Jul 082014

Three years have passed since the release of Schwarzpfad, the last studio album by Ukraine’s Kroda, which remains one of my all-time favorite pagan/black metal albums. The year 2012 brought us a live album (Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok!) and last year Kroda released a compilation (Varulven) that included several departures in style, including two cover songs, but I’m still feeling a yearning for an album-length work of new songs. It appears my wish will be fulfilled.

I’ve been in contact with Kroda’s Eisenslav, and he has disclosed that a new full-length album is being created, under the title GinnungaGap-GinnungaGaldr-GinnungaKaos. As for the meaning of the title, GinnungaGap is the name in Nordic mythology of the vast primordial abyss from which the cosmos was created and into which it will fall again at the time of Ragnarok — the source of runes and magic, the source of wisdom and titans, and at the same time the source of evil and chaos. An epic name for what we hope will be an epic album.

Eisenslav was also good enough to share with me three promo tracks, which I have permission to share with you. These are untitled at this point and without vocals — and when the album recording begins, the music will be completely re-recorded with live drums, vocals, and traditional instruments. But to these ears they sound really good already. The music is soul-stirring and sweeping, both heavy and atmospheric (especially in an almost meditative passage in the third track), with memorable melodies and surging power. Continue reading »

Oct 072013

The last album released by the Ukrainian band Kroda was last year’s Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok!. As the name suggests, it was a live recording, and an excellent one. The band’s last studio release was Schwarzpfad from 2011 (reviewed here), which I thought was one of the best albums of that year in any genre. Almost all of Kroda’s releases are now available on Bandcamp.

Last Friday, a new Kroda EP appeared on Bandcamp under the name Varulven. It’s currently available as a “name your own price” digital-only download, though it’s planned for release on CD next month via Purity Through FireVarulven is a compilation of four tracks recorded at various times over the last five years. Die-hard fans of the band will be interested in this even if only to complete their collection of Kroda’s discography, but it’s really very good in its own right.

The title track is a studio recording from 2011. It’s a cover of a traditional Nordic song (the name of which means “Werewolf”), and the band describe it as “an experiment in viking-rock style music”. On this track, Kroda weave together elements of folk music (complete with the sounds of a ghostly flute, tumbling drums, and pure female vocals) and pagan metal (jagged growls, slightly distorted riffs and arpeggios, and tremolo-picked guitar melody), setting them to a rock beat. The melody itself, though quite catchy, has a dark undercurrent, which Kroda enhance with the sound of owls, wolves, and sinister whispering, turning it into something that’s haunting. Continue reading »

Jun 102013

Here’s an interesting discovery (via a Facebook post by a record label that I saw this morning). It’s a feature on StumbleUpon.com. I don’t know how long it’s been available because I don’t frequent StumbleUpon, so maybe this is really old news. It’s called “Neverending Playlist”. You type in the name of a band and it creates a playlist of songs by that band.

I typed in the name “Immortal”. I don’t know why, but that’s the first name that popped into my head. I got a playlist of 50 songs. The songs play automatically, from one to another, so you can start it going and then do something else. You can pause and skip songs, too, if you want.

It looks like all the songs are retrieved from YouTube, so StumbleUpon hasn’t compiled its own library of music. But there’s obviously a lot available on YouTube. For example, 50 songs by Immortal. It’s not really “neverending”, though. I was interested to see if StumbleUpon would make new Immortal music once it had exhausted Immortal’s entire existing discography and continue playing from now until the end of forever. Continue reading »

Jan 292013

I love Bandcamp. I know that’s not a revelation, since I’ve been ejaculating my love for Bandcamp at NCS for years. But I have new reasons to love Bandcamp.

For example, Kroda. One of my favorite black metal bands on Earth, whose 2011 album Schwarzpfad was one of my favorite releases of that year in any genre. As of today, Schwarzpfad is on Bandcamp and available for streaming and digital download — the first time this album has become available legally as a download anywhere. This is the second Kroda album that has appeared on Bandcamp, joining the excellent 2012 release, Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok! Here’s the link, and the stream:


But that’s not the only Bandcamp news I want to share. Continue reading »

Nov 292012

News flash: Kroda have just put their brand new previously unreleased live album up on Bandcamp.

Long-term NCS readers will know about Kroda because we’ve written about them so often at NCS (their 2011 album Schwarzpfad was probably my favorite black metal album out of all the ones I heard last year, and I included a song-stream from the album on our list of the 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs).

As previously reported at this site, Kroda recorded a live album at a concert in Moscow on April 14, 2012, planning to release it in the form of a combined CD and DVD under the title Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok!.  Last month, we streamed one of the tracks from the new live album, an awesome cover of a song called “Noregsgard” by the Norwegian band Storm (which included Fenriz of Darkthrone and Satyr of Satyricon) from Storm’s 1995 Nordavind album.

Just minutes ago, however, Kroda made public a new Bandcamp page and are now offering Live Under Hexenhammer for digital download. It’s a monster release, consisting of about 100 minutes of music, with live performances not only of original Kroda songs but also covers of songs by Summoning, Absurd, and the aforementioned Storm. The entire album is available for $8.99, and the songs can be downloaded individually as well.

And of course the entire album can now be streamed.  We’re planning a review of this release, which Kroda were nice enough to let us hear in advance. But you won’t have to take our word for it. Listen for yourselves after the jump: Live Under Hexenhammer kills. Continue reading »

Oct 172012

(UK-based NCS scribe Andy Synn makes an appearance with another five-fold list of “favourite” things.  Such wasteful use of vowels.)

