Feb 282021


I won’t repeat what I wrote yesterday (fucking day job… electrodynamic particle accelerator… last hurrah…). Suffice to say I don’t have much time for NCS at the moment, or for the next couple of weeks, so today’s SOB is briefer than usual. But still good, of course, like a delicious appetizer that a djinn materializes to drop off and then vanishes, leaving you to forage for the rest of the meal yourself.

MONTE PENUMBRA (Portugal/Iceland)

My oh my, how my eyes brightened last week when I saw that Monte Penumbra had returned. I confess I had forgotten to check for news about this project with the passage of time. After all, it has been roughly five years since their last release, a 2016 EP named The Black Realm Vigil, and even longer since their first album, Heirloom of Sullen Fall (2013). But the music isn’t easily forgotten, hence the gleam of brightness in my puffy bloodshot eyes. Continue reading »

Dec 012016



Lots of people are starting to make year-end lists, and we’re continuing to gear up for our own LISTMANIA extravaganza (we invited our readers to begin sharing their lists here earlier today), but time hasn’t stood still for all that:  New songs and new albums continue to roll out, and I continue to make lists of what I come across.

Here are new songs from seven bands among the many that grabbed me over the last week. I decided to use a different title for this collection than the usual “Seen and Heard” heading, for reasons that will become evident as you listen.


Aksaya are a French band whose new album Kepler will be co-released by Satanath Records (Russia), More Hate Productions (Russia), and The Ritual Productions (The Netherlands) on December 15. Two songs are now available for listening, the first of which is a free download at Bandcamp: “Anomalie, Prélude À La Découverte” and “Non Morietur”. Continue reading »

Nov 302014


Back in August I was halted in my tracks by the very cool cover art for a then-forthcoming split release by Portugal’s Monte Penumbra and Half Visible Presence from The Netherlands. Both bands include members of the most excellent Israthoum (W.uR in Monte Penumbra and Arvath going solo in Half Visible Presence). The cover art above is actually the artwork for the Half Visible Presence side of the split — you’ll see the complementary art for Monte Penumbra’s side after the jump.


“Downwards Deathmarch” is the name of the Half Visible Presence track, and it could hardly be better named. Announced by the sound of a funeral bell against the backdrop of a cold, desolate wind, the song is anchored by doleful, groaning, repeating riffs and slow drumbeats. It’s a deep pit of misery, corroded with distortion and its melody sodden with tears. Continue reading »

Aug 092014

Happy Saturday. I’m still deep in the heart of Texas with a very unpredictable schedule. Yesterday I didn’t have time to do much listening or any writing, and I’m not sure what I’ll be able to accomplish before flying back to Seattle tomorrow night. But at least I had some time this morning to check out a handful of songs I wanted to hear, and I’ve collected three new ones in this post that I’ve really been digging.


One upon a time our guest writer Kaptain Carbon wrote this about The Chills — the 2012 debut album by the East Coast trio known as Horrendous:

Horrendous unceremoniously slide into the above-average tier with a knockout death metal record that presents the style with no additives, preservatives, or frilly flavor. This is raw and completely un-distilled death metal extracted from the amber peaks of death metal mountain. Horrendous is the Icelandic yogurt of death metal. What a goddamn weird metaphor. That shit is so expensive. Why does this taste like grass and goats?”

As good as The Chills was, the band’s new album is even better and more multi-faceted. Its name is Ecdysis and it’s scheduled for an October 14 release by Dark Descent. And wow, is that album art fantastic, or what? It was painted by Brian Smith (whose FB page is here). Yesterday, along with the unveiling of the cover, Decibel premiered a song from the album named “Nepenthe”. It’s fantastic, too. Continue reading »

Mar 102013

Today is Day 14 of me being away from home for my job. Since last night was a Saturday night, I got a break from the usual day-and-night grind. Carousing with my co-workers, I ate too much, had a few drinks, and then lost an hour of sleep because of daylight savings time beginning here in the U.S. But before collapsing into bed I did play the MISCELLANY game for the first time since last December.

For those people who are new to the site or have forgotten, here’s how this works: I randomly pick an assortment of bands whose music I’ve never heard (usually bands with new releases who are relatively unknown). I listen to one or two songs, not knowing what the music will be like, and I write my impressions. And then I stream for you what I’ve heard so you can make up your own mind.

For this session, there really was no rhyme or reason to what I picked. The music is from Darkening (U.S.), Monte Penumbra (Portugal), and Bovine (UK). Continue reading »