Jun 122023

(We were very fortunate that our Denver-based friend Gonzo made the trip to Seattle for the recent fifth edition of NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest, and took it upon himself to report on the experience of all three days. You can find his report on Day 1 here and on Day 2 here. Below you’ll find his write-up of the third and final day, accompanied by photos again made by the excellent photographers John Malley and Jimmy Stacks, and by our editor islander.)

When you hit day 3 of any festival, it always feels like an accomplishment. If you’ve made it to this point, you probably deserve a merit badge for endurance or alcohol tolerance. And why not?

Personally, I’d settle for one more night of ear-splitting music and behaving badly in public, but that’s just my preference. My only goal for tonight would be to remain coherent enough to feverishly type on my notes app while trying not to get swallowed up by a rampant mosh pit.

I took my last remaining shreds of enthusiasm and trudged once again into the black hole of Neumos/Barboza. One more night of terror was all that was left. What madness would await tonight? What insanity would Ghoul unleash upon us as the closing headliner? And more importantly, would the inflatable animals make another surprise appearance?

It was time to get answers. Onward! Continue reading »

Jun 082023

(We were very fortunate that our Denver-based friend Gonzo made the trip to Seattle for the recent fifth edition of NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest, and took it upon himself to report on the experience of all three days. You can find his report on Day 1 here, and below you’ll find his impressions of Day 2, accompanied by photos made by the excellent photographers John Malley and Jimmy Stacks, and by our editor islander.)

Despite the transcendent ass-kicking YOB dealt out at the close of the previous night, I woke up feeling like my body had not been put through a cement mixer on Friday morning. This was both a welcome surprise and a relief.

Historically, Fridays at NWTF are always when the party feels like it gets kicked into 12th gear. There’s just more of everything – more people, more intensity, more energy. Even for only two stages in a relatively small venue, this festival always manages to capture lightning in a bottle. Tonight, I felt, would be no exception.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends. Continue reading »

Jun 062023

(We were very fortunate that our Denver-based friend Gonzo made the trip to Seattle for the recent fifth edition of NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest, and took it upon himself to report on the experience of all three days, beginning with Part 1 today. The accompanying photos were mostly made by pro photographer extraordinare John Malley, and a few by Jimmy Stacks and our editor islander.)

It was an unusually warm day in Seattle. The early afternoon sunlight was already bringing out the locals from a months-long hibernation. Pale-skinned locals, thirsting for a free hit of vitamin D to pair with their craft IPAs, were enjoying early happy hours at bars and breweries along the Pine and Pike corridor. Traffic was beginning to thicken down these narrow streets as the five o’clock hour drew nearer. It’s a special kind of claustrophobia that unfurls when Capitol Hill descends into rush-hour gridlock, and I quietly felt relieved that I don’t have to sit through that anymore.

The city was beginning to feel alive again, and after a winter usually fraught with gray clouds and unrelenting rainfall, spring always has a way of injecting new life into the Emerald City.

Through the traffic and the locals being revitalized by the effect of direct sunlight, though, lurked another contingent of people slowly meandering their way up the hill: The festivalgoers eager to catch the savage opening sounds of the fifth edition of Northwest Terror Fest. This was my first time back at the festival since 2019, and it had simply been too long. Familiar faces were waiting as I approached the corner of 10th Ave. and Pike St., and many hugs were exchanged after my four-year absence from what was once a yearly tradition for me.

As with every year, there would be a lot to look forward to this weekend inside Nuemos/Barboza – incredible bands, amazing human beings, and enough beer and food to help me remain in a (somewhat) functional state over the next 72 hours. This lineup had the makings of something truly special. After grabbing my pass from the box office, it was finally time to dive headfirst into this world yet again. Continue reading »

May 292023

I made a post here on Saturday to remind NCS visitors that we had shut down for the weekend due to three of us working on the fifth edition of Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle. In that post I included photos from some of the bands whose sets I was able to catch, at least partially, on the fest’s first two days. I thought, to round things off, I would include photos I took on the third and final day in this fest (because of running around and occasionally getting of my feet, I wasn’t able to see the whole lineup).

But before getting to that, I’ll share something I wrote on my personal FB page yesterday, after all of us volunteers had finished loading our backlines and other supplies out of the festival venues and returning them to storage until the next time, and after many of us had then converged again for some weary celebration and melancholy good-byes: Continue reading »

May 222023

The fifth edition of Northwest Terror Fest will take place in Seattle on Thursday through Saturday of this week (May 25-27), preceded by a pre-fest show on Wednesday night. No Clean Singing is the principal sponsor, and three of us here (Andy Synn, DGR, and myself) will be on-site working the fest. Rumor has it that another one of us (Gonzo) will be in the audience.

This means there will be a few adjustments in our usual weekly NCS routine. Since I write almost all of our premieres, there will be none of those on the festival days this week, and it’s extremely unlikely there will be a Saturday roundup or a Shades of Black post next weekend, or any other roundups of new songs and videos this week.

