Jan 112022


As I’ve remarked before about this series, the songs many of us find highly infectious are not necessaruly truly great artistic achievements, nor is there any necessary connection between an infectious track and a great album. But as it happens, I truly do believe that all three songs I’ve chosen for this Fifth Part of the list are great songs and they come from great albums.

Of course I’m far from alone in thinking these three albums are great ones — all of them achieved high praise when they came out, and made frequent appearances on year-end lists across the interhole, including those at our own dank hole.


Earlier today we posted a 2021 “List of Lists” that aggregated 97 year-end lists from 26 international critics, magazines, blogs, and other publications. In what was undoubtedly the biggest surprise (except for people who’ve actually heard it), Worm‘s album Foreverglade took the No. 6 spot, and only narrowly missed placing in a very closely packed Top 5 that included much more well-known names. As the person who compiled that list proclaimed, Worm “made funeral death/doom cool again”. Continue reading »

Mar 152021


(We present Nathan Ferreira‘s review of the new album by Mare Cognitum from Portland, Oregon. The album wll be released on March 19th by I, Voidhanger Records and Extraconscious Records.)

Honestly, I questioned even writing this review because one thing I prefer to do when I can is to give extra attention and appreciation to bands that go under the radar. But Mare Cognitum needs no introduction to most – they’re one of the defining modern black metal bands of the 2010s, to the point where I now see them mentioned as an influence in the promo blurbs of up-and-coming artists.

Jacob Buczarski, the project’s sole mastermind, runs his own label wherein he curates bands of a similar style and ethos, which itself includes scores of mind-bending music. The guy’s a damn black metal institution at this point, and the album I’m about to review is already sold out on Bandcamp (not on I, Voidhanger’s page, fortunately) weeks before it comes out on March 19th. Do I really need to hype this up any more?

Yes. Yes is the answer to that question. Solar Paroxysm is amazing, even with the high expectations that the previous albums set for it. Continue reading »

Feb 142021


Someone (besides Andy Synn) must have noticed that yesterday I posted a round-up of new songs and videos that I named “Seen and Heard on Valentine’s Day“, when in fact yesterday was not Valentine’s Day. I conceived of various justifications for this, including the assertion that I live in the future. But the truth is that what I did was probably dictated by my subconscious mind: Sundays here are for Shades of Black, even a Valentine’s Day Sunday, and I sure as hell couldn’t call this “Valentine’s Day Shades of Black”.

Let’s face it, black metal is not about love, even when it’s the kind of more modern blackened metal that wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s more about bitterness, hate, and hopelessness. When it becomes celebratory, it’s usually envisioning the savage triumph of the Fallen Angel over the deluded sheep of humanity and the institutions that have herded them, or the death of the cosmos itself.

Well, those observations may not cover the entire spectrum of black metal, especially in the modern era, but you know what I mean. Generally speaking, black metal isn’t about hearts and flowers unless the hearts have been freshly ripped from chest cavities and the flowers bloom at night and are poisonous. So, I’m just going to continue pretending that yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and we’ll say nothing more about it today.

As usual, I’ve struggled to make the following selections because so much worthy new music surfaced over the last week. There was a lot of other news as well, including the announcement that the long-running Serbian band The Stone will have a new album named Kosturnice coming out in late March, and that Necros Christos have announced their permanent disbanding. Nevertheless I did my best with these choices, and of course you should feel free to use the Comment section to point out other new black metal that I should have paid attention to in print. Continue reading »

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.]

http://marduk.nu/ 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 »