Dec 272021


(Our friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth (ex-The Number of the Blog) has been joining us this time of year for many years to share his diverse year-end lists, and does so again now.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It’s that time of year again, that magical time when I realize that my taste in music is highly unusual and diverges significantly from most other people who are also in the list-making business. And before you say it, no, I don’t mean this in an “I’m so random and eclectic” kind of way. It’s been a long, long time since I had any fucks to give with regard to what people think about the kind of music that I like and don’t like. When I review an album, or write a list like this, it’s usually because the artist or artists that I mention have affected me on some emotional level, and I feel that they deserve to be recognized for this, because if they impacted me then they might do the same for someone else. Music is something that should be enjoyed, one way or another, and it’s basic human nature to want to share something you enjoy with others.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten all of that mumbo-jumbo out of the way, let’s get down to the list. Actually, before we get to the list proper, I want to mention a song that I enjoyed that wasn’t on an album that made the list. Continue reading »

Jun 242021


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with this review of the new album by Thy Catafalque, which will be out tomorrow on Season of Mist. A full stream of the album follows the review.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. Once again, the impending release of something truly special rouses me from my nocturnal haze and guides me to my keyboard, compelling me to write. Yes, as the title of the article likely gives away, there is a new Thy Catafalque album ready to enter the public eye, and so I take upon myself the honor of reviewing it. Vadak is the tenth Thy Catafalque album, compilations and the Zápor EP notwithstanding, and as is fitting for such a significant number, it’s a truly noteworthy album in a discography full of noteworthy albums.

By this point in time, my devotion to the work of Tamás Kátai is a well-worn, well-documented history, but for the uninitiated, Thy Catafalque is primarily the work of one man, typically with a number of guests. Kátai is a Hungarian multi-instrumentalist and the driving force behind this project, and (as I will further explain in the paragraphs to come) is something of a musical genius. In the 23 years that Kátai has been recording under this moniker, the band’s style has evolved almost constantly from a relatively experimental black metal project to something that is, frankly, impossible to define. In the lead-up to this review, I did a chronological listen to the entire Thy Catafalque discography, front to back (including the first three albums, which are the most black metal releases and my least favorite simply because they’re the harshest and least listenable), and that endeavor served to further bolster the knowledge that Kátai’s musical fingerprints have been all over this project since the beginning. Continue reading »

Dec 252020


EDITOR’S NOTE: After a hiatus, we welcome back our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth (founder of The Number of the Blog, whose inspiration helped spawn NCS so many years ago), who again has brought us his year-end lists of favorite releases, both metal and not-metal. Yesterday the focus of Part I was EPs and singles, and today it’s albums. To repeat part of what Grover wrote in yesterday’s introduction:

“As with any of my previous lists, for some familiar with them, there are a few things to bear in mind. First, this list is entirely my own opinion and my favorite releases of the year, regardless of genre. While the majority of what I listen to is metal, not everything is, and my list will reflect that. Second, I listen to and enjoy a lot of music throughout the year, but to include it all on the list would be impractical at best. In years past I’ve included a list of honorable mentions, but those lists always ended up being stupidly long and ain’t no one got time for that.” Continue reading »

Dec 232020


(After a hiatus, we welcome back our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth (founder of The Number of the Blog, which helped spawn NCS so many years ago), who again brings us his year-end lists of favorite releases, both metal and not. Today the focus is EPs and singles, and tomorrow it’s albums.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It’s been a bit since I’ve done a year-end list, but to be fair 2020 has not been your average year. Now, at this particular moment while I’m writing this introduction, I have not actually decided on my album of the year, which is a rarity for me. Ordinarily there is an album that, at some point during the year, asserts itself as the favorite and maintains that position for the remainder of the year, but in the true spirit of 2020, there hasn’t been a specific release that has distanced itself from the pack.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t any releases worthy of the top spot; honestly, there are a number of albums in the list to come that have made a case for number one at various points throughout the year. I assume that by the time I finish this list, I will have decided on one. But we’ll see. Continue reading »

Jan 232020


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with this review of the new album by one of our favorite bands, Thy Catafalque, which will be released by Season of Mist on January 24th.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. I am here today because we have been blessed once again with a new Thy Catafalque album, a wonderfully common occurrence in the last few years (with new albums being released every year-and-a-half to two years). For those unfamiliar with my love affair with the work of Tamás Kátai, I first discovered Thy Catafalque in the olden days of The Number Of The Blog thanks to an old contributor, Tr00 Nate (if you’re out there somewhere, yes, I’m still giving you the credit you deserve). The album Róka Hasa Rádió was an eye-opener for me, providing a portal through which I could immerse myself in something utterly distinctive and unlike anything I had ever heard.