However, this doesn’t mean we’re going to be short on content. In anticipation of the festival work ahead, Andy has already completed two reviews and might get a third one done before he boards his flight from the UK tomorrow. Not to be outdone, DGR has already sent in 25 reviews (I’m joking, he only sent in 11 reviews), and I’ve got one in the queue from our friend Grover too. On top of that we have four interviews available from Comrade Aleks, and Todd Manning has already written a premiere feature.

As for the festival itself, I doubt we’ll be writing any coverage during the event. Based on our past experience working the first four editions, it’s a whirlwind of craziness, with a lot of very late nights and bleary-eyed mornings, and grabbing every fleeting second available to catch parts of the sets. Speaking of which, here’s the lineup, day by day: Continue reading »

Nov 222022

Surely there’s some software plugin floating around out there that would let us put a ticking clock on the site, counting down to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today. But hell, who has the time to hunt for that thing? Not us. You’ll have to set your own timer.

Why is 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today worth paying attention to? Because that’s when Northwest Terror Fest will put a limited number of early-bird tickets on sale for the 2023 edition of the fest, which will take place at the Neumos and Barboza music venues in Seattle next Memorial Day Weekend (May 25 – 27).

And why should that matter? Because look at this line-up, which NWTF announced yesterday: Continue reading »

Jun 302022

The fourth installment of Northwest Terror Fest begins today (Thursday) in Seattle and runs through Saturday night. Three of us here at NCSAndy Synn, DGR, and myself (islander) — will be working the festival, which is an event we’ve helped produce since the first year,

This is going to be the best-attended installment of NWTF ever, which probably is in part a reaction to two years of covid screwing up everyone’s life, and obstructing the ability of NWTF to proceed safely. We’re obviously not out of the woods yet, and the festival is requiring pro of vaccination to get into the venues, but people are obviously ravenous for this kind of thing to happen again.

As you can see, the line-up is also great — though some covid-produced last -minute changes aren’t reflected there, including Cryptic Slaughter having to drop and Midnight agreeing to step up and take their place at the literal last minute. Continue reading »

Sep 102021


No Clean Singing is again proud to be the principal sponsor for Northwest Terror Fest. The pandemic prevented NWTF from holding the fest in 2020 and 2021, but the fourth edition of the Seattle-based festival has now been announced for June 30 – July 2, 2022.

Early-bird festival passes go on sale today (September 10) at 10AM Pacific Time, 1PM Eastern Time, and to help push those sales NWTF is announcing that the fest will feature an exclusive reunion performance by US black metal legends Ludicra. The band, who disbanded in 2011, made this statement about their performance:

“We are pleased to announce that Ludicra will be returning to the stage at NWTF 2022. All five of us are looking forward to sharing the stage again and we hope to see you there!”

That’s tremendous news, but it’s not the only festival announcement that NWTF has released this week. A few days ago we also announced the first round of confirmed bands for the event next year:


Nov 292019


Our site obviously isn’t an all-purpose outlet for metal news. We almost never post announcements of tours, festivals, line-up changes, or even forthcoming albums (unless there’s an advance track we like that we can share in a new-music round-up). We get dozens of such announcements in our in-box every day, and even if all we did was copy/paste those things into our page, there wouldn’t be time to do much else. Plus, there are tons of other sites out there which do the newsy copy/paste thing. Why would anyone need one more?

Having said that, the last few weeks have brought a flood of enticing 2020 festival announcements, and I thought it would be worth making a slight exception to our usual decision-making and collect some of those here today. Still, this collection isn’t intended to be comprehensive — most of what I’ve picked will take place in North America — nor is my memory photographic, so I’m sure someone will be irritated that we left them out. Apologies in advance.


I’ve already expounded at length about how much I loved the first edition of Ascension Festival Iceland, which I attended earlier this year. Definitely one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had — maybe THE best — and a fantastic successor to the Oration festivals that preceded it. All respect and appreciation to Stephen Lockhart and his partner Edda for making it happen — and even more gratitude and respect to them for bringing back Ascension for round two next year. Continue reading »

Jan 022019


For the third year in a row, NCS is proud to be involved in the planning and presentation of Northwest Terror Fest, which will take place in Seattle, Washington, on May 30 – June 1, 2019, with a special pre-fest show on May 29th. Yesterday NWTF announced the complete festival line-up and launched on-line ticket sales (following an offering of discounted early-bird passes last fall that sold out fast).

As in the festival’s first two years, the 2019 event will be spread across three venues. Each night performances will rotate back and forth between the main stage at Neumos and the cozier confines of Barboza, which adjoins Neumos. Soon after one band finishes at one venue, the next band will start at the other, so that there are no overlaps or conflicts, and it will be possible for ticket-holders to see every band on the line-up. And then, following the performances at those venues, there will be additional performances at the Highline bar to extend the fun past midnight.

The three main nights of the 2019 edition of the festival will be headlined by Cirith Ungol, Wolfbrigade, and Pig Destroyer at Neumos, and by Dawn Ray’d, Iskra, and Khôrada at Barboza. The “after parties” at Highline over the three nights will include shows by Bongzilla, Indian, Bongripper, and more. In addition, the pre-fest show on May 29th at Highline will feature a “quiet” set by Thou, an acoustic performance by Austin Lunn of Panopticon, and a solo synth set by Slasher Dave of Acid Witch. Continue reading »