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 »

Dec 142018


(Andy Synn concludes his week-long round-up of metal in 2018 with this list of his ten personal favorites among the year’s great and good albums.)

So, after all the stress and struggle involved in putting together all my various lists which preceded this one, now it’s time to relax and turn my attention to those albums, whether “Great” or “Good”, that make up my personal favourites of 2018.

Once again I decided that I wouldn’t include any “Honourable Mentions” this year, as to do so would essentially mean reproducing a good 60-70% of my previous lists (although, that being said… do try and give Agrypnie, Disassembled, Hundred Year Old Man, The Agony Scene and Void Ritual a listen if you get chance) and instead decided to focus solely on the ten albums which I’ve listened to the most and/or which have made the biggest impact on me this year.

Funnily enough, while the actual process of working out which ten records best represented my listening habits over the last twelve months was as complicated as ever, the write-up was much easier than I expected it to be, as it just so happens that I was responsible for reviewing almost all of them! Continue reading »

Oct 182018


(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, prepared this evocative review of the Motstrøms concert on September 29 at the Myrens Dam in the heart of Norway’s Telemark region. All of the accompanying photos were taken by Andrea Chirulescu.)

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Motstrøms, which translated from Norwegian means “against the current”. Motstrøms was a celebration of a long and many-faceted musical career. It was about Emperor, Ihasahn’s solo project, the projects he has developed together with his wife Heidi Tveit, as well as the musical contributions of significance from other important musicians such as Leprous and Raphael Weinroth-Browne, among others.

Motstrøms is a fitting name indeed, taking into account Ihsahn’s musical character. I was excited when I first heard about it, and felt right from the beginning that it was going to be a special evening. I started getting “the I can’t believe I’m here” feeling just before arriving, the kind of feeling I do not get in Oslo anymore. Besides, Emperor were going to play some songs, and I had to be there. I have been following pretty much every Emperor concert I could attend, and I’m grateful for any new concerts because I know it will stop abruptly some day, and that will be it. Continue reading »

May 022018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new solo album by Ihsahn, which will be released on May 4 by Candlelight/Spinefarm.)

My, my, my… for the second week running I find myself writing about one of the “big” new releases about to hit the Metalsphere, rather than something more unknown and underground.

Clearly this means that I/we have finally “sold out”, and I expect that riches and rewards will come cascading through my letterbox any time now.

But while I’m sat here waiting for my cheque to appear… do you have a few minutes to talk about our Lord and Saviour Ihsahn? Continue reading »

Apr 262018


(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, had the good fortune of recently interviewing Ihsahn, whose new album Àmr will be released on May 4 by Candlelight/Spinefarm, and we present their discussion here today.)


You mix together several genres in one song a lot, and this is complicated enough, so how do you compose? Do you have lots of riffs first or does the song develop out of an idea?

I think it’s more the latter. Although in my early years my way of doing it tended more towards having lots of riffs and then putting them together. But as a solo artist it has been more centered around an idea and developing everything taking it as a starting point.


But what about this idea, is it a musical one or can it be anything?

It is a musical one. Often times it has been just one vocal line. Take my first solo album, there is a song called “Called by the Fire” in there and those were some lines that I sang while driving, and all singing started from there. But frequently it is a musical theme, or a progression for example.


Does the music you listen to influence you when it comes to writing music?

I get inspiration from lots of sources. You named the fact that I bring in many genres… I do feel I still create music that belongs to extreme metal and Black Metal, but I get inspired by other musical landscapes. Other musical textures are something that I like to combine with the music, as it gives it a special character. Continue reading »

Mar 052018


(This is the second part of DGR’s round-up of selected new songs and videos that appeared over the last couple of weeks. You can find Part 1 here.)


