Sep 192023

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of Common Suffering, the new album by Chicago’s Harm’s Way which will be released by Metal Blade on September 28th.)

Here is a band I was reluctant to give a chance due to the whole straight-edge thing. Given my personal beliefs and lifestyle choices, the straight-edge sub-genre feels conflicting in the same way that causes me to avoid Christian bands.

I was lured into being more open-minded thanks to King Woman’s Kristina Esfandiari guesting on the single “Undertow”. The simmering darkness and willingness to explore eerie melodies set the Chicago band apart from the tough-guy hardcore I expected from them. Thus began my descent into their fifth full-length Common Suffering.

Their second album for Metal Blade carries a great deal of crossover appeal, though from a different angle than their previous release Posthuman, and I felt inspired enough by this album to dig back into their catalog and visit that as well. Continue reading »

Aug 172023

Oh look! Another mid-week roundup of new music, and it’s even more voluminous than the one I managed yesterday.

To give you a bit of a roadmap to what’s ahead, I’m starting with a perennial NCS favorite from Australia, then moving into an absolutely devastating block of U.S. metallic hardcore, then veering off in all sorts of other different directions.

THE AMENTA (Australia)

The Amenta decided to record a bunch of cover songs by a very eclectic group of bands, ranging from the black metal of Nazxul and Lord Kaos to Alice In Chains, Diamanda Galas, Killing Joke, Wolf Eyes, Halo, and… wait for it… My Dying Bride.

As if the prospect of these covers wouldn’t be titillating enough on their own to pique our interest (because we know a band like The Amenta aren’t going to play it straight with any of those songs), the 40-minute “EP” that includes the covers also presents a new original song, which is the subject of a video that debuted yesterday. Continue reading »

Jul 182023


Today is the 199th day of 2023. On this day in history, among many other instances of idiocy and abuse, the First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility and Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf. It’s also the birthday of Nelson Mandela, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Hunter Thompson, Vin Diesel, Geno Suarez of the Seattle Mariners, and maybe you, as well as the death-day of Caravaggio, Jane Austen, Benito Juarez, Machine Gun Kelley, and hopefully not you.

It also happens to be a rare weekday when I had time to pull together a roundup of recommended new songs and videos, which has nothing to do with commemoration of any of the preceding events. There’s so much here that I’ve throttled my usual descriptive verbosity (Satan knows there’s more than enough hot air in the atmosphere today already) and left aside some of the cover art until I can upload it later today. (Presented alphabetically by band name, which led to some interesting juxtapositions).

BAXAXAXA (Germany)

Prepare for: low-end rumbling and thrumming plus grim vibrating riffage, immense jolting chugs and ethereal gothic synths, dragging tones of agony and fanatical serrated-edge yells. The experience is menacing and morbid, feral and ferocious, infernal and infectious…. Continue reading »

Mar 292015


So here’s how this post came about. I woke up this morning, caffeinated and nicotined myself, and started browsing Facebook to see if any world leaders were trying to get in touch. Within the first 20 seconds I spied a link to a new Coliseum video for a new Coliseum song. Of course, I had to see what that was about, because there’s on such thing as a bad Coliseum video. This new one gave me a surprise, but not an unpleasant one.

It turned out that Coliseum’s label (Deathwish Inc.) had queued up a playlist on YouTube without my realizing it, and so as soon as the Coliseum video finished, a song from a band named Bitter End started playing. And it hit the right chord in my addled brain. No sooner had it ended than a full-album stream launched, for a new release by Harm’s Way. The first couple of tracks beat me senseless, and so I just sat there, hunched over and black and blue, and let them finish what they’d started.

With blood running from my nose and ears, I thought I’d better stop before that Deathwish playlist served up something else because, y’know, I’d like to make it to lunchtime without rupturing my spleen. So I went back to Facebook and pretty quickly got a recommendation from KevinP about a metal band named Consummation. And since the first collection of music I’d heard wasn’t pure metal, I thought I’d give that a shot — and so here we are. Continue reading »

Jul 242013

Here are a few things I’ve seen and heard recently that I think are worth recommending. I’m in catch-up mode on these round-ups, so there will be a second one a bit later today.


Chimaira have a new album, Crown of Phantoms, coming on July 30 via eOne Music. Yesterday my comrade Andy Synn alerted me to the fact that Chimaira had released a re-make of “The Dehumanizing Process” from their second album, The Impossibility of Reason (2003). It’s sub-titled the “Slow and Low Mix”, and man, it caught me off guard. It’s like Chimaira-meets-Gojira.

I approve. If you’re going to re-do one of your own songs, you might as well really re-do it, especially if you’ve now got guitarists Emil Werstler and Matt Szlachta to put their spin on the original. This is a heavy-bottomed, heavy-grooved, vicious little monster. I’d like to keep it as a pet.

I don’t see this song on the new album’s track list. According to Chimaira’s mainman Mark Hunter, “No, we’re not remaking the record. This was just for fun to celebrate 10 years of Impossibility.” Well, mission accomplished: this is fun. Listen next. Continue reading »