Sep 032023

Here in the U.S. we’re in the middle of a holiday that sprawls over the weekend and through Monday. Because of the nature of the celebration (Labor Day), not working is an even more central part of the holiday than it is for others. The event is also generally regarded here as marking “the end of the summer” (for reasons that have nothing to do with weather forecasting).

Probably more so on this holiday weekend than any other, I feel the urge to fuck off. Although I did sleep long and late overnight, you can see that the old NCS tradition of observing no weekends or holidays still won out today, as it will tomorrow (two Monday posts are already scheduled, and there might be a third).

The first three selections below were already on my list of things to check out in preparation for this column, but links to all three also arrived in one fell swoop yesterday from my internet friend Miloš, which eased the always-difficult process of choosing.

After those, I’ve gone off in other directions. The combined volume of the music here should give you lots of ways to fill your holiday time. If there’s one word I think applies equally to all of it, that word is “breathtaking”. Continue reading »

Apr 192020


You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything yesterday, a rare missed Saturday opportunity. I participated in three virtual happy hours on Friday afternoon and evening and somehow didn’t understand that I wasn’t required to drink straight through all of them. Saturday taught me that lesson, brutally.

I’ll try to make up for lost time today with two installments of this usual Sunday column.


Versus All Gods is the ninth full-length by this famous Singapore band, and the first one since 2012’s Revenge & Conquer. In those seven years two new guitarists joined the line-up, and something happened to the song-writing as well — something that seemed to convey rejuvenation, a return to the thermonuclear energies that fueled earlier releases, coupled with the mastery that comes with experience, sort of like a barbarian horde that has learned through decades of successful conquest how to decimate even more powerfully and brutally. Continue reading »

Jul 232018


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Slidhr, which was released by Ván Records on June 26th.)

I’ve seen it written in a few places over the last couple of months that 2018 hasn’t yet produced the same plethora of quality Black Metal releases that previous years have done.

And while there are undoubtedly multiple exceptions to this rule which we could all name at the drop of a hat (the new Funeral Mist, for one), for the most part I can see where these people are coming from, as this year has felt a little bit light on the ol’ brimstone and blasphemy front so far.

Thankfully however, the new album by Irish/Icelandic iconoclasts Slidhr is more than capable of rebalancing the scales in this regard. Continue reading »

Mar 092018

Reykjavik wall art


The second night of the third and final installment of Oration Festival took place at the Húrra bar in Reykjavik, Iceland on the night of March 8, 2018. It proved to be just as thoroughly enjoyable as the first night (reviewed here), although the music took more deathly turns, and ultimately concluded in a marvelously bewildering and beguiling way.

Last night the bands who performed, in the following order, were these: Mannveira (Iceland), Devouring Star (Finland), Abominor (Iceland), Abyssal (UK), Slidhr (Ireland/Iceland), Sortilegia (Canada), and Virus (Norway).

As before, the group of friends from Seattle and elsewhere who’ve been sharing this experience with me convened for food and drink about two hours before the first band was scheduled to begin the night. Yes, two hours, because our group has a proven tendency over the course of many previous festivals to talk like there’s no tomorrow, lose track of time, and arrive late if we’re not careful. Which of course is what happened last night even with the two-hour head start. Continue reading »

Jul 232017


Listeners who have closely followed Iceland’s burgeoning black metal scene over the last decade know that there has been considerable cross-pollinization among bands in the vanguard of that surging movement. Sinmara is perhaps the best example, with a line-up that includes members of such other groups as Svartidauði, Slidhr, Wormlust, and Almyrkvi. Their 2014 debut album Aphotic Womb (which we had the privilege of premiering) was a gripping display of what such a creative collaboration could produce. Since then, Sinmara have released only one other song, “Ivory Stone”, which appeared on their split with Misþyrming early this year (reviewed here). But Sinmara now return with a new EP, and once again we’re fortunate to host its premiere.

The new EP, consisting of three interconnected songs, is named Within the Weaves of Infinity. It will be released on August 24th by Terratur Possessions on vinyl and CD and by Oration on cassette tape. However, as of today it’s available digitally via Bandcamp. We have the full stream below, along with some impressions of the music and news of a forthcoming Sinmara tour. Continue reading »

Nov 182016



(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new split by Acherontas from Greece and Slidhr from Ireland.)

