Mar 012019
 


The Agony Scene

 

As I explained in the preceding installment of this list, posted earlier today, I wimped out in deciding which songs to pick here at the bittersweet end by letting Andy Synn make the final choices. For that preceding installment he picked songs from three of the albums he featured in his “Best of British” series of reviews last year. The three you’ll find in this final Part of the list for 2018 are more “general purpose extreme and nasty songs”.

For those of you who’ve been following this seemingly endless (but now ended) list, we appreciate your support and your patience. On Monday I’ll post a wrap-up that includes the complete list and links to all the installments, and to a Spotify playlist created by one of our readers that also includes all of them. Continue reading »

Dec 132018
 

 

(Andy Synn‘s week-long round-up of metal in 2018 continues with this list of his picks for the year’s ten best albums across a range of metal genres — one of which hasn’t been released yet and is reviewed here.)

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that any attempt to craft a “Top Ten” list that represents the wide variety and near-infinite density of the modern Extreme Metal scene is doomed to failure. There’s simply too much of it, too many different competing styles and sub-genres, for a mere ten albums to cover.

That doesn’t stop me trying every year though, so what you’re about to read is my latest effort to capture a clean snapshot of the very best of the best from the past twelve months.

Interestingly this list seems to differ significantly from the various other sites and zines I’ve been keeping an eye on, though that’s not by conscious design. It also skews in a surprisingly “progressive” direction overall, which is not something I anticipated when I first began trying to piece it together, with a massive 70% of the albums featured here making use of clean vocals in some form or another.

In demographic terms, this year’s list features two entries from the USA, two entries from Germany, one from Portugal, one from Iceland, and three from the UK – which, again, wasn’t by design – as well as one international collective whose members come from all across Europe.

It also runs the gamut of practically the entire twelve-month period, with the “oldest” album on here having been released all the way back in the first week of January, while the “youngest” entry won’t even be out until the 21st of December! Continue reading »

Aug 162018
 

 

Here we are, four whole days into the week without a round-up, which of course means there’s a whole hell of a lot to round up. So, we’ll have a two-parter today, along with a couple more premieres.

HATE ETERNAL

Well, of course I’m going to lead with Hate Eternal‘s new track, because of course I’m not going to squander the opportunity to put another Eliran Kantor masterpiece up at the top of our page. In fact, I’m going to do it again after the jump, this time with the album title and logo in place: Continue reading »

Feb 172018
 

 

Still playing catch-up after a week devoted mainly to premieres, I picked the following five tracks to conclude this two-part Saturday round-up. I’m definitely not caught up yet, but this will have to do for now. More catching up will happen tomorrow, with the usual Sunday focus on black metal.

THY CATAFALQUE

Tamás Kátai has recorded a new Thy Catafalque album, and I could hardly be more excited to hear it. If perchance you haven’t discovered Thy Catafalque, carve out some time this weekend and go explore the Bandcamp page, which I’ve linked below. I think you’ll find the music distinctive and enthralling.

The new album (the eighth one) is Geometria, and Season of Mist plans to release it on May 4Tamás explains that this one includes violins, electronica, occasional saxophone, trumpet, and fretless bass, plus the voices of Martina Veronika Horváth (Nulah, Niburta) and Gyula Vasvári (Perihelion), in addition to his own. Viktoria Varga also provides narration. Continue reading »

Oct 162017
 

 

You may have noticed that my posts have been scarce over the last few days — nothing at all over the weekend (Andy’s Best of British kept us from going dark altogether) and only one post on Friday and one on Thursday. The reason is that last Thursday my employer hosted its annual retreat, which was in Montana this year.

As usual, it has a very good time. But between the travel, the work-related meetings, the staying up late while getting hammered with co-workers, and the watching of some playoff baseball, NCS temporarily fell far down the ladder of my life. I wasn’t even been able to keep up with our e-mail traffic or my usual daily searching through statuses of friends, bands, and labels on Facebook.

Needless to say, I’m way behind. So what I’m doing here is collecting some music I actually had planned to post last Thursday, but ran out of time before leaving Seattle — though I have added two more songs I became aware of since then. Continue reading »

Dec 212014
 

 

I suppose this post could be considered Part 2 of a collection I began yesterday (here). It’s a big selection of music I discovered over the last couple of days that in widely varying degrees incorporate elements of black and death metal into the sound. And I do mean “widely varying” — no two of these bands sound alike, but I hope you’ll agree they all sound good.

LVTHN

LVTHN is a Belgian black metal band with three short releases to its credit, all of them appearing in 2014. The first one, Adversarialism, I reviewed here. The next two of those releases came this month — a four-song EP entitled The Grand Uncreation (which includes a cover of a Katharsis song) and a split with Lluvia entitled Illuminantes Tenebrae. Both are worthy of separate reviews, but I’m so pressed for time that I’m afraid I’ll never write them. I decided this short comment is better than nothing.

In a nutshell, these five new LVTHN songs are potent examples of bestial black art — torrential hailstorms of knife-edged riffs undergirded by the distant rumble of percussion and pierced by flesh-rending vocals, with waves of dark, dramatic melody moving through the music like the migration of leviathans. It’s gripping, galvanizing, ravaging music, with just enough well-placed breaks in the onslaught to prevent total sensory overload.  And the Katharsis cover is obliterating. Continue reading »

Sep 022014
 

 

It’s rare for us to look back over our shoulders at releases from past years (or even past months). We have too damned much trouble trying to stay abreast of current releases. But I’ve recently discovered some short releases by three bands from Pennsylvania that I felt I had to write about, despite the fact that most of the music is from 2013 — if for no other reason than to introduce you to some names I suspect you’ll be hearing more about in the future.

The first one is a 2013 demo by a band named Outer Heaven, and the second is a 7″ split by Drones For Queens and Occult 45.

OUTER HEAVEN

I discovered the existence of Philadelphia’s Outer Heaven as a result of some glowing Facebook remarks by Krieg’s Imperial about their performance at last weekend’s Detest Fest Vol. 1 in the band’s home town. I hadn’t heard the name before, but after some poking around I learned that they include guitarist Jon Kunz from Rivers of Nihil and that they released a 7-track demo last year. But having said that, I suggest you now put Rivers of Nihil right out of your head, because Outer Heaven is a very different beast.

On that 2013 demo they drop ropey sludge riffs down from the rafters, knot them around your neck, and then push an anvil-heavy counterweight over the edge — and up you go, while the band beat you like a piñata with crowbars. Continue reading »