Apr 012016

Dark Funeral-Where Shadows Forever Reign


I’ve gotten in the habit of preparing these Shades of Black posts for Sundays, but the first two items in this collection are so new that I thought I’d get them out there without delay. The last two are less new, but have been on my mind recently. I have some other music appropriate for this series that I will still try to collect for Sunday. As usual, this is music in a black vein, though not all of it is black metal, strictly speaking.


Sweden’s Dark Funeral are back with their first album in six years. The new one is named Where Shadows Forever Reign and it’s scheduled for release on June 3 by Century Media, with cover art by Necrolord. Continue reading »

Feb 122016

Death fetishist-Lucifer Descending


I usually post collections such as this one on Sundays, to make the Sabbath blacker. But I’m sitting on so much good new metal in a blackened vein that I decided to share this collection now. I’m hoping to put together another one for Sunday.


Just a couple of days ago, the eminent Debemur Morti Productions announced the signing of a new band from Portland, Oregon, named Death Fetishist, whose debut album will be released by the label later this year. To commemorate the blessed event, Death Fetishist released a single-song EP entitled Lucifer Descending yesterday — which follows a two-song EP (Whorifice) released on the first day of this month. Both EPs are available on Bandcamp.

The person behind Death Fetishist is the prolific Matron Thorn, who is also the principal driving force in Ævangelist as well as the protagonist in a large number of solo projects, including Benighted In Sodom. He is the vocalist in Death Fetishist and performs all the instruments other than drums and percussion, which are handled by Grond Nefarious. Continue reading »

Oct 312014

The Font of All Human Knowledge tells us that Samhain “is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year” and is celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on 1 November, about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is a liminal time when spirits more easily enter our world, a time of divination rituals and the revisiting of souls of the dead.

In celebration of blessed Samhain I’ve harvested a collection of news and new musical offerings, a bounty large enough to warrant two posts, this being the second (this being the first).


Just in time for Samhain, Indiana’s Ptahil have released an official video for the song “Don’t Drink From the Waters of Lethe” from their 2014 album Born Against, which is available on Bandcamp (here). The song is a fitting choice of this day and a blast to hear, beginning as an ominous processional and then erupting about halfway through into a conflagration of corrosive riffs, frenzied soloing, and pummeling drum beats, as the bestial vocals proclaim a warning. Continue reading »

Jun 232014

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been fucking off in Texas since last Thursday. Finally got back to Seattle last night after a thoroughly enjoyable four days in Austin. I didn’t listen to much metal while I was away, but I did make lists of things I wanted to check out after I got home. And so I did, and so here are a few of those discoveries.


The 2014 edition of HELLFEST in Clisson, France, ended last night, and most (if not all) of the performances are available for viewing at the French site Arte.tv (collected here). Yesterday I embedded streams of the sets by Sólstafir and Watain, and I thought I’d include one more this morning. This one is the full set by Norway’s Emperor, who have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of In the Nightside Eclipse with a series of festival performances (they will also be performing at Wacken Open Air in Germany and headlining the 2014 installment of Bloodstock Open Air in the UK).

A person could spend days watching the HELLFEST videos, which of course you won’t do because that would divert your attention from reading every word of every post at NCS. But you might at least make time for this one.

(thanks BadWolf) Continue reading »

Feb 112014

Here we have the 26th Part of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three songs I’m announcing today, click here.

Three parts left after today, and then I’ll be done. In this part I’ve collected three songs that you could fit under the heading of black thrash. They’re fast, they’re corrosive, and they’re hot as hell.


A certain kind of purist will object to my selection of this next song by Philadelphia’s Hexer. It comes from a self-titled album released by Gilead Media in 2013, but that album was a remastered re-packaging of two EPs that the band originally distributed on cassette in 2011. But I found the song on the album and that’s good enough for me.

For a complete discourse on the infernal joys of Hexer, plus an album stream, you can visit my review at this location. In a nutshell, it’s a romping blast of hellfire and brimstone, with the kind of riff mastery that will cause foaming at the mouth. Fans of black thrash should not miss it.  Continue reading »

Apr 162013

Last night I took my net and waded into the swamp of the interhole looking to catch some fresh fish to serve up for you on a platter this morning. Turns out, I caught a bunch of damned piranha, which suited me just fine, since I was in a foul mood over the carnage in Boston and was having fantasies about feeding the gutless, life-taking perpetrators to something carnivorous.

All three of the new songs I found have something in common — there’s some punk down at the core of each of them, and varying degrees of 666 charred into their skins with a hot brand. They’re all also catchy as fuck. We’ll start with the nastiest piranha in this group.


