Mar 132020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the ambitious new double album created by Mare Cognitum (California) and Spectral Lore (Greece), which is being released today by I, Voidhanger Records and features cover art by Elijah Tamu.)

Call me a glutton for punishment, but not only is this the second double-album I’m reviewing this week, but it’s actually even longer than the first one!

What makes it different (very different, in fact) is that rather than being the product of just one band’s vision, Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine (and that’s the last time I’m going to be typing that in full) is a split-release from two artists, Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum, each of whom contributes a full album’s worth of blistering blackened riffage and eerie, extraterrestrial atmosphere.

But wait, there’s more! Not only is the album arranged very differently to a traditional split – instead of grouping the songs by band they’re arranged (mostly) in an alternating pattern, loosely following the order of the planets in our solar system – but the final two tracks are in fact the result of a collaborative effort designed to fuse the best parts of both artists into one collective whole.

Of course, the problem with shooting for the stars is that there’s a lot that can go wrong out there in the formless void… so the question is, have Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum found a way to boldly go where no band has gone before, or is this one giant leap too far? Continue reading »

Sep 192016

Reviews in Haikus


(Andy Synn brings us a new installment in his series of album reviews in haiku. Three reviews of three lines each come after the jump. With music, of course.)

Despite what I’ve seen suggested by certain slightly ill-informed commenters recently, Metal’s obsession with space and the vast potential and possibilities of the great beyond is nothing new.

Let’s be honest for a second – a bunch of the genre’s progenitors were massive nerds who stole took inspiration from some of sci-fi’s biggest (and some not so big) names to feed their lyrics and concepts, and this basically laid the groundwork for everyone from Agalloch to Obscura to Wormed to draw their own inspirations from the same deep well, be it the pulpiest of science fiction or the hardest of science fact. Sometimes both.

So for the latest edition of this column I’ve selected three fantastic albums which, to date, haven’t been covered properly here on NCS, each of which firmly and confidently puts its own spin on the great interstellar enigma and our place as insignificant motes of fleeting life within the vast and unending void. Continue reading »

May 082016

Profanatica-The Curling Flame of Blasphemy


As I explained yesterday, I’ve been off my game for yet another week, with less time than usual to collect new music worth hearing. In a (futile) effort to play catch-up, I collected some new things yesterday and a lot more in this post, which is again devoted to metal in a blackened vein.


New York’s Profanatica have deep roots in the underground, with a string of short releases beginning in 1990. The band dissolved in about 1992 before releasing an album, but re-formed in 2001, though the first album still wouldn’t appear until 2007. Their fourth album, The Curling Flame of Blasphemy, is now set for release on July 22 by Hells Headbangers, the music prepared by the band’s two core members, drummer/vocalist Paul Ledney and bassist/guitarist John Gelso.

The album’s first track, “Ordained in Bile”, appeared recently, and I really can’t get enough of it. The atmosphere is primitive and predatory, and its primal power owes much to its production (especially the drum tone, which you can feel right in your gut). Continue reading »

Aug 112015

Mare Cognitum cover


Last year I, Voidhanger Records released Phobos Monolith, the third album by the one-man California project known as Mare Cognitum, and now that very tasteful label has decided to reissue the band’s second album, An Extraconscious Lucidity, in remastered form and with cover art and layout by Max Loeffler. Originally released only as a digital download and as a limited CD-r, the album includes six tracks of atmospheric black metal — and we are now premiering the closing one, “Pulses in Extraconscious Lucidity”.

The song is absolutely electric — I can’t think of a better word for it. Even when the song slows in the final third of its significant length, it’s a gripping piece of music. Continue reading »

Oct 062014


(Leperkahn once again steps up to the plate during my round-up hiatus with a collection of noteworthy news and new music.)


You can pretty much assume that a new Marduk record will kick ass 100% of the time. Their most recent full-length, Serpent Sermon, is certainly a better testament to that than most of their releases. Luckily for us, January 2015 will give us yet another dose of their feral, maniacal black metal, entitled Front Schwein. I literally don’t know anything else about the record, other than my hypothesis that it’ll be one of the better records January offers. Get psyched.

[Editor’s intrusion: “schwein” is German for pig, and “frontschwein” seems to be an expression for the grunts at the front in wartime.] Continue reading »

Aug 042014

I’ve spent the last three days having a fantastic time at the Denver Black Sky festival, about which I’ll have more to say and show in the coming days.  My traveling companions and I will be headed back to Seattle soon, and so I doubt I’ll be posting much on our site today, but I wanted to get you a few new things to hear before I once again enjoy the wonders of airport security in the 21st Century, even though I don’t have time to say much about the music itself.


This Danish black metal band have recorded their fifth album, and the first since 2010′s Necro Spirituals. The new one is named World of Tombs, it features cover art by Mark B. Hansen, and it’s scheduled for release on September 1, 2014, by the band’s new label, Scarlet Records. In June I wrote about the first killer single from the album, “Diabolical Engines of Torment”, and today brought us a second one — “In Torture We Trust Pt. II”.

Through the use of my superior deductive skills, which have justly become famous throughout my own mind, the song title suggested to me that a song named “In Torture We Trust Pt. I” might exist somewhere. Undoubtedly its existence would be well known to fans more familiar with Horned Almighty’s full discography than I am. But this is why Satan created Metal-Archives. Continue reading »