May 232011

We’re in a never-ending chase, trying to catch up with EP’s and demo’s from unsigned bands who’ve contacted us, or who we’ve found out about through recommendations. I suppose it would be easier, now that we’ve grown a bit, simply to pay attention to well-known bands or full-length label debuts. But we’re trying to remain faithful to one of the founding principles of this site — to show some support to talented unsigned bands from around the world, and in doing that, to provide what we hope will be some entertaining discoveries for NCS readers.

Today, we’ve got two discoveries to share with you: SunLess Rise (Russia) and Black Monolith (San Francisco). Both bands are definitely under the radar — so far — but to the extent merit counts for anything, you should be hearing more about them in the future. About the only thing they have in common (apart from being good) is speed. Otherwise, the styles of music are utterly different.

SunLess Rise should appeal mightily to fans of Children of Bodom, Norther, and Ensiferum. I have more trouble picking out better-known references for Black Monolith — it’s a raw amalgam of black metal, punk, crust, grind, and a really pissed off junkyard dog.

Oh wait, these bands do have one more thing in common — their debut EP’s are available for download at no charge. So, let’s get to it . . . Continue reading »