Dec 162022

I’ve been reading my friend Andy‘s writing about metal for more than a decade, and even so, what he’s done this week had been mind-boggling. I marveled at how much music he listened to this year and at his ability to make year-end selections, organize them, and write about them distinctively. I mean hell, I marvel at how much time it must have taken him just to put all the embedded links to the streams in his articles this week!

All of which is to say that his week-long series of lists deserves the spotlight, and deserves all the time it would take you to go through them and make your own discoveries. His series ends today, but LISTMANIA will roll on next week as we begin posting year-end lists from other NCS contributors, including the annual five-part list from DGR.

Last weekend I announced that, by design, we wouldn’t have the normal volume of premieres on the calendar this week in order to keep the focus on Andy‘s series (and a few lists I’ve shared from “big platform” sites). I thought I might take advantage of the lull in premieres by compiling more new-music roundups during the week than I can usually manage. I admit that does seem a bit inconsistent with the goal of keeping the focus on year-end lists, but the lure of spreading the word about new music is a powerful one.

I did manage to get a roundup done on Monday, but failed at the next chance on Wednesday because of interference from paying work. Today, as you can see, I was able to follow through. I’ve also got things lined up for the usual Saturday roundup too. Continue reading »

Jan 182021



(As the title suggests, Andy Synn prepared the following list of some of the albums (though certainly not all of them) he’s eagerly awaiting in the coming year.)

Well, it happened, it’s now the third week of January and I’ve already fallen behind when it comes to reviewing new albums.

Honestly, I can think of at least five records from the last week or two that I really want to write about and that a big proportion of our readers would probably get a real kick out of… but instead of doing that I’m going to publish a list of some of my most anticipated new releases of the year still to come… because logical consistency and common sense were never my strong points.

Now, as it so happens the final version of the article you’re reading is slightly different from the first draft, as I managed to get a hold of new albums from Stortregn, Autarkh, and Suffering Hour while I was writing it, and since I’m definitely going to be writing about each of them in full at some point soon I decided to switch them out for three other selections instead.

Obviously this list is in no way comprehensive. There’s a lot more than ten artists/albums I’m really looking forward to hearing over the next twelve months But I’ve tried to purposefully avoid many of the bigger names in order to focus in on a bunch of bands who I personally love but whom many of our readers may not have been aware were going to be bringing something out this year. Continue reading »

May 202016

Sanzu-Heavy Over the Home reissue


Australia’s Sanzu have garnered quite a bit of praise at our site (and just about everywhere else you might care to look within metaldom). Andy Synn proclaimed their 2015 EP Painless “one of the best releases I’ve heard this year… aggressive and abrasive, designed for maximum killing capacity”, and then heaped more praise on the band’s debut full-length Heavy Over the Home: “The overall package provides one of the heaviest, deepest, and most intimately rewarding (not to mention crushing) listening experiences I’ve had all year. Let’s hear it for Sanzu… the undisputed masters of southern hemisphere hydro-groove.”

Both the EP and the album were initially self-released, but now Listenable Records is re-releasing the music worldwide on CD and limited-edition orange vinyl. This new edition bears the title of the album — Heavy Over the Home — but includes the Painless EP as bonus tracks. As icing on the cake, the reissue edition comes with a revised version (above) of the eye-catching and memorable cover art that adorned the original. And we’ve got a stream of all the songs below. Continue reading »

Feb 052016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(Year-end lists… you just can’t kill em’. But Andy Synn has made a habit of crowning our annual LISTMANIA series with one final offering — his selection of the last year’s top songs — and this year is no different.)

Did you REALLY think I was done with lists? Are you really that naive? Oh, how foolish are those who are most willing to be.. umm… fooled. Or something.

Yes, it’s no secret I enjoy making lists, and as such have a particular fondness for the end-of-year period here at NCS, not just because it lets me indulge my numero-erotic list-making proclivities in full (and in public, no less) but also because I sincerely enjoy reading and debating all the other lists we publish and reference and, in the process, discovering bands I’d otherwise overlooked.

The hardest list to pull together though is the list of my favourite songs of the year. Not because of any hard-fought pretence of objectivity (there’s none of that here), but because there’s simply so many options to choose from, with my initial list coming in at well over 100 entries, each drawn from albums across the length and breadth of my Great/Good/Disappointing lists of last year.

But, finally… finally… I managed to whittle it down to the ten selections you’re about to encounter.

I’m not suggesting these are the definitive “Best” songs of the year by any means, they’re just ten tracks which have burrowed their way under my skin and into my brain the deepest.

So, without further ado… Continue reading »

Dec 112015

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(So far, our year-end LISTMANIA series has mostly been devoted to year-end lists from other sites and print zines, but today we begin rolling out our own lists, and we start with the first of six that Andy Synn is preparing. Every day next week we’ll post his remaining five.)


Such is the chaos that is my life at the moment (in between trying to get my End of Year List/s done, I’ve also been putting together a PhD proposal/application, booking a photo shoot for Beyond Grace, TRYING to book shows for next year for us, and helping some good friends move house) that I almost forgot about my annual semi-traditional round-up of all the great EPs I’ve heard this year!

