Dec 222012

I’ve been distracted for days and consequently have fallen behind in taking note of new music and videos. The catching up begins now. So does the sonic slaughtering, with three ear-grabbing and eye-catching new videos.


This Italian band is one of our site’s true favorites, and their 2011 album Agony was a big hit around here, as it was just about anywhere else you might have looked in the world of metal last year. 2011 was a breakout year for FA. Extensive touring was one reason for the band’s sky-rocketing profile, but their fantastic official video for “The Violation” had a lot to do with that, too.

As of this morning, we now have a second official video for Agony. This time the song is “The Forsaken”. The video was again directed by Salvatore Perrone, and it’s another winner. It’s ingeniously conceived and beautifully filmed, and it captures the quasi-gothic, neo-classical drama of the song, which is one of Agony’s best. It’s right after the jump. Continue reading »

Dec 122012

This has proven to be an interesting morning for news. Here’s what I saw that made an impression. There’s some music at the end, too.


All Shall Perish were one of the originators of the deathcore genre, and in this writer’s humble opinion they remain one of the best bands to be found in that now-thoroughly-saturated space. This morning, All Shall Perish guitarist Ben Orum announced that he is leaving the band. As he explained in a statement I saw on Facebook, his responsibilities to his family have made it too difficult for him to continue touring.

But although he is withdrawing from All Shall Perish, Orum further announced that he is joining a band of whom we at NCS have become quite fond: Oblivion. The connection that led to this new partnership is an interesting one. As Ben Orum explained in his statement:

While I am done with touring, I will never stop writing music. I am joining the extreme metal band OBLIVION as a bassist and contributing songwriter. OBLIVION’s debut album will be released on January 1st, 2013. We are beyond excited to unleash it onto the metal world. I’ve always been into death metal and extreme music, this is my return to TRUE Death Metal. What makes OBLIVION unique and sets us apart from the pack is the fact that our primary songwriter is a world-renown classical composer and professor of music, Dr. Nick Vasallo. His voice gives the music a subtle refinement with the craftsmanship of the compositions. Continue reading »

Dec 092012

In no particular order, here are things I saw and heard this morning that I thought were worth tossing your way.


I really fuckin’ enjoyed this multi-national band’s last album, 2011’s Occult Spawned Premonitions (reviewed here). The band includes an extraordinary extreme vocalist named Vanessa Nocera as well as Roger “Rogga” Johansson of Ribspreader and Bonegnawer fame. I’ve been watching Skeletal Spectre pretty closely as they move forward toward the release of their next album, Voodoo Dawn. This morning I saw the unveiling of the finished cover artwork by Adam Geyer, which is up above. Very nice.

I’m still blasting “Bone Dust”, the one song from Voodoo Dawn that has surfaced to date. In case you missed it the first time it was featured at NCS, here it is again; the album is due out in early 2013 from Pulverised Records.

Continue reading »

Nov 132012

(We’re pleased to present another guest review by veteran guitarist Ted O’Neill of  California’s Oblivion, whose new album we reviewed here.)

When brutal death metal is done to perfection it comes off as a beautifully orchestrated cacophony of violence, mayhem, and musicianship. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is a certain elegance about it. Enter Italy’s Antropofagus and their 2012 release Architecture of Lust. This is not an album with much crossover appeal to those who aren’t fans of the genre.  This is the REAL stuff, pure, undistilled, untainted, and unrelenting.  Just a titanic slab of absolute bone-crushing, spine-jarring death metal.

Although they have been compared to fellow countrymen Hour of Penance, I’d more aptly compare them to Aeon. No disrespect to either of the aforementioned (I really like both of those bands), but Antropofagus bring a whole different intensity to the table.  This album gets right to the point, and it is pretty clear what you are in for with the opener, which is the title track. No one is going to get in touch with their inner child or sensitive side here . . . you’re in for a big time ass-kicking.  Architecture of Lust is a heavy, heavy offering, clocking in at just under 35 minutes, which may seem a little short but in reality is about perfect considering the density of the material.

These guys play at insane tempos, spearheaded by the precise attack of Davide “Brutal Dave” Davilla, with Jacopo on bass and “Meatgrinder” handling the incredible guitar riffing.  Vocalist Tya is the perfect fit for the chaos with his incredibly heavy mid- to low-range vocals.  The playing on this album is incredibly tight yet still organic sounding, unlike the trend to overproduce the crap out of most modern metal albums.  My only complaint with the production would be to prefer maybe a little more attention to the bass, but all in all these guys are captured in their frenetic glory. Continue reading »

Oct 232012

(We’re stoked to present the following guest review by veteran guitarist Ted O’Neill of that most excellent California band Oblivion, whose new album we reviewed here.)

