Mar 202017

Photo by Stig Persson

(Andy Synn presents a collection of songs to celebrate the International Day of Happiness, which the UN has established as March 20th — today!)

How are we all doing today? Good?

I only ask because today is apparently International Day of Happiness, so we should all be feeling that little bit brighter and sprightlier as a result.

Today is also the day when the UN releases their annual World Happiness Report and, wouldn’t you know it, but our Norwegian brethren (and lady-brethren) have only gone and dethroned the Danish as the world’s happiest nation!

So, in tribute to this momentous occasion, here are five bands who help make Norway the happiest place on earth. Continue reading »

Sep 242014


(In this post we present Andy Synn’s review of the forthcoming second album by Norway’s Hellish Outcast and an exclusive premiere of the song “Heresiarch.)

It’s always nice to see a band you love progress and move forward. Whether it’s in terms of getting proggier and weirder, or just downright heavier and nastier, it’s always such a joy to watch them grow up.

Case in point: It’s been two and a half years since Hellish Outcast unleashed their debut album of fist-clenching riffage and throat-bursting agony on the world, but it’s clear that they’ve not been idle in the intervening time.

No, they’ve been sharpening their knives, honing their skills, and biding their time. And now they’re ready for war once again.

Faster, heavier… fundamentally darker and more malevolent than ever, Stay of Execution improves on the band’s debut in pretty much every way, drastically ramping up the kill-count with a merciless display of calculated lethality and an undercurrent of sinister, progressive melody. Continue reading »

Jan 272014

(When I was setting things in motion for our year-end LISTMANIA series, I invited Mads Lilletvedt (composer and drummer for Norway’s Hellish Outcast) to send in his list of favorite albums from 2013. As you’re about to find out, he didn’t really have a list, but he did have some things to share that I’ve been saving for the right occasion. And since earlier today we got a bit of a teaser about the new Hellish Outcast album from Andy Synn, now seems the right time.)

A few weeks ago I got asked to do a guest post for the prominent webzine NoCleanSinging naming the releases I’ve enjoyed the most this past year. Initially I was stumped by the question, instantly wondering if I had listened to anything at all this year!? My mind was completely blank, and especially as I interpreted the request to concentrate on releases from this past year. The year of doom. 2013.

It took me about 30 minutes time to reflect on what new music I had been spending my precious time around. It seemed that not one single track released in 2013 had stolen as much as a fraction of my concentration… whatever album I had raped was from either the 70’s, 80’s, or 2012… mostly… ‘cos I’m an album raper. I pick up an old gem and listen to it back to back for weeks. Months even. I get obsessed with the soundscapes of that particular recording, and never change it for anything else until I’m sick of it.

And therefore the newest music, ‘cos I do like to check out new music as well, is already at least one year old before I carve some time in my schedule to check it out. Anyway – uninterestingly enough – the latest “new” album I had spent some time with was Opeth’s Heritage. A slightly different approach to the progressive death metal I’m used to from that lot. However – great fucking drumming! But it wouldn’t be interesting for anyone to read yet another dissection of this odd rarity of a jazz album, with a slight refuse to any actual and obvious metal heritage…! Continue reading »

Jan 272014

(Here’s another installment of Andy Synn’s irregular series devoted to his favorite things that come in fives. Seems like a good occasion to sound off on what you’re looking forward to as well, so please leave Comments.)

Now this is an easy one… and a hard one… to write.

Easy… because there are SO many awesome albums coming out this year to choose from.

Hard… because there are TOO many awesome albums coming out this year to choose from!

Still, here’s a selection of five to whet your appetite. (Note – some nepotism involved) Continue reading »

Apr 032013

While the band drama surrounding Norway’s Keep of Kalessin continues to unfold, Sunday brought cheerier news from the camp of another NCS favorite, Hellish Outcast.

