Apr 272016



(We present the first of a three-part review by Andy Synn of the new triple album by the Swiss phenomenon Schammasch.)

It’s no secret that Contradiction, the second album by Swiss occultists Schammasch, is one of my all-time favourites. But where does a band go from a massive, potentially life-changing release like that?

Well, apparently you push things even further with a triple-CD release, split up into three distinct movements concerning the process of death, detachment, and transcendence, comprising some of the most ambitious, progressive, and creative compositions you’ve ever put together.

For such a mammoth undertaking it only seemed fitting to address each distinct part of the album separately, so for the next three days, leading up to its physical release on Friday the 29th of April, I’ll be publishing my thoughts on each sequential segment of Triangle, beginning with Part I: The Process of Dying. Continue reading »

Apr 112016

Shadow Woods Metal Festival 2016


As we begin the new week, I have some unfortunate news (at least it’s unfortunate for me). Beginning today and continuing through Thursday morning, I have to bury myself in my fucking day job for one of those day-and-night projects that periodically descends upon me. I’ll make time to post what other writers have sent me, as well as a few premieres I’ve agreed to do, but aside from this round-up and one “Short But Sweet” review I wrote over the weekend, I will be missing in action until sometime Thursday.

Before saying good-bye, I’ve collected a few items that I wanted to share — including, at the end of this post, streams of ten recent videos without commentary (because I’ve run out of time for commentary).


I’m late sharing this news, but the news is so exciting that I’m following the “better late than never” mantra. Last year’s Shadow Woods Metal Festival was a marvelous event by all accounts — including this account by our guest Captain Karbon. As I reported in February, organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been planning the second installment of this open-air camping metal party, which will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. They’ve been announcing performers since January, and now the complete line-up has been revealed — and it’s an eye-popper: Continue reading »

Mar 152016



You might think that after posting a round-up on Sunday that included recent music from 39 bands, I would be all out of discoveries to write about. Nope, not even close. From Sunday’s flood of music streams I diverted some to which I wanted to dedicate closer attention, and since then I’ve found even more. All of it happens to be in the orbit of black metal, and so I’ve collected the music in a new edition of Shades of Black.

However, the volume of what I want to write about is so great that I’ve divided this edition into three parts. I will post Parts 2 and 3 tomorrow. Five excellent bands are included in this first installment.


We’ve already written quite a lot about Triangle, the new triple album by the Swiss band Schammasch, and until yesterday we hadn’t yet heard any of the music. But now we all have a song to hear, a long track named “Consensus“. According to the band, this is the first of three tracks that will be revealed prior to the album’s release. Continue reading »

Feb 232016



Well, today isn’t going quite the way I planned. To follow my musings earlier today about last weekend’s Famine Fest, I had planned to bring you the premiere of a full album stream for a hot-as-hell new release. However, Soundcloud decided to block all of the song streams under a notification of copyright violation. I’m too stupid to realize this is always a possibility, and therefore I didn’t upload the tracks a few days ago to allow time for that to happen, to file my protests, and to have the blocks cleared. Now I’m sitting around waiting for the tracks to be released from bondage.

In the meantime, I thought I ought to whip something else up to pass the time away. So here are a few things I noticed this morning, beginning with a couple of exciting announcements.


No secret that we are big fans of this Swiss band. Also no secret that we’ve been very curious about the contours of the band’s next album. Andy Synn tried to pry some details from the band’s main man CSR in this interview last month — and received these cryptic answers: Continue reading »

Jan 272016

photo by Ester Segarra

(Andy Synn presents this new interview with CSR of the Swiss band Sammasch, whose new album will be upon us in 2016.)

Swiss spiritual occultists Schammasch have been a firm favourite of several members of the NCS team ever since we stumbled across the band’s masterful double-album Contradiction a few years back.

Since then we’ve run features on the band several times, covering everything from new videos, to live show reviews, to the re-release of their debut album Sic Lvceat Lvx, and tried to stay abreast of any and all developments within their camp.

Over the past 5/6 months we’ve tried to stay tuned in to all the updates the band have been putting out regarding the writing and recording of their as-yet-untitled (to everyone outside the band at least) third album, from photo shoots in London to mixing/mastering at Woodshed Studios in Germany.

