Jan 252017


In this 17th part of our 2016 Most Infectious Song list, I’m adding three songs that were all made for headbanging, or at least vigorous head-nodding, knee-bobbing, and toe-tapping, even though they’re scattered across different parts of the metal musical map.


I’ve been meaning to write about WarCrab and their 2016 album Scars of Aeons (released digitally by Black Bow Records) but so far haven’t succeeded. The album did appear on Grant Skelton’s year-end list, where he wrote: “Warcrab’s breed of deathened sludge (sludgened death??) is certain to quench your rapacity for beefy slow-to-mid death metal”. And on May 1 of this year, the album is going to be released on CD for the first time by Transcending Obscurity. Continue reading »

Sep 062016

Khonsu-The Xun Protectorate


(DGR prepared this large roundup of new music streams, with one item added by the editor.)

I’ve been slowly gathering up this veritable feast of heavy metal for this roundup, basically doing my usual duty of being the last line of defense for metal news that often pops up and we didn’t catch right away for a variety of reasons. This time around, I’ve got a huge collection of six [now seven] different items, some of which I’m sure you’ve likely crossed paths with but we didn’t dedicate words to and others because they may not be in the usual NCS coverage wheelhouse. I even managed to include some serious lighter fare this time, to help brighten up the mood musically after the first two full onslaughts [now three] hit your musical listening systems.

So let’s kick this thing off with a real quick one that happened as I was writing this intro, and then dive into the meat of it and romp around in its innards for a while.



This one is going to be quick, mostly because there isn’t a huge block of heavy metal music proper — but it just happened, and I’ll be goddamned if I don’t say that I am immensely excited for this disc. Continue reading »

Aug 242016

Heaven Shall Burn-Wanderer


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn.)

Recipe for success: one part Bolt Thrower, one part Earth Crisis, one part Swedish Death Metal (of the more melodic variety), and a heavy helping of Germanic thrash. Garnish with relevant philosophical and socio-political themes and roast for 15-20 years in a blaze of righteous fury.

It’s a recipe which has served Heaven Shall Burn extremely well over the years, and, though there have certainly been some valid criticisms of the band for sticking too closely to their own formula at times, it’s one that’s been responsible for keeping the German firebrands right at the forefront of the European Metalcore scene (which, with its slightly more raw and Death Metal influenced sound, I’ve often considered to be subtly distinct from its eventually more commercialised American cousin).

So I don’t think it would have surprised anyone if, on their eighth full-length album, the band had simply elected to continue with the same sound which made Iconoclast, Invictus, and Veto so successful. Why fix what isn’t broken, after all?

But… unexpectedly… that’s not exactly what happened… Continue reading »

Jul 202016

Heaven Shall Burn-Wanderer


In yesterday’s Part 1 of this large round-up, I said I would post Part 2 later the same day. Someday I will learn that part-time metal bloggers who have actual paying jobs and/or families who occasionally need their attention should not make forecasts of what they plan to do on the blog. Not even what they think they will accomplish later the same day, or even in the next hour. That’s just laying the groundwork for stepping on your own crank, so to speak.

Anyway, here’s Part 2, which unlike yesterday focuses on new or newish music that I wanted to recommend rather than simply announcements. One silver lining to the delay is that it enabled me to add the first item in this collection, which appeared late yesterday.


Our small band of beleaguered writers at NCS includes some ardent (perhaps even slavish) fans of Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn. I count my own self on the slavish end of the spectrum. And so yesterday was a banner day, because… Continue reading »

Sep 302015



(This is Part II of a multi-part article prepared by our Russian friend Comrade Aleks. Part I is here.)

This is the second part of an article describing events that took place on the Eastern Front of World War II through the eyes of few extreme metal bands. This part is written with the musical help of Heaven Shall Burn, Marduk, Jucifer, Hell’s Domain, Vergeltung, and Tank; also here you will find exclusive comments from Darknation, Tales of Darknord, and Caducity… and some historical explanations from Wikipedia, of course, as such huge text would be pretty difficult for me to write and it could eat much more time. Continue reading »

Jan 072014

At long last, we begin our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. This is the fourth year I’ve compiled such a thing. With each year, the list has grown longer — last year I made myself stop only after the list had mushroomed to 56 tracks. I don’t know how long the 2013 list will be, because I’m still working on it. But I know what the first 3 songs will be, and if you continue reading you will know, too.

I will continue posting a pair of songs more or less daily until reaching the unknown end. The songs are unranked and appear in no particular order, because ordering them would be too difficult. If you’re wondering what this list is all about, go HERE.


Heaven Shall Burn are what you get when you force Earth Crisis and Bolt Thrower to conceive a child, and then have that child raised by At The Gates and Carcass, while supplementing their intellectual development with a steady diet of Kant, Marx, and Baudrillard.” That’s what Andy Synn wrote when he reviewed this long-running German band’s 2013 album, Veto, and it does make a kind of demented sense. Continue reading »

Nov 142013

Welcome brethren and sistren to this morning’s round-up of new music and videos that caught my attention over the last 24 hours. Metal makes everything better.


