May 122022

Hey everyone, Andy Synn here.

I’m sure, by now, you’ve all seen/heard the awful news about Trevor Strnad.

And while I’m not usually one for hero worship, nor am I a fan of overly-performative emotional outbursts, I felt like I needed to write and share a few things to acknowledge his passing.

Because, whether or not you were a fan of his band, he was a huge part of our scene and touched a lot of lives in his all too brief time on this earth. And all of us here at NCS are saddened by his loss.

Continue reading »

Apr 072020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by The Black Dahlia Murder, due for release on April 17th by Metal Blade Records.)

If I were forced to select one word to describe The Black Dahlia Murder’s particular brand of high-stakes, high-adrenaline Death Metal that word would undoubtedly be… anthemic.

After all, one of the band’s defining features has always been their ability to conjure up a seemingly endless series of contagious, crowd-friendly choruses and red-hot hooks to balance out their molten metallic mayhem, with much of this burden often falling to lunatic-larynxed frontman Trevor Strnad, whose distinctive delivery – part predatory preacher, part Death Metal drill sergeant, part crazed carnival barker – is an inimitable part of the group’s sound.

The band’s last album, 2017’s superb Nightbringers, in many ways felt like the apotheosis of this, with songs such as “Kings of the Nightworld” and the titanic title track featuring some of the catchiest, most bombastic material the group have ever written.

The thing is… once you’ve peaked like that, there’s almost nowhere to go but down. So the big question now is whether or not Verminous is going to be a victim of the band’s success, or whether the gang have found a way to escape the curse of diminishing returns… Continue reading »

Sep 282017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by The Black Dahlia Murder in advance of its October 6 release by Metal Blade Records.)

It’s extremely fitting that the striking, crimson-hued cover art that you see above has been provided by the legendary Kristian Wåhlin, aka Necrolord, who last worked with The Black Dahlia Murder on the cover for their career-defining Nocturnal, as Nightbringers is without a doubt the band’s best release since their 2007 breakthrough.

That’s not to disparage or denigrate the albums the band have put out in the intervening years (Deflorate in particular remains a personal favourite of mine), but the harsh, bitter, ugly truth of the matter is that, try as they might, the Michigan quintet have never quite managed to fully replicate that strange mix of power and precision, heaviness and hooks, menace and melody, that came together on their third record.

But album number eight definitely comes very, very close. Continue reading »

Aug 232017


The unwelcome intrusion of non-blog life has forced me to truncate my usual verbose reactions to the music I’ve selected in this mid-week round-up (cue the weeping and the gnashing of teeth), but I wanted to be prompt in spreading the word about the following items, all of which appeared either yesterday or this morning.

I picked these five new songs in part because they provide a quite varied array of what metal in the modern era has to offer.


The new Bell Witch album, Mirror Reaper, will be released by Profound Lore on October 20, with an album cover by Mariusz Lewandowski that we won’t soon forget. The album consists of one continuous 83-minute piece that unfolds as a single track. Continue reading »

Jul 272017


Because this is our first round-up of news and new music this week I’m including some items that you may have already noticed elsewhere. But to increase the chances of surprising you with a new discovery, I’ve also included a few excellent new songs from more obscure names. I’ve also chosen them from among a very big list of new releases with the aim of providing diversity of sound. Before we get to the music, I have a couple of news items to share.


Two days ago The Black Dahlia Murder posted that photo at the top of this post on their Facebook page, with no comment. It shows the hand of the esteemed Kristian Wåhlin, aka Necrolord, nearing completion of a very eye-catching piece of red artwork.

