May 222019


(TheMadIsraeli re-surfaces at NCS with a group of quick recommendations of recent releases for your earholes.)


Kolossus are a pretty neat Finnish band whose music I couldn’t peg when I first heard them but I’ve settled on calling it melodic death metal. Really good melodic death metal is rare for me these days, but this group’s combination of the playfulness of Into Eternity, Before The Dawn‘s style of morose gothic melody and atmosphere, and  their militant energy and propulsive grooves bring to mind both Byzantine and System of A Down. Continue reading »

Apr 162019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the French progressive death metal quartet Fractal Universe, scheduled for release by Metal Blade on April 19th.)

I am a HUGE fan of Fractal Universe and what they do.  I find myself, as a result, actually pretty perplexed (from within my small window view) at the extremely mixed opinions on this band across the scene.

It’s progressive death metal with the sort of oddball cross-genre hybridization that I feel we need more of.  The biggest complaint I’ve always heard about this band is that these guys don’t quite have an identity, or that they sound confused in terms of what they want to be. I strongly disagree with this assessment, and honestly wonder if people just don’t “get” it.  I don’t mean that in a pretentious way. I simply mean that I think people don’t get where this band is coming from, or make comparisons that are, in my mind, plainly wrong. Continue reading »

Apr 122019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the Colorado melodic death metal band Allegaeon, set for release on April 19 by Metal Blade Records.)

Ever since I first wrote about them back in 2011, Allegaeon have proven themselves to be America’s best argument for the continent’s viability in the melodic death metal space since The Absence.  They have shown consistency, growth, and a level of sophistication that’s rare, even if that growth and willingness to expand their sound in multiple directions have resulted in a discography that doesn’t hit everybody the same way from album to album.

I’ve really enjoyed the more consistent sound this band have been dialing in, though, since Elements Of The Infinite (funnily enough, the last Allegaeon album I personally reviewed here), where they’re trying to hit this interesting note that sits somewhere between Soilwork, Nevermore, and Dream Theater while incorporating some other more bombastic straight-forward death metal elements into things.  Suffice it to say, I like all Allegaeon, but I’ve found myself liking this incarnation of the band the best by far. Continue reading »

Mar 132019


(Here’s TheMadIsraeli‘s enthusiastic review of the new album by the Italian melodic death metal band Lahmia, which was released on January 18 of this year by.)


I’ve been intensely busy and my attention diverted elsewhere, which sunk my original review plans.  Expect multi-reviews in the future for catch-up purposes.  However, I want to highlight today’s subject in particular.

I think it’s pretty hard for any sane metalhead to hate Amon Amarth. They are one of metal’s most consistent darlings; their brand of Viking-themed melodic death metal has been a staple of the genre for quite some time. Although, with that said, I think most people who like Amon Amarth aren’t Amon Amarth FANS who like the band’s whole discography from beginning to end.

When most people think of the band, there are probably many who first remember their run of albums from 2002 to 2008 — that being Versus The World, Fate Of Norns, With Oden On Our Side, and Twilight Of The Thunder God.  A lot of the band’s live-set staples, the majority, come from these four albums, and it’s the sound we most often associate with them.

There’s definitely a collective sense that Amon Amarth have been running out of gas since then.  Surtur Rising, Deceiver Of The Gods, and Jomsviking, while all good, didn’t hit the inspired, firing-on-all cylinders feeling that the previously mentioned albums did.  I’m not putting too much blame on the band for this — Amon Amarth is TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD, and fatigue of their own sound and diminishing returns are bound to set in. Continue reading »

Jan 142019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Nailed To Obscurity, which was released on January 11th by Nuclear Blast.)

Nailed To Obscurity is a name I’ve heard a lot, but whose music I hadn’t listened to — just too much metal to check out at any given time, really. My ignorance stretched as far as not even knowing what kind of metal they played, if you can believe it. But when I checked out the single and title track to their new album, Black Frost, I discovered immediately that this band was my thing.

Nailed To Obscurity play a style of doom-driven melodic death metal that hits an intersection of In Mourning and a lot of Dan Swanö’s recent output with Witherscape. There are, of course, hints of Opeth, which I think were pretty low-key influential on this style, but the previous influences I mentioned are definitely at the forefront. Continue reading »

Jan 072019


(In this feature TheMadIsraeli reviews the new self-titled album by the California death metal band Oblivion and introduces our premiere of a track from the album named “Insurrection“.)