Since then, Thy Catafalque’s catalog has reached nine full-length albums (plus the Cor Cordium demo), and each album is a masterwork in varied songcraft. I lack any real grasp of music theory, and so I’d imagine that there is someone out there more learned than I who could probably explain it, but there is something about Kátai’s music that makes it immediately recognizable as his work, regardless of the song’s composition. Given how much variety there is in your average Thy Catafalque song, much less an entire album, this musical identity is simply staggering to me. Continue reading »

Nov 212019


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth (ex-The Number of the Blog) returns to NCS with a review of the new album by the Minnesota “castle metal” band Obsequiae, which will be released by 20 Buck Spin this coming Friday, November 22nd.)

Joyous greetings and salutations, friends. Evidently, it’s been four years since Obsequiae graced the metal world with Aria Of Vernal Tombs, an album that came more or less out of nowhere to become my favorite album of that year. Following that, rather than wearing out its welcome, Aria instead settled further into my consciousness, cementing its status as my favorite black metal album ever and seizing a likely spot as one of my ten favorite albums ever.

Friends, given the volume of music I listen to on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, this is no small thing.

Really, though, even as Aria settled around my brain like a comfortable chair around your butt, I found myself craving more, and so when I discovered that they finally had a follow-up album in the works, my excitement was palpable. (Entertainingly enough, there exists a possibility that I may have offered favors of a sexual nature to Islander in exchange for the procurement of a promo copy of the album, although I will neither confirm not deny such rumors. I can admit, however, that once said promo was acquired, it became the only thing I listened to for at least a week.) Continue reading »

May 242019


(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth [ex-The Number of the Blog] returns to our pages with this review of the new album by Odyssey from Spokane, Washington, which is being released today.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. A week ago I promised a full review of the new Odyssey album, The Swarm, and today I return to deliver on that promise.

Now, when you’ve been listening to a band or artist for the majority of their career, often you begin to foster a sense of casual ownership, that feeling of I Knew Them Back When, that helps to deepen your connection to them. You know their albums intimately, to the point that when you somehow manage to go an indeterminate stretch of time without listening to them, everything still feels comfortable and familiar. Continue reading »

May 172019


(How long has it been since Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, he of The Number of the Blog, graced our pages with his presence? I could look it up, but how depressing would that be? Better to simply welcome back our old friend, who provides this introduction to an excellent premiere.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It takes something special to break me out of me semi-retirement as it pertains to writing, and for the two or three of you who remember my older works, you might recall my love of Odyssey, the instrumental prog-metal trio from Spokane. Guitarist Jerrick Crites, bassist Jordan Hilker, and drummer Lukas Hilker have been going for over ten years now, despite remaining a mostly regional act, but one of the miracles of the internet is that even a smaller local band can reach a wide audience around the world.

I bring this up because, if the title of this article wasn’t already enough of an indicator, Odyssey have a new song, ‘Hive Mind’, to premiere from the forthcoming new album The Swarm. I have a full review of that coming in about a week, so I’ll save my thoughts on how ‘Hive Mind’ fits into the overall flow of the album, but I can still offer my perspective on the song itself. Continue reading »

Jul 252017


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth [ex-Number of the Blog} presents the following review of the new album by Blood of the Prophets, scheduled for release on July 27.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. As promised, I have returned to provide my thoughts in full on The Stars Of The Sky Hid From Me (henceforth to be referred to using the acronym TSOTSHFM), the newest album from Blood Of The Prophets, a technical death metal trio from Toledo, OH.

TSOTSHFM is the band’s first release in seven years, a long absence for any band regardless of how well-known or obscure they may be. Consider your life seven years ago, and how much has changed since then. I could list countless major differences for myself and exhaust the entire space of this review and still leave out many, many things. For a band to return from that kind of absence and then deliver a quality work is impressive. Continue reading »

Jul 042017


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth rejoins us after an extended absence, providing both an excellent song premiere and these words of introduction.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. I return from the forgotten depths to bring forth to you an exclusive listen to a new song by a band called Blood Of The Prophets.

There is, I would estimate, a better-than-average chance that you’ve never heard of this band, being that they have lain dormant for the greater part of seven years, but they are preparing for release their newest work, a concept album entitled The Stars Of The Sky Hid From Me. I will have a full investigation of said album at a date closer to its release, but for now we have a glimpse of that album in the form of “Megalithic“. Continue reading »