Mar 232020


The half-witted editor of this site (that would be me) didn’t realize until this past weekend that Wil Cifer had sent in this review a week ago. And thus it is purely a coincidence, and a very sad one, that it’s now being posted the day after we learned that Chuck and Tiffany Billy and members of Testament’s crew have tested positive for COVID-19, apparently contracted during the band’s recently completed European tour. Members of their tour-mates Death Angel and Exodus have also tested positive for the virus. We wish them all the best under these unfortunate circumstances. Titans of Creation will be released on April 3rd by Nuclear Blast. And now, on to Wil’s review…


Testament lurk just outside of the “Big 4 “ but, The Ritual aside, they have held their own against Slayer over the years when it has come to putting out quality heaviness. The New Order might have been the metal album of 1988. That year had some tough competition, so at least in the top five. The first song on this album, “Children of the Next Level”, feels like it is fueled with the same fire that propelled their glory days. Continue reading »

Jan 212018


(Andy Synn presents our first Rearview Mirror post in many moons. For those who may have forgotten, the column is a rare instance in which we look at metal’s past rather than its present and future.)


Even though we’ve been running these “Rearview Mirror” columns for quite a while now it appears that this is only my third contribution to the series.

Whether that’s simply because I’ve been too busy, or because I like to have a rest on the seventh day (make of that what you will…), the fact remains that this particular corner of NCS has largely been left to Islander (and occasionally DGR) to run.

But today it’s my turn behind the wheel, and I’ve decided to take this opportunity to highlight one of the most overlooked albums in the discography of the legendary Testament! Continue reading »

Feb 202015


(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli completes his list of thrash metal’s Top 10 albums of all time. The first five picks, along with an introduction, appear in this post.)

VI: Sepultura – Arise

It takes a lot of restraint for me not to declare this the greatest thrash album ever created.  Sepultura’s Arise is THE epitome of everything I love, need, and want in thrash metal and it’s so immaculate in its execution that attempting to quantify it is nearly impossible.  It’s brutal, it’s fast (so fucking fast), it has dynamics in the songwriting. Andreas Kisser knew how to write some of the most unique solos in the entirety of thrash metal, and Max and Andreas wrote some of the most intense, drama-filled riffage while keeping things savage and merciless.  Whenever Sepultura breaks into frantic, demon-slaying speed from a mid-paced stomp, as in “Desperate Cry”, provides me an adrenaline rush that knows no equal.  It would be fair to say I’ve listened to Arise more than 10,000 times and I’m still not sick of it.

Seriously, this album is the very definition of savagery. Continue reading »

Sep 122013

We’re working on a news and new music round-up, which should be ready soon, but in the meantime we thought you might want to thrash your nuts (or ovaries) off.

Dark Roots Of Thrash is a forthcoming DVD/2-CD release by Testament, which was filmed at their performance at The Paramount in Huntington, New York, this past February. It’s scheduled for release by Nuclear Blast on October 11 in Europe and October 15 in NorthAm. Not long ago, NB uploaded a clip from the DVD showcasing Testament’s performance of “Rise Up”, which appeared on their last studio release, Dark Roots of Earth.

Even though I’m not the biggest thrash fan, Testament are an exception for me. I do enjoy listening to Chuck Billy howl and Alex Skolnick shred, and they’re both in fine form in this clip, which was shot from about 1,000 different camera angles and strobes between them rapidly. Watch after the jump. Continue reading »

Jul 172013

Rumors of this tour have been circulating, but now it’s official: Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Testament, and Huntress will be joining forces in a North American tour that begins in October and will hit 28 cities before it ends right after Thanksgiving. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

Check out all the tour dates after the jump. Continue reading »

Apr 112013

(Andy Synn is back with yet another of his five-item lists of favorite things.)

TheMadIsraeli’s review of the newest Killswitch album (which I still haven’t actually gotten around to listening to) got me thinking, mostly about missed chances and wasted potential. As a fan of KsE, even I have to acknowledge that, due to a variety of factors, some beyond their control, some due to their own decision-making, the band may have squandered some of their early potential.

That may sound rather harsh; it’s not meant to be but it may sound it. But I think it’s unfortunately an accurate assessment of things as they stand. Losing Jesse, the stalling of their initial momentum while they recruited Howard, the more simplistic, mainstream leanings that sanitised their most recent work… all these combined with the general state of the music industry and some unfortunate timing, have meant that the band never reached the “megastar” status which was, however fleetingly, hinted at by their early potential.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Killswitch Engage are pretty damn mainstream, at least by metal standards, right? Well that’s kind of my point… we often forget, we proud underground warriors, that for most bands, being part of the metal “mainstream” means fuck all to the “actual” mainstream. Bands with legitimate underground cred who get the merest sniff of wider exposure are immediately attacked for “selling-out” even when they’ve not changed a thing, they just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

But what I’m talking about here are five bands who had the possibility, however slight, of achieving real recognition (mainstream or otherwise), real status, without sacrificing their integrity or identity, but for whom it never quite “happened”. Continue reading »

Mar 212013

(DGR caught Testament’s tour in Sacramento at the end of February and turns in this report.)

It’s funny to think that every show review I’ve done for Testament has popped up on this site, so I guess it goes without saying that I really enjoy the band – especially since their last two albums have really helped to revitalize their sound and make them seem current instead of another thrash band just spinning their wheels. They have a huge amount of history attached to them, and I’ve always felt that they were a little overlooked whenever you heard stuff about the Big Four tours that were all the rage a year or two back.

