Sep 122023

(We gave a very favorable review here to the second album by the German band The Circle, which was released last month by AOP Records. Comrade Aleks enjoyed the album too, and that led to the following interview with the band’s composer and guitarist Stanley Robertson.)

Stanley Robertson (guitars) and Alex Wirt (bass) played together in the epic melodic death metal band Vagrant from 2016 to 2020. They both decided to change its name to The Circle and change the style as well, to symphonic black metal.

When Alex left The Circle, Stanley recorded the project’s first album Metamorphosis on his own with guest vocalist Asim Searah in 2021, and then Stanley, Asim and Philipp Wende (drums) recorded the sophomore album Of Awakening as a trio.

The album was released by AOP Records on August 18th, and it was interesting enough to make me want learn more about this band. Hameln’s guitarist Stanley Robertson is here with us tonight.

(We thank Nathan Birk (Suspicious Activities PR) for organizing the interview.) Continue reading »

Aug 102023

(Andy Synn reviews the debut album from The Circle, out 18 August)

While we try our best here at NCS to keep up with everything that’s coming out, the truth is we’re easily distracted by shiny things and loud noises, so we don’t always catch every new release before it comes out.

But we do try our best, at the very least, to keep an eye on bands and artists we’ve written about before – case in point, check out The Circle‘s first EP, Metamorphosiswhich I reviewed here back in 2021 – to see how they grow and develop over time.

So how does the band’s new album, Of Awakening, compare to their debut?

Continue reading »

Jun 162023


As usual, I have far more new music I want to recommend from this week that’s now ending than I have time to write about today. If I play my cards right, and the creeks don’t rise, I can spread them out over three posts, including another roundup on Saturday and Shades of Black on Sunday. That will help, though I’ll still fall short of being comprehensive. Here’s what I picked to start off:


When you see a song named “Barn Burner” you expect… well… a barn burner. Or in this case, based on the lyrics and the video, it’s more likely a church burner, or a flaming pyre of people who bought and sold deified lies. And yes indeed, the song is a muscle-moving born burner. Continue reading »

Dec 102021

(Next week Andy Synn begins his annual roll-out of year-end lists as part of his ongoing attempt to cover as many different albums from the last twelve months as possible – but, before then, he’d like to draw your attention to some of the shorter, but no less sweet, releases from 2021) 

Well, well, well… it’s been a whole year since we last did this little dance hasn’t it?

Sure, it might seem like it’s been longer than that, for a number of different reasons that we really don’t have time or space to go into here, but it’s actually only been twelve months.

Those twelve months have been absolutely packed with music though, and today we’re going to be taking a look, and a listen, to some – not all, of course, just as many as I managed to actually hear, so don’t get too upset when you realise that this isn’t totally comprehensive – of the EPs that were released this year, beginning with a general round-up of everything that I can remember and recommend, and closing with a countdown of my ten favourite short-form releases of the year.

So let us begin… Continue reading »

Sep 272021

(Andy Synn takes some time out of his busy schedule to celebrate some short but sweet releases by a variety of big names and new faces)

One unfortunate result of the endless scramble to stay on top of the relentless torrent of new album releases is that the humble EP often gets a little overlooked.

Which, obviously, is a real shame, because a good EP can often be just as fulfilling as an album in its own way, especially when a band uses it as an opportunity to explore a different side of themselves or to create something that works within the constraints of the format to tell a complete and fully realised story.

So while I’m working on a number of different full-length reviews (as well as the next edition of The Synn Report) I thought I might as well take a few moments to jot down a few quick reviews for some of the EPs I’ve enjoyed the most over the course of the year so far.

Continue reading »