Jan 312020



(Andy Synn turned in this review of the performances by Leeched, Geist, and Tuskar in Nottingham, England last night — January 30th — with some of his own video documentation of the experience.)

Sometimes, despite all our best intentions, things just don’t work out quite the way we want them to.

That was certainly the case this evening, as, for various reasons which I won’t go into here, I ended up being massively delayed getting to this show, and therefore missed both the local openers Pemphigoid and Underdark.

This was actually doubly-unfortunate too – firstly because while I’ve never been the biggest fan of the latter, the last few times I’ve seen them it’s felt like they’re finally starting to live up to (at least some of) the hype , so I was hoping to see if this trend continued, and secondly because I’ve not yet managed to catch the former band live, and this was going to be my first chance to do so.

Still, putting aside these regrets and recriminations for the moment, I suppose you’re all wondering how the rest of the show went? Continue reading »

Jan 272020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Leeched from Manchester in the UK. The album will be released on January 31st by Prosthetic Records.)

There is a certain type of Metal fan – and, to be clear, it’s by no means all, or even a majority, simply a certain type – who, no matter how underground or alternative they consider themselves to be, continues to crave (consciously or unconsciously) the acceptance of the mainstream.

I’m sure you know who I’m talking about. They’re the ones who are always quick to share those “10 Ways the Metal Scene Needs to Change” articles (which always just advise becoming more like Pop and/or Rap). The ones who go crazy online for the latest big name artist engaging in a fifteen-minute flirtation with the most anaemic form of “Metal” they can get away with. The ones who believe a band’s most “accessible” album is always their best, and are willing to jump through all sorts of (il)logical hoops to explain why this shift towards a more mass-appeal sound is actually a daring display of artistic expression… and not just a cynical move designed to sell more product.

And, you know what? I get it. After all, a lot of us probably grew up as the slightly weird kids, the ones with the odd, nerdy hobbies and perpetually “uncool” music taste, simultaneously desiring and disdaining the attention and validation of our peers. And, no matter how old we are, how confident we might appear, a lot of us never fully grow out of this. We still want, on some level, to belong.

The thing is… some music is never going to belong. And a band like Leeched are simply incapable of pandering to the mainstream. They’re too ugly, too uncompromising, too listener un-friendly, to ever dream of fitting in or selling out. Continue reading »

Mar 012019

Black Tongue


Today is the final day of the roll-out of this list. As I’ve said more than once, the closer I’ve come to this day, the more conflicted I’ve become about which songs to choose before reaching the end. To resolve that consternation, I took the coward’s way out: I let someone else choose for me.

My NCS colleague Andy Synn usually makes no recommendations to me for this list, perhaps because he usually writes an article about his own favorite songs from the preceding year. He didn’t do that his year, but he did agree to make choices for the final installment of the 2018 list after looking through what I had already picked in the preceding 36 Parts. So these are his three choices.

Actually, he made six choices. These three are “Best of British” picks, named after the series of reviews that he has traditionally written as the year goes on which focuses on releases by UK bands. The other three are just “general purpose extreme and nasty songs”. Without asking permission, I’ve decided to get all six of them on the list, and so there will be a Part 38 today, in addition to this Part 37. Continue reading »

Sep 072018

(Andy Synn brings us another of his periodic columns devoted to metal from his homeland.)

Today’s edition of “The Best of British” features a nice amount of musical variety, from a bunch of different bands at different levels of fame/exposure (although, coincidentally, two of them hail from the same place – my original home town of Manchester), all of whom released their debut full-length album at some time in the last six months.

As a result, even if you’ve heard of one of these three acts before (and with the recent press furore over one in particular there’s a very good chance that will be the case) you should still be able to find some fresh new metallic morsels here to sink your teeth into. Continue reading »

Feb 032018


I got a late start on this Saturday’s round-up of new music, and then burned a lot of time trying to decide what to include. I didn’t have time to do much rounding up over the last couple of weeks due to the daily roll-out of my 2017 Most Infectious Song list and the usual platter of premieres, and during that interval my notes of things to check out became mountainous.

I know that DGR is pulling together his own round-up for Monday, which will help us catch up a bit, but there’s still quite a lot to do. I’ll at least make a modest start with the four songs I’ve packed into this post.


I still have vivid memories of the first time I saw Morbosidad play live, which was also the last time. That was at California Deathfest in 2015. They were absolutely barbaric, a blackened death metal war machine unleashing non-stop savagery from start to finish.

They were fronted by original vocalist Tomas Stench, a menacing shaven-headed figure clad in gauntlets with six-inch spikes and crossed bandoliers fully loaded with bullets. When he wasn’t banging his head during instrumental breaks, he was spewing ghastliness with head thrown back like a wolf calling to his kind. He also set an unbound Bible on fire and tossed the smoldering pages into the audience. Since the pages didn’t fully ignite, some helpful audience members finished the job, starting a small bonfire in the mosh pit. Very cool way to start that Saturday night. Continue reading »