Dec 282023

(Andy Synn delivers one final retrospective on albums from 2023 you may have overlooked)

Hey everyone, I’m back, feeling fully refreshed and ready to rumble after my week (and a bit) hiatus.

Before I get fully stuck into 2024’s upcoming slate of releases I’ve got two more pieces for 2023 for you all to enjoy – namely my last Synn Report of the year (coming on Friday) and this extra-big edition of “Things You May Have Missed”.

Now unlike previous editions, this one won’t just be focussing on albums from the last month (though there’s seven – I think – albums from December featured here) but will also take a look back at certain albums from the past year that I either didn’t get the chance to cover at the time, didn’t discover until much later, or just wanted to highlight one more time for people to check out.

Of course, even so there’s more artists and albums I wanted to include than I had space or time for – so I’d urge you, if you have any extra time, to check out the new Moonreich (which almost made my “Personal Top Ten“, Rosa Faenskap (which did) and Witch Ripper (which I know was on my “Critical Top Ten“, but still seems to have flown under a few radars) – but first, feel free to go through everything I’ve featured here (which I’ve broken up into separate sub-categories) and check out a few things you may have missed!

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Mar 022020


At the risk of overloading our readers with new music in light of what we’ve already sent your way over the weekend and this morning (a risk that obviously means nothing to us), here’s a carefully curated collection of chaos to begin the new week. If death metal is your meat and potatoes, this will explode your gastrointestinal tract.


It didn’t take long for a new Ulcerate song to cause a flurry of comments within our internal NCS group. Not long after the title track to the band’s new album surfaced this morning, my colleagues uttered such exclamations and opinions as “tasty”, “oh shit”, “this is probably the cleanest and least reliant they’ve been on recorded-in-a-cave-next-door style mixing they’ve had yet”, “it’s DEFINITELY more melodic, and the production is warmer, but those are GOOD things”, and “it’s a natural progression from what they were doing on Shrines of Paralysis“. Continue reading »

Sep 092018


The music I’ve picked for this week’s column is among the shades of black that shade into death metal, or vice-verse, depending on the stylistic ingredients that you think are more dominant. But while “blackened death metal” might be a suitable description for some of this music, that label doesn’t fit all of it, at least as I think most listeners interpret the term.

All but one of the bands in this collection are old favorites of mine who are returning with new music, sometimes after extended absences; one is a new discovery. I’ll add that this weekend has been a busy one for me (busy with non-NCS activities), so I’m hurrying to get this done before I have to turn again to other stuff. Which means I’m having to cut short my usual rhetorical embellishments, and mainly let the music sell itself.


After two powerful previous releases, the MMXIII demo in 2013 and the stellar 2015 EP Below the Hengiform (which we had the privilege of premiering), the Irish black/death band Malthusian will at last release a full-length this year. Across Deaths is set for release on September 28th by Dark Descent Records and Invictus Productions Continue reading »

Sep 202013

Here’s the second part of my effort to collect worthwhile new music discovered over the last 24 hours. You can find Part 1 via this link. All the music in this Part is different, but all of it is just fuckin’ evil.


In May I gave a laborious description of how I had found the Czech black metal band Cult of Fire. It started with a shirt. It ended with a track from the band’s 2012 debut album Triumvirát that was included on a free comp from Demonhood Productions. As reported in that earlier post, Cult of Fire are now signed to the German label Iron Bonehead for release of their next album (which should be coming in 2013). Yesterday, I found a stream of the first advance track from the album.

I’m unable to write or pronounce the name of the album or the song, but I can show you what they look like: The song is “मृत्यु का वीभत्स नृत्य” and the album’s name is “मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान”.

I took a chance and put those titles into Google Translate and, lo and behold, it turns out the language is Hindi. The song title translates to “ghastly dance of death” but Google Translate failed me when it came to the album name. I did find this statement about the album by the band: “It’s a homage to the Goddess Kali, the Aghoris, the funeral rites in India and its close surroundings.” Continue reading »

Feb 172013

Have you reached a point in life when you’ve busted your gut in pursuit of a dream and it’s still out of reach? Have you thrown your heart and soul and every ounce of your energy into chasing a goal, only to fail?

Have you honed your talents through endless practice and steadfast perseverance, flushed yourself dry in the expenditure of your creative juices, done your absolute best work . . . and not another soul seems to care?

