Dec 142018


Our focus on LISTMANIA at this time of the year tends to diminish the frequency of round-up posts such as this one; even when I’m not doing the writing myself, the behind-the-scenes work that I do to get year-end features ready for publication (such as Andy Synn‘s impressive week-long series of lists, and DGR’s week-long series of catch-up reviews, both of which concluded today) takes some time. My ability to listen to new music and select songs and videos to recommend has been further restricted by the two-week vacation I took, which ended last weekend, and by way too much holiday-season partying this week.

Our 2018 LISTMANIA orgy isn’t nearly finished, by the way. Next week we’ll begin rolling our year-end lists from other NCS writers and guests, and at some point I’ll start revealing my own contribution to LISTMANIA — a list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. But I still do hope to throw in a new-music round-up every now and then.

The three new songs you’ll find below, all of which come with music videos, barely make a dent in my backlog, but I hope to do a bit more catching up with another SEEN AND HEARD post tomorrow and the usual SHADES OF BLACK column on Sunday. Continue reading »

Feb 052018


(DGR compiled a round-up of new music to launch our Monday at NCS, an eight-song collection that we’ve divided into two parts, with Part Two slated to come very quickly after this first installment.)


I’m not going to lie to you all, I’ve been pretty distracted around the NCS office as of late. Usually I’ve unleashed a handful of ridiculous-length reviews by this point, but so far the beginning of 2018 has had your buddy here firmly ensconced in the news trenches, freeing up some of the other folks around here to fully dive into the deep and murky waters of all things underground and unlistenable.

It doesn’t help that I’ve also had tabs open alongside the news haul consisting of album streams from Dagon’s victorious return on Back To The Sea, Bloodshot Dawn’s surprisingly tech-death oriented ReanimationAfgrund’s mean and urgently-now The Dystopian, and even the occasional leap back into 2017 with Ireland’s Weed Priest and their stoner doom throwback; all of which are seeing constant listens and hopefully time to deep-dive in the near future. Shit, there is even a new Apophys disc entitled Devoratis that we covered very briefly but need to dive back into.

Of course, now that all of that has been written down, the news flood will get worse and I’ll get something done just in time to watch the moon finally escape Earth’s gravity and go sailing off into space as we’re devoured by the Sun’s outer layers as it goes red giant.

But enough jokes about things that seem preferable to going outside and facing the world. Let’s get on with the music. Continue reading »

Aug 292016



Happy Monday! I mean that sincerely, despite the usual depressive aspects of the day, because this Monday brought us three exciting new song premieres that I discovered soon after caffeinating myself strongly enough to stun a bull, plus an announcement of an exciting U.S. tour. And here’s what I found:


As our regular readers are well aware, we have become ardent followers of the Greek band Aenaon since discovering the wonders of their 2014 album Extance, which made no fewer than four different year-end lists published at our site, as well as a host of our reader’s lists. It was also the source of a song (“Grau Diva”) that I included in my list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. You may then be able to imagine how eagerly we have been awaiting the band’s new album, Hypnosophy. Continue reading »

May 022015


Happy Saturday to all you motherfuckers (and I say that with the greatest affection and respect). A lot of new music videos appeared in the interhole yesterday, and here I’ve collected four of them — plus one somewhat older video that I was tipped to earlier in the week. So grab a big bucket of buttered popcorn, turn down the lights, mute your cell phones, and prepare to be entertained.


The new video for Misery Index is set to the music of “The Harrowing”, which is one of the best songs on one of last year’s best albums, The Killing Gods. The video was made by David Hall (Handshake Inc.), who also directed a previous video for the album for “The Calling” and whose work for other bands we’ve featured here on many occasions.

The new one incorporates film of the band performing on their European tour last summer, new performance footage shot by Jeff Grindstopher, some of the excellent artwork that Gary Ronaldson (Bite Radius Designs) created for the album, and a creepy narrative about a group of Zodiac-style killers. Continue reading »

Dec 252014


Welcome to Part 2 of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here. Today we add two more songs.


There was really never any doubt that one of the songs from The Killing Gods would appear on this list — “Fucking flawless” was the way TheMadIsraeli summed up his review of the album for our site. The hard part was deciding which song.

“The Harrowing” received support from some of our readers as well as my comrade DGR, who prized the song’s speed as well as the awesome solo in the middle of the track. But after repeatedly bouncing back and forth between that song and the one I ultimately chose, I’m going with “Conjuring the Cull”. I’ll just repeat here what I excitedly exclaimed upon first hearing the song: Continue reading »

Aug 062014

(Here’s another installment of Andy Synn’s irregular series devoted to his favorite things that come in fives. As always when he does these things, please feel free to share your own list in the Comments — in this case, your favorite bands you’ve never seen live.)

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these random little columns. I bet you were beginning to think I’d forgotten about them, hadn’t you?

Well, my strange predilection for numerical lists of my favourite things has reared its ugly head again, and this time we’re dealing with the mournful issue of bands I’ve never (for a variety of reasons) managed to see live!