Yes, yes, I know there are several bloggers and/or sites out there who argue that EPs should be considered right alongside full-length albums when it comes to summing up matters at the end of the year… but I’m not one of them.

No, I think EPs deserve their own category, and their own specific focus, and so I’ve written this little round-up to give some of the year’s shortest, sharpest, releases their due. Continue reading »

Nov 202015

Sanzu-Heavy Over the Home


(Andy Synn reviews the debut album by Australia’s Sanzu.)

Stepping out of the shadow of your influences can be a tricky thing. Particularly when one of your major influences happens to have a fairly distinct and instantly recognisable sound of their own. Trying to put a fresh spin on things, to stamp it with your own identity whilst also maintaining a sense of continuity with your own vision of how you want things to sound… that’s hard.

One option, of course, is to simply say “fuck it” and just leave it all behind. You can see this in the host of ex-Deathcore and ex-Djent bands who, some by accident but many by design, quickly ended up straying pretty far from their roots, with their development and attempt to establish their own particular idiom pushing them outside the boundaries of their home-genre and leading them further and further away from their initial influences.

Of course… there’s another way. One that, like the method I’ve just described, comes with its own fair share of risks, but also offers up some tantalising rewards. And that’s to seize the sound of your influences with both hands, to grip it, and hold it, and crush it in your grasp and bellow “this is mine now”.

I’ll let you guess which one Sanzu have gone for on Heavy Over The Home. Continue reading »

Oct 212015

hotel photo


I had to make a whirlwind trip to Dallas, Texas, for my fucking day job, leaving Sunday morning and returning to Seattle late yesterday. I didn’t have much time to myself, which means I fell behind in listening to new metal. On the plus side, I was put up in a swanky hotel, the corridors of which were lined with large framed photos from ’60s and ’70s fashion magazines. Every time I walked past the one above, I did a double-take. And that wasn’t the only one that stopped me in my tracks. So there’s that.

Anyway, last night and this morning I enjoyed the following new music streams and videos, presented here in alphabetical order by band name except for the last one, which is a twist on what I usually feature in these pages.


Thanks to Andy Synn, we’ve previously reviewed the excellent new album by Abigail Williams, The Accuser, which will be released by Candlelight Records on October 30. Yesterday CVLT Nation premiered a video for one of the new songs named “Nuumite”. It’s the track that ends the album, and takes a sharp turn from what preceded it (though if you listen closely to the preceding songs, you’ll realize that the twist was forecast all along). Here’s what Andy wrote about the song: Continue reading »

Sep 072015

Sanzu-Heavy Over the Home


(Andy Synn introduces our premiere of a new song and video from Australia’s Sanzu.)

If you’ve been paying even the slightest amount of attention to our site in recent months, you’ll no doubt be aware that Painless, the debut EP by Australian mechanoids Sanzu, is easily one of my favourite releases that I’ve heard this year. So much so in fact that not only did I immediately order myself a copy of the CD (that’s right… a real, physical copy!), I also plonked down some cash for a pre-order of the band’s at-that-point-untitled debut album.

So it probably won’t surprise you to hear that I’m extremely excited that NCS is able to bring you the debut song, and video, from that very same album, the enigmatically titled Heavy Over The Home.

The song in question – “Those Who Sleep In The East” – is a stunningly heavy piece of relentless sonic intensity… all rumbling, piston-powered guitar work, scorching, blowtorch vocals, and explosive, artillery-fire drumming, designed to simultaneously mesmerise and pulverise the audience over the course of almost six minutes of weapons-grade metallic firepower. Continue reading »

Sep 032015

Autopsy-After the Cutting


I find myself in Alaska this morning, preparing for a day of toil for my fucking day job. This means that posts on our putrid site will be scarce today. I’m also behind (again) in putting together round-ups of news and new music. Before I have to immerse myself in what I’m paid to do, I thought I would at least compile a selection of things I spotted over the last couple of days — and this selection is based principally on the attractiveness of the album art.


As announced yesterday, the almighty Autopsy have two new  things headed our way. First, on November 13 Peaceville Records will release a jumbo set entitled After the Cutting that includes four discs “full of classics, new tracks and previously unheard rarities from deep within the band’s own archive”. This special release will also include “an expansive book penned by Dennis Dread recounting the career of the gore legend, featuring unseen photos and exclusive artwork”.

Wes Benscoter again handled the Autopsy artwork for After the Cutting. As you can see, it’s sick. Continue reading »

Jun 192015


(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by Sanzu.)

Much like another recent review of mine, it’s impossible to conduct any sort of write-up of the debut EP by Australian Death Metal troubadours Sanzu without referencing the ever-present spectre of their main inspiration.

In this case the band’s particular brand of bludgeoning, biomechanical groove clearly owes a heavy debt to French heavyweights Gojira, with every nerve-jangling pick-scrape and raw, bellowing vocal line steeped in the band’s undeniable influence.

Yet there’s clearly also much more than mere hero worship going on here, as the quintet manage to put their own distinctive spin on things, opting for a heavier focus on the Death Metal side of things which allows for an even heavier delivery than that of their idols.

Also, did I mention that it’s really fucking heavy? Continue reading »