Sep 022023


A week that ends with a Bandcamp Friday is a terrible week for the NCS in-box. During just the 24 hours of September 1st we received 310 e-mails. The count for the week was significantly more than 1,000.

Such weeks are also terrible for roundups like this one, because so many bands and labels release new music in an effort to capitalize on the attention that Bandcamp Fridays tend to attract — terrible because it results in so much music to choose from.

I sure as hell didn’t read all those 1,000+ e-mails. I did skim the subject lines, skipping over the ones that seemed geared toward selling merch and others that arrived because (annoyingly) we’re somehow on mailing lists for music that has nothing to do with metal, and others which hinted that the metal was of the kind that would hurt my head if I listened to it (e.g., power metal). And eventually I just ran out of time, so I’m sure I overlooked some things that might have been gem-like if I’d discovered them.

But the skimming process still left me with a giant pile of new music I thought might be interesting, and on top of that were other sources of recommendations outside of our e-mails that I pay attention to. Nothing more than instinct and impulse led to finding the following needles in that haystack. Continue reading »

Nov 282020


I don’t have any words of wisdom to offer today, other than the usual: Wear your damn masks, stay away from other people as much as possible, and stop bathing and wiping after you take a shit so that other people will stay away from you. If you must go out, play the following tracks on a boom-box so people will run away.


To begin, here’s a video for a song called “Pandemic” because, as you can tell, the virus is on my mind (as it is on most days) — but also because the hooks in this song are potent, from the rocking and rumbling drum rhythms to the darting, gleaming, and roiling riffs. The vibrancy of the song is as contagious as the subject matter, and so is the menace that surfaces in its more frenzied episodes. Meanwhile the vocals are utterly scorching. Continue reading »

Sep 122020


Greetings, ladies and germs. As promised in yesterday’s round-up, I have MANY more selections of new music for your listening pleasure. Does this mean that I’m now caught up in showing you what I’ve discovered? Oh, hell no! I will have more in tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column (and still won’t be caught up).

To speed things along I’m just throwing you the music streams and my usual impulsive commentary, sans artwork. Later today I’ll fill in the art, a few more details about the releases, and the usual ordering and FB links. The following tracks are presented in alphabetical order by band name (with Greece coincidentally represented at the beginning and the end), and I’ll tell you that the music is all over the map stylistically.


This first song is such a heavyweight neck-wrecker at the beginning, although filaments of ravishing melody rapidly spiral out from beneath its bone-breaking rhythm. However, the song also explodes in breathtaking fashion — a storm of battering drums, blizzard-like guitars, and truly wild, howling vocal ferocity. The track is tremendously thrilling in all of its course-changes, which include sweeping, fire-bright sonic panoramas; the sludgy heft of the low end is a thrill all its own. Continue reading »

Nov 042017


I have a big bulging list of new music I’d like to recommend, but rather than try to stitch them all together, which would probably take all day, I just picked one new EP and two singles. As usual, the selection of these three bands off the list was pretty random. But as usual, I like the music a lot and I wanted to provide some variety, and as you’ll discover, there sure as hell is some variety here.


I wrote no fewer than four posts about Cruciamentum’s 2015 debut album Charnel Passages, including one in which I picked a song from the album called “Piety Carved From Flesh” for my list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Cruciamentum have now returned with a new EP called Paradise Envenomed, which was released digitally via Bandcamp and other platforms (and on 7″ vinyl by Profound Lore) just two days ago. Continue reading »

Mar 032014

We discovered Kaunis Kuolematon last August through their release of a striking song named “En Ole Mitään” (I Am Nothing) — so striking that it was the only track we named to our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs that didn’t come from an album or EP. That song was the advance guard of the band’s full-length debut album Kylmä Kaunis Maailma, which will be released through Violent Journey Records on April 25, 2014. Today we bring you the premiere of another song from the album — “Kivisydän” — plus a few words about the album as a whole.

In a nutshell, Kylmä Kaunis Maailma is just as striking as that first advance track that captivated us last year. Kaunis Kuolematon (“Immortal Beauty”) aren’t the first Finnish band to deliver melodic death metal drenched in doom, but they are one of the few to do it this well this fast. Blending gargantuan heaviness with a panoply of wrenching melodies, they’ve recorded nine powerful songs so well-written that they all have the capability of getting stuck firmly in your head.

The music is almost entirely mid-paced and almost entirely somber in its emotional atmosphere, yet the songs never lose their tight grip on the listener’s attention. Apart from all those reverberating melodic hooks, the band are masterful in their creation of contrasts.  They juxtapose jagged, jabbing riffs and booming bass lines with rippling lead guitar instrumentals that shimmer and soar. They’ll hammer your head like an anvil and in the next moment pierce you right in your anguished heart. Continue reading »

Feb 262014

(Guest writer, deluded NY Giants fan, and hard man to please KevinP rejoins us with the first installment of what may become a series.)

 2013 was a high water mark for metal releases. Seemingly it would be hard for 2014 to match up. But we are already off to a damn good start. Here’s a few things that have ‘wet my whistle’ so far.


After carving out their own identity as more than just a “Sweden meets Autopsy” via their A Saunter in the Shroud EP, I was pretty excited for their follow-up sophomore full-length. Much to my surprise, they’ve taken a left turn and kinda gone the route that Tribulation did with The Formulas of Death. A brave move by a young band that’s willing to take chances, stick its neck out, and not just be “another old school death metal band”.

Sweven is out now in Europe and will be released in North America on March 4 by Century Media. Continue reading »

Feb 082014

Welcome to Part 23 of our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three songs I’m announcing today, click here.

Today’s three songs have something in common. Although the bands don’t all fit neatly together under precisely the same genre heading, to varying degrees the music falls in a place where doom, melodic death metal, and a melancholy aching intersect.


This Swedish/French collective put out their debut album Origin in 2013, and DGR reviewed it for us here. In an effort to capture its sense of devastating beauty, he wrote this:

“I know I am going to like a disc like this if it takes me to a certain place I have set aside in my head, one of empty spaces, snow falling from the sky, long-since devastated cities. Places that you just know were beautiful long ago, and the sense of fragility that these vacant places emanates makes them beautiful now….  Origin takes us to that snow-filled, cold, and desolate place where we sometimes long to be and lets us sit and watch the world move as it speaks to us.”

Continue reading »

Aug 012013

Kaunis Kuolematon are a Finnish band with current or former members of Black Sun Aeon, Sinamore, and End of Aeon, who have released three songs so far in their brief career. Two of them appeared on a self-titled EP in November 2012 and the third is a single released in June of this year. Both the EP and the single are available on Bandcamp for a pay-what-you-want price.

The new single — “En Ole Mitään” (I Am Nothing) — is the best of the three songs, and it’s really good. In fact, it’s so good that I’ve added it to the list of candidates for our year-end selection of 2013’s most infectious extreme metal songs.

The musical style is the kind of melancholy, doom-influenced melodic death metal that should appeal to fans of bands such as Swallow the Sun, Before the Dawn, and In Mourning. It slides back and forth between soft, sorrowful passages carried by the strong, clear tenor voice of Mikko Heikkilä (ex-Black Sun Aeon) and heavy sections in which concrete-slabbed riffs rain down and Olli Suvanto (End of Aeon) howls in anguish or roars like some void-faring behemoth.

The guitar-driven melody, which feeds both the soft and the heavy measures and is enhanced ever so slightly by what sounds like an occasional synthesizer backdrop, is sublime — and highly memorable. Continue reading »