I honestly believe Oblivion are one of the most consistent newer death metal bands we’ve got right now, with a unique voice of their own. Whether it’s down to Nick Vasallo’s distinctive old school high/low vocal approach, the same granite yet antimatter guitar tone they’ve had since their debut EP, or the flagrant combination of ’90s tech death and modern progressive tendencies, there’s always been a lot to like on all fronts about Oblivion.

I was a huge fan of the band’s last record The Path Towards and it’s move in a more proggy direction with some very welcome black-metal-intensive moments, and songs that really shook things up and showed the band expanding their horizons delightfully. I was surprised, as a result, on my first hearing of Oblivion’s upcoming self-titled record, that the band had decided to take a direct, distinct step backward to the more grounded death metal sound they came crashing through the gates with on Called To Rise. Continue reading »

Jan 022019


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new comeback album by the Dutch symphonic death/doom band Phlebotomized (who were the subject of an interview at our site last August), which is set for release on January 7th by Hammerheart Records.)

There is a good argument to be made that Phlebotomized are singlehandedly responsible for the genre we know as symphonic death metal.  It’s hard to imagine that bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh (especially Septicflesh, the stylistic parallels are there), and the like would have turned out the way they did without Immense Intense Suspense, in my mind one of the greatest albums that has ever been created in the history of metal. I enjoyed the band’s sophomore album prior to their original split-up, Skycontact, with its odd left turn to a sort of psychedelic funeral doom style, but Immense Intense Suspense is what the band is most known for, for good reason.

Deformation Of Humanity is a comeback album, arriving more than 20 years after Skycontact, that’s very distinctly in the tradition of what Immense Intense Suspense established — death metal punctuated with synths and strings that runs the gamut from melodic death metal to traditional death metal, grindcore, and funeral doom, all mixed together into a cauldron of all-consuming void magik in sonic form. Continue reading »

Dec 272018


(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Chilean band Critical Defiance, which will be released on February 9th by Unspeakable Axe Records.)

I think when dissecting the issue of why most throwback modern thrash bands end up writing boring stale material, it really boils down to the fact that, from my personal interactions with that niche scene, talking to people in it as well as looking at the way a lot of these bands market themselves, the bands don’t care so much about the music as they do the image, the culture around the scene, etc.

A few bands have managed to show that they were more than enthusiasts, and became maestros in their own right.  With Havok, Evile, Crisix, and Vektor as examples, a lot of the bands in this movement who are beloved are those who aren’t stuck in the time when their genre was conceived.  They bring modern song-writing skills, or they write compelling, diverse albums that borrow from every era of the style’s golden days. from the mid-’80s all the way to the early ’90s. Continue reading »

Dec 192018


(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli turns in the following year-end list, consisting of 20 recommended albums.)

I made it a goal to get back to my old writing output on this site in 2018 and it just… didn’t happen.  For good reason mind you, but I do feel somewhat guilty that I wasn’t more active on NCS this year, especially with the way Islander, Andy, and DGR ground the fuck out of their writing this year. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been involved in the back door of the site in ways, and I’ve definitely kept up with music this year pretty competently.

And so, I’m gonna share my top 20 of the year, and the just kind of ramble about my reflections on the music this year. Continue reading »

Oct 162018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Aborted, which Century Media released on September 21st.)

Aborted have evolved in quite a fascinating way over the years.  They are, in my mind, one of death metal’s most essential bands, especially in the brand of more chaotic, panicky, fast-as-fuck brutality, and they have developed a pretty diverse discography as they’ve moved from album to album.  The MOST interesting thing about Aborted, though, was how a band whose only original member is the vocalist and almost couldn’t seem to keep a steady song-writer or writers for more than a single album, finally succeeded in cementing not only a definitive sound but also one that’s paid off in dividends ever since Global Flatline.

They did that by locking in a song-writer and guitar virtuoso in the person of Mendel bij de Leij, who was dedicated to preserving a previous sonic direction for Aborted, a first for the band.  Believe it or not, until Global Flatline, Aborted  underwent a change in both guitar players every other album, with one always getting changed out in every album. And that’s not counting the rotating gallery of drummers and bassists the band has had.

Mendel wasn’t in Aborted when Global Flatline came out, but I think it’s pretty cool that he’s helped steer the band toward preserving a sound, rather than writing an entirely different type of album again, especially since what Aborted are doing now is pretty multi-faceted.  I’m sure, though, that vocalist and only remaining founding member Sven de Caluwé has also steered the direction toward this more focused sound as well. Continue reading »