, illusory way of life. But this article isn’t about that. It’s about artists whose music, while not metal in the slightest, I believe will still be meaningful and enjoyable to readers of our site. On my honor, here you will find no songs about girls in trucks. Continue reading »