Apr 092021
 

 

(We present Nathan Ferreira‘s review of a new album by Canadian melo/prog/death thrashers Cathartic Demise, which is being released today.)

It takes a special thrash album to capture my ears. Quite frankly, it’s the genre of metal I tend to lean towards the least, as much as I do appreciate a few select albums and the overall importance of thrash’s contributions to the greater pantheon. If I had to boil it down to one reason, it would be because of how restrictive the genre is – the formula for the riffs and songwriting set in stone, trapped to the confines of its rock base, despite pushing it to the absolute limit.

The thrash groups I do find myself coming back to are the ones that are heavy and punishing enough to verge on my comfort zone of death metal (early Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Sadus) or fringe bands that incorporate weird outside influences (Voivod, Skeletonwitch and Atheist). And now, it seems that right up the road from me in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, a new band of up-and-coming youngsters can be added to that short list. Continue reading »

Apr 082021
 

 

(Nathan Ferreira brings us this review of the new album by the black metal band Rampancy from London, Ontario, Canada — out now via Mutual Aid Records.)

It’s not often I get the chance to write about music from my neck of the woods, much less black metal – London, Ontario’s got a passionate but small metal scene for a city with a population of almost 400,000, and generally the inhabitants are more partial to thrash, groove and melodic death metal, as is evidenced by most of the bands that come out of here. Some examples of the more widely known ones: Kittie, Baptized in Blood and Thine Eyes Bleed. It’s not known as a well of growth for the more extreme tendrils of the music I crave constantly.

Amidst this nebulous and fragmented landscape, there’s been one constant consistently cranking out noisy, despondent extreme music for almost a decade now: Preston Lobzun, a.k.a. Oculus Tod, the sole curator and musician behind all of the instruments you hear on Rampancy’s third full-length album, Coming Insurrection.

Oculus has a handful of different projects he contributes to, most notably Saudade and Odol, and has piled up dozens of releases to his name, in addition to recording and mixing credits for countless other bands – but Rampancy is his only solo venture, and you could make the case it’s what he saves his most groundbreaking ideas for. Continue reading »

Mar 172021
 

 

(This is Nathan Ferreira‘s review of the new album by Michigan-based Throne, which is set for release by Redefining Darkness Records on April 9th.)

In my constant search for the most devastating, pulverizing sounds I can find, what sometimes gets lost in the journey, at least in the more abstract and fuzzed-out realms of death metal, is emotion. Amidst the hyperspeed tempos, atonal and warped guitarwork, and reverb-slathered vocals meant to sound as inhuman as possible… well, I don’t really feel it. Sometimes you just want music that hits you right in the gut, that lets you channel that sense of pure rage where nothing makes sense except for turning whatever is in front of you into a pile of rubble.

It would appear that around the turn of the century a lot of death metal musicians had the same feeling I did, and attempted to alleviate the issue by mixing the calculated chaos of death metal with the raw, unhinged emotion of another heavy genre, the ever-present companion influencing metal’s development – hardcore. In many ways, though, it was a wonky transition, with many metalcore and even deathcore bands turning to the wretched scream/sing formula, and the scorn from collective metaldom was prominent enough to inspire the name for this very site. But what if there was another way? Continue reading »

Mar 162021
 

 

(Here we have Nathan Ferreira‘s review of the forthcoming second album by New Hampshire’s Unflesh, which is set for release on April 2nd.)

I can’t remember where I first heard it, but use of the term “bread and butter listening” to refer to a certain type of album is an expression that’s always stuck with me. You know, the kind of thing that doesn’t do anything new, it just rules and you listen to it a lot. The stuff that scratches your most frequent musical itches, that album that you can just throw on at any time and you know it’s going to give you exactly what you need. Mood music? Who needs that?

Inhumation, the new album by tech-heads Unflesh, is exactly that type of snack for a tech-head like myself. Ever since Necrophagist burst onto the scene with their melodic, almost neoclassical angle on death metal and Obscura took extra steps in making it into a full-fledged substyle, this type of music has been by no means groundbreaking, but man is it ever tasty.

