Nov 072014


We probably devote more attention to album art than the average metal blog, and the Swedish artist Pär Olofsson has been one of our favorites for years. His cover for Obsolescence, the new album by Abysmal Dawn, is a striking example of his work — and the album is damned striking, too.

So it’s a genuine treat for us to bring you this feature, narrated by Pär Olofsson and Abysmal Dawn vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliott, about how the album art evolved, with step by step images of the artwork, as it eventually took shape in the exchange of ideas between the two.

If you haven’t yet listened to Obsolescence, which is out now on Relapse Records, do yourself a favor and dive into that (you can here it and buy it on Bandcamp). It’s superb. You can find out more about the band and the artist via these links — and at the end of this post, check out their new video for the song “Inanimate”: Continue reading »

May 152013

Here are a few new things I came across since our last post from yesterday that got me excited.


The first item is at the top of this post. It’s another creation of the masterful Par Olofsson, the cover for the next album by San Diego’s Pathology. Yesterday the band announced that the album will be entitled Lords of Rephaim and will be released on September 3 by Sevared Records (the band having completed their three-album commitment as the fish out of water at Victory Records). Based on previous reports, this new album will feature the return of singer Matti Way and original guitarist Tim Tiszczenko. I’m ready.

Next, get a load of this new cover art: Continue reading »

Mar 052013

About to begin Day 9 away from home. Still working day and night on that project for my fucking day (and night) job. Averaging four hours of sleep a night. Brain is fried. Unable to write complete sentences any more.

Wasn’t able to check my NCS email at all until late last night. Had no chance to surf the web for new music. Haven’t listened to metal in 24 hours. Starting to get the withdrawal shakes.

Did see these things when I checked my e-mail.


Fucking Immolation’s new album is named Kingdom of Conspiracy. Super-badass cover art was unveiled — created by the immortal Pär Olofsson. Super badass. Continue reading »

Sep 082012

Introducing people to new music from the underground and eye-catching cover art are two of the things we enjoy most at this site, and today we get to do both. Acrania are a band from southeast UK who are on the verge of releasing a split (Galactic Infections) with California’s Blue Waffle, and today we give you the exclusive premiere of Acrania’s contribution to the split: “Susceptible To Retinal Based Reprogrammability”.

Yes, that song title is a mouthful. The music is also a brutish slug in the mouth — and a flurry of heavy-booted kicks to the head. Acrania inflict severe bodily damage with slamming rhythms, a seething hive of buzzing riffage, rapid-fire percussion, and vocals that span the range from grisly gurgling to unhinged shrieking. It’s brutal, but it’s also groovy. You may feel inclined to bust up your abode while you listen, but you can bang your head while you take the sledgehammer to your walls.

As you can see, Acrania and Blue Waffle also have good taste in art. The cover for their new split is graced by the grisly renderings of Ken Sarafin of Sarafin Concepts, whose work we’ve featured at NCS more than once (check out these posts, for example). Acrania also have a debut EP in the works that will feature cover art by NCS favorite Pär Olofsson, and you can take a look at that after the jump.

But first, get some demolition tools ready and check out “Susceptible To Retinal Based Reprogrammability” . . . Continue reading »

Jul 312012

(In this post, DGR reviews the absolutely blistering, chaotic new offering of death metal insanity from Sweden’s Miseration.)

For those of you not familiar with Miseration, this is one of Christian Älvestam’s many projects. For such a prominent vocalist, his list of endeavors is unsurprisingly lengthy, but Miseration have been going for a while as a death-metal-focused pet project between Älvestam and musician Jani Stefanović, who is responsible for the guitar work on this new album but previously also recorded the drums, bass, rhythm, and lead.

The band made a solid debut in the densely packed release Your Demons, Their Angels, but truly got people talking with the absolutely relentless slaughter of their 2009 album, The Mirroring Shadow. After that, the band seemed to have drifted in limbo for a time, but have now returned with a rebuilt lineup and their third release, Tragedy Has Spoken.

Stylistically, it serves to combine the two previous records, creating a longer and even more pressure-packed version of their music. It has the speed and almost ridiculous drumming of The Mirroring Shadow, while lengthening the songs to the more epic timestamps that filled out Your Demons, Their Angels. The songs are now more fully fleshed-out, whereas on The Mirroring Shadow they were a massive wall of blasts and guitars. It’s a different album than what has come before, but goddamn if it isn’t interesting — to say the least.

It’s more than interesting: When you fervently hope, as I have, that a band like this will capture people’s attentions, it’s great to hear Tragedy Has Spoken. You hear the music, and you hope that this will help inspire a newer generation, who (I hope) will take what they can from this insanity and eventually make kick-ass music of their own. All I can say is, man, it is nice to see Miseration putting out music again. Well, I can say more . . . Continue reading »

Apr 262012

As explained yesterday, I’ve been kind of off my game here at NCS recently and I’m now trying (hurriedly) to make up for lost time. While investigating the many things I’ve missed in the world of metal over the last week or two, I’ve found a shitload of things I think are worth sharing — both news items and new music. I’m collecting some (but not all) of them in this “Catching Up” mini-series. Here’s Part 2, and there will be one more installment coming.


