Mar 052023


I’m roughly 1,900 miles away from my home. I made the trip last Thursday (an excruciating journey packed with delays), something I needed to do for my job. Since then I haven’t had much time to myself, night or day. My comrade Mr. Synn suggested I just take the weekend off from NCS. As he put it, “The world will keep spinning”.

I’m not so sure about that. What if the world is an incredibly detailed simulation running on the substrate of my mind? What if Mr. Synn is, as I have always suspected, a figment of my imagination? What if music has no objective existence unless someone other than its creator hears it?

I may have become too subsumed by a new sci-fi novel I’m reading, which I shouldn’t name because the idea of a simulation is one of its many surprises.

I did take yesterday off from NCS (actually not a lot of choice in that matter). I was very tempted to take today off too, but I do have a little time to myself before beginning the trip back to Seattle, and whatever airline- and weather-related fuck-ups will plague it. So I snagged just a few new songs to recommend, so you don’t think I had a stroke or a Sunday brunch in jail. Continue reading »

Feb 032020


Unlike many other metal sites, we didn’t try to assemble a list of “most anticipated” 2020 releases as a way to help turn the clock from the old year to the new. It might have been a good idea (and we’ve done it in the past), but shortness of time and an abundance of other distractions prevented that. However, if we had created such a list, I have no doubt that Schattenfall’s new EP Das Verderben would have been on it.

I first drawn to this Germany-based band’s 2017 debut album Schatten in Schwarz because their line-up included two former members of the fantastic White Ward, and that album turned out to make a stunning impression. Perhaps even more stunning was the band’s second album (which included new vocalist Stefan Traunmüller of Golden Dawn, Rauhnåcht, Selenite, The Negative Bias, and Wallachia). I gave significant attention to the preview tracks as they emerged, and Andy Synn acclaimed the album in his review as one of his favorite black metal albums of the year so far, and home to manifestations of “gloriously melodic misery” that were “second to none”.

No wonder, then, that we have been excited for this new three-track EP — and equally excited to present the first preview track today, in advance of the EP’s co-release on February 28th by Redefining Darkness Records (North America) and Wolfspell Records (Europe). But you had best steel yourself before listening to “Totentanz“, because its emotional intensity is absolutely ravaging. Continue reading »

Apr 012019



(Andy Synn prepared the following reviews for six new albums from the realms of black metal.)

It’s already the first of April and, somehow, I am already about six months behind in my reviews for 2019.

To try and address this problem, this week I’m going to be grouping together a bunch of different bands/albums to try and simultaneously clear some of this backlog AND get the word out about a few new (or relatively new) releases I think you all need to hear.

So let’s begin with six (well, five and a half) examples of the black (Metal) arts, shall we? Continue reading »

Mar 142019


Here’s Part 2 of today’s new-music round-up. Hope you dig what I’ve chosen.


I paid attention to (and wrote about) the 2017 debut album (Schatten in Schwarz) of the multinational band Schattenfall because their line-up included two former members (Vladimir Bauer and Yurii Kononov) of the band White Ward, whose brilliant debut album Futility Report I had the pleasure of premiering earlier that year. The third member at the time of that debut was vocalist/lyricist Ole Heidenblut. Now Schattenfall have finished a second album, Melancholie des Seins, on which Bauer and Kononov are joined by a new vocalist, Stefan Traunmüller (who also contributes additional solo guitar), whose work I’ve admired in Golden Dawn, Rauhnåcht, and Wallachia (among other groups). Continue reading »

Nov 142017


In this past Sunday’s edition of this series I mentioned that I had enough new recommendations to fill a two-part post, but wasn’t sure that I would have time to write the second part. Well, I did, and this is it.

Three of the recommendations are individual songs (one of which comes with a video). The other three are complete albums, accompanied by something less than full reviews, and one of those (the first one below) was a last-minute addition.


As mentioned, this first album wasn’t part of my original plan for this carry-over from Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK. I became aware of it on Sunday night through a recommendation from starkweather, who never steers me wrong. After listening to the first track on Bandcamp, I bought it immediately. Continue reading »