Aug 022022

(Andy Synn takes a look at four albums from last month you may have missed)

Due to stress and pressure from my work/life outside of the site (yes, it’s true, I do have a life beyond NCS) I’ve not been able to write as much as I wanted to in July.

Hell, to be quite honest with you I’ve been on the cusp of burnout for the last couple of months, so trying to collect my thoughts together into something resembling a cohesive article has been much more difficult than usual.

Music, however, remains both a passion and a panacea for the pain, and without it I think I’d be in a much worse place.

So let’s celebrate the healing power of music – and the fact that, hopefully, things look like they’re starting to settle down for me – with four albums which you may have overlooked last month.

Continue reading »

Jul 102022


This edition of our usual Sunday column is long-delayed. The last one was on June 19th. I made choices to write about on June 26th but then didn’t have time to do it that day, after pulling together a gigantic “Overflowing Streams” round-up to make up for the one I didn’t do on the day before. And then the Sunday after that, July 3rd, I was helping with the immediate aftermath of Northwest Terror Fest, including some celebrating with the rest of the festival volunteers.

What to do today? I was tempted to just write about the choices I originally made for June 26th, but I felt the itch of trying to stay focused on the newest of the new, an itch that’s ever-present and immune to treatment. So I kind of split the difference, with a couple of choices from two weeks ago and one more recent pick.


I had the pleasure of seeing Carl Sk performing with Obsequiae at the afore-mentioned Northwest Terror Fest. It was a reminder of what a great band that is, but also a reminder that I had failed to help spread the word about the new album from Carl‘s band Inexorum. That album, Equinox Vigil, was one of my picks for that June 26th installment of this column that never got off the ground, but it would be shameful of me to let any more time go by without urging you to hear it if you haven’t. Continue reading »

Apr 282022


(Comrade Aleks has completed a long-gestating interview with Denis Susarev from the excellent Russian post-black metal band Ultar, who will have a new album coming in 2022, and the results of this very interesting are set forth below.)

Post-black metal band Ultar from Krasnoyarsk was re-formed from Deafknife in 2016 and soon gained a reputation as a creative band with with good taste and vision. Speaking about Ultar’s creative side, I need to mention abother outfit featuring four of Ultar’s members – it’s Grima. Both bands perform black metal in a similar vein and yet both follow their own paths. While Ultar’s last album Pantheon MMXIX saw the light of day in 2019, Grima’s fourth album Rotten Garden was released in 2021, as well as the live album The Mighty Spirit.

I had my own interest in interviewing Ultar but the process dragged on for months, and you know what happened in February. However we’ve made the decision to complete and publish the interview now right after Grima‘s return from their short tour abroad. Naturmacht Productions brought Grima’s Siberian sorrows in Tallinn. Here are the words of Denis Susarev (guitars, keyboards):

“We recently returned from Estonia, where most of Ultar played a show in Tallinn as members of the Grima project, which may have been a bit of a precedent given what’s been going on in the world over the last few months. In spite of everything, the concert went just fine, Tallinn met us with a full hall of wonderful, kind and open people who received us wonderfully. It’s nice to see that our listeners understand that art in general and music in particular can and should be perceived outside the context of any political events, no matter what people around say about it. This is extremely valuable and we are grateful to everyone who shares this.”

And here we have Denis’ answers regarding Ultar and its perspectives. Continue reading »

Jan 032021


Here we are, in this uncertain in-between time, with one foot still in the old year (because it seems to keep moving forward, refusing to let go) and one foot in the new year (which isn’t exactly providing solid ground to stand on). And so it is in the micro-world of extreme metal, when we’re still catching up with late-year releases while looking ahead to what’s coming in 2021. What you’ll find in this blackened round-up is a mix of such things.


To begin, I’ve chosen two songs that appeared during the last two months of 2020, both of which are part of an album entitled Siste stopp skjærsilden that’s planned for release later this month. The band is Noen Hater Oss from Stavanger, Norway, which began as the solo project of Raum and now also includes vocalist Morloc. Their discography includes a demo and two full-lengths, but they are new to me. Continue reading »

Jul 072019


As you can see, I’ve planned a two-part SOB again. I doubt I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today, and even if I do, I think I’ll defer it to Monday anyway. With so many new-music round-ups lately, I’m afraid we’re at risk of overloading people already, especially because this Part 1 includes four full releases in addition to the two advance tracks I’ve placed at the beginning (and there are additional complete releases in what I have in mind for Part 2)..


We’ve been closely following the progress of the Spanish band Noctem since 2011, when they released their second album, Oblivion. Four of us have written about the band over the years since then, amassing 16 different posts about them (including two interviews). Obviously, we are fans. But we have equally been persistently curious about what they would do next.

Noctem’s music has always been a blend of death and black metal, but the sound hasn’t remained stagnant. It might go too far to say there has been a continuous trajectory over time, but in general it seems like in the earlier years they were more death-metal focused, whereas the last album, 2016’s Haeresis, leaned more toward the black metal elements in their sound. Based on the title track from their new album, The Black Consecration, it sounds like they’re leaning even harder in that direction, and have in other ways made shifts in sound from their last record. Continue reading »

Jan 222017


Tales of the Enchanted Woods is the second album by the Siberian atmospheric black metal band Grima, and it is now set for release by Naturmacht Productions on February 25. Today we bring you the premiere of the album’s second track, “The Moon and Its Shadows“.

Grima is two-person endeavor (Velhelm and Morbius) that has existed since 2014 as a studio-only project, with a pagan ethos “based on the worship of the elder forest, its power and magic, where the Grima is a supreme god… a powerful spirit, who protects only those who live in a forest, and punishes everyone who does not respect nature”. Continue reading »

Nov 142015

Anchorage temperature


This is my last morning in Anchorage for my fucking day job, at least for this trip. When I woke up before sunrise it was 3°F. Now the sun is up, and it’s 1°F — that’s One Degree. I’m definitely ready to come home.

In between packing and eating a formidable breakfast at the Snow City Cafe a few blocks from my hotel I listened to a trio of new songs and watched one new video that I enjoyed. I thought you might like them, too.


This Denver trio released an EP named Unholy Death in 2011, which followed a five-track demo in 2010 named Burn. Now they’ve completed a debut album entitled Void To Enlightenment, which features cover art by the masterful Sam Nelson (Stigma) and is due for release on December 12 (CD and digitally). The band recently released the album’s first single, “Incantations of Old”, and it’s fascinating. Continue reading »