Aug 292020

Fates Warning


(Because your humble NCS editor has done a shit job compiling new-music round-ups in recent weeks, our contributor Gonzo stepped up and offered to begin doing that himself on Fridays, and this is the first edition. It actually would have been posted yesterday, on Friday, except your humble editor fucked that up too.)

Suffice to say, it’s been a fucking weird year.

Weirder, perhaps, is the fact that so much new music keeps rolling out from all corners of the earth; weirder still is that most of it is quality material instead of half-assed live albums, comps, EPs, singles and cover albums.

Most of it.

(I’m looking at you, In Flames.)

Before I start spiraling into a tirade about my odious thoughts on the Clayman reboot, allow me to get right to it: Yesterday, August 28, marked another Friday in this endlessly bizarre, dystopian and occasionally terrifying timeline we all just call “2020,” and it marked another day of new metal coming to assault our eardrums.

This one’s a glorious mix of old and new, and some stuff I’ve been anxiously awaiting for a while. Continue reading »

Jan 142019


After a weekend break I’m resuming the rollout of this 2018 Most Infectious Song list. As you can see, I have three new entries today, and will now begin including more threesomes in addition to twosomes in an effort to gather more songs in this growing collection before I force myself to stop (but don’t worry, we’ll probably be deep into February before that happens).

Unlike some of the preceding installments of this list, there’s no particular organizing principle behind my grouping of these three tracks, other than the usual factor that I’m addicted to all of them. (To check out the previous installments, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


As you’ll have learned by now, I haven’t limited myself, in selecting songs for this list, to 2018 albums that were widely discovered and widely praised through year-end lists. But Dödsrit’s Spirit Crusher happens to be one that did receive significant year-end accolades, including a place in our own Andy Synn‘s list of the year’s Great albums, as well as his Personal Top 10 for the year (not to mention placements in many other lists we published in our 2018 LISTMANIA series). Continue reading »

Mar 152018


I was tremendously impressed by Endless, the 2014 debut demo by this band from my old hometown of Austin, Texas, so much so that I attempted to be more poetic than usual in my enthusiastic review. It was thus exciting to discover that Hinayana would be releasing a debut album named Order Divine on March 19th. Having now become immersed in the album for days, it has proven to be even more impressive than Endless. And so it is our great pleasure to share a full stream of the album with you today.

In the simplest terms, the music here is doom-influenced melodic death metal, but of a kind that consistently reaches heights of epic grandeur. Embracing moods of defiance, loss, and grim but glorious triumph, the dramatic, blood-pumping songs are capable of transporting listeners far, far away from the mundane, drab events of daily life, sending emotions soaring and thoughts flying into mythic realms. Continue reading »

Feb 272018


I’m beginning today’s round-up with two recent videos, which are quite different both visually and musically but which share two common features: Both were directed and produced by the same person (Eric Revill-Dews of Bigger Boat Film), and both include the voice of our own Andy Synn, in all its increasingly varied range of tones.

And then I’m following those two wonderful videos/songs with a selection of other recently discovered releases that also helped make my listening session last night a real joy.


Until watching this first video for the song “Dying Earth” I had no idea that any place in England could look as vast, as inhospitable, or as starkly beautiful as Derbyshire in the wintertime. Until reading the credits I assumed that the three grim-visaged gentlemen in Twilight’s Embrace had smuggled themselves on board a flight to Scandinavia (though of course I’ve never been there either). Apart from teaching me something new about the landscape of England, the video also proved to be a wonderful match for the music… which is itself as powerfully moving as the vision of those snow-covered reaches. Continue reading »

Nov 162015



In this post I’m reviewing two very different EPs that I discovered only in the last few days but have enjoyed immensely — and by sheer coincidence both bands happen to be based in the place of my birth, Austin, Texas.


Hinayana is the solo project of an Austin musician named Casey Hurd, and Endless is the name of the band’s first demo (released in August 2014). It doesn’t sound like a first stab at creativity, but more like the confident and well-crafted output of a mature band hitting its stride.

The music is a doom-influenced outpouring of melodic death metal, with iron at its core and streamers of beautiful melody swirling around it like phosphorescent creatures in a black, heaving sea. The melodies are moving and memorable, and as the EP progresses, Hurd pitches the intensity in a cycle that ebbs and flows like tides. Big groaning riffs are balanced by rippling lead guitar motifs that really shine. Staggering guitar and bass jabs trade places with the soft pulse of isolated notes. Astral keyboard waves glimmer above dismantling doom chords. The melancholy music sinks like weighted corpses in the deep, yet rises up like a blazing sunrise — the agony and the ecstasy. Through it all, Hurd’s cavernous roars deepen the songs’ wrenching pall of magnificent gloom. Continue reading »