Are you on the verge of sliding down into a cesspool of self-loathing and bitter regret, resigned to a life of flipping burgers at Mickey Dee’s or slaving away in some cubicle for a pompous boss who can’t tie his own shoelaces? Have you almost convinced yourself that you’re nothing but a mediocrity, or that, even if brimming with genius, your talents are beyond the understanding of mere mortals? Are you about to abandon your passion. now and forever?

Well, don’t give up! Take heart! Renew yourself! Listen to this inspirational anthem by Hot Graves:

There now, you feel better don’t you?
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Aug 162012

That eye-catching cover art depicts an epic battle in the making, the zombie hell horse and the ferocious battle cat about to throw down. Hooves vs. claws (though it looks like the cat is trying to even the score by wearing the cat equivalent of brass knuckles — cats are ruthless when it comes to horse fighting).

The artwork (by Glenno) graces the cover of a split release by Hot Graves of Gainesville, Florida and Whitehorse from Melbourne, Australia. I was introduced to Hot Graves when they released their 2011 album Knights In White Phosphorus and it was featured in a guest NCS post by SurgicalBrute (here). He described their music as “crusty blackened thrash” and recommended them to fans of PossessedHell Hammer, and Sodom. I’ve been following them ever since.

Whitehorse, on the other hand, is a new discovery for me. They’ve put out two albums (the most recent of which was last year’s Progression), plus EPs and numerous splits. I’ll be following them now, too.

Hot Graves contributes two tracks to this split. “This Is For You” and “MetalBlaster”. The music sounds like mad scientists mixed thrash, punk, and d-beat, cooked it in whatever makes metal black,  and then spun it in a centrifuge at high speed until it exploded and spattered the walls with filth. It’s mainly fast, abrasively raw, and smokin’ hot. It’s the music of a demon moshpit at a dive bar in Hell. Continue reading »

Feb 252012

According to the National Park Service, Florida’s Everglades swamp is “the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.” It’s home to a wide variety of rare and endangered species, many of whom you would not want to meet up close and personal, including alligators, crocodiles, cottonmouths, Boa constrictors, Burmese pythons, rattlesnakes, and poisonous toads.

But there are other, far more menacing creatures in Florida and they’re crawling out of the abysmal swamps to eat your face.

I’m referring to the metal bands whose music is collected in a killer comp that’s available for free download on Bandcamp. Naturally, it’s called Swamp Abyss Sorcery, and it was packaged up by Satanik Recordings (who also released that Prostitute album we praised not long ago). The comp includes music by a few bands we already knew about and liked here at NCS, including the tar-choked, grungy, inexorable sludge metal of Shroud Eater and the crusty blackened thrash of Hot Graves. But man, they’re just part of the nasty menagerie of slavering  creatures crawling and flying out of this download.

I’ve embedded the Bandcamp player after the jump so you can sample the sounds. Seriously, there’s some mighty fine shit to be had here. To do the download, go HERE. Continue reading »

Nov 152011

(Our brutish friend SurgicalBrute, a source of many musical recommendations that unfailingly please the reptile part of my brain, contributes this guest post featuring Hot Graves (U.S.), Sacriphyx (Australia), Purtenance (Finland), and Venenum (Germany).)

We’ve arrived, once again, at that time of year where Islander slacks off and expects us to entertain ourselves. So, I’ve offered to try my hand at this article thing again. Besides…how many chances am I going to get to act like an elitist snob and get thanked for it?

My goal with this article is to turn people onto some young bands that are up and coming and some forgotten gems that deserve notice. These aren’t the most obscure bands in the underground, but it may take some effort to track down their music. I’ll try and provide links to various distros or labels whenever possible.

Anyway, if you like what I’m doing, leave me some feedback. If enough people enjoy this, maybe Islander will let me make it a semi-regular thing …enjoy the music \m/ \m/


Coming out of Gainsville, Florida, Hot Graves is a side project of Myk Colby from the melodic death metal band By the Horns. Their most recent release (August 2011) is Knights In White Phosphorus. Playing music that would best be described as crusty blackened thrash, they would fit perfectly well into any metal collection from the 80’s. For fans of Possessed, Hell Hammer, and Sodom. (Hot Graves music after the jump . . .) Continue reading »