It’s hard to find new bands that can execute it properly, and if you do, they’re already snapped up by The Artisan Era as soon as they get noticed. That’s why I’m extra-intrigued that Unflesh has decided to go the independent route in releasing Inhumationthe album blew my mind halfway through the first proper track and there’s no way somebody from a label heard this and wasn’t similarly astonished. 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 082021
 

 

(NCS contributor Nathan Ferreira prepared the following introduction to our premiere of a song from the forthcoming third full-length by Kansas City-based Marasmus, which is set for release on March 20th by Transcending Obscurity Records.)

The “old school vs. new school” debate in death metal is a dead horse that’s been flogged repeatedly ever since I’ve been an enthusiast of the genre. On one side you’ve got the classic death metal camp, firmly grounded in some of the old Swedish and Finnish textures and modern bands that recreate their primitive, pioneering nature. On the other side you’ve got the modern extremophiles, lovers of all things technical and slamming. Death metal is around three decades old, and within those 30 or so years are two distinct phases of music, each with their own set of enduring, timeless classics. It’d be near-impossible for me to pick one or the other if I had to.

Fortunately, Marasmus figured out an even more novel solution: why not have both? Continue reading »

Feb 022021
 

 

(We’re wolves and so are you and so are Werewolves, whose mission in life is to make you wolves with a serious IQ deficit. Nathan Ferreira wrote this completely fitting review of this band’s second album, which is out now on Prosthetic Records.)

Hey there, NCS readers! Do you want to get stupid?

Of course you do, you’re on a website that exclusively covers harsh, heavy music. Well, I’ve got just the band for you: Werewolves. Continue reading »

Jan 292021
 

 

(The scheduled release by Ván Records of a new album by The Ruins of Beverast inspired our contributor Nathan Ferreira to prepare the following extensive retrospective on the band’s catalogue, as well as thoughts about the new album and its place within the ever-changing evolution of the band’s music.)

The Thule Grimoires is the latest work in a sprawling back catalogue that encompasses an incredible variety of unique textures which consistently go beyond what one expects out of a band in the atmospheric black/doom metal pantheon. Alexander von Meilenwald’s attention to detail in every facet of his music (composition, aesthetics, musicianship, lyrical themes, you name it) has long been the envy of one-man black metal bands everywhere. Everything about The Ruins of Beverast is cloaked in a sense of artistry and greater meaning that has grown and evolved throughout the band’s career.

Because of this, and because of the ridiculous amount of layers and themes in The Thule Grimoires, I felt it desirable to reflect on von Meilenwald’s back catalogue to give more context to what makes this band and this album so special.

Along the way, I’ve also included some streams for listening, as well as links to older interviews for anyone looking for a more detailed background on the origins behind this wonderful project; the man behind the music certainly has an erudite and articulate character, which only really comes out when he speaks and writes. Hopefully this write-up can succeed in doing a modicum of justice to such an astonishing career. Continue reading »

Jan 142021
 

 

(We welcome Nathan Ferreira, who has been reviewing metal for close to a decade at various locations, including MetalBite, and whose first NCS review focuses on the new album by the Missouri band Gravehuffer, which is set for release by Black Doomba Records on January 15th.)

Remember when shows were a thing? Particularly the dim-lit, greasy dive-bar shows that you and maybe thirty other people attended, including the band members? Sure, some of the bands needed tightening up, or their songs were just unmemorable and all over the place, but there’s a certain personality that unknown locals have that resonates with you for some time. There’s something so endearing about local nobodies spending years together crafting their inaccessible, odd visions, creating something purely for their own love of all things loud and strange. That alone makes you want to like the music more, but I think it also serves as a better incubator to make something unique, free from the demands of the public or the need to satisfy anyone’s desires besides their own.

Gravehuffer is the apex of such scrappy local acts. They look like four dads who’ve been working the same soul-sucking jobs for 20 years, their band the only refuge from a bleak and monotonous reality. They slam genres together with reckless abandon and have a loose, jam-session feel to a lot of their songs, tying moments together with big, meaty riffs and stripping down the structures with crusty, d-beat heavy drums. Their building blocks are simple and you’d never call these guys virtuosos at their respective instruments, but the magic is in how they tie it all together. Continue reading »