Jan 212023


I’ve concluded that sleeping late is a luxury to be indulged, probably because I’ve done so little of it. I still never do it during the work week, and pre-pandemic I was so habitualized to getting up before the ass-crack of dawn revealed itself that I awakened very early on the weekends too, even when there was no sensible reason to do that. The pandemic caused lots of us to re-think lots of things, and for me one of those things was the habit of crawling out of bed at 5 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

I mean, hell, I’m not a farmer, just a compulsive blogger. Still, the compulsion is strong and I’ve had to make a concerted effort to re-train my subconscious mind, convincing it not to wake me up, or when it does, training my conscious mind to just close my eyes and let the sleep take me again. And man, does sleeping feel good, even if the robot part of my brain still feels a little anxiety when I do eventually wake up, under the illusion that I’ve been wasting time.

Well, that’s an absurdly long-winded way of getting to the point that, once again, I slept late today. I still wanted to find some new songs and videos to recommend before the small number of people who actually visit NCS on a Saturday just vanished altogether. Here’s what I chose: Continue reading »

Jun 272021


Reporting to you today from the hellish Pacific Northwest heat dome, where the second highest temperature ever recorded in Seattle at any time of the year happened yesterday and new records will be set today and tomorrow, I bring you  Part 2 of today’s expanded column devoted to black-ish metal. I decided to include three new EPs of very different styles, and to bookend them with one advance track from a forthcoming record and one song that opens a recently released album.

ONDFØDT (Finland)

Part 1 of today’s column was entirely devoted to videos, and I thought I’d begin Part 2 with another one. This one is for a song named “Mörkri” from Ondfødt’s new album Norden (their third full-length), which is set for release by Immortal Frost Productions on July 30th.

The heaviness of the bass and the hammering of the drums give the song visceral punch and power, but the mood of the music is severely desolate and distraught, with a haunting feeling of isolation and abandonment that’s matched by the frozen vistas in the video. But the song is a multi-faceted one. A militaristic drum pattern announces a change, with swinging, swaggering, and swirling riffs and scorching blasts of vocal ferocity giving the song a healthy dose of feral, carnal energy — though it becomes cold and cruel before the end. Continue reading »

Dec 182018


I wasn’t able to write a SHADES OF BLACK column for last Sunday due to feeling like hell. I felt somewhat better than hell yesterday, and decided to pull this together now rather than wait until next Sunday. I have more new music from the black realms that I’d like to recommend, and will try to fold them into a different kind of round-up later this week. What you’ll find below are songs from four albums slated for release early next year and a mid-2018 promo EP that I’ve just discovered.


Der Rote Milan‘s 2016 debut album Aus der Asche was an intense blending of grim ferocity and melancholy beauty, a powerfully affecting sequence of songs that makes their new album also worth close attention. Entitled Moritat, it will be released by Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork on February 1st. Continue reading »