I realise I’ve been off the grid for a bit now (though I am working on some reviews, a 30th edition of The Synn Report, and an awesome interview) so in between balancing all that, work pressures, and 2 bands, I thought I’d drop you another irreverent column on five of my favourite things.



Such an odd choice, but one which works perfectly, taking the darkly gothic atmosphere of the original and replacing its more pop orientation with some heavy metal riffage and a meaty drumming backbone. The vocal interplay is also sublime, the predominant clean croons matched with a bullish, anguished growl from Tuomas Saukkonen. Continue reading »

Oct 122012

In this post I’ve collected three new songs I heard earlier today that I wanted to recommend. They’re all quite different from each other, sharing only a common devotion to the darkness.


Long-term NCS readers will know this Ukrainian band because I’ve written about them so often (their 2011 album Schwarzpfad was probably my favorite black metal album out of all the ones I heard last year, and I included a song-stream from the album on our list of the 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs). But we continue to pick up new readers at a steady clip, and the band’s new recording gives me an excuse to introduce them to our new followers.

As previously reported at this site, Kroda will be releasing a live album in the form of a combined CD and DVD under the title HelCarpathian Black Metal – Heil Ragnarok: Live Under Hexenhammer, which was recorded and filmed in Moscow. Today the band announced that mixing and mastering of the album is now complete and that it will be released as a digipack edition later this winter. They also released one of the live tracks for streaming.

It’s a cover of a song called “Noregsgard” by the Norwegian band Storm (which included Fenriz [Darkthrone] and Satyr [Satyricon]) from their 1995 Nordavind album. I believe the song, even as originally recorded by Storm, was a metallicized version of a folk tune, and Kroda’s performance, which includes both flute and clean vocals, definitely has a pagan/folk air. But it’s still pretty fuckin’ heavy. I like it a lot. Continue reading »

Aug 292012

As mentioned in today’s last post, the last 24 hours have brought a torrential flood of news and new music that I care about, and because I care about all this shit, I’ve been grinding my talons down to nubs on the keyboard, on the assumption that you will care about it, too. And if you don’t, please keep that to yourselves, because I bruise easily. Without further ado, here are four more items to add to the long list that has already filled up our site today.


We published a very, very early guest review of Katatonia’s new album, Dead End Kings, in this post. We also were fast in posting about the wonderful music video for the first song to debut from the album, “Dead Letters”. For reasons I haven’t figured out, we’ve been getting a ton of hits on both of those posts over the last 3 or 4 days despite the fact that both of them are two months old. We might as well add something a bit more current.

This afternoon, DGR alerted me to the fact that the entire album is now streaming at the Canadian Exclaim.ca web site. HERE is the link for that. Dead End Kings was released yesterday (August 28) via Peaceville.


We’ve written so many times about this Ukrainian black metal band that I’ve lost count (actually, I could count them if I had more fingers, because all the previous posts are collected here). Schwarzpfad was probably my favorite 2011 black metal album of all the ones I heard last year. It also showed up on Andy Synn’s list of the year’s Critical Top 10 albums, as well as his list of 2011′s Great Albums, and I included a song from Schwarzpfad on our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Continue reading »

Jan 132012

This is Part 19 — the final Part — of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released in 2011. Each day since we started this list, I’ve been posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

All good things must come to an end, and today I’m ending this list with the final three songs. Yes, there are three songs today instead of the two per-day that appeared in every previous installment of this series. And that means the list is ending with 39 songs — an odd number for a list (in both senses of the word) — but wtf, I myself am odd.

In the next day or two, we’ll pull together every song we’ve named to this 2011 list in a single post where all of them can be streamed, and with links for each one back to the original features where we added them to the list. Tomorrow, we’ll also have an “Honorable Mention” list, though it’s not really a list of extreme metal songs that narrowly missed being included here. I’ll explain tomorrow. Now, let’s wrap this thing up.


Schwarzpfad is probably my favorite 2011 black metal album of all the ones I heard last year. You could probably figure that out based on how often we wrote about Kroda last year. Our latest mention was in a post that included video of the band playing a live set on December 18 at the OSKOREI festival in Kiev, Ukraine. Before that, Schwarzpfad showed up on Andy Synn’s list of the year’s Critical Top 10 albums, as well as his list of 2011’s Great Albums. Continue reading »

Dec 202011

Here are a few things I saw and heard last night and this morning that I thought were worth your time.

Of course, I don’t know exactly what you do with your time, or how valuable your time is, or what potentially horrible consequences might result if you spent time listening to this music instead of doing what you would be doing if you weren’t listening to this music.  So, I guess you could say I’m being presumptuous.  I prefer to believe that I’m enriching your miserable lives with the beauty and joy of good metal, compared to which most things are drab and stultifying, including your lives.


This item came my way from KevinP, who believes that I do not need erectile dysfunction drugs because I pop wood over almost every metal band on the planet. He sent me a link about a band named Nekromantheon. The fact that I like their music in no way validates his own opinion about it, because my own standards are so low. Perhaps sending me links such as this is KevinP’s subtle way of trying to raise my standards. If so, that’s a mission doomed to failure. I like what I like, and if you don’t like it, fuck you. (I’m not talking about YOU when I say that; I’m referring to that one person who stopped reading NCS because he thought my standards were too low. Of course, there’s only one such person, ever, or ever will be.)

Nekromantheon is from Norway and the style of their music is a certain kind of thrash. But it’s not let’s-get-drunk-and-fuck thrash. It’s more like let’s-find-innocent-children-and-sacrifice-them-to-Cthulhu thrash. Continue reading »