Mar 122022

I spent hours yesterday (no exaggeration) assembling a list of new songs and videos that surfaced just since Monday. I kept at it, even knowing full well that as the list grew I was just making it harder on myself in deciding what to include in this Saturday round-up.

And then I remembered the legend of Alexander the Great and how he solved the seemingly insurmountable problem of untying a knot in the palace of the former kings of Phrygia at Gordium, a feat that was prophesied to make the knot-solver the eventual ruler of all Asia: He cut the knot in half with a single stroke of his sword.

I cut my own Gordian knot by deciding to focus on advance songs (all of which were revealed just yesterday) from just one label’s forthcoming releases. It’s a special label, as anyone knows who has indulged in its many past releases. In December its future became clouded with uncertainty when the label owner (Luciano) fell prey to covid and was hospitalized in intensive care, with his life hanging by a thread. Continue reading »

May 062015


At the very end of last year we had the pleasure of premiering “Hunter of the Celestial Sea”, an advance song from the new album by Australia’s Midnight Odyssey, Shards of Silver Fade, and today we’re equally delighted to bring you another. What you’re about to hear is “Starlight Oblivion“. It will require more than the usual amount of your time for a single song, but the time you invest will be repaid with handsome dividends. And I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t emerge from the experience in the same frame of mind and mood as when you begin the journey.

The song is more than 18 minutes long, one of eight in a double-album release that includes more than 2 hours and 20 minutes of music. It fully merits the adjective “immersive”. It’s a sweeping celestial voyage of shimmering ambient sounds, galvanizing rhythms, melodies that tug at the heart, and an array of vocal expressions that are all mesmerizing. Continue reading »

May 042015


We’ve come to depend on I, Voidhanger Records as a source of unusually interesting releases, a label that continually forms partnerships with talented bands whose music is far off the usual beaten paths. The label’s latest discovery is a French band named Absconditus, whose debut album Kατάβασις is now scheduled for release on June 8, with eye-catching cover art by UK talent Bethany White. Today we have the pleasure of bringing you a sample of what Absconditus have created, through our premiere of the album’s third track, “Elegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe)“.

I’ve seen the word “ritualistic” used to describe certain kinds of black metal, and I’ve used the word myself, without ever trying to form a clear mental definition of what it means. There are passages in this new song that bring the word to mind — segments of music that are slow, solemn, and surrounded by an aura of initiation and mystery. Those segments are themselves massively heavy, ominous, and dissonant, with a liturgy voiced by what sounds like a demonic beast. But this is only a part of this long song.

The music also includes movements of ravaging ferocity and power, with booming bass lines that shake the earth, the frenzied writhing of riffs and arpeggios that make a virtue of discordance, and a searing guitar solo. The music is unsettling, but brilliantly inventive and thoroughly engrossing. Continue reading »

Dec 302014


The Australian musician Dis Pater has been involved in a multitude of many-hued projects (I’m still very much looking forward to hearing more from his work in Dissvarth, mentioned here), but perhaps his best-known creations have appeared under the banner of Midnight Odyssey. 2011’s Funerals From the Astral Sphere was a very impressive debut album of atmospheric black metal, and next spring I, Voidhanger Records will bring forth the second Midnight Odyssey full-length, an album named Shards of Silver Fade. As the old year draws to a close, we give you a glimpse of what the new year holds in store as we premiere a song from Shards: “Hunter of the Celestial Sea”.

The notes we received accompanying “Hunter of the Celestial Sea” included these words:

The funeral doom grandeur of Tempestuous Fall and the dark-wave vibe of The Crevices BelowDis Pater’s past projects — have been successfully injected into Midnight Odyssey’s cosmic black metal body, redoubling the emotional intensity and dark majesty of its melodies. The result is nothing short of an epic masterpiece, a visionary night voyage of approximately 2 hours and 23 minutes connecting our ancient pagan past with the apocalyptic feelings of a cosmic death.

“Each song has taken an immense amount of time and energy, so much that I have been left with little to no desire to even listen to music over the last 12 months or so. It combines elements of all my previous releases, from all my previous projects, a true convergence of styles and musicality. If this were the last Midnight Odyssey release, I would be very proud for it to be so.” Continue reading »

Aug 262014

I’ve found through experience that the Italian metal label I, Voidhanger Records is unbounded by genre constraints, and that its releases will reliably be as fascinating as they are diverse. I’ve also found that the artwork selected by the label for its releases is almost always as interesting as the music itself. Today’s discovery is a case in point.

In late October I, Voidhanger will be releasing a debut EP from a Danish duo (Thorbjørn and Qvortrup) who call themselves Tongues. The name of the EP is Thelésis Ignis, and it consists of four long tracks, with a total running time of 34:35 (which makes it as long as most full-length albums these days). Showing its customary attention to artwork, the label will release the EP as a CD with a 16-page full-color booklet, with cover art (above) by Antonius Lovmand and N.

The EP was recorded by Emil Brahe of the doom band Sol (from the Van Records’ roster); he also plays organ and additional keys on the EP.

Tongues have described their music in this way:

TONGUES is devoted to the exploration of mind and soul, and how they relate to the flesh. Our music is as heavy as the earthbound flesh; the lyrics and themes constitute the soul that yearns for some kind of redemption, eternally lost in the cloud of unknowing. The nature of the synthesis between soul and body is drenched in obscurity, which is why — by speaking in tongues — a path may be eventually revealed, providing salvation for that fallen race we call Humanity. Our debut EP, Thelésis Ignis is the first chapter of this doomed spiritual journey.” 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 »