Feb 062017


I decided to give the “Seen and Heard” caption a brief rest, but that’s basically what this post is — a round-up of new songs and videos. It just happens that everything in this round-up is the sound of slaughtering, though translated through difference metallic prisms. In essence, we’ll do a death metal/black metal back-and-forth, though you’ll hear differences even within those broad genre umbrellas, and the boundaries blur as well.


Over the weekend Sinister released an official video (created and directed by Sebastiaan Spijker) for a song called “Neurophobic” off their new album Syncretism, which will be released on February 24 by Massacre Records. This is the 13th studio album by these Dutch death metal veterans, and judging from the new song, it’s going to be lethal. Continue reading »

Dec 242016



Once upon a time everything seemed to slow down during the holiday season… or at least everything other than the consumerist frenzy of gift-buying. But now in many ways the final weeks of the year seem as busy and eventful as all the other weeks, both at work and almost everywhere else. This year we even got announcements of a new nuclear arms race that no one asked for — what better way to celebrate peace on earth and good will to men!

I did notice a fall-off yesterday in the flood of messages arriving in the NCS e-mail in-box, but there were still a lot of new-music announcements, and I found even more in my Facebook news feed. There’s a risk that much of what I saw and heard will be overlooked, with many metal-oriented sites and blogs taking time off and many fans diverted from their phones and computers by holiday activities. So I decided, for the hell of it, to devote this Christmas Eve round-up exclusively to news and music streams that appeared (or that I discovered) for the first time yesterday.

Mind you, what follows isn’t everything I noticed, or even everything I enjoyed. I’ve made these selections to provide diversity of sound, and I’ve saved a few nasty things for tomorrow because NCS always does its best to reduce Christmas Day to a smoldering ash heap — praise and glory to Sol Invictus! Continue reading »

Jul 312014


Well, well, here’s some just-announced tour news that gave me a thrill: This fall Belphegor will be headlining the Voices From the Dark 2014 tour in North America and will be accompanied by Rotting Christ (Greece), Beheaded (Malta), and Svart Crown (France). That is one insanely solid line-up.

The schedule is after the jump… and that’s all I have to say about this. Continue reading »

Jul 032013

(Andy Synn reviews the latest album by French metal band Svart Crown, which is out now via Listenable Records.)

“Heavy” is one of those recurring words we all like to use when talking about metal. It brings with it connotations of thunderous power and crushing force. Beyond this it can be used to suggest the sheer density of an album’s ominous atmosphere, or the bruising emotional weight it carries.

Sometimes it’s misused. Something simply being loud or well-produced is not the same as being really heavy – or at least, it’s nowhere near the same realms I’m talking about here. I can’t help but smile when I see others refer to certain albums as “really heavy” – whether they’re talking about the current big thing in metal, or even waxing lyrical on the supposed substance of the latest indie darlings – because I sometimes think we’re not even using the same yardstick to measure by.

Let me tell you one thing though, Profane, Svart Crown’s third album, is heavy. Very fucking heavy. Continue reading »

Apr 232013

Within the last few days (and mostly today), seven albums I’m very high on (and have written about here) have begun streaming in full on various web sites. They shouldn’t be missed — it’s a great chance to check out the music before deciding whether to plunk down money for them.

Each of the sites where these streams are now available includes info on how to order or pre-order the albums, so I’m not going to take time to repeat that info here. I’m also not going to take the time to write about the music (though we do plan to review some of these albums) because . . . you can hear them right now! The relevant links are below, in alphabetical order.


http://pitchfork.com/advance/81-teethed-glory-and-injury/ Continue reading »

Feb 282013


I’m still in day-job hell, or more accurately day-and-night-job hell. All personal plans for listening to albums and EPs and writing reviews are on hold. Actually, everything I do here is pretty much on hold except for quickly checking metal news and doing some fast web surfing in search of new songs — and I make time for that mainly to preserve some feeble semblance of balance in my existence.

In this post are new or new-ish things from four bands that I randomly happened upon. By the end of the post, you may conclude that my efforts at preserving balance have failed and I’ve fallen off the edge.


