Jul 042022

Ludicra at NWTF – photo by Islander-NCS

This past Saturday night the fourth edition of Northwest Terror Fest came to a glorious close. NCS has sponsored the fest since the beginning, and some of our staff have worked the fest from the beginning as well. This most recent one was, in a word, fantastic. At least from our perspective, it ran like a well-oiled machine, and it seemed like everyone there, from the bands to the audience to the venues’ staffs, enjoyed the hell out of themselves.

There were dozens of highlights. The best of all was the spectacular reunion performance by Ludicra, who headlined the first night, but all the bands fired on all cylinders, and the biggest crowd we’ve ever had at NWTF had great energy.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but the big crew of festival volunteers who worked the event were left both elated and exhausted, including those of us from NCS. We basically had to shut down this site for the last few days, and it will take a little while for us to get back in motoring gear again. Continue reading »

Jun 262018


We’re going well off our usual beaten paths with this premiere, and onto a kind of parallel path, running alongside in a different musical dimension. For this writer, it provided the opportunity for exploration and discovery. Merely curious at first, I found myself more than tantalized by the end and therefore concluded this would be worth sharing with you as well.

This side trip begins with Kosmogyr, a contemporary black metal band consisting of two people divided between Shanghai and Prague. Their marvelous debut album Eviternity was released earlier this year, and we had the pleasure of premiering its title track. But Kosmogyr have now launched that album into a different musical world, collaborating with nine producers around the world to present Eviternally: The Remixes, which will be released on July 13th. And that’s what Eviternally consists of — remixes of the original songs by other artists who’ve give the music very different shapes. Continue reading »

Jan 162018


I first came across Kosmogyr last June when I was bowled over (and said so) by a song called “Quiescent“, which was the first offering from a promised debut album (it also appeared on several compilations — Crushing Intolerance Vol. 5 by Black Metal Alliance as well as We Are Shanghai Vol. 5). Now, the album has a name — Eviternity — and a concrete release date of March 9th. I’ve had the good fortune to listen to the album (which is fantastic), and it led me to do something I almost never do: I asked the band for the opportunity to premiere a song, and they agreed. What you will now hear is the new album’s title track.

By way of background, Kosmogyr is the name of a black metal band consisting of Shanghai native Xander Cheng (The Arcbane) and Ivan Belcic, formerly of Shanghai’s The Machinery of Other Skeletons and Death to Giants. Ivan now lives in Prague, but he and Xander collaborated by long-distance to record the album. And that collaboration has borne amazing fruit. Continue reading »

Jun 302017


I began writing this post on Tuesday, intending to finish and publish it the next day. Events conspired against that plan, and I was defeated again yesterday by technical problems ironically created by malfunctioning software installed in our web-host server by the company we pay to armor us against malware.

I’ve resisted the temptation to make this burly collection even bigger by including more new music I’ve spotted in the days since I started it. I also resisted the temptation to just shove this column into its usual place on Sunday, especially because I’ve taken a few liberties with the usual configuration of SHADES OF BLACK. Posting it today will also me to harness different new audio assaults to char the coming Sabbath.


I stay away from metal message boards for fear of losing IQ points, which as you well know are meager enough already. But I could guess that the people who think they are the trve keepers of the holy black flame are gnashing their teeth all over again because Myrkur has released a new song and soon enough will release a new album. Based on experience, I presume that the readers of this site will take the music as it comes and assess it on its own merits, which is what I’ve done — and I do like what I hear. Continue reading »