May 302018


In this post we happily present the North American premiere of a new song and a new video from the new album, minus, by the Norwegian alchemists in Krakow, which will be released by Karisma Records on August 31. And as a prelude, let’s begin with the band’s own words — in part because the final sentence seems particularly fitting in the context of this new song: “black wandering sun“:

“Following the laborious process of distilling two albums worth of material into one focused gem, we give you “minus”. The pinnacle achievement of Krakow’s thirteen-year existence. After a year of recording, shaping, re-recording and refining, “minus” has been reduced to the bare essence of who Krakow are as individuals, as a group and as story tellers. An album that defies any attempts at genre definition. This release covers the heavy, the subtle, the melodic, the atonal, the groovy, the sluggish, the dense, the airy, the naked, and always, always, the wall of sound where no light can escape.”

Continue reading »

Apr 112016

Shadow Woods Metal Festival 2016


As we begin the new week, I have some unfortunate news (at least it’s unfortunate for me). Beginning today and continuing through Thursday morning, I have to bury myself in my fucking day job for one of those day-and-night projects that periodically descends upon me. I’ll make time to post what other writers have sent me, as well as a few premieres I’ve agreed to do, but aside from this round-up and one “Short But Sweet” review I wrote over the weekend, I will be missing in action until sometime Thursday.

Before saying good-bye, I’ve collected a few items that I wanted to share — including, at the end of this post, streams of ten recent videos without commentary (because I’ve run out of time for commentary).


I’m late sharing this news, but the news is so exciting that I’m following the “better late than never” mantra. Last year’s Shadow Woods Metal Festival was a marvelous event by all accounts — including this account by our guest Captain Karbon. As I reported in February, organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been planning the second installment of this open-air camping metal party, which will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. They’ve been announcing performers since January, and now the complete line-up has been revealed — and it’s an eye-popper: Continue reading »

Jun 262015


(Andy Synn delivers another long-overdue installment in his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music, of course.)

Wow, so, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s been almost a year since I did one of these?

How time flies when you’re having… fun…



Shot through the heart. Pink

Floyd’s to blame. Norwegian prog

Has a damn good name Continue reading »

Apr 022013

(NCS writer Andy Synn has returned from Oslo’s Inferno Festival and brings us a multi-part report of what he saw and heard, beginning with this post. More will follow in the days to come.)

So here’s how Inferno Festival works… though the event itself is a three-day affair situated at Rockefeller/John Dee, there’s an opening day on the Wednesday featuring an array of bands performing at a series of different venues around the city.

For the first time this year I was officially accredited as “Press” for the event, meaning I was invited to the Opening Party at the Rockefeller lounge, which kicked things off just before the various bars and clubs started the evening’s festivities. I have to say that I definitely appreciated the free beer (a rather bitter, but ultimately rather nice, Norwegian brown ale called Nøgne Ø) and free food on offer, as well as the opportunity to mingle with other attendees (hello to Liz and Lewis, if you’re reading this) and stalk various band members.

The party itself also had a couple of presentations explaining and extolling the history of Inferno and its connections with the Oslo metal scene and with the Indian metal scene with which it has steadily been building a relationship. Continue reading »

Nov 072012

(In this post, NCS writer Andy Synn reviews the sophomore album by Norway’s Krakow, which was released in September.)

Hands up: Who remembers the last time this band were featured (albeit briefly) on this site…?

Ok, so I’m going to guess that very few hands were raised. Partly because none of you remember the band, and partly because raising your hand over the internet would be pretty stupid.

Back when I had my little Black Metal Weekender™ there was a killer little show featuring Kampfar, Vreid, and Secrets of the Moon. And opening that show (and indeed, sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb) were the as-then-unknown-to-me band Krakow, playing a form of dragging, weighty stoner-metal, shot through with some distinctly Scandinavian influences. It was certainly an interesting sound, and their performance prompted me to keep an eye on the band.

Which brings us to Diin, their recently released second album. To describe it succinctly, I’d say imagine Enslaved with a more depressive, less bombastic vibe, channelling the spirit of latter-day Isis. Add a splash of Mastodonian psychedelia to that, stir, and serve over ice. Continue reading »

Jun 032011

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn is back with his third concert review of the week. This is what we call good living — Andy caught three stellar concerts in four days over the long weekend that just passed. We don’t think he wrote these reviews just to make us jealous, but they’ve had that effect anyway. We forgive him because he writes so well that reading is almost like being there.)

Starting an unbelievably short time after doors opened, Krakow had the unenviable task of warming up an underground black metal show on a rainy Monday night in Nottingham. Thankfully, their grooving take on warp-riding post-black metal was a perfect appetiser, their music providing a surprisingly warm and welcoming way to start off the evening’s entertainment.

Similarities could be drawn with Icelandic progsters Solstafir who ply a similarly post-black metal route through the murky waters of genredom. However, where Solstafir evolved into a post-black mutation from their original Viking-era incarnation – whilst maintaining a cold sense of post-millenial dissociation – Krakow began their lives as the direct offspring of post-black metal parents – they were born this way. These mutant spawn of post-black metal Norway have more in common with the rolling, abstract sounds of Isis and Cult Of Luna than they do with Mayhem or Emperor.

Embracing a free-wheeling, psychedelic rock spirit to offset the bleaker tendencies of their musical DNA, the band had a loose, fiery sound and swagger, mixing aggressive metallic tendencies with a stockier, more muscular riff-based sound and a bedrock of grooving, hammering beats. Bassist/vocalist Frode Kilvik possessed a powerful, primal roar equally as capable of expressing animalistic lust as extolling the twin themes of human misanthropy and apocalyptic decline, tempered with a positive, almost antagonistic fatalism. If doomsday is coming, they’re not going out without a party. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »