May 252023

(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to our site with the following enthusiastic review of the second album by Montreal-based Pronostic, which was released in mid-May.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. The fretless bass holds an impressive position in the history of death metal, especially as it pertains to death metal’s more technical sub-branch. Present at the subgenre’s inception thanks to legends like Steve DiGiorgio and Sean Malone, the fretless bass has become especially popular with the current popularity of tech death, thanks to modern practitioners like Dominic “Forest” LaPointe, JP Thesseling, Linus Klausenitzer, and Hugo Doyon-Karout. LaPointe probably set the high water mark for absolute fretless mastery on the most recent First Fragment album, a performance that may never be surpassed.

If this seems like an odd way to start off a review, I say all of this because Pronostic‘s new bassist, Xavier Sperdouklis (also of the excellent Killitorous) has definitely added himself to the conversation on this new Pronostic record Chaotic Upheaval. Continue reading »

May 022023

(Thy Catafalque‘s latest opus Alföld will be released by Season of Mist on June 16th, and today we present a review by our old friend and ardent Thy Catafalque student Professor D. Grover the XIIIth.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It is once again my favorite time of year (well, my favorite time of every two or three years): Thy Catafalque season. That’s right, my favorite Hungarian multi-instrumentalist and musical genius, Tamás Kátai, has maintained his reliable release schedule and graces us once more with a new Thy Catafalque album. While the core principles of the musical project remain the same (Kátai is the sole member, supported by a sizable rotation of guest musicians lending their talents in various capacities), the Thy Catafalque sound continues to evolve, aided by a significant musical development.

If you’re a fan of the band, or happened to read my top album list from last year, then you’re likely aware that Kátai took a huge step on the past year or so by taking Thy Catafalque into a live setting for the first time. The band’s first live performance was recorded and released as a live album, and there have been a handful of other live performances since, with a shifting lineup appropriate to the band’s history. While Kátai‘s involvement in the first live show was surprisingly limited (only playing bass on a handful of songs), he has in subsequent shows taken up full bass duties, and it feels as though performing live has affected the tracks on this new Thy Catafalque album Alföld. Continue reading »

Feb 222023

(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with the following review of Gorod’s new album, which is set for release on March 7th.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. If you’re reading this, I can only hope that you are familiar with French tech-death masters Gorod, whose career now spans two and a half decades (counting their early years as Gorgasm). The Orb is only their seventh full-length release, with a pair of EPs (and a couple early demos) sprinkled in, but at this point in their career their work has reached legend status in certain corners of the metal world. In my humble esteem, Gorod have for me represented the gold standard of modern tech-death ever since Process Of A New Decline, the album that truly got me interested in tech-death in the first place, and while that release remains my favorite to this day their output has been consistently high.

Gorod‘s style has evolved incrementally with each release, with the biggest shifts generally following a change in the band’s lineup. While the band have been spearheaded from the beginning by guitarist Mathieu Pascal and bassist Benoit Claus, the additions of guitarist Nicolas Alberny and, later, drummer Karol Diers have contributed to the band’s growth. The most notable change came with the additional of current vocalist Julien “Nutz” Deyres after the release of Process, and he made his presence and expanded vocal range felt immediately on the Transcendence EP, especially on that release’s 15 minute title track. ‘Transcendence’ brought with it an expanded focus on progression that paired exceptionally well with the band’s technical prowess and knack for writing catchy hooks and grooves, and the band has further explored that progression on subsequent releases. Continue reading »

Feb 102023

(Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with the following review of the debut album by Majesties, which is set for a March 3rd release by 20 Buck Spin.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It is well-established canon at this point that your friendly neighborhood professor is a great fan of Tanner Anderson and his work in Obsequiae. Aria Of Vernal Tombs stood easily as my favorite black metal album and I was skeptical that anything could equal it, and honestly nothing did until Obsequiae‘s follow-up, The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings. Asked now, and I swear to you that I could not choose a favorite between the two, as they are both absolutely brilliant.

I tell you this because when I heard first of Majesties, I grew excited nearly to the point of arousal. Driven by my initial impression of the first track released, ‘The World Unseen‘, it seemed that Majesties was essentially Tanner Anderson and friends performing Lunar Strain-era In Flames-style melodeath, an impression bolstered by the release of a second track, ‘In Yearning, Alive‘. My friends, let me tell you, that seemed like a perfect combination, like the genius who first combined chocolate and peanut butter. And then I got to hear the entire album. Continue reading »

Dec 262022

(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. As another year ends I find myself trying to sift through everything I listened to with the intention of compiling a list of everything that I enjoyed, and as usual I realize that I listened to a whole lot of music.

Oddly, this year I thought I was going to have a difficult time filling out a real list, only to wind up with a list of 77 albums that I had to narrow down. Anyway, because they can’t all go on the list, here’s the honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut. All of these albums (and let’s be honest, more beyond this that I didn’t even list) could have made the main list. It really was that close. Continue reading »

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 »