Nov 152019

Constellatia (photo by John Second)


(Andy Synn prepared this collection of reviews of six albums, some brand new and some from a bit earlier in the year.)

Phew… I am absolutely swamped at the moment. Writing, recording, practicing… oh, and that pesky day job… are all keeping me exceptionally busy. Plus I’m currently tackling a (thankfully) mild dose of the flu. All of which means I’m more behind than usual when it comes to reviewing new (and not so new) albums.

Still, I’m not going to let a little thing like a complete lack of time stop me from ending the week on my own terms, so here’s a handful of albums for you all to check out over the weekend. Continue reading »

Sep 242019


Yesterday my compadre Mr. Synn began a review with a few reminders about how we operate NCS. I’ll add an addendum, which is also a corollary or consequence of the points Andy mentioned: We are not a well-oiled machine. Advance planning is virtually non-existent. Chaos rather than order is usually the hallmark of the days.

And so, although I planned to post a seven-band second Part of this week’s SOB column yesterday, it turned out that I bit off almost more than I could chew with yesterday’s posts without even considering another SOB installment. It will come as no surprise that since then new songs from two more bands have appeared that I can’t resist recommending without delay. Since you have ten fingers you can calculate that these would increase the total number of bands in Part 2 to nine, which even I will concede is too many. So, I divided the original (and now swollen) Part 2 into two parts, which means there will now be a Part 3.

However, because planning is not our strong suit, I’m not sure when I’ll finish it, particularly because more exciting new songs will undoubtedly surface between now and then. As always, we’ll just have to take things one day at a time.


Two of the new songs that appeared since I first conceived this second SOB installment are from the new album by Obsequiae, which I’ve been very eagerly awaiting since learning last year that it was in the works. The new album is The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings, and it will be released on November 22nd by 20 Buck Spin, who may have to be investigated for attempting to corner the market on hot-shit releases this year. Continue reading »

Jan 282016



This is the second of two new-music round-ups I’ve compiled for this Thursday. Considering the two together, it’s a very large collection of new songs and videos that I think are worth your time, with so much variety that I would guess most metalheads will find something to enjoy. Of course, I like all of it.

Sometime soon I will have to start paying more attention to other things, like reviews and that Most Infectious Song list that has been stalled in its tracks while I’ve flitted from one new piece of music to another. But not today.


I’ve been beating the drum for this new album since news of its advent began circulating last fall. Today, finally, the first song from from Psychopathology debuted, and it’s the title track. The question is, does the music justify all of the eager anticipation for this long-running band’s first new album in four years? Continue reading »

Jan 232016



I’m still catching up on the flood of new music and videos that appeared this week, in part because I spent so much time on the flood of new tracks we ourselves premiered since Monday. Because I’m short on time this Saturday, I’m mainly going to let the music speak for itself. Unless I damage myself too badly tonight at a big party I’m attending, I’ll have another collection of recommended new streams tomorrow. But before we get to the music, I have one news item.


In mid-December I posted the news that Norway’s Ragnarok would at long last be releasing a new album named Psychopathology. This week, further details were disclosed, as well as the cover art (above) by Marcelo Vasco (Slayer, Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir). The album will include 11 tracks and will be released by Agonia Records on March 25 in a variety of formats, including a limited-edition CD box set that will include a bonus compilation CD entitled Chaos and Insanity between 1994-2004, which features all of the band’s early demos and EP’s (the compilation will also separately be released on vinyl).

No music to share with you yet, but you can be sure we will as soon as something becomes available for streaming. Continue reading »

Dec 102015

Rotting Christ-Rituals


The end of the year is fast approaching, but the freight train of metal isn’t slowing down. Here are just a few of the things that caught my eyes and ears over the last 24 hours, sifted from my scanning of the NCS in-box and my daily dive into the interhole.


I’ve probably mentioned somewhere in the dim mists of the past that Rotting Christ were the band whose music first convinced me that I needed to learn more about black metal — my first step along a musical left hand path from which I’ve never turned back. The following announcement, received yesterday, was thus an especially exciting piece of news:

On February 12, Season of Mist will release Rotting Christ’s twelfth studio album, Rituals. In addition, Stereokiller premiered the album’s first advance track, “Elthes Kyrie“, in the U.S. (it also appeared at many other sites around the world). Continue reading »

Nov 292015



It’s Sunday morning here at the NCS compound, and that must mean it’s time for another installment of The Rearview Mirror, in which we take a rare backward look at the metal of yesteryear. It’s also time for me to feed the loris horde before they start sharpening their knives again. But I think I’ve got enough time to put up these tunes before they launch an assault; they’re very deliberative.

Today I decided to include music from two bands, Axamenta from Belgium and Ragnarok from Norway. It’s quite a contrast.


Over a span of roughly 10 years, Axamenta put out a handful of demos and EPs and two albums, the last of which was 2006’s Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture — and then split up before releasing anything else. Metal-Archives classifies them as “melodic death/black metal”, but there’s certainly a symphonic component to their sound as well. In fact, there are times on Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture when they really go over the top with the keyboards. But the album also includes some powerful, memorable, and at times unconventional melodic death metal, with potent riffs and majestic melodies draped in a shroud of thorns. Continue reading »

Sep 172012

You may have noticed that we’ve had fewer than the usual number of posts on the site over the weekend and again today. This is because your humble editor has (a) been devoting extensive time to other extracurricular activities that involved (i) heavy drinking, and (ii) screaming himself hoarse at an NFL game; and (b) hacking into his mother-in-law’s new computer, while recovering from (a)(i) and (a)(ii), in order to reset a password that she must have mis-typed when doing the initial set-up.

All of this proved to be a significant diversion from the demands of NCS. Things should be at least somewhat back to (ab)normal around here by tomorrow. However, I did want to add one more post today to share a few items I saw and heard over the last 24 hours. Fair warning: the shit I found will peel back the skin from your face like a bloody onion.


This London-based band is a delicious new find for me. This past spring, they recorded their debut album, Misshapen Congenital Entropy, at 16th Cellar studios in Rome with Stefano Morabito, who has produced albums for bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour of Penance, Vomit the Soul, Inherit Disease, and Blasphemer. It will be released on October 1 by Sevared Records, and limited edition pre-orders are now being accepted at this location.

Recently, the band have uploaded two songs for streaming — “Carved Inherent Delusion” and “Edges of Disfigured Atrocity”, which features Konstantin Lühring from Defeated Sanity and Despondency as a guest vocalist. (Giulio Moschini of Hour of Penance also provides guest vokillz on the album.) Both songs are available as “name your price” downloads on Bandcamp. Both songs will also smash your cranium into tiny little fragments and chop up the goo inside like minced garlic. Continue reading »

Jul 062012

I saw and heard these things today. Don’t worry. I’m omitting the vivid sensory experiences of my bathroom breaks.


I saw Ragnarok’s official video for the title track to their 2010 album Collectors of the King. It made an impression mainly because of the music, because I stupidly didn’t hear this album when it was released, or since then. It’s familiar Norwegian black metal, with classic clawing vocals, the muffled blasting of drums and barely audible bass rumbles, and riffs masquerading as dense hornet swarms. This song is a thrashing assault, full of vehemence and vitriol, but it includes cool black ‘n’ roll breaks that will snap your neck and a trilling melody that’s awfully damned catchy.

Shockingly, the well-made video depicts a kind of satanic black mass, with lots of glowing candles, the inverted cross at the altar, and blood glistening wetly on the shadowed face of the “priest”. And what was the girl in the white slip thinking? You just know this isn’t going to end well for her . . . Continue reading »

Nov 062011

(Today’s second guest post comes your way from the depths of Trollfiend’s lair, where you can’t walk without tripping on a femur or mashing a skull further into the muck. He’s reviewing the new album by Svarttjern.)

Genres are a good thing. There, I said it.

Okay, I admit that I have zero musical knowledge and only know what a ‘blast beat’ is because I looked it up on Youtube (and I’m still not 100% sure, as the video I watched appeared to be in Swedish).

I could argue endlessly about what constitutes pure blackened crustgrind doomcore and would still not be able to tell the difference between it and blackened doomgrind crustcore, even if it came up and blackenedly doomground the crust right off my own core. But having said that, I still say genres are good. They give us a foundation to build on, they prepare our ears for the particular kind of ass-fucking ears get from the metal we love, and they give us something to argue endlessly about on metal website forums.

So I’m going to go out on a limb and call Svarttjern ‘blackened death’. I have no fucking idea if such a thing exists, and I’m willing to bet my priceless collection of Burger King collectible sippy cups that at least seven people are going to call me a goddamn moron for not knowing that Svarttjern is, in fact, not even close to blackened death and is more like deathified black. Bring it, bitches.(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Oct 102011

Over the weekend, I added a post about an article by Sasha Frere-Jones on black metal in the most recent edition of that bible of all things metal, The New Yorker magazine. The article has drawn scorn in certain quarters of the underground metal empire and provoked a nice, protracted discussion in the Comment section of that NCS post. One thing Mr. Frere-Jones did was to contrast (in a way some think was condescending) the original Norwegian BM scene and sound with American black metal bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room and Liturgy.

By sheer chance, I experienced a similar black metal contrast of my own this weekend after adding that post. On Saturday night (Oct 8 at El Corazon) I witnessed a live performance by Portland’s Agalloch. They played a show in their home town on Friday night and then made the trip north to Seattle for a second show, and that’s where I caught them. If there were a heaven as well as an earth, I would have moved both to see that, because I have such vividly awesome memories of the first (and only other) time I got swallowed up by Agalloch performing live.

In Seattle, the band closed a very long set with two songs, “In the Shadow Of Our Pale Companion” from The Mantle (2002) and an instrumental called “The Lodge (Dismantled)” from The Grey EP (2004). More about those songs, plus a live video of the latter from the Portland show after the jump.

The Norwegian half of my contrasting BM experience came via Ragnarok — not the “death of the gods” cataclysm from Norse mythology, but the cataclysmic black metal band who borrowed that name for themselves back in 1994. I’d never spent time with their music until getting an e-mail from Patricia Thomas, who seems to manage about half the black metal bands in Norway. She reported that Ragnarok was finishing a 14-date tour of Brazil and Mexico and would be returning home to continue work on their seventh full-length album. She included a link to a Soundcloud player that includes all the songs from the band’s live set list, plus another link to an official video of the band performing the title track to their 2004 album, Blackdoor Miracle, with frontman Hoest from Taake providing the vocals. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »