Jun 262014

Yesterday was an eventful one in the realms of metal, with enticing new-album announcements and new songs. I’ve collected a few of the most interesting items here. I stayed up late at a metal show last night and am now rushing to get my ass out of the house and onward to my fucking day job, so I’m presenting the new songs without my usual commentary (which I may add later).


More than four years have passed since Germany’s Dark Fortress released the fantastic Ylem. Finally, after a few postponements, a new album is ready. Entitled Venereal Dawn, it’s scheduled for release by Century Media on September 2 in North America (and September 1 everywhere else) and yesterday its cover art was revealed. The cover is a painting by a Netherlands-based artist named Nespress Danielewski and it appears he has created other art for the album as well. I really, really like this cover and am interested to see what else he’s done for Venereal Dawn.

Of course, I’m really interested in the music, too. The press release says: “Expect epic song structures, mighty sonic cathedrals, virulent and sinister magic and lots of unexpected twists and turns as the bands drags you screaming and headbanging through the abysmal roller coaster of their universe once more.” Oh yes…

https://www.facebook.com/officialdarkfortress Continue reading »

Feb 012014

Here are some things I spied and heard over the last 24 hours, including a destructive new song and an invigorating new video. But I begin with some teasing photos that appeared in my Facebook news feed. The first one is above, accompanied by these words:

“Legendary Florida Death Metal pioneers Massacre will return with their first studio album effort in almost 20 years! Programmatically entitled Back From Beyond, the album will be released on March 24th in Europe and April 1st in North America.”

Here are some others, with the verbiage that accompanied them. If you don’t recognize the faces, hover your mouse over the images.

“New Album nearly complete! 1.31.14”

Continue reading »

Aug 102013

I know you didn’t ask what I’ve been watching and listening to on this gray Pacific Northwest morning, but I’m telling you anyway, because that’s how blogging works.


A new Arsis video premiered yesterday. The song is “Scornstar” from their 2013 album Unwelcome. It was directed by Scott Hansen. It’s footage of the usual kind of thing that happens at an Arsis show. You know, people foaming at the mouth, chicks showing their tits, dudes ripping their hearts out of their chests, people’s guts exploding, bodily fluids and intestines spraying every which way. For people who’ve seen them play live before, it’s kind of old hat. But if you’re new to the band I guess it might be interesting.

I don’t really understand why this kind of regular occurrence was newsworthy. Must have been a slow news night at the TV station that broadcast the report. You can watch it next if you want. Continue reading »

Apr 122013

(Occasional NCS contributor Mike Yost has kindly allowed us to re-publish this recent piece he wrote about the importance of metal on long road trips.)

Denver, Colorado to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  About 1,638 miles.   That’s 2,882,880 yards of asphalt.  Burning through almost 200 gallons of diesel fuel.  Passing what must have been over 1,000,000,000 fucking construction cones.  The vehicle:  A 22 foot-long Penske moving van with a dolly towing a car.  12 foot, 7 inch height clearance.  Ten tires on the road.  Total weight of about 30,000lbs.

Yes, this was (dare I say) an epic trip.  And an expedition of this magnitude required tunes.  Lots of tunes.   Lots of metal.  With almost 30 hours of drive time, silence for that long would have driven me into a bridge.   Or rather, I would have driven willfully into a bridge, laughing manically while beating my head against the steering wheel.

Combine the claustrophobia of a truck cab, the inability to sleep while occupying such a contraption, the stomach aches from eating shitty gas-station sandwiches made with meat shaved from the hind-end of a decaying maggot-infested human carcass laying out back, the traffic jams in the middle of fucking nowhere due to construction, the congested cities you must fight your way through, and just the general mind-numbing tedium of miles and miles of road rolling out in front of you—endless and without mercy or conscience—then you understand the function and importance of metal to sooth nerves and subdue the urge to suddenly veer into oncoming traffic. Continue reading »

Feb 242013

Here are a few things I saw and heard this morning. I hope you enjoy them. And by “enjoy” I mean “whimper fearfully and moan miserably”.


I was bowled over by this Connectuicut band’s 2010 debut album, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), and I wasn’t the only one. It has received plenty of attention and critical praise.  You can peruse my review of the album here, and check out a revealing interview of Pristina’s mainman Brendan Duff by using this link.

I have really been looking forward to Pristina’s second album, Hopeless•Godless, which is now scheduled for release on February 26 through The Path Less Traveled Records. I’ve made my way through it once . . . but needed time to recover and hear it again before attempting to make notes for a review. It’s just utterly crushing and searing. I felt like a raw steak that had been tenderized with a mallet and then char-broiled over a hot open flame. Continue reading »

Feb 182013

Hey, happy fucking Monday to all you brain-dead metal heads. Here’s a big collection of new music and news that I came across at the start of my bleary-eyed morning today.


I’ve confessed before that straight-up old-school thrash is not among the metal genres that are nearest and dearest to my black heart. In addition, I’ve become even more numb due to the avalanche of re-thrash releases by many new bands who all sound alike to me. But with that said, I’m digging the shit out of a new song clip that premiered today by a Finnish band named Lost Society.

The song title alone hooked me: “Braindead Metal Head”. And then the music Finnish-ed me off. It’s a jet-fueled, out-of-control thrash rocket with multiple warheads. The riffing is catchy as fuck, the vocals are pleasingly drunk on the high energy, and the obligatory guitar solo is a first-class trip to shred city. This is speed metal I can get behind.

The video strings together words of high praise by the likes of Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Schmier (Destruction), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Craig Locicero (Forbidden), and Kragen Lum (Heathen), and they might know what they’re talking about. Continue reading »

Feb 122013

Yeah, I’m going back to the “Seen and Heard” caption for these round-up posts. But probably just for today. Here are items of interest I spied over the last 24 hours, including new music, that I thought were worth sharing.


We’ve talked about this Australian band a lot at NCS. Their 2012 album Portal of I made several “Best of 2012” lists we posted in our Listmania series. And so it was sweet indeed to see this morning’s announcement that NeO have been signed by Season of Mist. The press release I received also included this delicious piece of news: “The band is currently in the middle of writing their Season of Mist debut with plans to record late 2013.”

Congrats to Ne Obliviscaris!


This news will disappear shortly. Yesterday, the UK’s Dragged Into Sunlight, about whom we have also posted endlessly, announced that they have now begun work on a follow-up to their 2009 album Hatred For Mankind (last year’s Widowmaker was less a follow-up than something written and recorded more or less in parallel with the first album). In addition, DIS began streaming what they described as “a collaboration with our fellow wrongdoers in Gnaw Their Tongues.” But the stream is going to end any minute now . . .  Continue reading »

Jan 072013

This is Part 10 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day until the list is finished, except today, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three we’re announcing today, click here.

Australian metal killed it in 2012. I’m not saying that Australian metal bands weren’t killing it before last year, but in 2012 they put a stake through the heart and cut the head off. I’ve already included a song from one Australian band in this list (Gospel of the Horns), and today I’m adding three more — three songs from three great albums that helped make 2012 a banner year for metal from Down Under.


Andy Synn reviewed Be’lakor’s Of Breath and Bone for us here. One song in particular infected me, and it brings a smile every time I hear its opening notes. The song is “Remnants”, and here’s what Andy had to say about it:  Continue reading »

May 212012

(Our friend groverXIII reviews one of the best albums of 2012, the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated full-length debut by Ne Obliviscaris.)


Five years. Five very long years have passed since the release of Ne Obliviscaris’ impressive 3-song demo, The Aurora Veil, one of the most polished demos I’ve ever heard. The impressive mix of black, death, and progressive metal displayed there had me yearning for more, and finally, the band have released Portal Of I. The album features the three tracks from the demo (re-recorded, albeit very faithfully to the originals) and four new songs, all of which fit together perfectly to create one of the year’s best progressive metal albums.

Musically, Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for “lest we forget”) bear certain similarities to Ihsahn’s solo work as well as Enslaved’s more recent material, but that comparison doesn’t really do the band justice, because they don’t really sound a great deal like either band. There is the basic framework of black metal, with scads of lightning-fast double-kick drumming (courtesy of drummer Daniel “Mortuary” Presland, who has previously been named as the Fastest Feet in Australia) and tremolo-picked riffs, along with the throaty roar of vocalist Xenoyr, but that’s only part of the story.

For starters, there’s the interplay of guitarists Benjamin Baret (leads) and Matt Klavins. Baret and Klavins play off one another almost constantly, with Klavins generally laying down base riffs and Baret providing counter-melodies and lead flourishes. There’s the clean vocals and violins, both performed ably by Tim Charles, who adds another layer of melody alongside Baret and Klavins. And then there’s bassist Brendan “Cygnus” Brown, whose work on the low end isn’t limited to simply following the riffs. Brown makes sure that his bass plays as much a role as the other instruments, allowing him to add to the sonic tapestry while still maintaining the foundation of the songs. And the aforementioned Mr. Presland does an excellent job keeping things interesting, no small thing when most of his beats are over the top of his ever-present double-kick. Continue reading »

May 032012

Yesterday, we alerted you to the plans of Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris to debut a new song at midnight, Pacific Time, last night. And they did it. The new song, which will appear on their forthcoming debut album Portal of I, is called “Xenoflux”.

“Epic” is a tremendously overused word in metal circles, but I can’t help but use it here: “Xenoflux” is epic. At an even ten minutes in length, it will still leave you wanting more.

It begins with a a grand introduction — great hammering riffs, rolling drums, and a winding lead guitar paving the way to the song’s invigorating first segment. Jagged, blackened vocals conjure images of a wolf pack loping through dark woods on the hunt, while beautiful guitar work weaves melodies that are as entrancing as they are heavy. That opening five-minute segment is both head-smashing and emotionally powerful, but the achievement is more than matched by the three-minute middle segment which follows it.

All the instruments drop away, clearing the stage for a solitary guitar arpeggio. And from there, other instruments slowly join in, with a violin taking the lead, painting a meditative sonic picture that’s beautiful. In the song’s final segment, the music rises in power and intensity once again, the harsh vocals resume, and the band catapult the listener toward the finish — which comes too soon for these hungry ears.

“Xenoflux” is a beautifully imagined, beautifully constructed, superbly executed song that I think you’ll remember long after you’ve heard it even once. Stream it right after the jump. Portal of I will be out on May 7 and can be pre-ordered here. Continue reading »