Putting two and two together, we can deduce that this will become the cover art for a new album by The Black Dahlia Murder, the existence of which was disclosed in June. In addition, more recent disclosures indicate that the album will be called Nightbringers and will be released on October 6. Continue reading »

Aug 292016



Happy Monday! I mean that sincerely, despite the usual depressive aspects of the day, because this Monday brought us three exciting new song premieres that I discovered soon after caffeinating myself strongly enough to stun a bull, plus an announcement of an exciting U.S. tour. And here’s what I found:


As our regular readers are well aware, we have become ardent followers of the Greek band Aenaon since discovering the wonders of their 2014 album Extance, which made no fewer than four different year-end lists published at our site, as well as a host of our reader’s lists. It was also the source of a song (“Grau Diva”) that I included in my list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. You may then be able to imagine how eagerly we have been awaiting the band’s new album, Hypnosophy. Continue reading »

Jan 202016

Black Dahlia Murder European Tour 2016


(Andy Synn reviews the performances of The Black Dahlia Murder and Benighted in Nottingham, England, on January 17, 2016.)

Sunday night did not quite go as planned for me this week. As I’m still a bit under the weather after my recent travels and travails in Central America, my original intention was just to have a quiet night in to rest and recharge my batteries. However, out of the blue I received an invite from my good friend Gary (of Bite Radius Designs fame) to come out and see his boys in Benighted supporting The Black Dahlia Murder. Originally I was going to demur, but after I received a message saying “you’re on the guest list”… well, it would have been rude not to go!

To be fair, although I’m a bigger fan of TBDM than I am of Benighted, I definitely enjoy both bands a hell of a lot and, in hindsight, I would probably have severely regretted not going if I’d wussed out and stayed home.

So this review goes out to Gary and Julien for getting me off my ass and out to the show. Much appreciated guys! Continue reading »

Oct 022015

The Black Dahlia Murder 2015


(Andy Synn returns to an irregular series in which he identifies favorite things that come in fives.)

Earlier today I finally found time to finish off my monthly helping of reviews for London Metal Monthly, the free magazine/webzine for which I moonlight when I’m not terrorizing the NCS readership with my overly-opinionated and utterly scintillating wordsmanship.

It’s a very different way of working than we have here at NCS Towers, with (relatively) stricter deadlines and (much) stricter word counts. In fact it’s a real struggle sometimes to say something meaningful about an album in only 140 words. Often, in-depth detail has to take second place to a focussed discussion of overall quality. If I’m very lucky I can find room to give an impression of the overarching themes and vibe of the album, but generally if I want to say anything particularly meaningful it has to be short, sweet, and succinct.

One of the albums on my slate this time around was Abysmal, the seventh slab of Melodic Death Metal might from our much beloved friends in The Black Dahlia Murder, and since I didn’t really have time to go as deep into the album as I might have liked, I’ve been inspired to put together this little list pulling together some of my favourite “deep cuts” from the band’s post-Nocturnal era.

So… shall we begin? Continue reading »

Sep 172015



(Leperkahn is on a roll again, with a multi-part roundup of new music streams. Here’s Part 1.)

The metal world is really good at trying to drown us in new stuff. Here, we take a stand and fight back, trying to cover all that we can. A new wave of defense for NCS starts with this post, in which we cover (briefly) five albums you can now stream in full on the interhole.


We’ve been covering Antiliv, the new album from these Norwegian black metallers, pretty much since it was first announced, so I’ll cut to the chase and say that this ripper is available for you to stream via Decibel. If you like your black metal staunchly traditional, yet still pretty well-produced, dig in. Continue reading »

Aug 272015

The Black Dahlia Murder-Abysmal


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by The Black Dahlia Murder.)

If Everblack was BDM’s darkest record, Abysmal is the band’s brightest, brimming with a raw, incendiary energy that calls back to the band’s early days of Unhallowed and Miasma. With a distinctly higher quotient of Arsis-isms in the riffs (undoubtedly due to Ryan Knight’s influence) and an overall recommitment to the band’s love of pedal-point-intensive harmonized riffing, Abysmal is to these ears a refreshing record.

I felt Everblack was less melodic death metal, and more of a death metal album that had melodic parts in it, which I think was the band’s goal at the time. I thought and still think it’s in fact the band’s best record, and while Abysmal doesn’t hit the sweet spot for me that Everblack did, that may be because Abysmal just isn’t punching my personal preference buttons hard enough. That’s not intended to detract from the fact that it’s a great record, among so many others that BDM have produced over the years. Continue reading »