A day without Finnish metal is like a day without sunshine. And since we will have no actual sunshine here in Seattle today, we must brighten it with this new offering by the Helsinki hellions in MyGrain. Their latest album, Planetary Breathing, was released by Spinefarm in September, and today they’ve showered us with sex, beer, and rock ‘n’ roll via a new video for the song “Waking Up the Damned”.

Okay, to be honest, I didn’t see any actual sex in the video, unless you count some nice tongue action on the beer-drenched keyboard. And everyone else was pretty well drenched in beer as far as I can tell. And there sure as hell is some fine rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing grymm or frostbitten in this here music, just a load of groovy, head-nodding, body-moving, mosh-inducing, virally catchy fun — all captured extremely well in the video you’ll see next. Continue reading »

Sep 052013

Collected in this post are a handful of tours that I decided were worth mentioning, even though only the first one is within my grasp. I’m trying to be less self-centered. This is like trying to levitate, but I should get points for the effort, don’t you think?


Earlier today we posted Old Man Windbreaker’s review of the entire discography of Botanist. And only now I come to find out that Botanist will be here in The Emerald City at Highline along with two other stellar bands in little more than a month (October 13). One is the brain scrambling Behold… the Arcoptus (featuring Colin Marston on Warr Guitar, Mike Lerner on Guitar Guitar, and Weasel Walter on drums), and the other is Seattle’s own Lesbian, who are riding a big wave of entirely justified attention drawn by their latest album Forestelevision.

But this turns out to be just one stop on a brief West Coast tour by BtA. On October 12, Behold…the Arctopus and Botanist will be playing together with Agalloch and Eight Bells at Day 3 of the Fall Into Darkness festival in Portland (OR). And on October 11 BtA and Botanist will be playing Oakland along with a Bay Area band named Burmese. Continue reading »

Apr 292013

Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn have a long history of combining their viscerally ravaging music with a commitment to social justice (and animal rights). They’ve found heroes in many places and dedicated songs to them, most prominently on the trilogy of Iconoclast releases that ended with 2011’s Invictus. Their seventh album Veto — due for North American release tomorrow — follows this theme, with tracks commemorating the works of an African revolutionary named Thomas Sankara (“Land of the Upright Ones”), theologian Walter Schilling (“Antagonized”), and the anti-fascist International Brigades who fought against Franco during the Spanish Civil War (“53 Nations”). But the opening track on Veto is dedicated to perhaps the most unusual of the heroes who have inspired HSB’s music.

Reaching back to the 11th Century, “Godiva” draws lessons from the Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, England, to free the common people from oppressive policies instituted by her powerful husband, who ruled the region. Tired of her appeals on behalf of the suffering townspeople, the Earl of Mercer agreed to grant her requests on their behalf if she would ride nude through the town, thinking she would never do this. But of course, she did — or so the legend has it.

Risking embarrassment or personal humiliation to stand up for the rights of others may not be as dramatic as braving bullets or imprisonment, but the lesson about social conscience among the privileged seems no less relevant. As for the song itself, we’ll borrow from our recent review of this killer new album: “The band have never sounded more vital or alive than they do on fantastic opener ‘Godiva’, which builds from an opening of sublime melancholy into a veritable firestorm of scorching vocals and powerhouse riffs, revealing  a band as energetic, as pissed-off, and as driven, as ever.”

After the jump, get your first listen to “Godiva” via our premiere of Heaven Shall Burn’s official lyric video for Veto’s opening song. Continue reading »

Apr 112013

(In this post Andy Synn reviews the new album by Heaven Shall Burn, which will be released on April 30 in North America by Century Media.)

Heaven Shall BurnHeaven Shall Burn… what can I say? After 6 full length albums, countless split-releases, and one phenomenal live DVD, they still seem in no danger of running out of steam or righteous fury.

Heaven Shall Burn are what you get when you force Earth Crisis and Bolt Thrower to conceive a child, and then have that child raised by At The Gates and Carcass, while supplementing their intellectual development with a steady diet of Kant, Marx, and Baudrillard.

Their distinctive mix of death metal brutality, singular hardcore focus, and knack for captivating melody makes the band, to my mind at least, one of the most quintessentially “METAL” of all metal bands, with a foot (or a toe) in almost every sub-genre – yet retaining a sound that is both entirely their own and instantly recognisable.

Devastatingly metallic and furiously hardcore, without falling prey to stumbling cliché (no bone-headed breakdowns or tacked-on clean choruses here, thank you very much), their early work helped define what would become the European “MetalCore” (capitals very much intended) movement while simultaneously stepping beyond it. These days “Melodic Death Metal” or “Melodeath” are the most common terms attributed to the band, but above and beyond that they’re simply Heaven Shall Burn – with a well-defined and singular style all their own. Continue reading »