Jan 192023

We have made our way up to Part 14 of this year’s Most Infectious Song list, and for the second day in a row I don’t have a coherent organizing principle for why I put these three tracks together, other than the infectiousness of the choices.

I think I can accurately say that these songs are all infectious in the sense of being intensely memorable. They’re so dramatic and often daunting that calling them “catchy” doesn’t seem quite right. But are they the sorts of songs you’d gladly put on a playlist so you can listen to them over and over again as time passes? I think so!

KAMPFAR (Norway)

Some songs are so stunningly dramatic, so vast in their scale, so frightening in their intensity, that they send shivers down the spine no matter how many times you hear them. Kampfar‘s “Urkraft” is one of those songs. Even right after I heard it for the first time early last spring, I wrote: “I haven’t committed to memory all of Kampfar‘s tracks spread across an 8-album discography. I’ll just say that I can’t recall any song in their repertoire that stunned me on a first listen like ‘Urkraft‘ did. Listening to it this morning, I was stunned all over again.” Continue reading »

Nov 072022

(Andy Synn has a lot to say about Til Klovers Takt, the new album from Black Metal icons Kampfar, set for release by Indie Recordings on November 11th.)

It is often true, in Black Metal as much as any other genre, that the “best” bands don’t always become the “biggest” bands (and vice versa).

That’s not necessarily an attempt to belittle those acts and artists who – whether by luck, graft, or demonic intervention – have risen to the top, but it’s patently obvious (to me, anyway) that quality and popularity aren’t always correlated.

Case in point, having seen Kampfar perform multiple live shows which, in a just world, would long since have qualified them as festival headliners, and having lavished well-deserved praise on their recorded output for years now, it still galls me – as a fan of the band, and a fan of good music in general – to continually see them overlooked and ignored in favour of (arguably) lesser acts who are simply better at “playing the game”.

Let’s face it, seemingly ageless frontman (and veritable force of nature) Dolk, both live and on record, possesses the sort of natural charisma that other, more attention-hungry figures (naming no names) have clearly had to practice and rehearse very hard to achieve (or, at least, to fake), while the entire band have continually, and consistently, demonstrated themselves to be undisputed masters at crafting epic, instantly-infectious Black Metal anthems whose intensity, and integrity, is beyond reproach.

But, for whatever reasons, it still feels like the Norwegian quarter don’t get anywhere near the respect, or the acclaim, that they deserve.

Let’s hope that Til Klovers Takt will change that. Because it’s about damn time.

Continue reading »

Oct 012022

Imha Tarikat

Last night the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, clinching a place in the Major League Baseball playoffs and ending what most of us long-suffering Mariners fans simply referred to as The Drought, i.e., the longest span of years (21 of them) that any team in any U.S. professional sport has had to endure in between playoff appearances.

Along with a few million other Mariners fans in this part of the country, I celebrated the historic event. I might have par-tayed a bit too much. That’s a conclusion one might draw from the fact that I slept for 11 hours, as if in a coma. Well, I had a rough week at my fucking day job too, which produced steam that needed to be blown off last night. But even after dragging my ass out of bed late in the morning I still spent a lot of time continuing to wallow in the glory of that Mariners win, taking in videos, photos, and lots of articles.

But the NCS Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (a specific syndrome now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association) is still a thing, and so I couldn’t bear to leave a complete blank spot on the site this Saturday. Had to daub that spot with at least a few splatters of musical paint. Continue reading »

Apr 032022


Making choices for this column is always difficult. This week the choosing process was more difficult than most, in part because I wasn’t able to write one of these last Sunday, causing the possible choices to really stack up.

It’s hard to explain why I chose the music of these six bands and not others. It was more a matter of instinct and impulse than careful ranking. The intensity of all the experiences had more than a little to do with that. The vocals alone, from beginning of this collection to the end, were stunning too, significantly contributing to the rush of emotional intensity.

I’ve started with three individual songs and followed those with three complete releases.

KAMPFAR (Norway)

Kampfar have written a new album and recorded it. As they say: “It was created and partially captured at home, in our little refuge, among the trees, below the mountain tops, right there by the river that is never silent”.

The album includes “six parts, six stories, six conflicts, collected under one banner”, but Kampfar haven’t disclosed the name of the album, and they’ve decided to release each song on its own, one-by-one, before releasing the album as a whole. Continue reading »

Feb 202022


My day job has left me alone this weekend so I decided to make hay while the sun shines. Yesterday’s round-up included the music of eight bands and this one includes the music of nine.

