Oct 302017


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album, released earlier this month, by the Russian band Kartikeya.)

I’ve been out for awhile and I apologize for that. I had a personal tragedy occur and it caused me to have to pull back for awhile. I had originally asked Islander to review this album since I didn’t think I could, but I decided to pick myself up and do it since I’ve got a lot of history with this band.

Kartikeya’s brand of ethnic-influenced melodic death metal with modern groove and progressive influences has been a beloved sound here at NCS, among both the staff and the site’s readers. Samudra is an album that’s been waylaid by a lot of delays and suffered a lot of difficulties in coming to fruition. It’s now been SIX YEARS since Mahayuga, and for people who love this band I think there was a lot of speculation as to whether all the delays would spell doom and whether Samudra would be up to par.

We got a taste of Samudra with the 2011 Durga Puja EP (which I reviewed here) — the EP’s title track is included on the album — as well as what were originally three stand-alone singles, “The Horrors Of Home” (2012), “Tunnels of Naraka” (2013), and “The Golden Blades” (2016), which are also on this record (and each of which we’ve reviewed). “Durga Puja” was an exercise in Kartikeya pushing their Vedic elements to the absolute forefront, a borderline danceable snake dance that really served to emphasize Arsafes’s love of the culture he was raised in, while the first of those singles was more of a traditional Kartikeya-style death metal song, gnarly mangled riffs, fast as fuck, with a juxtaposed melodic chorus to keep a bit of hookiness in there.

I was surprised to find out when I finally got the promo of Samudra that those four songs were only the tip of an expansive soundscape that is like being hit by a sandstorm filled with flesh-gnawing insects and majestic wonder. Continue reading »

Sep 152017


It’s another Friday, and what are people feeling? No one answer, I’m sure. Some people are looking forward to a blow-out Friday night or just a soft weekend to clear the head. Others have jobs that will just keep on surging through the weekend, so no relief in sight (but maybe better-than-average tip hauls). And others, out of work, are just experiencing another day of hard-scrabbling and gloom.

For me, I’m looking ahead at a wedding of one of my wife’s nieces on our property, with the bride wearing a sword, and Samoan blessings before and after the ceremony, and great volumes of Mexican food and tequila, and people playing Magic after the vows have been exchanged. It’s going to be different, but I have a feeling it will be a blast.

Beyond that, I’m feeling like playing you some metal, just skimming the surface of what I’ve collected over the last 48 hours, and maybe continuing the round-up tomorrow if I get going before all the visiting family members crawl out of bed.


On October 19th, 10 years to the day after the release of their debut album, the Russian band Kartikeya will deliver unto us a new album named Samudra via Apathia Records. We are told that the release date is also “27 Ashvina 5119 of Kali Yuga, the holy day of Diwali, on the day of the Victory of Good over Evil, by the fire of the divine light”. And we are further told that it signifies “the decimal foundation of the Hindu universe and the symbolism of Trimurti – the three highest creator-gods, the ternary power of creation, preservation and destruction”. Continue reading »

Aug 112017


Surprise! Hope your kids or your parents or your bosses weren’t looking over your shoulder when you landed on this post. But hey, we have to have our fun where we find it. Just tell ’em that’s a recently discovered Michaelangelo that’s making news throughout the art world.

Midnight also has a new promo photo that you can view after the jump. Your kids/parents/bosses will really love it!

I’ve got a few bits of additional info about Midnight’s new album to start this end-of-week round-up, plus another piece of album art and news about a long-awaited new album, and then some music. I’ve collected so many new song streams that I’ve decided to break up this rond-up into somewhat smaller bites so your mind won’t choke on it. I’ll probably be posting round-ups from now straight through the weekend.


As you can see, the new Midnight album is named Sweet Death and Ecstasy. There’s some more info about the album that I’ll quote below. Unfortunately, Hells Headbangers didn’t tell us who created the scissor-sisters cover art. Might be William Lacey, who’s done work for these sleazy Clevelanders before, but I’m not sure if he’s responsible for this one. Here’s that new promo shot: Continue reading »

Nov 152016


To borrow from Monty Python, “And Now For Something Completely Different“.

The album we’re about to premiere is perhaps the most unclassifiable record I’ve heard this year. It’s a wild, boisterous, constantly shifting collage of sounds and styles that, when described in mere words, sounds like it shouldn’t work at all — but trust me, this is as much fun as dancing with a drunk Russian bear (and only somewhat less likely to put you in the trauma ward).

And now for my attempt to sum up what you’re about to hear on Malafya, the debut album by Moscow’s Zmey Gorynich: Continue reading »

Apr 282016

Cirith Gorgor-Visions of Exalted Lucifer


Last Saturday I explained that because of a serious brain injury to a close friend and colleague, I wouldn’t be able to write much for the site this week other than introductions of premieres I had agreed to host, and that has proven true. When not working at my fucking day job, I’ve been with her and her family in the ICU. That’s not likely to change in the coming days. My friend is showing signs of progress, and it seems likely that she will wake up soon, perhaps today or tomorrow. And then we will begin to find out how the injury has affected her mental and physical functioning. I’m optimistic, and terrified.

Though my routine this week hasn’t been anything close to normal, I have discovered a few excellent new songs and videos, thanks to recommendations from friends, and I thought I would collect them here. I’m grateful for the supportive comments I’ve received from readers, and for all the posts I’ve received from our regular writers and guests this week to keep this train rolling on down the line.


