Feb 192023

I didn’t oversleep today, so there’s a lot here. And I don’t just mean the volume of music, but the stylistic range of it too. Black metal has become a vast canvass, but I’ve often gone off the edge of the canvass too. And I’ll add that there are more variants of doom in this mix than usual.


To begin today, I’ve chosen At Night I See Demons, the head-spinning debut EP released last month by the Swedish black metal band Mylingen, a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist V.J. (from Apathy Noir) and vocalist G.C. According to Metal Archives, their name is based on the word “myling“, which in Scandinavian folklore was “the phantasmal incarnations of the souls of unwanted children killed by their mothers and forced to roam the Earth until they could persuade someone to bury them properly.” Continue reading »

Jan 162023

(Our old friend Justin Collins returns to NCS with this guest review of a new album by Palace of Worms, which is set for release on February 3rd by Acephale Winter Productions.)

I’m going to say upfront that I’m not going to be able to do full justice to Palace of Worms‘ latest (and possibly last) album, Cabal. That’s because the very act of describing all of the sounds that have gone into it makes it sound slightly insane. Broken down to their component parts, a lot of these songs have no business being as good as they are, but yet, here we are. I wouldn’t be writing this if the album was a haphazard mish-mash.

Palace of Worms has always been roughly categorized as black metal, although that’s as much because we’ve all decided that’s the easiest way to categorize it, in spite of the fact that there’s always been a fair amount of outside influence. Even the last full-length, The Ladder, had a pretty solid core of black and post-black metal, but had plenty of other influences. The album’s very first track started out with a ripping hammered dulcimer riff courtesy of Botanist‘s Otrebor, after all. Continue reading »

Jan 052023

February 3rd, 2023 will be a bittersweet day for ardent admirers of adventurous music. On that day Acephale Winter Productions will release a new album named Cabal by NorCal’s Palace of Worms. It will be a sweet day because the album is so gloriously intrepid and unpredictable, but a bitter one because Cabal is reportedly the band’s final album.

Anyone who has followed the musically mercurial course of Palace of Worms doesn’t need to be told that there’s no sure way of knowing in advance what each new release will do. Significant time has elapsed between albums since 2010’s Lifting the Veil, with six years between that one and The Ladder, and then another seven passing by before Cabal. Time brings change of course, but especially when the mind behind the project — Nicholas “Balan” Katich — is already so intrinsically pre-disposed to turn the tables on listeners, most likely because he finds straight and narrow paths to be stultifying.

So, what has he done with Cabal? Well, here’s one series of clues from the press materials for the record: Continue reading »

Jun 212020


I had a big block of uninterrupted time to myself yesterday afternoon, with my spouse out of the house at a safe birthday celebration and the cats sleeping. So of course I spent the time digging through my list of new black metal(ish) music in preparation for this column. You see the results: More time means more picks.


I have Cvlt Nation to thank for this first discovery. The introduction to their premiere was brief and didn’t include much detail about the music, but the blaring headline did the job: “Listen To Non Serviam’s Salem – It’s Depraved And Sick! This Band Sounds Like NO OTHER!” I also thought the cover image was fantastic, and so decided to see what was going on with the music. Continue reading »

Mar 222016

Palace of Worms-The Ladder


More than five years have passed since the last full-length by the Bay Area’s Palace of Worms. This one-man project hasn’t been entirely silent in the interim, contributing to splits with Mastery, Botanist, and earlier this year Thoabath, but next month we will see a new full-length. Not surprisingly, given the elapse of so many years, it reflects some changes in the interests of Balan, the man who inhabits this palace (and also dwells within the ranks of Ordo Obsidium and Botanist). In his words:

The Ladder is the culmination of nearly three years of work creating a diverse record that properly reflects its creator’s life during the period. Drawing influence from not only black metal, but from death, doom, goth and dark ambient. Each song brings the listener further up (or down) the ladder and at the top is the beginning and the end, the end and the beginning. Acknowledge existence with its limitless horrors and your pain will set you free.” Continue reading »