There is indeed quite a lot of music in this week’s black(ish) metal column, but even I haven’t heard all of it. The releases I haven’t heard in their entirety are included in Part 2 below, where I’ve revived the strategy I used in the old Miscellany columns (and if those don’t ring a bell I’ll explain when we get there).


KAMPFAR (Norway)

I’m beginning with “Lausdans Under Stjernene“, a new single released by Indie Recordings on February 16th by a band who are approaching their 30th anniversary but show no signs of slowing down or playing it safe. Continue reading »

Apr 302019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Norwegian black metal band Kampfar, which will be released on May 3rd by Indie Recordings.)

Metal is, perhaps more than any other genre I can think of, a style of music built around its own mythology.

The bands and artists whom we love (or loathe) become our heroes, and our villains, our gods, and our demons, often all at the same time, while certain places – the fetid swamps of Florida, the frozen mountains of Norway, the steel and smoke of Northern England – become invested with near-mythic significance of their own, giving birth to their own legends and lore and traditions.

Black Metal in particular is rich in its own particular brand of folklore and fairy tale – much of it drenched in the blood and sweat of its progenitors – to the point where it sometimes seems like the music plays second fiddle to the myths surrounding it.

But not with Kampfar. And not on Ofidians Manifest. Continue reading »

Mar 142019


I have more than enough new songs and videos to recommend to your eyes and ears to justify two installments of this Thursday round-up, and (barely) enough time to introduce them. So let’s get right to it:


It’s been a long four years since the arrival of Profan, long enough for the Norwegian black metal band Kampfar to be almost out of sight and out of mind, but not buried so deep in the memory that a new song wouldn’t provoke a sharp burst in the pulse at the mere mention of their name. After all, they’ve been plying their trade for almost a quarter-century so far, and filling that time with seven albums of substantial worth. And now an eighth one has been announced. Continue reading »

Mar 262017


The weekends at NCS are usually all mine. No one else’s compositions to ready for posting, no premieres to write, no day job to fuck around with my own desires (usually), and this weekend my spouse has also been away having fun without me (or at least I hope she is). With all the cats away, this mouse has plenty of time to play (metal).

And so, in addition to all of the reviews and streams I tossed your way yesterday, I have a torrent of more metal to share on this Sunday, beginning with this collection of singles, advance tracks, and one full release selected from a massive list of things I heard over the past week. I’m not including streams and new videos from better-known bands, such as the ones that appeared from Solstafir and Heaven Shall Burn, but you can view them through those links.


As previously reported, Nashville’s Loss have a new album named Horizonless, which is due for release by Profound Lore on May 19. We finally got a taste of the new music last week through the premiere of a track named “All Grows on Tears“. Continue reading »

Jul 042016



Yesterday I posted the first half of what was supposed to be a two-part post collecting recent advance tracks and full releases in a blackened vein that I wanted to recommend to you. When I finished Part 1, I had music from three more bands collected for Part 2. Sure enough, between then and now I found a lot more stuff that got me excited. And since we’re celebrating Independence Day here in the States, I might as well go big.

So, I’ve expanded this edition of Shades of Black into a three-part post, with the final segment coming tomorow. Please enjoy this jumbo fireworks display as we all strive for our own independence.


Kampfar previously released a fantastic video for one of the tracks (“Daimon”) from last year’s excellent Profan album (reviewed here), and today they premiered another one. This video is for “Tornekratt“, and to quote from the site that handled the premiere, it’s “a nightmare vision of the end of the world featuring a vast demon wielding a fiery whip over the last remnants of humanity, a grotesque take on the last supper, monolithic hooded deities serving judgement and all manner of cinematic suffering.” Continue reading »

Jan 312016



I’m still trying to catch-up on the rollout of this annual list since I didn’t get even a single new entry up last week. So, in addition to the three songs I added yesterday, I’m adding four today — all of them black metal, and all of them very good songs in addition to being highly memorable. The other songs on the list so far can be accessed through this link.


It’s hard to name many bands who are 20 years into their lifespan and still putting out music of the quality that Norway’s Kampfar are releasing. As Andy Synn wrote about last year’s Kampfar full-length (here):

“Much like its predecessors, Profan blends massive, cutting-edge riffage and raucous, almost punkish, energy with a sense of dark majesty and grandeur that’s both firmly rooted in the ancestral traditions of Black Metal, yet not utterly beholden to them. And, much like its predecessors, it continues to set an almost ludicrously high bar for those who follow after.”

Continue reading »