Dec 042020


(The time has come for us to again launch the rollout of year-end lists by NCS writers and guests, and as always we begin with Andy Synn‘s lists. As has usually been the case, Andy begins with his personal list of the year’s best EPs. We’ll continue with his other year-end lists every day next week.)

Well, here we are again.

Next week I’ll once again be rolling our my yearly round-ups of the “Great”, Good”, and “Disappointing” albums which I’ve heard this year, culminating, as always, in my attempt to narrow down these literal hundreds of entries into ten “Critical” selections and ten “Personal” favourites.

But, first of all, I want to give a shout-out to the many, many, fantastic, fascinating, sometimes frustrating, EPs which I’ve heard over the course of the last twelve-ish months.

This isn’t, obviously, intended to be in any way comprehensive (I never got round to listening to the new Carcass, for example, and I’m still digesting both the new Nexul and Descend to Acheron EPs),  nor is it a definitive statement about which EPs are the year’s “best” (though some of them definitely are) but my hope is you’ll all discover something new in what you’re about to read.

So, with all that out of the way, let’s get started, shall we? Continue reading »

Sep 142020


If you missed out on the June 26 release by Everlasting Spew of Serocs‘ new EP Vore, you should fill that gaping hole in your life immediately! It really is an extraordinary record, one that we referred to as “a brutalizing, electrifying, high-speed carnival ride”, so head-spinning in its conception and so technically extravagant in its execution that (as we wrote before), if it doesn’t leave you with an ear-to-ear smile, the virus may have mutated and given you facial paralysis.

We’re so high on the EP that we welcomed the chance to share with you a playlist created by two Serocs stalwarts, guitarist Antonio Freyre (who first started the band as a solo project) and guitarist/bassist Antoine Daigneault. Together they assembled 22 tracks in a Spotify list, focusing ion music that has inspired them, and that list is a hell of a great ride all its own. Here’s what the two men had to say about it: Continue reading »

May 232020


We’re now continuing on with the mega-collection of new songs and videos we began here yesterday, resuming our march through the alphabet beginning with the letter S.

SEROCS (International)

To begin, we’ll throw your brain into a blender set to puree. “Building A Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands” is a brutalizing, electrifying, high-speed carnival ride. The percussive power of the song is punishing, and the vocals (also discharged at high speed) are rabid, while the darting and swirling fretwork is wild and exultant. The guitar soloing is nothing short of spectacular, and propels a song that was already an ecstatic thrill-ride way up into the stratosphere. If the track doesn’t leave you with an ear-to-ear grin, the virus may have mutated and given you facial paralysis. Continue reading »

Oct 302018


(Despite what the title of this post says, Andy Synn hasn’t managed to review every fine 2018 album and EP we’ve heretofore failed to write about, but he does catch up with more than two dozen of them.)

While lots of blogs/zines are already (or soon will be) switching their focus away from covering new releases and towards consolidating their annual “Best Of…” lists, here on NCS island we’re still doing our very best to bring as many new (and some not so new) albums/artists to your attention as possible.

Of course the truism that “there’s simply too much music out there” remains as painfully accurate as ever, and it pains me to admit that I/we simply can’t cover all the releases we want to, in the depth we want to, no matter how hard we try.

So consider this article a voluntary mea culpa acknowledging our limitations and a (probably futile) attempt to make amends a little bit to all the bands and artists who we may have missed or ignored over the last several months, as well as to shine a light on a couple of upcoming releases you’ll probably want to keep your eyes/ears open for. Continue reading »

Aug 292018


The multi-national collective known as Serocs, whose line-up now includes members of First Fragment, Chthe’ilist, Funebrarum, Benighted, and Sutrah, have a new album headed our way. Under the title The Phobos/Deimos Suite, and adorned by an eye-catching painting by Nicola Samorì, it will be released on October 26th by Everlasting Spew Records.

We have a lot of information to share with you about this new album, as well as the premiere of the first single, but we’re going to depart from our usual practice of leaving the song stream to the end and get right to it — preceded only by a piece of cautionary medical advice: If you don’t have an oxygen mask with a fully charged canister nearby, you might try hyperventilating before you listen to this track. Continue reading »

Jan 302017


(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a new video from Serocs.)

Multi-national technical brutal death metal act Serocs have remained an ongoing favorite of mine ever since I first stumbled upon their 2013 album, The Next, and reviewed it at the time here at NCS. Even then the band was onto something special, but they truly took themselves to a higher level on their 2015 album, And When The Sky Was Opened, from which NCS helped launch a single called “Itami”.