A good split-release, such as the Nightbringer/Dødsengel effort Circumambulations of the Solar Inferno, the recent Ur Draugr/Haar tag-team, or any of the multitude of Misery Index splits, can be a great place for a band to explore ideas and themes which – for whatever reason – might not fit as part of a full album or which they simply want to stand on their own, while also allowing them the chance to “share the stage” (as it were) with another act of a similar outlook and ethos.

In rare cases, such as last year’s unholy alliance between Dragged Into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues, or the much more recent collaboration between Selvans and Downfall of Nur, both of which err closer to the album than the EP side of things, the split release becomes a true amalgam of both bands, giving birth to something wholly unique in the process.

But, however the bands involved choose to approach it, a good split-release is always an opportunity to make a statement, and this new five-track split (3 by the godless Greeks, 2 by the Irish idolaters) from Acherontas and Slidhr makes one very simple statement of intent indeed… we bleed black, and breathe fire, and we will not be denied our due. Continue reading »

Jul 162015

Mordbrand-Rite split


I’ve spent so much time since last weekend writing my own reviews (which isn’t a weekly occurrence) and scribbling words to accompany premieres that I’m afraid I’ve fallen down on the job of rounding up new music to throw your way. Because the never-ending flood of new metal doesn’t pause for me, I’m now very far behind, with a list of new tracks that would stretch from here to that distant planet NASA finally caught on film this week.

Okay, that last part may have been a slight exaggeration, but it really is a long list. Rather than throw up my hands in despair, I decided to make a start and at least feature new songs from three bands this morning. They’re all really worth hearing.


I think I’ve written about every release that Sweden’s Mordbrand have ever delivered, and not just because the band’s name means “arson”. The main reason is because they’re all so very good. The latest offering is a song named “Order of the Formless”, which appears on a split with the band Rite that’s been expected for a long time and is finally being released this month by Doomentia Records. Continue reading »

Apr 142013

Here are a pair of dark new discoveries from yesterday, new music from two bands with veteran members who have new albums on the way — Diablerie from Finland and Thou Art Lord from Greece — plus an update (with music) about the debut album coming from Ireland’s Slidhr.


I found out about this band via an e-mail from fellow blogger fireangel (Night Elves Forest), who keeps her fingers pressed tightly to the pulse of Finnish metal. Diablerie began in 1998, released a debut album in 2001 (Seraphyde), dissolved in 2003, and re-formed in 2006. The members of Diablerie’s current line-up have been active in other bands, with four of them being current or former members of a melodic doom/death band named Rapture and drummer Petri Mäkipää spending time with FleshredGhoul Patrol, and The Nibiruan.

Last year Diablerie put out an EP (Transition), and according to fireangel’s report, they’ve now recorded material for a future full-length release. Recently, the band put two new demo tracks on Soundcloud — “Selves” and “Osiris” — and both are really good. Continue reading »

Oct 182012

I’m a little off my game at the moment, out of town and with not much time to call my own, so our posts will be a little more sporadic than usual this week. But I wanted to throw a few items your way before the day ended, and they are as follows:

A calamitous new track from Incantation (U.S.), two intriguing new songs from Slidhr (Ireland), and your wtf? moment for the day straight from Fargo, North Dakota.


I assume this band need no introduction, and therefore none will be provided. Their ninth studio album, Vanquish In Vengeance, is due for release on November 26 by Listenable Records. About 10 days ago I found out that the band had recorded a song for DECIBEL’s Flexi-Disc series and included that exciting news in a post despite the fact that the song hadn’t yet been released for streaming. Well, as of today, we can now hear it.

The song is ”Degeneration,” which originally appeared on the self-titled 1989 demo of John McEntee’s pre-Incantation band, Revenant. Incantation’s dynamic version of the track is completely devastating — disemboweling guitar grinding, ghoulish vocals, skull-smashing percussion, and a couple of guitar solos that are the equivalent of throwing open the door to a blast furnace. In other words, everything a death metal fanatic could want. Continue reading »