Jul 192019


Before we move into the weekend I want to recommend two EPs. The first was released last night — I happened to notice the Bandcamp alert in my e-mail not long after it landed there, and bought it immediately. The second was released in May, but I overlooked it until a friend pointed me to it earlier this week — and it was love at first listen.


To any regular visitors at NCS my admiration (okay, “adoration” is probably more accurate) of Rebel Wizard‘s music is well-known. Having been so consistently enthusiastic about B. Nekrasov‘s previous releases under this moniker, I was predisposed to like this one (I’ve already confessed that I bought it before listening to it). Conceivably, I could have been disappointed, in which case you would not be reading these words. Obviously, however, I’m very happy with my impulsive purchase. Continue reading »

Feb 222019


I’m starting to feel the wolf at my heels. Honestly, I could easily keep this list going for another month, and that would be a helluva lot easier than stopping next week, but since it’s the only 2018 year-end list in the known universe that’s still rolling out in FEBRUARY 2019, I feel pressure to stop. Maybe it’s only self-imposed pressure, but regardless, it’s pressure, and I’m feeling it.

Something is going to get left off this list when I finish next week, the omission of which will make me miserable the day after I stop. Many somethings, most likely. But there’s just no way I could omit  these three songs.


Speaking of year-end lists, it was Andy Synn‘s 2018 “Personal Top 10” list that finally made me pay close attention to Antler’s second album, beneath.below.behold. Stupid of me to wait so long, since Mr. Synn had reviewed the album eight months earlier and pronounced it “one of the most pleasant surprises of the year so far”. But this is definitely one of those better-late-than-never situations. Continue reading »

Aug 162018


I have an ingrained habit when I’m listening to music that I’ve already decided I want to write about, probably not that different from anyone else who scribbles their thoughts about music for public dissemination: I make notes to myself as I listen (not the first time I listen, but the times after that). In my case, my notes take the shape of messages to myself, like one side of a conversation, or like a memoir — messages from a self that’s caught up in the immediacy of what I’m hearing to a future self that’s more considered and more calculating about how to express those thoughts to others.

The future self tries to turn such notes into something readable, and more reflective. On his best days, that future self tries to avoid the kind of track-by-track reactions that are there in those past messages, for fear that tedium would otherwise overcome the reader. The future self often fails in the effort to pull everything together in a way that’s concise and thoughtful; and even on the best days, words and phrases from the past self who was carried away by the songs survive.

But this time, for the first time I can remember in the 9 1/2 years I’ve been messing with NCS, I decided to just give you my notes, slightly cleaned-up, but still essentially the same words that poured out when I let this album rush through my head the second time I heard it. Why did I decide to do this, at the risk of losing all of you? Continue reading »

Aug 152018


This is an interview of NKSV, the Australian man behind both Nekrasov and Rebel Wizard, though the latter project was the focus of this discussion. The interview was conducted through a long chain of back-and-forth e-mails that lasted for several weeks, ending only yesterday when I forced myself to stop asking question because we’re only a couple days away from Prosthetic Records’ release of Rebel Wizard‘s new album, Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response.

I ought to explain that I swore off doing interviews more than a year ago after I finally accepted the reality that they consume time I don’t have, because I agonize too much in an effort to come up with non-standard questions that won’t bore the shit out of both myself and the person on the other end of the conversation. I made an exception here because, based on previous communications with NKSV, and because I’m such a big fan of Rebel Wizard, I thought it would be fun. And man, it really was.

This interview is also very long. VERY LONG. And sometimes it turned into a meeting of a mutual admiration society, which in retrospect might prove a bit embarrassing to both of us (though I don’t take back anything I said). If for those reasons, or others, you lose patience with this, I don’t need to tell you how to escape, though I do believe that this will prove interesting, insightful, thought-provoking (and fun) to a lot of readers despite its length — because, man, NKSV is an unorthodox wizard of a talker/writer, too. So maybe don’t pull the plug too soon?

One last word of advice before we begin: I think this conversation will make a lot more sense if you listen to Rebel Wizard’s first album (The Triumph of Gloom) and/or the new one (which premiered through a full stream at DECIBEL yesterday) before you begin reading, or while reading, or maybe even afterward. I’d encourage you to listen to those albums whether you read any further or not… and I’ll have some thoughts about the new one tomorrow in case we don’t completely exhaust your reading faculties today (you can get the new record here). Continue reading »

Aug 102018


It seems everyone these days is wearing a black hood, pulled down low so you can’t see the faces. Well, maybe not you (though with a face like yours, you should think about it). No, I’m talking about metal bands who want to add a sense of menace and mystery to their personas, in keeping with the menace and mystery of their music, or perhaps as a way of underscoring the message that “it’s not about us, it’s about the music — and if you didn’t notice, we don’t use names either.”

The Australian rebel wizard NKSV who has adopted the name Rebel Wizard doesn’t wear a hood. He obscures his face with the kind of hat Gandalf wore, pulled down low, brandishing a guitar instead of a wand. He’s also drunk on the wizdom of unicorn semen. Continue reading »

Jun 222018


As was also the situation on Wednesday, when I posted the last round-up before this one, I’m feeling hurried. Too much stuff going on in the fragments of life that aren’t devoted to NCS. But even though I don’t have time to cogently explain just how much I like the music I’ve chosen for this collection, and why, I didn’t want the week to end without putting more new music before you. (And of course we will have more for you this weekend as well.) So, without further ado, and without many complete sentences, let’s begin…


…slow, titanic, teeth-loosening heaviness… a groaning melody that bespeaks utter soul-shattering misery… a monstrous voice that roars from an ice-cold void… and in the middle it becomes a rumbling, thundering, bone-snapping tank attack with a delicious solo (and there’s one more ravaging assault at the end)… This is “Punishment In Flesh“. Continue reading »

Feb 202018


The first track on the new Rebel Wizard EP, “The sickness of all knowledge“, begins with an excerpt from a recording of a public talk given in 1981 in Amsterdam by the philosopher, speaker, and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti (b.1895 – d.1986). It reads as follows:

So knowledge has become all important
but knowledge is never complete.
Knowledge about anything is still incomplete,
will always be incomplete.
Therefore knowledge always goes with ignorance,
knowledge always lives within the shadow of ignorance.

Except you never make it to the final word “ignorance” at the opening of this EP. The word is cut off by a shocking explosion of sound. It’s as if you were calmly unlocking the door to your home while thinking deep thoughts, and becoming immolated by a blast furnace upon opening it. Continue reading »

Aug 272017


I spend so much of each day scurrying around to find and write about new songs from forthcoming releases and to prepare introductions for our own premieres that I rarely have time to write my own reviews of full releases, except in the context of introducing our premieres. On a whim I decided to stop scurrying for 24 hours and share at least a few thoughts about three recent releases I’ve been enjoying.


The new Rebel Wizard EP is out now. It’s described as “Four anti-shamanic pre-fetal negative metal anthemic warnings of ‘one'”. You should listen to it. You should especially listen to it if you have a taste for the kind of creativity that turns out music which is off of metal’s most familiar beaten paths — although you could also think of it as music that creates intersections of well-loved pathways that usually diverge. Continue reading »

Aug 022017


Well, as you can see, I’ve gotten carried away again.

Here’s a selection of new music by 8 bands, chosen in part to display once again the diversity and promise of extreme music in the current day.


The sound of Rebel Wizard has now become branded in my head; I would have known this first song was a Rebel Wizard creation even if the music’s source had been concealed. And in an age in which new metal arrives every day in a flood, with so many bands rushing through ravines already carved by their influences, creating a distinctive style and sound is a rare achievement, and even more rare when it’s distinctive despite being difficult to categorize in conventional genre terms. Continue reading »

Feb 152017


I’m especially happy to present the premiere of a video for “Eat the Warlock“, which is one of the songs off Triumph of Gloom, the 2016 debut album by Australia’s Rebel Wizard, an album that will soon be reissued by Prosthetic Records on CD, eye-catching vinyl, and digitally. I’m especially happy not only because “Eat the Warlock” is a hell of a good song from an amazing album, but also because this is sort of like a a joyful reunion for me.

I first became acquainted with the music of Rebel Wizard back in the fall of 2015 when I discovered Negative Wizard Metal, the fourth of five EPs that Rebel Wizard released that year. I frothed at the mouth about it on our site, and then did more frothing later in the year when the fifth EP (Invocation of the Miserable Ones) reared its head.

Time passed, and last August Rebel Wizard released Triumph of Gloom. As much as I had enjoyed the previous EPs, this album really was, and is, something rare. It left me beginning my review in this way: Continue reading »