Inferi – Behold The Bearer Of Light

Right now, the hyperspeed tech-death, melodic-death, black-death, everything-kitchen-sink-and-broken-down-freezer-in-the-backyard metal crew of Inferi are out on the road, touring with Aethere, Alterbeast, and Grindmother as part of Alterbeast’s Feast album release tour. It’s been four years since the group’s last incredibly packed album The Path Of Apotheosis, but those moments of silence shall soon wane as the group have an upcoming April 21st release in the form of Revenant. Continue reading »

Jan 092017


I took a break yesterday from my rollout of this year’s Most Infectious Song list but am back at it again today, and every day this week, barring a meteor strike. For those who have just blundered into this evolving list for the first time, you can check out the previous picks and an explanation for what the list is about by clicking this link.

Some days I include two songs in the installments of this list, and sometimes three, which is what I have today. This is another instance when this particular grouping made sense to me, but I don’t pretend that I have good sense so you be the judge. And if the inclusion of clean vocals in this collection rubs you the wrong way, be patient. Tomorrow I’m returning to much nastier fare.


I’m going to start with some “Mass Darkness“, which will be found on Arktis, the latest solo album by Vegard Sverre Tveitan, aka Ihsahn. My colleague Andy Synn wrote our review of the album, characterizing it as “easily the most gleamingly melodic, intimately accessible… and, yes, poppy, album that the ever-adversarial artiste has put his name to thus far”, while “still very much a Progressive album underneath the glitz and glamour”. Continue reading »

Apr 052016



(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Ihsahn.)

A certain friend of mine (who will remain nameless) has an almost pathological obsession with pointing out the various points of intersection and cross-pollination between Metal and Pop music, to the extent where it sometimes feels he’s seeing what he wants to see, and not necessarily what’s actually there. Still, he must be having a field day with Ihsahn’s new album Arktis., as it’s easily the most gleamingly melodic, intimately accessible… and, yes, poppy, album that the ever-adversarial artiste has put his name to thus far.

Despite this distinction, however, it’s also possible to see this album as something of a return to form following the somewhat uneven nature of both Eremita and Das Seelenbrechen, both albums which the man himself characterised as being more of a musical diversion than a continuation of the main creative thrust of his solo work.

Though both albums definitely had their charms (and, in hindsight, Eremita quite clearly served as a testing-ground for some of the more overtly poppy ideas and influences which permeate this release – you only need to look at Prog-Pop anthem “Frail” for evidence of that) it’s clear in a number of ways – from the structuring of the songs to the return to the established naming convention (The Adversary, Angl, After, Artkis.) – that album number six is a step back onto the right path. Continue reading »

Dec 182015

Ihsahn-Mass Darkness


Sometime soon we might roll out a list of our most anticipated releases scheduled to occur in the early part of 2016, or at least ask you to tell us yours. If we make a list, the new album by Ihsahn will be on it. Its name is Arktis, and Candlelight Records will release it on March 4. Today the first advance track from the album — “Mass Darkness” — became available for streaming. Before we get to that, here are a few more enticing pieces of info about the album:

It will include ten songs and it will feature guest appearances by Einar Solberg (Leprous), Matt Heafy (Trivium), Jorgen Munkeby (Shining), Tobias Ornes Andersen (Shining, ex-Leprous), and Norwegian author Hans Herbjornsrud. The graphic elements were created by Spanish designer Ritxi Ostariz. Here’s a statement by Ihsahn about the album: Continue reading »

Oct 072013

Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, Das Seelenbrechen, will be released by Candlelight Records on October 22 in North America. It can be pre-ordered here. Last week a song from the album named “Hiber” was made available for listening on Soundcloud, and today we get the chance to hear another one. Entitled “NaCL”, it’s streaming as a lyric video and it’s available for purchase on iTunes (here, for US fans).

NaCL is the chemical notation for sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt. Whereas “Hiber” was heavy, dark, and occasionally dissonant, on “NaCL”, Ihsahn indulges the more purely progressive side of his solo explorations. It’s anchored by a punchy, complex, and ridiculously compulsive rhythm over which Ihsahn weaves a memorable melody. All clean vocals this time, but they sound great.

Listen next. Continue reading »