This is a news item, which is the most recent part of this post.  This morning, Sweden’s Miseration revealed the cover art (above) for their next album (on Lifeforce Records), Tragedy Has Spoken. The artwork is by the ubiquitous and dependably awesome Pär Olofsson. I thoroughly enjoyed this band’s ass-blasting last album, The Mirroring Shadow (2009), and have high hopes for the new one. Conceptually, it’s described as an exploration of the nature of tragedy, both man-made and the result of natural disasters.

The new album was also recorded with 8-string guitars and get this: According to Lifeforce, it also incorporates “folk instruments such as the Indian harp Esraj, the Persian hammered dulcimer Santur, sawblade, organ, mandolin and piano, as well as Mongolian throatsinging”!!! I think we have many “what the fuck?” moments in store for us. Continue reading »

Jan 232012

We goat-throwers do like our guitar wizardry. We like other things, too, but bands who bring the shred generally light up our pasty white faces with a beaming glow. If you listen long enough and widely enough, of course, mere speed and dexterity no longer give you quite the same rush as they did in your listening infancy. You look for more — you look for creativity, a certain tone, a certain feel, some heart and soul, even . . . dare I say it . . . intelligence — along with the ability to trigger the headbang reflex, of course.

When a band is able to marry that kind of guitar talent with song-writing ability, performance skill at the other positions, and a knack for fusing diverse musical styles, you get something special. Revocation’s David Davidson and company pulled that off when they made their first serious splash in the scene during 2009 with the release of Existence Is Futile. I think we’re about to get wet from a similar splash on January 26, when Bloodshot Dawn releases their self-titled debut album.

This UK band features two lead guitarists — Josh McMorran (who is also the lead vocalist) and Benjamin Ellis (who also contributes backing vox). When you cut right down to the bone, the songs on the album really serve as platforms for them to strut their stuff. That’s not to say that the rest of each song is composed of filler — far from it. But what makes the album such a stand-out, and each song such a kick in the head to hear, is the space it gives these two to show what they’re made of. And what they’re made of is win. Continue reading »

Jan 022012

The new year has started off with a bang here at the NCS island. We’ve been swamped with new music in just the last couple of days — too much for me to take in all at once, but I thought I’d pick out a random sampling to throw at your faces on this first Monday of 2012. Both of these songs come from relatively new bands, and both are damned impressive. So, while we’re still not finished with our Listmania look-backs at 2011, let’s also start looking at what the new year has in store for us.


This is a band with members scattered around Portsmouth and Hampshire in the UK. They’ve completed a self-titled debut album scheduled for release on January 26 that contains 11 tracks and more than 50 minutes of music — and as you can see, it features some typically terrific Par Olofsson artwork on the album cover. The band have just made available a single from the album for free download as a taste of what the album offers. It’s called “Godless”, and man, it lit me up like fireworks exploding on New Year’s Eve.

The song is a double-barreled blast of melodic death/thrash with flashy riffing and a headstrong rhythm that’s immediately galvanizing. But what really got me enthusiastic was the instrumental extravagance that takes over in the last third of the song — one head-spinning guitar solo after another. It comes your way right after the jump. Continue reading »

Jul 222011

Pathology is a brutal death-metal band from SoCal. I’m a fan, partly for reasons that don’t have much to do with the music. Jonathan Huber, Pathology’s vocalist, used to be the frontman for Seattle’s I Declare War, and I had fun watching that band rise up from their starting days playing local gigs to their current prominence on the deathcore scene. I also had fun watching Jonathan periodically destroy himself in one Seattle mosh pit after another.

Pathology’s new album, Awaken to the Suffering, will be their first since Huber joined the band. It’s scheduled for release on September 13 via Victory Records. Yesterday, courtesy of a tip from NCS reader Utmu, I discovered that the band has now released the cover art for the album, created by the awesome Pär Olofsson. I couldn’t resist posting about it. Just feast your eyes on the grisliness above — and imagine the feasting that those monsters are about to enjoy.

After a festival in California and a few headline dates in Texas beginning August 26, Pathology will start a nationwide tour as support for Grave and Blood Red Throne, and Gigan is also on the bill. That will be a grisly, blood-drenched, head-busting extravaganza. The schedule is after the jump. Continue reading »

Apr 202010

Hey, sorry we made that album cover (above) so big.  We know it must have come as a shock when you opened up this page and saw that gruesome piece of mind-fuckery. We just couldn’t help it. We have to have our fun where we find it.

Yeah, so that’s an album cover. Not just any album cover, but an album cover by Pär Olofsson, who’s done the album art for bands like Immolation, Miseration, Revocation, Arkaik, Immortal, The Faceless, Winds of Plague, and many others. We put up a whole bunch of his album covers for your viewing pleasure here not too long ago (scroll down when you get to that link).  Have to say that none of them really looked anything like the one above.

You may ask, “What’s it a cover for?” It’s a cover for an album called Quantum Catastrophe. You may ask, “Who’s the band?” The band is called Brain Drill. But of course it is. That’s a really accurate name. If you heard their 2008 debut album, Apocalyptic Feasting, you know what we’re talking about. The new one, the aforementioned Quantum Catastrophe, isn’t officially out yet. It’s not due for release (on Metal Blade) ’til May 11. But you don’t have to wait until then for a taste.  (more after the jump, including some audio and video tastes . . .) Continue reading »