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 »

Mar 022017


(Grant Skelton returns to NCS with this review of the brilliant new album by Frowning.)

Today I have the pleasure of presenting one of my early favorites from 2017, a stream/review of the new album Extinct by Germany’s Frowning. You may know Val Atra Niteris, the “man behind the curtain” of Frowning, as a member of the DSBM band Heimleiden. Also in Val’s repertoire is the blackened doom project Ad Cinerem, whose vocalist Hekjal appears on Extinct.

Frowning’s origin dates back to 2011, in which the band released a series of singles. One of those songs, the evocative instrumental “Day In Black” would later resurface on Frowning’s first full-length album. Three years later, Frowning released said debut album, entitled Funeral Impressions, along with Of Graves, Of Worms, And Epitaphs, a split with Aphonic Threnody. Extinct is Frowning’s second full-length album.

With the exception of the exquisite cover of Chopin’s “Marché Funebré,” Extinct consists of four dismal dirges which gradually progress in length. “Nocturnal Void,” the first track, is just shy of 10 minutes, while the sullen epic “Buried Deep” is over twice that. But what distinguishes Extinct is musicianship and songcraft. Let me explain what I mean. Continue reading »

Jan 062017


(Last fall we published a post by NCS contributor Grant Skelton about a then-forthcoming anthology of weird fiction, horror, and speculative fiction named The Book of Blasphemous Words, in which one of Grant’s own stories had been accepted for publication. The publication date of the book is now fast approaching, and we agreed to let Grant provide a reminder, along with some other benefits — including scatterings of metal music.)

Hello readers! I’ve been a contributor here at our beloved metal blog for a little over 2 years. In that time, I’ve done my best to bring you metal-related content that’s relevant, engaging, and thought-provoking. And since you’ve put up with my madness for that time, I’ve got a little treat for you. A way to say thanks for reading all the nonsense in my reviews and Seen & Heard contributions. Continue reading »

Jan 062017


(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks brings us a new interview with the Canadian band Zaum, whose new album Eidolon was released last fall.)

I already introduced NCS readers to this psychedelic mantra doom from Canada when I Hate Records released Zaum’s debut album Oracles. After two years of tours and recordings (which was also marked by Zaum’s participation in the Himalaya to Mesopotamia split album) the duo of Kyle McDonald (bass, synths, vocals) and Chris Lewis (drums, percussion) return with another full-length work named Eidolon. The band’s main songwriter Kyle shed some light on the result of his musical meditations. Continue reading »

Dec 302016




(NCS contributor Grant Skelton prepared four year-end lists that we’ve been posting this week, and this is the last of them. The first one focused on thrash, the second one on death metal, and the third on doom.)

The term “miscellaneous” carries with it certain negative connotations. We tend to think of “miscellany” as something that’s an afterthought, something with a chink in its greatness, if even a small one. But that isn’t the case here.

I created this post for 2 reasons. First, several of the bands in this list defy classification so much that I opted not to include them in a particular “best of” genre list. Second, I found that I didn’t have enough metal from a particular genre to warrant doing a “best of” list specifically for that genre.

It pleases me to say that 4 of the albums on this list are black metal albums. I’ve dabbled in black metal before. But as the year has drawn to a close, I’ve been making a point to listen to more. So if you’re a relative novice to black metal (like me), I believe you’ll find several bands in this list that will be worth your while. So let’s get started. Continue reading »