I discovered this German band in the spring of 2010 and wrote a review of their then-current album Procella Vadens (which is superb), except I wrote it as if Suffocation’s Frank Mullen were writing the review. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

When I had my head in the clouds on vacation last month, the French label Listenable Records compiled a sampler of music for free download that I completely missed. Fortunately, it’s still available, and it’s quite a collection of music. There are some bands on the list whose names I don’t recognize and a few whose music doesn’t do anything for me, but on the other hand, it includes songs from some bands that are as strong as horseradish. Just to name a few:









There are 22 tracks in all. After the jump, you can check out the full track list and get the download link. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

I discovered a French band called Svart Crown more than a year ago when I reviewed their second albumWitnessing the Fall. I compared them to a joint venture between Immortal and Immolation. Since then, the band signed with Listenable Records, which put the album into wider distribution. It’s still a damned strong listen.

This morning I saw that the band have released an official video for “Into A Demential Sea”, one of the songs from Witnessing the Fall. To crib from my review (since I’m too fucking lazy to come up with any new phraseology), it’s “almost experimental in its combination of raging guitars, complex drumming, and sharp rhythm breaks that cause the song to trudge with death-doom chord progressions.”

But more importantly, it will trigger the old headbang reflex, which is a reflex that needs to be triggered often, so that you don’t get fixed-neck syndrome, which is a precursor to tight-sphincter complex and stick-up-the-ass disease.

And in other welcome news, an Ulcerate-Svart Crown European tour has been announced for February 2012. I say “welcome” because I’m trying to be happy for our European readers. I myself do not find this news welcome, because, since I can’t go to any of these shows, the news simply makes me jealous and slightly miserable because of my loss. I’m going to console myself by watching this video again. It’s after the big goddamn tour poster which immediately follows the jump. I hope all you Euro motherfuckers are happy. Continue reading »

Oct 122011

As I did my daily perusing on the interhole last night, two new videos caught my bloodshot eyes. They made me gnash my teeth and scowl. They made me want to bust up shit, but since I owned all the nearby shit and was too lazy to go next door and bust up my neighbor’s shit, I refrained. They made me want to drink blood and dine on fresh fetuses, but all I could find was a beer and a chicken breast. However, I scowled and growled while I ate and drank, because it is death fucking metal and it is black as rotten teeth.

Only five days ago we wrote about Scion A/V releasing a free EP of Immolation songs called Providence. In a bomb-burst of enthusiasm, I called it one of the best death metal releases of the year. I picked my favorite track from the EP to stream with that post, “Illumination”. In a testament to the wisdom of clean living and human sacrifice, I was rewarded last night by the release of an official video for that self-same track, financed by Scion A/V. I hope Scion A/V gets at least one new car sale out of this. I don’t know why they would, but they fucken deserve it. And you deserve to download the EP, which you can do HERE.

The other video is a French band called Svart Crown playing two songs at the Evening of Metal Festival at the Salle Aragon in Saint Dizier, France on October 8. I discovered this band almost exactly one year ago when I reviewed their second album, Witnessing the Fall. Coincidentally, I compared them to a joint venture between Immortal and . . . Immolation. I still fucking love that album, and finally, through this video, I now get to see Svart Crown put a skull-creasing beatdown on a live audience. Vidz after the jump. Death fucking metal. Fuck yeah, as they say in French. Continue reading »

Oct 202010

“Svart” is the Norwegian and Swedish word for black. Svart Crown is the name of a black/death-metal band from France. Formed in 2005 by guitarist/vocalist J.B Le Bail, the band released a debut album called Ages of Decay in early 2008. They’ve now completed their second album, which is scheduled for release by Listenable Records on November 1. It’s called Witnessing the Fall, and we took advantage of the chance to hear it before the official release.

Witnessing the Fall is, above all else, an extreme musical tribute to the wonders of the electric guitar. Le Bail and Clément Flandrois exploit that instrument for all its worth, extracting from its inert mechanical potential a wide array of energized sonic weaponry. Layering the tracks with a multitude of picking and riffing styles, they splash the musical canvass with a pastiche of swirling, dark colors and shifting images of disturbing power. Listening to what they’ve accomplished is a completely engrossing experience.

As a matter of genre classification, the album is a mixture of black- and death metal stylings — like a joint venture between Immortal and Immolation — but with black metal as the dominant partner. However, rather than persistently using cascading waves of tremolo picking and fused blast-beats to create cold atmospherics, Svart Crown more often than not rampages like an unpredictable, marauding beast.  (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .) Continue reading »