Jan 272017


Here we are at the 18th Part of this list. Once again, I ran out of time yesterday before I could post a further installment of this series, so I’ve included more songs than usual in this one. To browse through the other songs that have appeared on the list previously, click HERE.

I grouped these four songs together for a couple of reasons. First, they all include elements of black metal to varying degrees, but you probably wouldn’t call any of them “black metal” in any conventional sense. Which leads me to my second point: in addition to being genre-benders, all these artists have blended and bent conventional genres in ways that lead to some very strange and even unsettling results — and the fact that all of these tracks also manage to be addictive is a further testament to their creativity


I assume it comes as no shock that I’m adding a song from The Xun Protectorate to the list. We published not one but two laudatory reviews of the album, along with an interview of Khonsu’s mastermind S. Gronbech. Everyone at our site loved the record. Continue reading »

Mar 042016

Agostino Arrivabene-cover for Howls of Ebb


(We present Wil Cifer’s review of the new album by Howls of Ebb.)

Finally there is some motion in the ocean, as the albums I’ve been looking forward to going into 2016 have begun to creep into my inbox. This project out of San Francisco brings a sense of adventure back to death metal. There is little in the way of rehashing what Incantation and Morbid Angel have already done. No time is wasted digging into the meat of the metal on this one. The trippy grooves and atmosphere are still intact, as the double-bass hammers beneath the rubbery bass lines. The aggression is not conveyed in the manner you expect from death metal. Their guitar tones are not saturated in distortion; they give an organic quality to the chaos bubbling within these songs. Continue reading »

Mar 022016

In Mourning-Afterglow


I wasn’t able to compile a round-up of new things for yesterday, which means that I’m now up to my eyebrows in news and music that I’d like to share, or I would be if I had a head. But figuratively speaking, I do have more items worth spreading around than I have time or space to compile. Therefore, I’ve chosen somewhat randomly. But the first two choices were compelled not only because I’m a big fan of both bands but also because the artwork for both is stupendous.


Today Sweden’s In Mourning revealed details about their new album, including the magnificent cover art that you see above, which was created by the magnificent Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin. The name of the album is Afterglow and it will be released by Agonia Records on May 20. Continue reading »

Sep 282015

My Dying Bride-Feel the Misery


(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)

I screwed up last month.  And not just a minor oversight, but in a fairly big way.  It wasn’t until after August’s column was posted that fellow contributor/friend Dan Barkasi messaged me that he was surprised I didn’t have Wolfheart on my list.  My response was, “the album comes out in September”.  Then I checked and realized I was wrong.  URGH.  I’m gonna assign partial blame to Mr. Saukkonen though, since he sent me a copy of the album many months in advance and mentioned September as the release date.  Assuming his infallibility (based on his musical pedigree), I never bothered to double-check and learn that the label would change it.

So how do I address this grave misdeed?  I was going to include it as part of this month’s Top 5, but that really wouldn’t make sense or be fair to the other releases.  I’ll simply say this:  Shadow World eclipses the debut.  It’s another masterstroke in the arsenal of Tuomas the Finnish Freeballer who simply seems to be able to mine the same well and keep extracting new and exciting sounds from it.  Would it have been the Number 1 album last month?  It certainly would have been a toss-up between that and Majestic Downfall. Continue reading »

Jul 092015

Howls of Ebb-The Marrow Veil


(Wil Cifer offers some first impressions of the new album by San Francisco’s Howls of Ebb.)

After reviewing the metal released thus far in 2015, I’ve come to the conclusion that today’s metal seems all too often to play it too safe, sticking to the safe confines of the genre, after blackening it up a bit. So a band like Howls of Ebb is welcomed relief, as they are not afraid to refrain from sounding like every other band who wants to be Incantation.

With only three songs, it’s hard to call this an album and not an EP, but my rule of thumb is anything longer than Reign In Blood is an album. Continue reading »

Jun 092015


The 2014 debut album of Howls of EbbVigils of the 3rd Eye — was a strikingly distinctive collection of songs, reflecting a musical vision of otherworldly darkness and derangement. The band have now completed a successor, a mini-album named The Marrow Veil that will also be released by the I, Voidhanger label, and today we bring you an edited version of a song named “Iron Laurels, Woven In Rust“.

The complete version of the song is more than 12 minutes in length. The MLP’s opening track, “Standing On Bedlam, Burning In Bliss”, is almost 20 minutes long. Between them sits the only short track on this three-song offering, “Dusks Tyrannical Lore”, at 2:29. The significant length of the two longer songs isn’t the only difference between The Marrow Veil and Vigils of the 3rd Eye — this isn’t Vigils 2.0. Continue reading »

Apr 242015


I know, I said that after two more round-ups today, following three yesterday, that I’d take a break and do something else. But man, I just continue to see an hear things that I feel compelled to foist upon you. So, one more collection… but without the “Seen and Heard” title, because that’s been worked to death over the last 24 hours.


I’ve really been eagerly awaiting the new album by Virginia’s King Giant. We’re all big fans of the band around here and we’ve made no secret of that over the years. And although I haven’t yet heard all of the new album (Black Ocean Waves), the song they just premiered via a lyric video is strong evidence that they’re about to deliver another winner. Continue reading »

Jan 072014

Your humble editor is behind (or is A behind, depending on who you talk to). Behind on reviews, behind on news and new song premieres, behind on the vaunted list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, and behind in posting things that our staff and guests have written for publication. There are many reasons for this tardiness, but I’d rather not dwell on them. Instead, let’s look ahead to the future.

As far as NCS is concerned, we do have a few late-breaking year-end lists to post. Honestly, I’m somewhat amazed that these lists continue to draw as much interest as they have, given how many we’ve posted during this year’s LISTMANIA extravaganza, but even our most recent ones have attracted strong interest. So, we’re not calling a halt to them just yet. And just as that series is finally winding down, another one will begin: Finally, I’m going to start rolling out the Most Infectious Songs list later today, with the first three picks.

I also expect to resume our usual features now that the holiday season is over, beginning with the following round-up of news and new music. And we begin with…


Two and a half years have passed since Origin released Entity, and yesterday brought the welcome news that the band are about to begin recording their next album, which will be entitled Omnipresent. Continue reading »