I was very pleased when the powers that be at NCS asked me to write a “guest” review for the site. I’m not a professional writer, which will become evident shortly, so let’s not get too excited about grammatical errors and the like.  Not being a writer by trade also frees me from the self-imposed burden of some of the pseudo-intellectual bloggers who try their best to pick apart and find flaws when they do get their hands on a stellar new release. Fortunately, I’m reviewing Hideous Divinity’s debut album Obeisance Rising, an album which leaves little room for criticism. Before I tell you why this is an album that is more than worthy of your money, let’s introduce the band.

Hideous Divinity is a band hailing from Italy, originally started in 2007 by Enrico Schettino, Mauro Mercurio (both ex-Hour of Penance), and Synder Mastantuono (Eyeconoclast). After composing and recording some material the band was silent until a new line-up took form in 2009 with Enrico H. DiLorenzo (vocals), Enrico Schettino and Fabio Bartoletti (guitars), Flavio Cardozo (bass), and Mizio Montagna (drums). At the time of this writing the band has parted ways with Flavio and Mizio, replacing them with Stefano Franceschini (bass) and Giulio Galati (drums).

For everyone who is not Italian, please re-read that paragraph as we are going to have a quiz here in a minute. OK, ready…go!

So why am I reviewing an album that came out 6 months ago? Well, simply put, this band needs more support. Somehow it seems that Obeisance Rising flew under almost everyone’s radar. This needs to be fixed and fixed NOW because in a sea of crappy generi-core modern metal, Hideous Divinity is an absolute juggernaut top-flight death metal band. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say these guys are a “real” death metal band, as this is death metal done the way it is supposed to be done. Continue reading »

Sep 242012

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the forthcoming debut album from the Bay Area’s Oblivion. In a companion piece that you can find here, TheMadIsraeli also conducts an extended video interview of Oblivion’s Nick Vasallo and Ted O’Neill.)

Oblivion are one of the most badass death metal bands to emerge this year, seemingly appearing out of nowhere in a sea filled with sub-par deathcore and been-there-done-that modern tech-death that’s completely devoid of soul and conviction.  Called To Rise is an album that really brings back what I’ve missed too often since my discovery of death metal: smart riffing, effective song composition, and a keen sense of when to show off and when to not.  In a lot of ways, the album bombards the listener with elements, traces, and straight-up throwbacks to the tech-death of the 90’s (my favorite era of death metal).

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Oblivion has some undeniable talent behind the name.  Ted O’Neill is an astounding guitar player capable of producing soul-shredding riffs and brain-melting solos, but his partners in crime are also quite badass.  Vocalist/bassist Nick Vasallo is an accomplished classical composer (a talent that factors prominently into the accomplishments of Called to Rise), and drummer Luis Martinez of now-defunct death metal/deathcore greats Antagony (for whom Vasallo was the sole composer). Joining the fold recently is second guitarist Victor Dods of the also now-defunct progressive death metal band Hacksaw to the Throat.

For everyone in this band, Called To Rise is an official return back into the metal world.  Especially most impressive is Ted O’Neill, who’s been out of the game for 25 years.  To repeat: This is the first time he’s played guitar in TWENTY-FIVE YEARS.  Just think about that as you listen to what Oblivion have done so far. Continue reading »

Sep 242012

(In this feature, TheMadIsraeli conducts an extended video interview of Nick Vasallo and Ted O’Neill of new Bay Area death metal heavyweights Oblivion.  Also be sure to check out TheMadIsraeli’s review of Oblivion’s forthcoming debut album, Called To Rise.)

So, here it is my first video interview. I have to say, I was a bit nervous about how this was going to go. I’d never done this before, the method sounded iffy (a Skype call recorded using Camtasia), and I had an up-and-coming band who were unfortunately the guinea pigs of an experiment that could’ve gone horribly wrong.

Fortunately, thankfully, and awesomely enough, however, Oblivion and I got what I feel to be a kickass interview, especially for a first time try at it. Nick and Ted are awesome dudes (as you’ll see in this video), and I really enjoyed doing this.

