Dec 142018


(Andy Synn concludes his week-long round-up of metal in 2018 with this list of his ten personal favorites among the year’s great and good albums.)

So, after all the stress and struggle involved in putting together all my various lists which preceded this one, now it’s time to relax and turn my attention to those albums, whether “Great” or “Good”, that make up my personal favourites of 2018.

Once again I decided that I wouldn’t include any “Honourable Mentions” this year, as to do so would essentially mean reproducing a good 60-70% of my previous lists (although, that being said… do try and give Agrypnie, Disassembled, Hundred Year Old Man, The Agony Scene and Void Ritual a listen if you get chance) and instead decided to focus solely on the ten albums which I’ve listened to the most and/or which have made the biggest impact on me this year.

Funnily enough, while the actual process of working out which ten records best represented my listening habits over the last twelve months was as complicated as ever, the write-up was much easier than I expected it to be, as it just so happens that I was responsible for reviewing almost all of them! Continue reading »

Apr 242018


(Guest writer Conchobar returns to NCS and, with our thanks, provides the following writings about the debut album by Panegyrist as an introduction to our premiere of a track from the album named “Ophidian Crucifix“.)

[Panegyrist is an avant-garde black metal project comprised of, among others, artist Elijah Tamu, whose incredible visual talent has been featured on many albums, including the recent Metamorphosphorus split and of course the one discussed below, and drummer Marcello Szumowski, whose most recent work can be heard on Inferno’s Gnosis Kardias album (WTC 2017). Hierurgy, their debut album, will be released via I, Voidhanger Records on May 18, 2018. From the label: “Hierurgy – meaning ‘ritual’ or, literally, ‘holy work’ – is an expression of burning religious impulse. This collection of meditations explores the theme of theosis, the process whereby the individual is transformed and united with God through the operations of the divine energies’.]

Reviewers of music often drop into what I have come to see as a default template, particularly of albums and musicians they like: non-substantive introduction, brief encomium, and then a strange, magpie-like effort of nitpicking along a number of predefined trajectories:

1) it is too new, and hence alien, and strays too far outside the envelope

2) it is too much of what it is, and thus stays too comfortably inside the envelope

3) it is not what the reviewer imagined it to be, and thus fails to live up to some unspoken futurity that existed only in the mind of the reviewer

Musicians are thus caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of being told not to reinvent the wheel while being accused of patent infringement on the aforementioned wheel, all whilst navigating the back roads of the reviewer’s unmapped and poorly articulated expectations. This caveat lector is my justification for providing, in place of either a review or an interpretation, what I will frame as a reaction, and hopefully a response, to Panegyrist’s debut album, Hierurgy. Continue reading »