As the album sessions have now all been wrapped up, and the album is, essentially, “in the can” and primed for release by Prosthetic Records, it seemed like the perfect time to get in touch with the band’s mainman CSR and pick his brains about what 2016 has in store for Schammasch! Continue reading »

Apr 202015


We discovered the Swiss band Schammasch through their 2014 album Contradiction (reviewed for us here by Andy Synn), which was one of last year’s best releases and quickly became a favorite of our site. Contradiction was the band’s second album, and now Prosthetic Records is poised to re-issue the band’s debut full-length Sic Lvceat Lvx in re-mastered form, and we’re privileged to bring you a stream of the second single from the album, a song named “INRI“.

The album was originally issued in 2010 as a limited-edition CD. In addition to having it re-mastered, Prosthetic has revamped the cover with striking artwork by Valnoir of Metastaszis (Behemoth, The Black Dahlia Murder) and is making it available not only on CD but on vinyl, along with a double-sided t-shirt.

The band’s vocalist C.S.R. has described “INRI” as “one of the few groove songs we wrote so far — thrashy, simple, forthright and still a great one to play live.” As for the song’s title, he explains: “Unlike it’s usual meaning as the cross inscription, the letters “INRI” refer to the alchemist aphorism ‘Igne Natura Renovatur Integra,’ pointing out purification through the flame of consciousness.” Continue reading »

Oct 222014


(Our Nottingham-based writer Andy Synn ventured down to London to catch the Venereal Dawn Tour MMXIV and files this report, with video of the performances.) 

From the moment it was announced, there really was no way I was going to miss this show. Two of my absolute favourite bands, Dark Fortress and Secrets of the Moon, along with one of this year’s best discoveries, the ineffable Schammasch, all on the same bill?


The fact that it was down in London, at The Underworld (a venue I’ve always loved) was both a blessing a curse, as it pretty much guaranteed a great sound and atmosphere for the night, but also necessitated leaving work early and making a three-hour (give or take) drive through the irritating London traffic.

Still, totally worth it. Continue reading »

Oct 142014


Here’s a rather large selection of new songs and videos released in the last few days that I decided were worth your time — and who better than me to decide how you should spend your time?  Exactly.

I’ve arranged these offerings in alphabetical order by band name. It’s quite a varied selection, so I’m hoping everyone will find something to like.


We’re now two songs into the ramp-up for one of the most highly anticipated extreme metal releases of the year — Grand Morbid Funeral, the first album by Bloodbath since 2008. The second song, “Famine of God’s Word”, was revealed yesterday through a lyric video. I’m of two minds about the song.

On the one hand, the instrumental music is just downright vicious — a brutally heavy, galloping, squalling, skin-flaying, gut-punching romp, with an eerie lead guitar melody that floats through the song like a phantasm. Continue reading »

Aug 182014


(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Part 1 appeared here. Once again, Ty asked his wife Heather (who he says isn’t very big on metal music as a whole) and his friend Adam (who is) to look at the album art and provide guesses about the music. Once again, please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)

Alright, so the first round went pretty well for my two assistants. Where we left off, they were neck-and-neck in our little guessing game. So, time to finish this thing up and see if the trend continues. Lets get right to it, shall we?


There’s just something about the color red with me, for some reason. I really like how while the majority of this artwork is solid red, yet there’s enough variation that you can divine the angel, the demon, the symbols, and the serpents. With that knowledge, Heather was able to correctly suggest that this album was steeped in religious undertones, probably in the vein of black metal, as did Adam. He suggested that it might have something to do with atheism, but changed his mind after seeing the symbols along the bottom.

The cover art is by Valnoir of Metastazis Studio in Paris. NCS reviewed the album here.
http://www.graphic-noise.com/valnoir Continue reading »

May 082014

(Andy Synn reviews the second album, released late last month in Europe, by the Swiss band Schammasch.)

Oh how I have fallen in love with this album. All 85 fantastic minutes of it. Over the course of nine songs, straddling two cds, the music on Contradiction combines elements drawn from some of my all-time favourite artists – the primal riffage of Keep of Kalessin, the pained rhythms of Deathspell Omega, the brooding darkness of Secrets Of The Moon, the impious grandeur of Behemoth – into, something utterly spellbinding.

Yet despite the references I’ve made above, Contradiction is still very much its own distinct entity, the culmination of an ambitious vision, far greater than the mere sum of its parts. Although the band’s underlying DNA shares many strands in common with the Black Metal genre, the music they produce interbreeds and interweaves elements from across the metallic spectrum, a natural synthesis of dissonant sounds and disparate styles all combined in one bold, enlightened display of unbound creativity. Continue reading »