Sep 172014


I’m a couple of days late with this news, but it’s too exciting to overlook.

Almost exactly four years have passed since Sweden’s The Crown released their comeback album Doomsday King, which Andy Synn praised in one of his earliest posts for our site as “a masterpiece of wild fury and calculated aggression, blurring the lines between razor-sharp thrash and full-speed death metal.” The album made several of our 2010 year-end lists, and I included the song “Blood OD” on our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Needless to say, we’re very stoked about The Crown’s announcement that on January 15, 2015, they will be releasing their eighth album, Death Is Not Dead. Above, you can gaze upon the album’s cover art by Björn Gosses of Killustrations.

The announcement appeared on a new web site that the band have established, which also includes the news that on October 27 the band will be releasing (via Century Media) their first 7″ single, which will include one of the new songs — “Headhunter” — plus the band’s cover of “Unfit Earth” by Napalm Death. Pre-orders for that will begin on September 27. Here’s the cover art for the single, rendered by Giannis Nakos: 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 »

Dec 292011

(Andy Synn provides an unexpected SYNN REPORT, seizing upon the imminent calendar change to discuss the re-recording of 12 songs by 12 tremendous bands — and of course we’re including the music, which means 24 tracks. Fuck, this would be a mixtape that KILLS.)

So here it is, a surprise Synn Report to finish off the year. Arbitrary though the distinction may well be, the end of the year provides a perfect excuse to attend to a similar theme, the transition from the old to the new – re-workings and re-recordings.

Are they better? That’s an argument for the ages? Are they necessary? Hell, that’s probably an even worse argument to start up…

Primarily, re-recordings serve a twofold purpose – 1. to reinvigorate songs that might otherwise not be getting the set-time they deserve, and 2. – to royally piss off a band’s fan-base. Although there’s a chance that the second isn’t entirely intentional. Still, the re-recorded album courts controversy like almost no other, whether it’s a varied collection of songs that are chosen to receive the treatment, or a full re-recording of an entire album.

The full re-recording of an entire album is clearly the most contentious option, while single track re-recordings are often a much more successful and welcome proposition, most often appearing as b-sides and bonus tracks for the avid collector. The full-album re-recording, however, remains exceptionally and unequivocally divisive, alienating as many old fans as it attracts new ones.

So here’s a list of some of those renewed tracks that I think definitely have something to offer the listener, both old and new. I’m sure I’ll have to turn in my kvlt card after this, for promoting something so new and shiny, but ah well… Continue reading »

Sep 102011

Yesterday my fucking day job actually demanded that I work instead of blog. Amazingly harsh that they actually expected me to do something I’m being paid to do. How fucking medieval! The result is that this round-up of news and new music is appearing a day later than it should have. Like hemorroids and lung cancer, these things happen.

Despite a waning of some of the excitement that comes with being first and fast out of the shute, and instead being late and resigning yourself to watching the buttholes of all the other horses that got the jump on you, I’m forging ahead anyway, waiting for that massive kick around the last turn that will leave the buttholes in the dust.


Yeah, the black fucking tusk, with the John Dyer Baizley cover (above) for their new album, Set the Dial. This Savannah band’s 2010 album, Taste the Sin, was one we liked and wrote about last year (here), so we’ve been waiting for a taste of the newness, which we got yesterday. It’s a new song called “Bring Me Darkness”, which coincidentally is my order of choice at the bars I frequent. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 042011

All death metal, all the time — at least for today. We started with Deicide, and now we’ve just seen two new death-metal videos from the other side of the Atlantic. We can take the hint: The metal gods have commanded that we give equal time to the Swedish school of cranial carving.

Our first offering is from The Crown — a band whose 2010 Century Media release, Doomsday King, made a big impression on us and found a place on lots of the Best of 2010 lists we published at this site. The new video is for a song called “Falling ‘Neath the Heaven’s Sea”, which appeared on a 4-song bonus CD that came with the digipack version of Doomsday King. It’s a surprise compared to the songs on the album proper — but a nice one — and the video is an engaging montage of tour photos.

Our second offering is from another Swedish band called Puteraeon, whose debut album The Esoteric Order was released in Europe not long ago on German label Cyclone Empire. We have Johan Huldtgren (Obitus) to thank for turning us on to this band in one of his comments to an earlier post. We’re still waiting for our copy of the CD to arrive, but this new official video for the song “Coma” is proof that the wait will be worth it.  (We were saving this video for a special edition of MISCELLANY tomorrow, but we’ll find something else juicy from Puteraeon for that post.)

Both these bands carry the banner of Swedish death metal proudly, and the songs featured in these videos are excellent. Watch ’em after the jump. Continue reading »

Jan 102011

We’re down to the next-to-last installment in our list of last year’s most infectious metal songs. (Read this for our definition of “most infectious” and click the Category link called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2010 to see the other listed songs to date). Two more songs today and two more tomorrow, and we’re done.


Heirs To Thievery is another one of 2010’s best albums that we never got around to reviewing, though it appeared on several of our guest contributors’ lists of last year’s noteworthy releases. Johan Huldtgren gave it the No. 6 spot on his list and wrote: “More polished (good), less grindy (bad) than before this, it is still an amazing album.” Andy Synn included it on his list of the year’s “good” albums, explaining: “[A]t times [it] comes across as a good, but slightly less balanced, cousin to the career defining Traitors. Heirs To Thievery is not as strongly tied together as Traitors and lacks some of the gusto that was such a shock to many ears, perhaps exactly because we’d all been effectively spoiled by the superior goods offered up by Traitors.”

Although we agreed with Johan that the album is less grindy and more thrashy death than some of the band’s earlier works, it’s still a mauling dose of aggression with blazing, intricate riffage and over-the-top drum-pummeling. At the same time, despite the turbo-charged rage that screams through every song, the music triggers the need to move (as well as the desire to punch the shit out of something). The best song on the album — “You Lose” — is also one of the most infectious extreme metal songs we heard last year.  (more after the jump, including the music . . .) Continue reading »

Nov 122010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan, who apparently is now called The Artist Formerly Known As Dan. Dan is an American temporarily transplanted to Adelaide, Australia. He has a list for you.]

So, I realize it’s cliche to make one of these lists (and maybe a bit premature?), but they’re usually useful for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows me to shamelessly plug the bands I like and push my agenda on you.  Secondly, it allows you to post lists of the records I forgot and tell me why my first list was wrong.  I can then subsequently go back to the records I may have forgotten or never owned in the first place.  Everyone should theoretically win here, since there is always music overlooked or forgotten about throughout the year.  So, let’s begin.

10. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Technical, but so brutal.  A perfect recommendation for someone who listens to too much vanilla-breakdown deathcore (and, for some of you, “too much” implies listening to any deathcore at all).  I highly recommend seeing them in concert; they bring tons of energy.  Yippie-Kay-Yay-Motherfucker.

(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 292010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we have another album review from our guest contributor Andy Synn about the brand new album from a band near and dear to our own hearts . . .The Crown. Back in July, we hyperventilated about the band’s release of a song from the then-forthcoming album, and provided a brief history of the band (that post is here). Now, the album is here, and so is Andy’s review. ]

Do you like metal? Do you specifically like metal that is fast, heavy and so aggressive you’re actually slightly afraid to touch the cd with your bare hands?

If the answer is yes, stop reading this review. You don’t need to know any more. Simply get up and go buy the new album by The Crown. You won’t be disappointed.

Doomsday King is a masterpiece of wild fury and calculated aggression. Blurring the lines between razor-sharp thrash and full-speed death metal, the 5 members of The Crown (now including new vocalist Jonas Stålhammar) have all brought their ‘A’ game back to the table with this one. The ominous tolling bell that heralds the start of title-track “Doomsday King” immediately brings to mind the darker tonality of “Crowned Unholy”, before shifting into the band’s trademarked full-speed assault.

Immediately, the vocals of Stålhammar put to rest any misgivings I might have had about replacing Johan Lindstrand as his high-energy delivery, whilst being highly reminiscent of elements of both his predecessors (Lindstrand and Tomas Lindberg), is noticeably darker and perhaps even a shred more aggressive than either.  (more after the jump, including a track . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 072010

I guess this MISCELLANY thing is turning into a weekly installment. I do have fun with it, and I hope you continue to find it worthwhile, too.

For new readers, it’s a record of how I spent my time on a recent morning (in this case, yesterday), checking out music I hadn’t heard before. The process is pretty random. I see something that looks interesting — whether from an internet post somewhere or an e-mail we receive here at NCS or a MySpace friend request or something that shows up in the mail.

I’m still hoping our cat will bring me a new CD someday, thinking it’s a mouse. That would really be random, but it hasn’t happened yet. I try to explain what I want, but he just looks at me like that rare Sri Lankan loris over on the right. Except he’s a cat. I wouldn’t want a loris for a pet because they have hands. That would worry me.

Anyway, this MISCELLANY post is a record of what I heard, not knowing in advance whether it would be good, so you’re kind of taking pot luck right along with me. As usual, there’s an international flavor to what I found. And as it happens, I had amazingly good luck on this most recent excursion. Not 100% satisfaction, but pretty fucking close.

The performers whose new music I heard (or whose new videos I watched) were: Navene Koperweis and Alex Rudinger (U.S.), Sole Remedy (Finland), The Red Shore (Australia), Apocalyptica (Finland), and The Autumn Offering (U.S.) — with a little bonus from The Crown (Sweden).

You can hear the music and watch the vids after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Jul 312010

My, how time flies. Another month is in the history books. However much time you have on earth, you now have 31 days less of it since since the last installment of this post. Drink up!

But have no fear. You’re headed for a better place. That’s right, basically the same existence you had a month ago, but with more new metal ahead of you. Drink up!

And all those physical processes that are inexorably decaying your bodies on the rocky road to your demise, they’re still there and they’re still working on you like termites that have found a rotting log. But hey, you can still bang your head, so . . . Drink up!

Yes, we’re now a full seven months into 2010, and so it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted items from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy. Continue reading »