I need you NCS readers though to be heavy on the feedback about this. Did you like it? Do you like the idea? Would you like to see more? Cause if so, I’m pretty sure I know a few people who’d be willing and eager to jump at the chance.

Enjoy the interview. It’s long, detailed, and kind of insane. Continue reading »

Sep 042012

Holy shit!  The last 24 hours have brought a flood of brand new music videos that are (a) constructed around kickass music of considerable diversity, and (b) fun to watch. I’ve collected five of them in this post, and have kept my introductory verbiage to a minimum so you can spend your time listening and watching.  Go!


Oblivion are Nick Vasallo (vocals, bass), Ted O’Neill (guitar), and Luis Martinez (drums). They are tech-death hell on wheels. TheMadIsraeli reviewed their 2012 demo here, and we’re damned excited about their forthcoming debut album, Called To Rise.

Today they debuted a video for the first song to be aired from the album, “Black Veils of Justice”. The song just blazes. And the video is cool, too, mixing a band performance together with an animated short film called “ARK” by Grzegorz Jonkajtys.

We’ll have more news about the new album in the near future. You can keep track of what Oblivion are up to by visiting their Facebook page. Here’s the video: Continue reading »

Aug 302012

(In this post TheMadIsraeli brings us a fascinating change of pace, with a review of classical music composed by Nick Vasallo.)

Today we aren’t reviewing a metal album.  Today we’re reviewing a classical album.  We at NCS are classy men anyhow, so why not?

Though in all seriousness, classical music has been (dare I say it) the foundation of metal (not rock) as we know it.  Yes, there is no doubt that Blues was as integral to metal’s development, but I think classical is an even bigger part of the equation.  You can take even brutal tech-death like Cryptopsy or Suffocation and find a way to draw parallels with baroque, classical, or even romantic-era music.  This shit flows through the veins of the most brutal of music, so in my mind it actually seems entirely relevant that this kind of music should be reviewed here.

Of course, I didn’t just go and pick something out of the blue; this album is even more related to metal than most of its genre.  Why?  Because the Vasallo in question is Nick Vasallo — one-third of up-and-coming tech-deathers Oblivion (whose three-song demo I reviewed in February — it fucking owned).  I was quite surprised to find out that he’s a classical composer and that this is actually his musical forté (maybe even over metal?), although it’s quite obvious in his work that he tries to incorporate his love of metal into this niche, as well as both Western and Asian classical music.

This creates an interesting dynamic.  Usually we humans take the old, the established, and try to find ways to keep them fresh, yet grounded in convention.  Vasallo does the opposite, taking a tried and true ancient form of music that brought us some of the greatest masterpieces ever written and breathing new life into it by reversing the roles, where the orchestral instrumentation is made a student of the metal.  I realize that sentence sounds garbled as fuck, it may not even make much sense, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.

So, in essence, what does metal have to bring to this table?  I suppose it should be noted that in my dialogues with Vasallo, death metal seems to really be his thing.  So, to rephrase the question, what does death metal offer?  What does it capture that’s relevant to these compositions? Continue reading »

Feb 012012


(TheMadIsraeli gave us a tip about the demo from this Bay Area band not long ago — and now here’s his more detailed review.)

The fucking brutals, they’re everywhere!

Oblivion already has my pre-emptive vote of one of the best death metal albums of 2012 when their debut The Reclamation drops this spring.  This three-song, self-titled demo is a 10-minute, titanic-sized carcass-crusher of eon-spanning human corruption and carnage condensed into audio, and I’m loving the ever-loving shit out of it.

From the moment that the opener “Reclamation” begins, the music drags your body into the depths of a wasteland that looks like the cover of Suffocation’s Pierced From Within.  It’s an acid storm of carefully planned knife-strikes in the form of technical riffing brought forward from the glory days of the mid 90’s, when tech death was cool as shit and hard as fuck to play, but still musically sound.  When it comes to death metal, this is the kind of music I live for.

“The Annunaki” starts with a foreboding intro before beginning the attack with a high-speed tremolo pick assault  — the drills go into the left side, the right side, and down into the top of your skull at once and leave the head a flesh crater sphere.  This song has the sickest breakdown I’ve heard in a death metal song in a while; kind of sounds like being pulled into the river Styx by fallen angels as your flesh peels off and your soul is ripped away from you. Continue reading »