The background: As our wandering metalhead Andy Synn reported from Oslo just as the news was breaking, and discussed at greater length in his own subsequent post about Opening Day at the Inferno Festival, Keep of Kalessin have disclosed that their talented frontman Thebon is out, and their founder, songwriter, and guitarist Obsidian Claw has taken his place behind the mic.

At first KoK reported, with tongue in cheek, that Thebon had disappeared into the wilds of South Africa with his girlfriend, leaving the band no choice but to record their next album without him.

Thebon then surfaced with a somewhat peeved rejoinder. As these things go, KoK then responded with a lengthy, less tongue-in-cheek explanation for Thebon’s ouster. The recriminations will probably continue, because that’s the way band drama works.

But I don’t really enjoy reading about band drama. I much prefer reading about the other news that’s the subject of this post. While Thebon’s days with KoK may be over, he’s still a fixture in Hellish Outcast, and Hellish Outcast will soon be entering the studio to record a new album, tentatively entitled Stay of Execution. Continue reading »

Oct 242012

Here’s another round-up of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I didn’t have room to include in yesterday afternoon’s post (the one that included new offerings from Aeon, Tardive Dyskinesia, and Zubrowska): New videos from Hellish Outcast (Norway) and Rwake (U.S.), new Paolo Girardi artwork and bittersweet news about Blasphemophagher (Italy), and a new song from Momentum (Iceland).


Please tell me you already know about this band.  If you can’t tell me that, then please read Andy Synn’s review of their 2012 album, Your God Will Bleed. It included such gems as this:

“Not only do Hellish Outcast not do black metal, they also don’t do nice. Or comfortable. Or anything less aggressive than a rabid pit-bull that’s been force-fed a diet of sand and barbed wire. In fact, this album is so damned aggressive, so utterly hate-filled, that it should come with a warning label along the lines of:

Danger – the levels of testosterone and aggression on this album could cause permanent damage to your underlying genetic structure.”

Or maybe you read Andy’s review and skipped the music because you wished to preserve your current genetic structure. If so, then you’ll probably want to skip Hellish Outcast’s brand new official video for “Djinn”. Since I already have a mutated genetic structure, I dived right in.

Fuckin’ love this song, from the skin-flaying death/thrash start straight through to the infernal melodic slow-down at the end. Video accompaniment is live performance footage from the Inferno Fest, edited by the band’s vocalist Thebon (Keep of Kalessin).  Prepare to be mutated. Continue reading »

Jul 202012

(NCS writer Andy Synn waxes viciously eloquent in this review of the 2012 album by an NCS favorite — Norway’s Hellish Outcast.)

Ah Norway. Home of black metal. Land of beauty and darkness… Where exactly are you pulling all these killer death/thrash bands from right now?! Just off the top of my head, the last few years have seen the return to life of Cobolt 60, and some truly awesome records by The Konsortium and The Wretched End. And now you can add Hellish Outcast to the mix as well.

While The Konsortium keep the black metal quotient pretty high with a heavy dose of dark, esoteric weirdness, and The Wretched End will always have sonic ties to Emperor, due to Samoth’s inimitable writing and playing style, Hellish Outcast have taken several further steps away from the sound of their homeland, creating a sound that’s all knives and knuckledusters, delivered with a cruel sneer and a priapic swagger.

Not only do Hellish Outcast not do black metal, they also don’t do nice. Or comfortable. Or anything less aggressive than a rabid pit-bull that’s been force-fed a diet of sand and barbed wire. In fact, this album is so damned aggressive, so utterly hate-filled, that it should come with a warning label along the lines of:

Danger – the levels of testosterone and aggression on this album could cause permanent damage to your underlying genetic structure.

Continue reading »

May 222011

Sunday’s usually aren’t big days for news about the release of new metal. But this morning brought my bleary eyes a few revelations (and no, I haven’t foreseen Armageddon). One discovery concerns a Norwegian band called Hellish Outcast who we’ve featured here before. The other came via an e-mail recommendation from ElvisShotJFK – a reader who’s been with us since early days at NCS. It’s a slice of instrumental metal from a German band called Nimbatus, whose entire discography happens to be available at no charge.

