Sep 282020


Just a bit earlier today I was writing about the special thrill that heavy metal addicts can experience when discovering a band who are adept at blending stylistic influences in unexpected ways, and in the new EP by the Sacramento-based duo Sarcoptes, entitled Plague Hymns, we have another prime example of that.

In the most brutally shorthand way of describing these two songs, they’re a fashioning of blackened thrash, but that label really under-represents how remarkable they are. They do indeed blaze like hellfire driven by gale-force winds, but they also feature beautifully chosen symphonic accents as well as the kind of glorious guitar-work that brings to mind bands from the forefront of classic heavy metal.

One immediate sign that these two songs aren’t your typical black/thrash rippers is their length: The first song, “The Vertigo Soul“, is almost seven minutes long, and the one we’re premiering today, “La Moria Grandissima” almost reaches the 11-minute mark. Both songs really are stupendous, and it’s our devilish pleasure to bring you streams of both of them in advance of the EP’s release on October 2nd by Transcending Obscurity Records. Continue reading »

May 032016

Bosch-christs descent into hell


(Our old friend from New Zealand and occasional guest writer Booker brings us a collection of new releases discovered through their cover art, along with some very entertaining words.)

“You should never judge a book by its cover”, or so the saying goes. No doubt most of us try and do the same with our approach to metal. Yet somehow, in amongst all the diversity of music out there, the community of metal musicians seems to self-organize; just like some drops of T-1000 liquid metal coming together to form a greater terrifying machine, different minds and souls from across the world end up uniting in their artistic endeavours and adorning their albums with specific, identifiable, cover themes. For the most part, seeing a cover with a certain “typical genre X” album art style can lead you to a fair idea of what aural treasures lie inside, but sometimes they can come out of left field and surprise you. We shouldn’t judge albums by their cover, but let’s be honest: we might say we don’t, but we all do. Like masturbation.

Once upon a time back in NCS history, Islander ran a series called “Eye Catchers” dedicated to albums that hooked you in with their artwork (and other tasty aspects). As I was perusing Bandcamp for delicious new audio treats, I realised that I too was basing my decisions of what to listen to by inadvertently succumbing to the artwork, like a moth to flame. So I figured, the hell with it, let’s see where this folly-filled exercise leads me…. and after a few surprises, and some fails, here’s a few highlights I’d like to share. Continue reading »