Jan 142020


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Italian band Nero Di Marte, which is set for release on January 24th by Season of Mist.)

As someone who occasionally dabbles in releasing music himself, I’ve often pondered when exactly the “optimum” time to release an album is.

After all, put something out too early in the year and you risk being forgotten about by the time all the December “End of the Year” lists roll around, but put something out too late and you’re probably going to struggle to get yourselves into contention for the summer festival season.

Nero Di Marte clearly have good reasons for deciding to release their new album right at the start of 2020 however, as Immoto is such a dense, intricately layered piece of work that it’s likely to take their audience the rest of the year to fully unpick and unpack everything it has to offer! Continue reading »

Mar 302016

Gorguts European tour flyer


(Andy Synn reports on a show he witnessed earlier this week in Manchester, England, with performances by Gorguts, Psycroptic, Dysrhythmia, and Nero Di Marte. And Andy also shares with us some videos he shot during the show.)

When it comes to running gigs (and I speak from experience not only of booking shows, but running them, and playing them… sometimes all three in the same evening) there’s a wide variety of things that can go wrong. Some of them can be fixed with only a minimum of hassle. Others… cause larger problems. For example, and this is just off the top of my head here, a six-hour ferry delay…

Yes, that’s what happened on Monday, meaning that I arrived at the venue for 6 o’clock (when my ticket stated doors were set) only to find that they’d now been pushed back until 7. Fortunately, I eventually bumped into a couple of mates (Hi Jon! Hi Chris!), which certainly made the whole experience a lot more palatable. UN-fortunately the stated door time came and went, with nary a whisper of anyone being let into the building. Something strange was afoot.

It was gone half 7 when, out of nowhere, the tour bus and trailer suddenly pulled round the corner, unleashing a flurry of activity as band and crew members scrambled to unload the necessary gear and merch and rush it into the venue to set up, with only a quick mention in passing that – with a little luck – the first band was going to be onstage within the hour.

At this point Chris and I retired to a nearby pub to join his Spires bandmates in playing the waiting game in slightly more comfortable surroundings, crossing our fingers that at least some of the lost time would be made up and that none of the bands were going to be dropped from the bill… Continue reading »

Jan 222015

quilts made of metal shirts by Ben Venom

(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

It seems like we often (and deservedly) praise bands for having a multitude of influences, for having a multi-faceted and varied sound, for achieving synthesis of diverse and disparate elements and using them to create a unique core identity for themselves. Heck, one of the key ways (although far from the only way) in which Metal progresses is by incorporating new sounds and influences, new styles, into the core genre, so it’s not surprising that we often laud those bands who bring something new, something fresh and exciting to the table.

After all, lack of breadth and variety in a band’s influences often does tend to lead to repetition and stagnation. If your band is happy to describe yourselves as “like Meshuggah” for example, then it’s odds-on that you’re probably just going to sound like a lesser-copy of the Swedish cybernauts. Just as if you’re a Thrash band and your only influences are other Thrash bands – and usually that means going back to the same tapped-out well as every other band – it becomes less and less likely that you’ll be pushing the genre forward, rather than simply rehashing or reworking what’s gone before (not, let me add, that there’s always anything intrinsically wrong with that).

Yet we also have to be careful about praising bands with too many influences wholesale. It’s certainly possible for bands to go overboard with their disparate influences and styles, and end up a directionless mish-mash of bits and pieces of other bands, which never really cohere into a greater whole.

But that’s not the only potential problem bands face when trying to weave together their influences and inspirations… Continue reading »

Dec 022014


(In this post Andy Synn sings the praises of the latest album by Nero Di Marte from Bologna, Italy.)

It’s inevitable, given how many albums are released each year, that some of them end up slipping through the cracks. Heck, I’m currently putting together all my year-end lists and finding – to my horror and shame – that we’ve accidentally overlooked a number of this year’s best albums, and simply haven’t given them the attention they rightly deserved.

So you see, even your superfluously talented writers here at NCS aren’t completely infallible.

Much like DGR’s recent write-up of the latest Goatwhore album, my review for Derivae has been sitting on the backburner for a while (though, thankfully, nowhere near as long!), while I’ve been searching for the right words to describe it… as well as the time and opportunity to put my thoughts down on digital paper.

Thankfully it seems that time has finally come, because the Italian quartet’s second album is easily one of the best, and most under-appreciated, albums released this year. Continue reading »

Sep 212014

I haven’t had much blog time available since last Thursday because of job-related travel and activities, so I’ve fallen behind in posting about new songs and videos that I think you might enjoy. To catch up, I’m including a giant fuckload of them in this two-part post. And in a rare display of brevity, I’m letting the music speak for itself.

I’ve also salted this post with a smattering of older music that I discovered only recently. Part 1 of this large collection can be found here. Beginning with that post and continuing through this one, the music is presented in alphabetical order by band name.


New video: “Eye of the Storm”
Album: Exit Wounds
Label: Century Media
Band location: Sweden

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

Apr 032014

Almost every day we read about new crowdfunding campaigns by metal bands. We don’t try to mention even a small fraction of the ones we see; there’s just not enough time or space. But there are three in this post we wanted to spotlight, in part because all three involve bands we’ve supported in the past — because they’re damned good. And to remind you of that, music is included.


This first appeal for funds was spawned by a tragedy involving two Italian bands. One of them, Nero di Marte, delivered a self-titled 2013 album that our reviewer Andy Synn called “a phenomenal debut” — “an unusual form of technically twisted death metal with a taste for sudden, erratic explosions of extremity, and a progressive streak a mile wide.” (The review is here.) The other, Void of Sleep, are a sludge-rock band whose 2013 album was Tale Between Reality and Madness.

On Sunday, March 23, after playing a show in Rome, both bands were robbed of all their instruments and gear. Here’s their statement of what happened:

In less than 30 minutes someone broke into our van and was able to take everything. It happened in broad daylight near a police station in Rome, despite there being a massive amount of police forces surveilling the area but, alas, no security cameras.

Guitars, amps, pedalboards, drums, merchandise and personal belongings… a total amount of 25.000€ was stolen from both bands. They took everything. A full list can be found here:

The sad reality of this situation is that without any instruments we cannot continue as a band. We can’t play, rehearse, tour, record a new album.

It took us years to buy our gear, and to start from absolutely nothing, without any help, means paralyzing anything we could do for a long time or seriously put ourselves into debt beyond what we can afford.

Continue reading »

Jan 032014

(In this post Andy Synn begins a series of short reviews of selected 2013 albums that we failed to review before the year ended.)

2013 was a fantastic year for metal, if I do say so myself. The sheer wealth of stellar material produced – from old favourites to new discoveries – was absolutely astounding. As a result there was always going to be a lot of stuff that simply fell below the radar, or which was missed out due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Obviously we try to cover as wide a spread of stuff as possible here at NCS, but even the combination of the five of us, plus our many guest contributors,  can’t give our full attention to absolutely everything that comes out during the year.

It’s an unavaoidable consequence of a year in which there was simpy too much to deal with all at once. An enviable position in many ways, but an unfortunate one in others.

As such, there’s a host of albums that I listened to – and loved – last year that I never got the chance to write about. So I’m going to dedicate the next week or two to briefly covering some of those records that I/we didn’t manage to write about last year, and try and give them their due. Continue reading »