Visions of Exalted Lucifer is the name of the new album by the Dutch black metal band Cirith Gorgor, who began worshipping the Devil through their music back in the mid-’90s. This is the band’s sixth studio album and their first since 2011 (in the intervening years, the band’s line-up has changed). It was released by Hammerheart Records in February. Not long ago Hammerheart and the band released a lyric video for the song “A Vision of Exalted Lucifer”. Continue reading »

Mar 102014

I’m happy to be back home after almost five days away, but I’m less than happy that today is a fucking Monday. I thought I’d celebrate the wretched occasion by throwing some miscellaneous things your way that I saw and heard after I got home late yesterday. I’ve packaged these items together because they’re… what’s the word I’m looking for?… let’s just say they’re out of the ordinary.


The last time I came across music billed as caveman death metal, it was Norway’s Goat the Head. They have been sadly missing in action for the last three years, but until they see fit to rouse themselves into a new burst of creative activity, I will have to content myself with Chatalhüyük. They have labeled their music “Neolithic metal” and they sing of such Stone Age things as big wood spirits and pterorhs stealing their krohi.

I’m not sure what a krohi is, unless it’s a Neolithic youngling. I’m pretty sure a pterorh is a pterodactyl, even though they became extinct about 60 million years before the Stone Age began and the Neolithic came at the very end of the Stone Age. But hey, if you’re willing to contemplate the concept of Neolithic death metal, then why not krohi-stealing pterodactyls? Continue reading »

Sep 192013

(Today we are proud to premiere the new song and video from an NCS favorite, Russia’s Kartikeya. TheMadIsraeli provides this introduction.)

I’m sure all of you are now frothing at the mouth as much as I was when I found out we’d be debuting “Tunnels of Naraka”. I’m especially excited and honored because it’s Kartikeya’s first-ever music video (which is done quite excellently I might add) and because the song we’re debuting is quite possibly one of their most brutal to date.

We’ve heard two songs from Samudra so far, those being “Durga Puja” and “Horrors of Home”. One displayed Kartikeya exploring their groove side a bit more, while the latter saw the band deliver a more evolved version of a solid standard Kartikeya track, full of heavy riffs, suffocating atmosphere, convincing mood, and an abundance of surprises. “Tunnels of Naraka” is both the third and perhaps the final song we’ll hear before this album is released, and what a high note to do so on.

Kartikeya are in my mind a quintessential example of what metal needs right now: Music that is brutal, epic, bombastic, and chaotic, while achieving proggy undertones and melodic reprieves at the same time. Continue reading »

Jul 052013

Happy 5th of July to one and all!  Though often overshadowed by yesterday’s holiday, July 5 is the anniversary of the date in 1775 when the Continental Congress adopted the so-called Olive Branch Petition attempting to convince King George III of the colonies’ affection and loyalty (while appealing for relief from various grievances). King George, of course, rejected the petition and declared the colonies to be in a “state of open and avowed rebellion”. I bet he later wished for a do-over on that decision.

Anyway, while indulging in solemn remembrance of the Olive Branch Petition this morning, as well as the 76th anniversary of the introduction of Spam to the market by Hormel Foods Corporation and the 67th anniversary of the first public sale of the bikini, I found time to observe a couple items of metal interest, which are discussed below.


Little more than two weeks ago, we finally learned the album title (Colored Sands), track list, and release dates for the first studio album by Gorguts in 12 years — as well as hearing the album’s first single, “Forgotten Arrows”. I think it’s fair to say that the song was greeted by a boisterously enthusiastic reception. Gorguts’ Luc Lemay took notice, and yesterday he recorded a video thank-you to the band’s fans. Continue reading »

May 102013

That flyer up above is the latest one I could find for the 9th edition of the Euroblast Festival, scheduled to occur on October 11-13, 2013, in Cologne, Germany. However, it doesn’t show the most current listing of bands. For example, yesterday the Euroblast organizers announced that Arsis will also be appearing (hell yes), and Threat SignalAliases, and Der Weg einer Freiheit are also recent additions to the line-up.

And today brought the exciting announcement that Sweden’s Deathember and Russia’s Kartikeya have been selected to appear. We reviewed Deathember’s new album earlier this week (here), and of course Kartikeya has been a frequently mentioned NCS favorite for years.  Congrats to both of those bands.

And after the jump you can see the complete line-up as it now stands. Many more bands will be announced in the coming months, but the line-up already includes a large number of bands we really like around here. For more info, visit Euroblast’s web site or their Facebook page. Continue reading »

Sep 092012

Moscow-based Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy is one of those uncommon musicians whose creative impulses are multifaceted and who has the talent to follow them with remarkable success, despite how divergent they are.

We first became aware of him through the striking music of his Indian-influenced melodic death metal band Kartikeya, about which much has been written here at NCS. Later, we discovered his involvement with a Russian pagan-metal band called Nevid (Невидь), which has produced four full-length albums, the most of recent of which is 2011′s Agarta, (discussed here). Most recently, he has also collaborated with singer Aleksandra Radosavljevic (ex-Destiny Potato) to create an “Atmospheric/Ambient/Progressive Metal” project named Above the Earth, who we featured here and whose debut EP is coming soon.

But in addition to all that, Roman also has an ongoing solo project named Arsafes. The first work of the Arsafes project was a solo EP called A New Way of Creation that appeared in 2010. We wrote about that here and in that same post provided a link for a free download of the EP.

Now, the Arsafes project has a new album in the works, which with luck will be ready before the end of the year — and today we are giving you the exclusive premiere of its first single, “.onslaught.čoček.”, which is now available on Bandcamp. It features performances not only by Arsafes, but also by drummer extraordinaire Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork, The Devin Townsend Project, etc.), David Maxim Micic (guitar) and  Bojan Kvocka (bass) of Destiny Potato, and Fedor Vetrov (viola) (Veter Vodi, Nevid), as well as a cameo appearence by the above-mentioned Ms. Radosavljevic.

And if you’ve heard the first Arsafes EP, what you are about to hear is something very different, and it’s very, very good. Continue reading »