This music is all really good, despite being on nearly opposite poles of the metal sphere. So, I thought I’d throw this post together on the spur of the minute. For those of you who couldn’t be bothered to wade through that book-length post we put up a bit earlier today, all you’ve got to do with this one is just close your eyes and listen.


The last time we checked in with this band (about a month ago), they’d just released an official music video for a song called “Face Forced Down”, which appears on their debut album, Your God Will Bleed. (Go here to check out that video.) We thought that song was a crushing aural onslaught by some dudes who know what the fuck they’re doing: Thebon (Keep of Kalessin‘s vocalist), Mads Lillevedt (a/k/a Alkolust, the drummer for Byfrost), bassist Max Morbid (BREED), and guitarist Martin Legreid (66Crusher). As of this morning, we’ve got two more new songs from the album to set our heads on fire. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Apr 202011

I’m still in guerilla mode (or gorilla mode) here at NCS — short on time and only able to burst through the door, throw randomized pieces of music your way, and then vanish, while relying on our other regular contributors and guests to do the real writing. In this post, I’ve got new songs from three Norwegian bands whose music covers a wide swath of the Norwegian metal landscape: Hellish Outcast66Crusher, and Taake. We’re even making an exception to the normal rule around here with some clean singing. All this music is righteous, so do check it out.


What do you get when you combine Thebon (Keep of Kalessin‘s vocalist), Mads Lillevedt (a/k/a Alkolust, the drummer for Byfrost), bassist Max Morbid (BREED), and guitarist Martin Legreid (66Crusher)? You get Hellish Outcast. We first came across this band for one of our MISCELLANY posts last July (you can read about that here). At that time, Thebon had just joined the band, and they were working on a debut album. Lacking new music, we focused on a 2008 EP called Raping-Killing-Murder, which we liked a lot.

Hellish Outcast has now finished that full-length — Your God Will Bleed — and Terrorizer has just premiered an official video for the song “Face Forced Down”. My reaction? I think someone left the gates of Hell unlocked and these dudes got out. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 252010

Time for another installment of this Twitter-ish log in which I presume you’re interested in how I spent my morning, skipping over such vital details as what I ate for breakfast, what I’m wearing, and where my cat is licking himself right now.

Have no fear, this is just a log of the metal I listened to and watched in my latest internet browsing session — following up on press releases, MySpace add requests, and e-mail recommendations, and just some general fucking around. In all cases (with one exception), I had no previous exposure to the bands, and so no real clue whether what I found would be good, bad, or indifferent.

So, here’s what I did, in order of doing it, with no filtering and no guarantees that any of this will be worth your time — though I’m guessing most of what I found will be as new to you as it was to me. The bands I checked out are: Hellish Outcast (Norway); Citi (California); Episode 13 (Turkey); Darkness Dynamite (France); The Forrest Gump Mile High Marathon (Mars); and the one exception mentioned above, Bloodbath (Sweden).


I started off by exploring the music of Hellish Outcast, which is from that historical hot-bed of black metal, Bergen, Norway. We’d received a press release announcing the news that Thebon, frontman for the awesome Keep of Kalessin, would be joining Hellish Outcast as its new vocalist. (Have no fear KOK fans, Thebon hasn’t left that band, he’s just pulling double-duty). And then I found out that one of Hellish Outcast’s founders and its current drummer is Mads Lillevedt, who’s a member of the also-awesome Bergen band Byfrost. (We reviewed the latest albums by KOK and Byfrost here and here.)

That was more than enough incentive to visit the band’s MySpace page (here) and listen to some tunes from their 2008 EP, with the inviting title, Raping – Killing – Murder. And I’ll tell you what I thought — after the jump. Continue reading »