Sep 012023

Radiant Knife

(NCS contributor Gonzo rejoins us with a selection of seven albums he’s been greatly enjoying over the summer that’s now drawing to a close.)

Summer has a habit of hitting me harder and faster than an Archspire blast beat, so with that in mind, I’ve developed a tradition of compiling my usual monthly columns into one bigger-than-usual compendium at the end of August.

There was plenty to sift through over the past three months – along with some other shit that was released before then that somehow flew under my radar. Let’s dig in.

Continue reading »

Feb 102023

(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with the following review of the debut album by Majesties, which is set for a March 3rd release by 20 Buck Spin.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It is well-established canon at this point that your friendly neighborhood professor is a great fan of Tanner Anderson and his work in Obsequiae. Aria Of Vernal Tombs stood easily as my favorite black metal album and I was skeptical that anything could equal it, and honestly nothing did until Obsequiae‘s follow-up, The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings. Asked now, and I swear to you that I could not choose a favorite between the two, as they are both absolutely brilliant.

I tell you this because when I heard first of Majesties, I grew excited nearly to the point of arousal. Driven by my initial impression of the first track released, ‘The World Unseen‘, it seemed that Majesties was essentially Tanner Anderson and friends performing Lunar Strain-era In Flames-style melodeath, an impression bolstered by the release of a second track, ‘In Yearning, Alive‘. My friends, let me tell you, that seemed like a perfect combination, like the genius who first combined chocolate and peanut butter. And then I got to hear the entire album. Continue reading »

Jan 082023


I didn’t put together the usual Saturday roundup of new songs and videos yesterday. Partly this was because I got a late start on the day, but also because I wanted to spend more time figuring out what to include in the rollout of our 2022 Most Infectious Song list. I made good progress there, with enough choices to fill segments every day during the coming week. I think they’ll provide more reminders of what a great year for metal 2022 was.

But now on to the task at hand. The collection I assembled for today explains why I chose the name “Shades of Black” for this column too many years ago for me to remember, because most of these songs hover just on the outskirts of the black metal soundscape. They wouldn’t sound the way they do without that influence, but they’re built around other significant interests too. However, I’ve balanced those with a pair of songs near the middle that dive deep back into black metal traditions of yesteryear.

This collection is also more like the kind of “Seen and Heard” roundups that I failed to do yesterday, in that all the songs are advance tracks from forthcoming albums rather than complete new releases (even though one of those advance tracks is 20 minutes long). And I think you’ll find all the songs quite infectious — until you get to the closing pair. Continue reading »