Since that time, the band’s founder, guitarist Antonio Freyre, has been busy starting other projects, including last year’s side-project Punished, for which Islander was nice enough to premiere a song called “The Absent” (since I guested on it briefly and it wouldn’t have been right for me to cover it).

But I digress. Seeing as it’s now 2017 and Serocs is ramping back up again, that provides the impetus for us helping to launch this new video today. Continue reading »

Jul 182016

Punished-The Absent


On July 29, the multi-national band Punished will release their debut EP, The Absent, and today we bring you the premiere of the EP’s title track.

Though the name Punished may be a new one to you, the band’s line-up includes former Ulcerate vocalist Ben Read as well as Serocs guitarist Antonio Freyre, plus guitarist/bassist Aldo Mora and drummer Ignacio Rizo. In addition, the EP includes guest vocals by Josh Smith (Serocs), Antti Boman (Demilich), Phil Tougas (Chthe’ilist/First Fragment), and our very own NCS comrade Austin Weber (whose vocal turn appears near the end of the song you’re about to hear). Continue reading »

Nov 222015

Nachash-Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse


As you can see, I decided to give the “Seen and Heard” title a rest for today, but that’s still what this post really is — another selection of music I’ve come across in recent days that I thought you might enjoy as much as I have. Most of what’s in here is new, some of it only newly discovered by yours truly. As is usually the case, the featured music is stylistically diverse. And because this is a birthday weekend at NCS, I decided to really load up this post with a lot of listening.


We’ll start this collection of music with the debut EP from Norway’s Nachash, a four-track offering entitled Conjuring the Red Death Eclipse. Though it was released in February of this year (through Unborn Productions), I only discovered it recently, and what a discovery it has been.

The four long songs on the EP are rich and multifaceted. The final track “A Necromancer’s Lament”, which is set to play first on Bandcamp, is like a melding of stoner doom and black metal; the riffs are so goddamn delicious that I got pulled headfirst into the rest of the EP as if I’d been sucked into a whirlpool. Continue reading »

Sep 022015

Serocs-Only When the Sky Was Opened


(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a song from the new album by the multinational band Serocs.)

Ever since Serocs released their sophomore record, The Next, in 2013, I’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the follow-up that the band has long been teasing. While it would seem some shifting line-up issues from a vocalist standpoint were a large part of this delay, their new record, And When The Sky Was Opened, is finally going to drop before year-end through Comatose Music. I’ve been informed that the release date and pre-release info should be coming shortly in the days following today’s premiere of “Itami”. It’s a fantastic track that should pique your interest in this quite talented multinational act if by some chance you missed the boat on The Next or their previous works.

In the course of the wait for this record, the band made it clear that this would be a big step up for them, with a special emphasis on diversifying and growing their technical deathgrind sound while expanding the scope of their songwriting into bolder territory. While such statements didn’t make me think the Serocs I had grown to love would be no more, I was curious as to how big a shift in their sound And When The Sky Was Opened would be. Well, the proof is indeed in the pudding, and “Itami” is a damn fine introduction to what will surely be a standout record of 2015. Continue reading »

May 052014

I have mixed feelings about Cinco de Mayo. I grew up in central Texas, and celebrated the date every year after a certain point. On the other hand, the certain point was when I reached drinking age, which was the age at which my friends and I could convince winos to buy us tequila at liquor stores. That became a road to misery.

My first exposure to tequila was at age 16 on a high school Spanish Club trip to Monterrey. One of my buds, who was fluent in Spanish without having to be taught, evaded the teachers by climbing out a hotel window and down a fire escape on our first afternoon there, returning with a couple of bottles. That night I never made it out of the bus that took our teachers and us to some restaurant. I said I was sick, and that was no fuckin’ lie.

Even now, all it takes is the smell of straight tequila to bring on a wave of nausea. Doesn’t mean I’ve given up on it (there have been many subsequent tequila poisoning experiences in the many years since that Monterrey trip), but these days I prefer to take my poison in a margarita. Goes down easier, though a high percentage of the time I still wind up crouched over a toilet begging for mercy.

But I don’t mean to suggest that Cinco de Mayo is nothing more than a chance to get shit-faced. There’s rich history behind the date as well, but in my mind it’s also an excuse to revisit some Mexican metal. That’s another form of poison I can’t seem to resist. Continue reading »