Let’s start with a big one, shall we? I love Extol. They are one, if not the biggest, of my favourite bands. Their dissolution back in 2007 seemingly put paid to my chance of ever seeing them live, but now they’re back with an amazing new album and are playing a few select live shows… well, let’s just say that there are few things I wouldn’t do for a chance to see and hear them perform! Continue reading »

Jun 252014

(In this post we present BadWolf’s interview of Mark Kloeppel, frontman for Baltimore’s Misery Index, conducted live at Maryland Deathfest — with photos taken there by the talented Alyssa Lorenzon.)

One of the highlights of my trip to Maryland Deathfest was the opportunity to see Baltimore’s own Misery Index live twice in a single weekend. The No Clean Singing crew has a soft spot for relentless mixes of grindcore and death metal, and Misery Index are among the best bands in that vein at the moment—not only is their rhythmic attack, weighed down by bassist Jason Netherton (formerly of Dying Fetus) and drummer Adam Jarvis (also of Pig Destroyer), fierce in a way many of their peers are not, but their approach is also intellectual. The band has a strongly anarchist-liberal lyrical bent, which only adds to the vitriol and complexity of their music. It’s the kind of death metal that makes me want to revisit it over and over.

Mark Kloeppel joined the band in 2005, and plays guitar, as well as screams, on their finest run of albums. His vocals and melodic guitar lines dominate the band’s 2014 album, The Killing Gods, which made up much of their MDF set lists. It’s the most melodic album in the band’s discography, but Kloeppel himself seems less than harmonious. He sat down with me behind a tent in the blazing Baltimore sun to talk about the new album, parenting, and how, economically speaking, we all lose.


It seems like there wasn’t a lot of activity on the Misery Index front for a couple years there. I remember Heirs to Thievery came out when? 2010? Four years ago?

Yeah. In 2010, the touring cycle started with us going out with Dying Fetus and then picking up our new lead guitar player. We did some other stuff… We toured with Grave. We did a whole bunch of stuff. It’s kind of hard to remember everywhere we went. I know we went to Indonesia, Japan, Australia, and a lot of places in South America like Brazil and Colombia. We did a tour with Cannibal Corpse in the States. That was the last thing I think we did in the States before this.


Why the recording gap? You guys were on a pretty steady two years per album clip for almost a decade.

Yeah, and that sucks! It’s like when you first start a band. When you first start a band, you spend a good five years crafting your very first songs. You go play shows, and it’s awesome because you’ve spent so much time crafting good songs and you grow and stuff like that. Being a seasoned musician and not being able to dedicate the proper amount of time to make a quality record, you feel like you’re being robbed. 

We stuck to the tight schedule that was imposed upon us by the label. It was kind of necessary to build the band for Discordia, Traitors, and Heirs to Thievery. After that, we were done with that schedule. We didn’t want Misery Index to do that anymore. We just spent the time you’re supposed to spend writing a record. 

 Continue reading »

Jun 162014

Hot off the presses, we present a brand new music video by Baltimore’s Misery Index for “The Calling”, from their most excellent 2014 album The Killing Gods. It’s a fast-cutting montage of black-and-white, close-up film of the band performing the song and B&W scenes from one or more old movies with occult themes.

As you will see, the imagery suits the song very well. It was assembled by director David Hall at Handshake Inc., and he has once again done a bang-up job. Continue reading »

May 152014

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Baltimore’s Misery Index.)

Misery Index have really come into their own over the course of their last couple of records.  Their transformation (for lack of a better term) from Dying Fetus-lite to a straight-up death metal titan all their own has been a pleasure for my ears, and has resulted in some of the finest death metal you can get your hands on nowadays.  I’ve always liked this brand of death metal (Man Must Die do something similar) — lots of grindcore, old school death metal riffage, hardcore groove, and the odd incorporation of melodic death metal, but with their own flavor, not to mention a taste for lyrical sociopolitical vitriol.  Of course, key early members of Misery Index were in Dying Fetus first, which had made a name as a musically excellent death metal band that addressed social issues with the anger and outrage they deserved.

The Killing Gods is the Misery Index standard-setter.  The song writing fat (what little fat there was) has been trimmed and the songs have been turned into efficient killing-machine Spartan warriors.  A toning down of the grindcore elements results in riffs that stick out more, quite a bit more melody has been introduced, and the central focus of this record seems to lean heavily on their particular brand of imperialistic might.  Misery Index have always had this quality, and it’s a vibe unique to them I think.  The “imperial vibe” has always been a Polish standard, but Misery Index never sound like they are copping the Polish sound.  Something is distinctly American, distinctly ruthless, about the majesty presented on The Killing Gods.  This truly is the definitive Misery Index record. Continue reading »

May 132014

The new Misery Index album, The Killing Gods, is now exclusively available for streaming at another web site. We just got our promo of the album today, so you’ll be hearing it right along with us. The fact that you can hear it all right now will not stop us from reviewing it, because if the rest of the album is as good as the individual songs that have already debuted, it’s going to be one of 2014’s true monsters.

But really, you should hear it for yourselves as soon as possible. The album comes out via Season of Mist on May 23. Listen here: Continue reading »