Jul 122018


For the second year in a row, NCS was proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which took place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. Several of us in the NCS family helped organize and present the fest, and I guess that makes us a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who thought it was a fantastic event. The feedback from bands, fans, and the venues has been uniformly very, very positive — so much so that we and our co-conspirators are already at work planning the third installment of NWTF for 2019.

We will of course be bringing you news about next year’s fest when the time is right, but we now want to take one more look back at NWTF 2018. And to do that, we’re fortunate to be able to present some of the amazing photos that New Orleans-based photographer Teddie Taylor took while the festival was in progress. Continue reading »

Jun 042018


(Andy Synn wrote this article, which includes thoughts about the new albums by Lago from Arizona and Burial In the Sky from Pennsylvania.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the concept of pure “originality”, in its most stringent and (ironically) restrictive form, is often given far too much weight and consideration when bands are being critiqued/assessed.

Now this in no way excuses bands whose music never rises above being a dilute derivative of something we’ve heard a thousand times before, but the truth is that the majority of musical growth and evolution occurs in the form of slow, incremental changes, with successive artists tweaking, altering, and adding to the formula(s) of their predecessors over time.

In that sense it’s a lot like science, where new developments are generally the results of years of perseverance, building on the legacy of the work done previously, so that the chain of events, the path of discovery, is clear for all to see.

Of course in music, as in science, there will always be sudden, paradigm-altering breakthroughs when inspiration suddenly strikes, and something truly “original” is created, but, for the most part, we need to acknowledge that all of us, from the least to the greatest, are standing on the shoulders of giants. Continue reading »

May 032018


You know the drill: From the frothing torrents of new music that continuously rush through the stinking catacombs of the metal underground I sift out a handful of nuggets that appeal to me, and present them in these posts in the hope that they will appeal to you as well.

Today I’m beginning with a couple of bands in whom I have perhaps a more personal interest than most because the front-men are such good dudes… though I’ll quickly add that I was a big fan of their music before I got to know them.


I go back a ways with the music of the Arizona death metal band Lago, back to the discovery of their very impressive Tyranny demo in January 2013. They released an even more impressive debut album of the same name in 2014, from which we had the pleasure of premiering the first advance track. They followed that at the end of 2016 with a tremendously good split release with Poland’s Calm Hatchery, from which we also premiered a secret bonus track by Lago.

Since then Lago have completed work on a new album named Sea of Duress and signed with Unique Leader Records for its release, which will happen on June 8. And yesterday Metal Sucks premiered a video for one of the new album tracks, “Soiled Is the Crown“, which was directed by Matti Way (From the North Films). Continue reading »

Dec 142016



We go back a ways with the Arizona death metal band Lago, back to the discovery of their very impressive Tyranny demo in January 2013. They released an even more impressive debut album of the same name in 2014, from which we had the pleasure of premiering the first advance track. And since then we’ve been waiting to see what Lago would do next.

What they’ve done next is collaborate with the Polish war machine Calm Hatchery on one of the best short releases of the year, a powerhouse vinyl/digital split released on December 2 by Selfmadegod Records (Poland) and Battleground Records (U.S.). For that split, each band contributed one song — but if you buy the vinyl split (as I did) you’ll discover that it comes with a code for a secret bonus track by Lago that turns out to be maybe even better than the two staggering monsters that are visible on the track list.

It’s really far too good to remain hidden, and so today we get to bring you the premiere of a public stream, just as Lago is releasing the track as a digital single. The name of the song is “Catacombs and Oceans“. Continue reading »

May 012015


Life is so unpredictable. Some days, it just rains shit in torrents. Other days, it’s almost magical. I had one of those magical days — actually, a magical night — earlier this week (April 29), when Lago, Rhine, and Rat King played in Seattle.

The show was at the resurrected Funhouse, which has now occupied the lounge at El Corazon. Lago (from Phoenix) have been touring the West Coast, and their Seattle stop was the occasion for this event. I’m a big fan of the band, and have been really impressed with Rhine’s recorded music too, so I was very curious to see what both bands would be like live. In my case, Rat King was a complete unknown.

To start with a summation: All three bands were fantastic. And although this is ostensibly a show review (with photos I snapped using my phone), it’s also intended as an introduction to our readers (or re-introduction) to the music of these bands; I’m including streams of their most recent releases along with my comments about their live sets. Continue reading »

Jul 292014

We first came across Arizona’s Lago in early 2013 after discovering a two-song demo named Tyranny they had recently released. It made a strong impression in short order, and now the band are on the verge of releasing their debut full-length, bearing the same name: Tyranny. Today we bring you a taste of what’s coming with the intergalactic premiere of the album’s first advance track — “Concede To Oblivion”.

There’s a lot to like about this new song, from the high-voltage riffs, to the rumbling bass line, to the blistering drum work, to the flamethrower soloing, to the thoroughly cavernous vocals. Lago deliver top-shelf death metal, like some hellish blackened offspring of early Morbid Angel and Disma, fully armed with an arsenal of impressive technical chops and infectious hooks. The music is suitably ominous and fearsome, but performed with distinctive flair. From this song alone, Tyranny has vaulted onto our list of highly anticipated 2014 albums. Continue reading »

Jan 042013

Herein: an assortment of new music and one new video I discovered over the last 24 hours from a couple of bands previously featured at NCS and a couple of newcomers.  Varied and interesting stuff all the way around.


This band from Phoenix is one of the newcomers. According to Metal Archives, they released a five-song EP (Marianas) via Pale Horse Recordings in 2010, which I haven’t heard yet, and then last month they released a new two-song demo entitled Tyranny. Last night I saw a recommendation of Tyranny from one of my Facebook friends and decided to give it a spin. Sure glad I did.

On Tyranny, Lago deliver something that sounds like a cross between old-school Morbid Angel and late-stage Behemoth, plus interesting elements that you won’t find in the music of either of those bands, such as the noodling bass notes and incredible guitar solo in “The Tyranny of Men”.  Both songs are rhythmically dynamic (and rhythmically compulsive) and expertly played. And the vocals are also deep as ocean trenches and monstrous, in the vein of something like Disma’s Craig Pillard (though some banshee shrieking also makes a brief appearance in the second song).

This is really fuckin’ impressive stuff! Continue reading »