Sep 072020


While I could go on and on about the devastating magnificence of Isolert’s new album, World In Ruins, at this point I only want to consider the three songs that close this astonishing record — a trio that includes the title track, which we’re premiering today.

That concluding trio begins with “Staring At A Path Towards Nowhere“, a song I’ve written about before when it first appeared (you can find it here), whose title neatly sums up the current age. Immediately electrifying, the song’s soaring, sweeping intensity is near-celestial in its blazing magnificence. To be sure, the vocals sound like rampaging demons in the depths of hell, but even those voices sound like glorifications (of great terrors).

The other dimension of the song, which emerges when the pace slows, is a feeling of crushing grief, delivered with stately solemnity and a sense of magnificence, but conjoined with screams of harrowing vocal intensity. The segue from that passage back into the heavenly firestorm is beautifully done, as is the reprise of sorrow that comes through a beautiful but soul-stricken guitar solo that extends through a glorious maelstrom of sound and brings the song to a heart-breaking close. Continue reading »

Aug 302020



I used to joke around here that I made my living as a drug mule, or as a secret adviser to world leaders who were flummoxed about how to solve shattering problems, or as a caretaker for a loris horde that would threaten human survival if I didn’t keep a close watch on their compound near the NCS headquarters. The truth is much more mundane (though I still suspect that covid was hatched in the loris lab). Not that I’m going to advertise the truth, because I still don’t think what I do here would be healthy for me in the world where I collect my paychecks.

Even a few months ago I thought my day job had settled into a long-lasting somnolence, leaving me an abundance of time to spend at NCS. But it has come roaring back. Not a completely shocking development, because the job has always varied among shifting states of intensity, but still a surprise. Last week was particularly demanding, and I fell way behind in paying attention to new metal. Thankfully, I was able to ignore it all day yesterday and spent the hours immersed in music.

Having surfed the tides of metal from near sun-up to sundown, I created the beginnings of half a dozen NCS posts, with four of them devoted to black and “blackened” metal. Most of those will probably remain little more than mind games once the new work week begins, but at least I’ve completed this two-part SHADES OF BLACK, which I hope you’ll enjoy. Continue reading »

Nov 052017


To blacken the Sabbath this week I picked a lot of new music to share with you. I again decided to split the collection into two parts, to make it a bit less daunting, and also because I’m not positive I could finish writing a post that included all the choices before having to leave my computer for the rest of the day. For that same reason I’m not sure I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today. If I can’t, you’ll see it tomorrow.


To begin, I have a track named “Through The Forest” from the forthcoming debut album Dawn Of A Crimson Empire by the German black metal band Halphas. It will be released by Folter Records on December 15. Continue reading »