You may also sense that I’m echoing sentiments from my last two show reviews for these guys, and those feelings line up with the fact that I have seen this band three times within the span of a year and will pretty much fork over cash any time they roll through town. I’ve gotten three different setlists and enjoyed myself every time, so that is why I found myself standing outside in downtown Sacramento at the end of February to witness one of the last dates of the hobbled yet still alive Dark Roots Of Thrash tour.

There were two local openers – both of whom opened for Kreator and Swallow The Sun when I saw them late last year, so the names should be a tad familiar – followed by the two bands left on the Dark Roots Of Thrash tour, so it was a relatively quick four band show. It was also the start to one of those lucky times when the stars aligned and I could do a two-shows-in-two-days-style weekend, with March 1st being the occasion for another show review that appeared here previously. Continue reading »

Sep 182012

(In this post DGR reviews the Sept. 14, 2012, performance in Sacramento, CA, by Death Angel, Testament, and Anthrax.)

This is probably one of the easiest show reviews I’ll ever have to write because the three bands you see on the tour flyer are literally it. No local opener, no smaller band, just three standard-bearers of the thrash scene putting together one of the better tours that have hit recently. I always joke that if you really want to find me at a show then you need to look for the guy with the long hair and the goatee.  This time, however, I probably was easy as hell to find based on that description, and I should’ve told everyone to look out for the balding guy.

I was really excited for this show for a couple of reasons. I’d get to see Testament again for the second time this year. I feel they’re one of the best ‘legacy’ bands out there right now, and the quality of their recent discs is just as good as the older stuff that they’re known for. Another reason was that this would be the first show I’ve attended at Ace Of Spades that was sold out. I’ve been to some pretty big shows there and seen the room filled with people, but never packed to the gills as it was that Friday.

Finally, I knew the place was going to lose its collective mind for these three bands. When Testament rolled through here previously, the venue went completely nuts. If there’s one thing I could rely on, it was that Sacramento’s fans were going to go nuts and I would be there to bear witness to it.

I was lucky enough to find a really great view in the upper bar about fifteen feet from the stage, but perfectly level with the performers on stage, so I grabbed that spot as quickly as I could and just rested on that railing. If you’re not one of those people who is obsessed with being up front on the floor or in the pit, my location was seriously one of the best spots in that whole venue. Not long after I got inside, Death Angel took the stage and the night began. Continue reading »

Aug 282012

(Our NCS comrade Andy Synn has recently been making me green with envy by attending summer metal festivals on the other side of the Atlantic, which for me might as well be on the other side of the solar system.  However, gentleman and scholar that he is, he didn’t just go and have a ridiculously good time. He also sent back this review of his jaunt to the UK’s BLOODSTOCK festival on August 10-12, 2012. We’re dividing it into two parts, with Part 2 coming up tomorrow [now posted here].)

Ah, Bloodstock. Always an interesting festival, caught between its early power/trad-metal roots and its steady expansion into a more rounded, extreme/non-mainstream metal festival. This year’s line-up was pretty enticing, but circumstances and finances looked set to prevent my attendance. But fate and serendipity stepped in (thank you Sahil!) and on Friday 10th of August I found myself once more pulling into the festival’s parking lot, with a song in my heart and a shiny guest wristband on my arm.



Carefully timing my arrival to coincide with that of Moonsorrow, I wasn’t disappointed, the band utterly on fire, despite the occasionally washed out sound. It helps that the set-list comprised some of my favourite Moonsorrow tracks, I’ll admit that, but the performance itself was brilliant either way. The only downside is that, due to the length of their material, it always seems like too few songs

Sepultura put on a damn good show, their new drummer certainly doing his best to live up to Igor Cavalera’s enviable legacy, while the triptych of Derrick, Paulo, and Andreas showed again and again why they stuck with the name – they just do it all better. The new material sounded great live, while the quartet give the old stuff, including a brace of Beneath The Remains-era material, new life and vigour. Props as well for the welcome, but unexpected, guest slot from Tim “Ripper” Owens on “Territory”.

Dio Disciples were, in many ways, something of a curiosity for the festival. Essentially Dio’s band with a different singer (and a few guests), it’s hard to judge them on merit alone, as their appearance was due to far more than just an ability to play the songs well. This was a tribute to one of the genre’s legendary figures, and while it would be churlish to say it was simply a well-received cover set (the downright dedication to this band’s slot bordered on the fanatical), one can’t help but be moved by this show of respect, and by being reminded of the sheer quality of the material on display. Continue reading »

Jul 302012

Here are a few items of interest I came across this morning that I thought were worth spreading around.


Winterfylleth are a UK black-metal band whose name should be familiar to long-time NCS readers, since I’m high as a kite about this band, having fallen head-over-heels for their second album, The Mercian Sphere (2010). In May, I reported that Candlelight Records was re-issuing the band’s debut full-length, The Ghost of Heritage, after a remastering by Colin Marston. What I didn’t realize then but have discovered this morning is how close the band were to completing their third album.

Now I know that Candlelight is prepared to release a new Winterfylleth album — The Threnody of Triumph — in September. I also saw that the September issue of Zero Tolerance magazine will include a feature on the band AND a track from the new album — “Void of Light” — on a bonus CD. I’m hoping that song will surface on the web soon. I’m eager to hear the new album. You should be, too. Find Winterfyleth on Facebook here.


I saw today the album art for the forthcoming album by D.C.-based crust/doom occultists Ilsa. It’s a real eye-catcher: Continue reading »