If you don’t know about Indiana’s Ptahil, then you haven’t been paying close enough attention to my babbling. They give no fucks, they do what they please, and what pleases them is singing about Satan in a way that will burn out your brain but leave a grin on your melted face. Both of their albums (reviewed here and here) have fired me up like an arson job, and now they’ve released a new single on Bandcamp named “Lamashtu”. In no time flat, it’s become one of my favorite things they’ve done yet. Continue reading »

Feb 152013

Ptahil’s new album The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair is a withering sonic assault on the conventions and constraints of tight-ass whitebread existence. It’s raw like a bleeding laceration, caked with grime, and loaded with grit in every crevice, like a battle tank that’s crossed a hundred battlefields. Dripping with venom and fueled by satanic contempt, it unleashes a destructive storm of hellfire that will leave your head smoking — and banging.

Ptahil don’t go in for subtleties or nuance. Their brand of hot black metal is primal and feral, and they roll like a corroded and corrosive steamroller. The utterly filthy production coats the guitars and bass with a massive static charge, and the muffled drums resemble the thumping beat of a behemoth’s heart heard through the density of flesh and bone.

The music exerts a primal appeal, too. Whether they’re galloping and thrashing like an enraged hell horse, rocking out like punks from the netherworld, or lumbering in a heavy-booted doom stomp, Ptahil have created songs that are powerfully infectious. They’re also powerfully infernal, in the most literal sense of the word. Continue reading »

Nov 242012

As I write this, it’s a Saturday morning in the vicinity of Seattle, where the rain gods are taking a breath before going to work again. Actual rays of sunshine are illuminating the water drops that hang from every living thing in the forest around where I live, and the earth looks like a saturated sponge that can’t hold any more. I might take a walk later, before the sky starts peeing again. But for now, I’m just listening . . .

. . . and what I’ve been hearing are new tunes from Sonne Adam (Israel), Ptahil (U.S.), and Alpthraum (Canada).


Israel’s Sonne Adam have recently loosed two bestial releases. The first is a vinyl EP entitled Doctrines of Dark Devotion, the magnificent cover of which is staring you in the face at the top of this post. That one was released by Imperium Productions.

The second release is Messengers Of Desolate Ways, a CD compilation from Century Media containing all the tracks on that new EP plus all the music from two previous vinyl-only EPs, Armed With Hammers and The Sun Is Dead, and three previously unreleased songs.

Recently, Sonne Adam began streaming “The Day I Chose to Rot”, which appears on both of the new releases. The song is fucking immense, a shattering mid-paced crusher of blackened death metal might. It brings down a dank, heavy shroud of doom, shot through with indigo melody and made all the more disturbing by truly horrific vocals. It sucks souls into the abyss and consumes them with grisly relish. Continue reading »

Apr 282012

The reason why it’s so easy for human beings to imagine the horrors of a supernatural place called Hell is because we do such a bang-up job of creating it right here on Earth. When it comes to destroying minds and brutalizing bodies, our own species’ sordid history provides a textbook of how to do it up right. At least when metal bands paint pictures of Hell with their music, no people or animals are harmed in the process. Usually. Unless you count self-abuse.

Two of the bands I’ve gotten into lately do an especially effective job of creating musical Hell, and yesterday both of them released videos of themselves recording new releases. I looked closely, and I didn’t see any humans or animals being maimed or killed in the studios. But the music is sure as fuck killing me. I want these records yesterday.


Thanks to comments from NCS readers, I’ve been developing a lust for war metal. New Zealand’s Diocletian is one of the bands whose music I’ve been getting into (see our March 2012 feature about them here). Earlier this month, they dropped a Facebook post about their plans to release a compilation album to be titled Annihilation Rituals, which will include their first four rituals: an untitled 2005 demo, the Decimator EP (2007), their part of the Chaos Rising split (2008), and the Sect of Swords EP (2008). That should be worth grabbing. The release date hasn’t been announced.

We previously reported that Diocletian has also recorded music for a 7″ vinyl (European Anniilation) that will be distributed on their European tour this May. One of the two new tracks for that 7″ (“Antichrist Hammerfist”) is up on SoundCloud, and yesterday the band released a video of themselves recording the other one — “Deathstrike Overkill”. Continue reading »

Mar 022012

For a change, I actually remembered on the second day of the new month that that the preceding month had ended; usually takes longer than that. My creditors would be happy, except I think their bills need to age a while longer. But yes, February is history — and that means its time to post our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. Today’s list is a little more comprehensive than the half-assed job I did at the end of January, which means it’s about three-quarters assed. One of these days it will be fully assed.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If I found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, I probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us (me and your fellow readers) what I missed when I put this list together, because I’m abso-fucking-lutely certain that I missed all sorts of shit. So let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »