Nov 042023

Vitriol – photo by Peter Beste

It’s been a hell of a week for yours truly, emphasis on hell. In an average week now, the release of new metal is a deluge. This past week, another Bandcamp Friday pushed the storm-surge higher. Fittingly, as I write this, the rain is coming down outside like a fucking monsoon, a rarity here in the usually drizzly Pacific Northwest.

On top of that I decided to get the latest covid vaccine and the latest flu shot on the same day early in the week. When you have as much gray hair as I do and have spent the majority of your life smoking, getting both of those shots was strongly recommended. In hindsight, getting them both at the same time was a dumbass move.

Sore arms for a few days, of course, and all my energy also evaporated for a few days too, as it did with every previous covid jab. But this time my head and lungs got congested like someone had flooded them with concrete slurry and my nose ran like a leaky faucet. That has slowly improved, but I’m still congested and damned tired of that.

The combination of a big flood-tide of new music and a misery-clogged head isn’t a great combination for this usual Saturday column. Although I’m still happy with today’s picks, there should have been more. At least you can’t hear me hacking and snorting, so that’s one blessing. More blessings to follow…. Continue reading »

Dec 172022


I hope this weekend is treating you well so far, and that you receive the other treatments you need. I hope you’ll forgive me for beginning with an essay about a small part of some books I’ve been reading. Eventually I’ll try to connect those parts to the more extreme forms of heavy metal.

The books are two novels by Cormac McCarthy that were published back-to-back late this year — The Passenger and Stella Maris. The protagonists of the books are a brother and sister, Bobby and Alicia Western, both of them children of a physicist who worked on the creation of the atomic bomb and both them doomed in different ways.

Bobby occupies most of the attention in The Passenger, though the most interesting character is his old friend Long John Sheddan. The Passenger has a rambling, mysterious plot, but the equally rambling and unpredictable dialogues are what kept me reading (which is why Long John is the most interesting character, because of his disquisitions).

You find out pretty early in The Passenger that Alicia has killed herself. She figures in the book through flashbacks in which she is visited by odd characters that we are led to believe are hallucinations, just as we’re led to believe that Alicia was schizophrenic. She was also strikingly beautiful, and a math prodigy (Bobby is brainy too, but not in her league).

Alicia is the main figure in Stella Maris. Indeed, that entire book is a series of transcripts of her discussions with a doctor in a psychiatric facility (named Stella Maris) where she has voluntarily committed herself (not for the first time), though not because she feels any need for “treatment”. Continue reading »

Dec 312017


At roughly this same time one year ago the ground-breaking Singaporean band Rudra released their eighth album, Enemy of Duality, through by Transcending Obscurity-Asia. In advance of its release we had the pleasure of premiering two songs — “Abating the Firebrand” and then “Ancient Fourth”. And now, on this final day of 2017, in which Rudra have celebrated 25 years as a band, we bring you a reminder of that wonderful album as we join other sites around the world in premiering a music video for “Ancient Fourth“, the song that close the record.

Discerning and adventurous listeners will be familiar with Rudra, but even in a career that dates back to 1992, they remain to be discovered by more people. They claim for themselves the genre term “Vedic metal”, which is a form of blackened death metal in which the band (who are themselves of Indian lineage) have often incorporated elements of music rooted in Hindu traditions (including the use of Indian classical instruments), with lyrics often drawn from Vedic Sanskrit literature and philosophy. Continue reading »

Oct 272016



Discerning and adventurous listeners know full well the ground-breaking impact of Singapore’s Rudra over the course of a career that dates back to 1992, and yet, at least in the West, their profile is not as elevated as it should be. We can only hope that the band’s eighth album, Enemy of Duality, will win the widespread attention it deserves. The striking song from the album that we’re bringing you today — “Ancient Fourth” — is certainly compelling evidence of Rudra’s remarkable talents.

Rudra claim for themselves the genre term “Vedic metal”, which is a form of blackened death metal in which the band (who are themselves of Indian lineage) have often incorporated elements of music rooted in Hindu traditions (including the use of Indian classical instruments), with lyrics often drawn from Vedic Sanskrit literature and philosophy. About a month ago, we premiered a fantastic track from the album named “Abating the Firebrand”, but this new one is, if anything, even more striking. Continue reading »

Sep 192016



We have been writing about Singapore’s Rudra since 2011 at this site, but although that’s a fair number of years, it’s far exceeded by the longevity of the band itself. Rudra was formed in 1992, pioneering in a genre they term “Vedic metal”, which is a form of blackened death metal in which Rudra (who are themselves of Indian lineage) have often incorporated elements of music rooted in Hindu traditions (including the use of Indian classical instruments), with lyrics often drawn from Vedic Sanskrit literature and philosophy.

In a career that has spanned nearly a quarter-century, the band have released seven albums, and the eighth one — Enemy of Duality — will be coming out this December. Today we are privileged to bring you the album’s opening track, “Abating the Firebrand“. Continue reading »

Aug 182016

Darkthrone-Arctic Thunder


This harried compiler of new music is especially harried today. I’m in the middle of a quick trip to Denver with not much free time on my hands. But the last 24 hours have brought so many good new songs that I want to throw them your way even at the cost of not getting to spill as many words about them as I would like.

And I’m concluding this collection with a somewhat older song debut that I’ve only just discovered.


As we previously reported within an hour of the announcement, Norway’s Darkthrone will be releasing a new album entitled Arctic Thunder (named for an old Norwegian band of the same name). Based on comments by Fenriz about the album, as well as its cover art, I speculated that we might be on the verge of an enticing return to the sound of the band’s earlier days. Well, now we have more than speculation to go on, because at 11:00 Eastern time here in the U.S., Darkthrone debuted a song from the album — the name of which is “Tundra Leech“. Continue reading »

Jan 032014

(In this post Andy Synn begins a series of short reviews of selected 2013 albums that we failed to review before the year ended.)

2013 was a fantastic year for metal, if I do say so myself. The sheer wealth of stellar material produced – from old favourites to new discoveries – was absolutely astounding. As a result there was always going to be a lot of stuff that simply fell below the radar, or which was missed out due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Obviously we try to cover as wide a spread of stuff as possible here at NCS, but even the combination of the five of us, plus our many guest contributors,  can’t give our full attention to absolutely everything that comes out during the year.

It’s an unavaoidable consequence of a year in which there was simpy too much to deal with all at once. An enviable position in many ways, but an unfortunate one in others.

As such, there’s a host of albums that I listened to – and loved – last year that I never got the chance to write about. So I’m going to dedicate the next week or two to briefly covering some of those records that I/we didn’t manage to write about last year, and try and give them their due. Continue reading »

Oct 112013

As explained in my last post, I’ve been diverted from metal over the last three days by activities relating to the old fuckin’ day job. However, I did manage to make a quick slog through the interhole in search of new music and found three diverse items worth sharing. Here they are:


I would venture to say that no one else sounds quite like Rudra. This Singapore band, whose last album I reviewed with lavish praise here, incorporate traditional Indian music, Sanskrit chants and mantras, and themes drawn from Sanskrit literature into a galvanizing combination of black and death metal, calling the result “Vedic Metal”. They’re now on the verge of releasing their seventh album, entitled RTA, through Sonic Blast Media, and today they began streaming the album’s second track, “Heartbreak”.

From its sublime meditative introduction to the jolting main section of the song (which features chants as well as strangling black metal vocals and a serpentine melodic guitar lead), this is an attractive tease for the new album. Continue reading »

Oct 252011

Latecomers to NCS may not know about Singapore’s Rudra. And old-timers may have forgotten. For me, their latest album, Brahmavidya: Immortal I, was one of the highlight discoveries of the current year. It completes a trilogy of albums that began with 2005’s Primordial I and continued with 2009’s Transcendental I. I went on and on (and on) about the new album here, so I’ll keep the comments about it in this post brief: It’s really fucking good.

Standing near the intersection of melodic black metal and death metal, Rudra have taken inspiration from Vedic Sanskrit literature and created something that’s interesting and powerful and quite memorable.

I was reminded of Rudra when I discovered yesterday that they released a music video for a song called “Now Therefore”, which is the opening track on Immortal I. This seems to have been out since August, and I missed it. It’s not nearly as fascinating as the video they did for “Hymns From the Blazing Chariot” (from Transcendental I), but “Now Therefore” is a helluva good song. So, check out some Vedic metal after the jump. Continue reading »

Mar 112011

Let’s get right to the point: The new album from Singapore’s Rudra is brilliant. From beginning to end, it’s one of the most engaging works of metal we’ve heard this year.

In the ancient Indian collection of Sanskrit hymns known as the Rigveda, Rudra is referred to as a god associated with wind, storm, and lightening. Rudra was also known as the archer and is associated with the hunt and with terrible power.

As noted, Rudra is also the name of a metal band from Singapore who released their first demo way back in 1994 and their debut album in 1998. Five more studio releases have followed, with the last two forming the first installments of a trilogy called Brahmavidya: 2005’s Primordial I and 2009’s Transcendental I. The trilogy is now complete with Rudra’s release on March 3 of Immortal I.

We will come to how these three albums tie together conceptually, but we’ll focus first on the music, as we hear it, on Immortal I. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »