Mar 202023

(Here we present Hope Gould‘s evocative review of the new album by Oregon-based Spirit Possession, which is nearing its March 31 release by Profound Lore Records.)

The year is 1987. You’ve got weekend plans to take your girl to see Dirty Dancing and the world isn’t even close to being sick of Rick Astley. Not long ago, Venom unleashed their brand of Satanic alcohol-sodden proto-thrash upon England. Soon after, a kid from Sweden built upon that sound by infusing the epic mid-tempos of Manowar and really hammered home the Satan-thing in a little project called Bathory. Hellhammer stripped it all down with their raw, punky approach, a German band called Sodom played speed metal riffs with a similar primitive execution, then Celtic Frost pushed all the limits with a more sophisticated songcraft that managed to keep all the bite.

It is this moment in time, upheld by raw aggression and suspended between definitive genres, that Portland’s Spirit Possession have set their flux capacitor. Continue reading »

Feb 202023


(On February 22nd Amor Fati Productions will release the second album by the multinational duo Bræ, and today we present the following review by Hope Gould.)

It would be easy to open and close this review with just naming the two prolific minds behind Bræ. For devotees to the obsidian underground, just the idea of Sweden’s one-man black metal factory Swartadauþuz, and Belgian ambient master Déhà, collaborating on a project is thrilling. And for those not yet acquainted, we could talk at length about their individual contributions and send you down a rabbit hole you won’t surface from for months. You should definitely still do that, but you should also know that Bræ’s new album stands on its own without the name-dropping. So, for now, let’s focus on what matters most – the music.

2021’s A Thousand Ways to End It All and the forthcoming Av Vålnader Bortom Allt follow the same formula: two tracks that each clock in around twenty epic minutes. Raw black metal is deconstructed into dark psychoactive ambience only Déhà could craft. Both releases are graced with spellbinding dungeon synth dripping in signature Swartadauþuz mysticism, which felt to me like the strongest parts of A Thousand Ways to End It All. The duo still brandishes an improvisational quality that won’t appeal to everyone, but they have a clearer grasp on direction in Av Vålnader Bortom Allt that keeps the soundscapes more immersive than the debut. There are also not one, not two, but eight very satisfying OUGH’s and if that doesn’t grab you, I’m afraid nothing will. Continue reading »

Dec 122022


(Hope Gould returns to NCS with this lively review of the forthcoming debut album by Boston-based black metal band Malleus.)

In 2016, Boston’s Malleus served up a wholly satisfying slab of first-wave-worship black metal with their debut EP, Storm of Witchcraft. Unmistakably channeling Bathory’s evil, primitive approach to Venömhead proto-thrash, Malleus drive their freshly sharpened necromantic blade deep into the heart of black metal’s beginnings. While many bands tap into the same necrotic root, Malleus capture a true metal vitality that is often imitated and rarely replicated.

Revisiting this approach in the subsequent tease of an EP, Night Raids, the underground was left eager for a further glimpse into their portal of the past. At long last, the sinister portal has been re-opened with the announcement of their debut full-length, The Fires of Heaven, set for release on January 27th through Armageddon Label. Continue reading »

Sep 142022

(We welcome the return of NCS contributor Hope Gould and her review a new EP by the Oregonian black/death band Diabolic Oath, out now on the Sentient Ruin label.)

Something evil haunts the Pacific Northwest. Beneath the quaintness of the moss and ferns lies a sickly, insidious rot. In recent years, the PNW’s underground has siphoned the contaminated soil of its foul minerals and tirelessly cultivates some seriously evil metal – and the soil is rich. This year alone has seen evil, grimy releases from the likes of Triumvir Foul, Hissing and Grave Infestation to name a few. Portland’s Diabolic Oath were cultivated from the very same soil, festered in it, and have again proven themselves to be a most odious force with their new EP, Aischrolatreia.

Diabolic Oath emerged conspicuously from the Oregon mire with their first full-length, 2020’s Profane Death Exodus. Setting them apart was their masterful use of fretless guitar and fretless bass to craft a warped soundscape over unconventional compositions. Aischrolatreia revisits this sound but takes on an even more hostile and raw approach. Bestial devotees are likely to find themselves being sucked into the aural filth while others who have not yet heard the call may find it a jarring journey. Continue reading »

Aug 052022

(Hope Gould prepared the following lusty review of two forthcoming releases that feature the deviant talents of Oregon’s Weregoat, a new full-length and a split with Eggs of Gomorrh.)

There’s a lot of merit in making love: Building the anticipation, savoring the smallest sensations, relishing in the way your partner’s body responds to your touch as the mutual hunger grows. Perhaps taking the time to create some ambience for the occasion, setting the stage for a beautiful exchange of energy and intimacy.

On the other hand, there’s a helluvalot of merit in hard ‘n’ fast fuckin’. With a career centered on unbridled, animalistic depravity, Weregoat know this all too well. Their forthcoming mini-album, coming in just shy of 23 minutes, packs all the punch they need to prove size may not always matter, especially when they know exactly how to use it. The Devil’s Lust, to be released on August 12th, is a crash course in bestial passion. Like a rendezvous with an old lover, fans will find a sick familiarity in revisiting the band’s reliable tricks and a jolting pleasure in their seasoned execution. Continue reading »

Jul 052022

(Today we’re premiering a song from the forthcoming final album of Triumvir Foul, which will be released on CD by Invictus Productions and on cassette tape by Vrasubatlat on July 29th, with a co-released vinyl version to come soon after. Preceding the premiere stream we have Hope Gould‘s vivid review of the new album.)

Enter the racing drums, rumbling like the bones of an undead army as they clamor up the caverns of the deepest ossuary. A “Presage” indeed – the opening track to Triumvir Foul’s latest offering is the harbinger to something truly fetid.

The Portland duo have emerged from the tombs of Ur with another ode to the Exalted Serpents in the form of their latest, and quite sadly, final album, Onslaught to Seraphim. Despite being their last release, Triumvir Foul have done anything but gracefully bow out. They have offered up perhaps their most caustic material thus far; a killing blow to be lauded for, a subsidence crater in the wake of their destruction. Continue reading »

Apr 122022

(We welcome Vancouver-based writer Hope Gould, who describes herself as “unconditionally committed to the underground, unreservedly devoted to riffs that fuck.” For her first NCS post she brings us this highly entertaining interview of Vancouver-based Egregore and a brief review of their forthcoming debut album.)

From the belly of Covenant, Canada’s Black Magick Inner Circle, Vancouver’s Egregore disgorge a potent elixir of Abraxian invocation on their debut album to be released by 20 Buck Spin on April 15th. On The Word of His Law, Egregore immerse those brave enough to traverse their bizarre labyrinth on a journey from the depths of evocative mental unrest to illuminating spiritual ascension.

The Word of His Law offers quality Black Death reverence in earnest, all while unravelling a masterclass in the unorthodox with unsettling synth, hypnotic chanting, and supplication by way of a Neo-folk passage. Emotive solos and leads are on dazzling display by guitarist and vocalist ESSENTIA COLLAPSE on tracks like “Howling Premonition” and “Libidinization of Will Azothic”, backed by utter percussive gluttony wielded by CATASTROPHE SATURNA. Continue reading »