Mar 062020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by Volcandra from Louisville, Kentucy. With cover art by the great Adam Burke, it was released on February 28th.)

Kentucky isn’t exactly a place where you imagine black metal springing from, especially good black metal, but new blood Volcandra are an interesting case study in that regard because not only are these guys really good, they may well be one of the most talented American black metal bands to rise up in the 2010‘s (I’m going to be pedantic and be that “the new decade isn’t till 2021“ guy).  Quite simply, through channeling a combination of Norwegian and Finnish influences on top of an adoption of more American progressive death-metal window dressing, Volcandra may very well have released one of the first great black metal records of 2020. Continue reading »

Mar 052020


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by the North Carolina band Krosis, which was released last month by Unique Leader Records.)

These last three or four years we have witnessed a rather interesting demographic shift in US extreme metal that’s a bit unique to the current era. We’re seeing this in long form with bands such as Fit For An Autopsy, but in the case of bands like Krosis we’re hearing these guys in the middle of their musical journeys. To put it simply, a LOT of people who grew up with or got into heavy music via deathcore and djent primarily are now moving away from those sounds.

It’s only inevitable I think that these bands eventually realize how stifling those sub-genres are, and thus they turn to retaining the best parts about those sounds while embracing more front-and-center extreme metal along with modern progressive tendencies to create something that is wholly a post-2015 or ’16 phenomenon and that’s resulted in some of metal’s best modern music. Continue reading »

Mar 022020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s enthusiastic review of the debut album of Australia’s Remission, which was released late last year.)

While I’ve enjoyed the stylistic turn to a degree, melodic death metal in recent years has become too fucking slow and has increasingly lost its sense of technicality.  Everyone who knows me after years on this site is aware that I’m as much of a fan of the melodic death-doom formula as anyone, but I must confess I miss what got me captivated by the style in the first place.  It was the ability of the music to hit a threshold of being fast and technical, yet remaining emotive all the same.

The olden-days bands wrote riffs that were basically 20-second hooks, where the entire passage stuck into your head while skank beats and the like pounded away at high speed.  If it wasn’t that, it was an extremely modern translation of British Heavy Metal into an even heavier context.  I really miss this about melodic death metal of the ’90s and early 2000s, and it’s a bit dismaying that the style has mostly seemed to die off in interest.

Until now. Continue reading »

Feb 132020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the 17th (!) album by the Canadian thrash band Annihilator, which was released in late January by Silver Lining Music.)

Annihilator are one of the most fascinating of the super-old-guard thrash bands. Jeff Waters‘ capacity for diversity and his willingness to experiment (and risk having egg all over his face) has resulted in a VERY deep discography that, while definitely inconsistent, is consistently compelling in its ambition.

This is one of my favorite thrash bands, despite that very issue of consistency, and that’s because when Annihilator are having a good run, the run is the best of the more deliberately technical thrash metal of bands from this era. Continue reading »

Feb 102020


(In this post TheMadIsraeli provides recommendations and brief reviews for two EPs, one by the Connecticut band FROGG released in January of this year, and one by North Carolina’s Ergodic coming out in March.)

Sometimes nothing hits you like a simple, effectively written, and short EP. It’s even more impressive when the band reveal themselves to be onto something at another level, or at least a clearly high-quality band who understand their own influences and where they want to take those influences.  FROGG is such a band, combining a good deal of modern and progressive influences to release a debut EP (A Reptilian Dystopia) that represents, at the very least, a promising new face in the technical death metal space. Continue reading »

Jan 242020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Sylosis, which will be released on February 7th by Nuclear Blast.)

Sylosis are one of Britain’s all-time great metal exports, and in my mind are undeniably one of the most important metal bands of the 2000’s, the 2010’s, and now. Nevertheless, these guys seem to get a lot of what I see as undue shit from a lot of people. They are often maligned for being boring (whatever that means) and for not doing anything essentially original (not essentially true), and somehow are accused of writing uninteresting riffs despite Josh Middleton, Sylosis’ founder and composer, being one of the post-2000‘s greatest riff writers. He blends an interesting approach to thrash metal and the heyday of pedal-point-riff-driven melodic death metal with the emotive, bruising nature of early metalcore, and further combines that with a post-y sense of ambience and atmosphere that sounds like no one else.

I guess for me, Sylosis has been metal at its most emotionally honest. It’s powerful, melancholy, angry, and arresting, and since the band’s debut, Conclusion Of An Age. I’ve just been unable to stop listening. They combine the technical aspects and the speed of styles of metal dear to me while also being provocatively emotive, which is a hard line to straddle and make it work. I am a fan, to say the least, with a view of their past catalogue as flawless, a band who’ve never written a record that includes a single throwaway song and who’ve always tried to evolve and refine their sound, never staying in quite the same place. They are modern song-writers still attracted to the past, a sort of approach to metal that I admittedly will eat up like candy if the passion is there. Continue reading »

Jan 202020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the second full-length by the New Zealand project Caved, released on January 3rd.)

2020 is already off to an interesting start.  Anyone who has followed me since I started writing for NCS back in 2011 will probably hear this album after reading the review and be instantly like, “yeah this is TheMadIsraeli’s taste in metal”.

Caved is a New Zealand one man progressive technical death metal/thrash outfit that is VERY directly comparable to Martyr.  The vocal approach is even very similar, so if you’ve missed that frantic hyper-technical manic style of death metal with thrash vocals and attitude that Martyr brought to the table, Caved is the first time when I can say you can finally stop listening to “Feeding The Abscess” and hear something new in that vein.  The Petrifying Vacuum is the sophomore album of Caved and my first exposure to the project. Continue reading »

Jan 152020


(We’ve held the door open for one more year-end list before closing our LISTMANIA 2019 series, and that final list comes from long-standing NCS writer TheMadIsraeli.)

I feel like metal in 2019 reached an all-time high for expressiveness and creativity in the 2010s. Some of the absolute best collections of music I’ve heard have been 2019 releases, and while I don’t know where such albums would rank in a Top 100 of the decade list, this decade ended VERY strong.

We’re seeing an interesting renaissance that kind of hit its peak last year, in that almost everything seems to be black metal to one degree or another. With the clear exception of thrash, just about every sub-genre of metal was feeling the grim melodies, layered chord-driven guitar work, and more bestial and more “human” approaches to metal that black metal is known for. It’s interesting, and I’m all about it. This wasn’t the case for everybody of course. Certain bands stuck to their guns and unleashed strong follow-ups, very promising debuts, or just stayed the course of their legacy to excellent effect.

I’ve got six categories today, of six albums each. I’ll be doing a little blurb about each list. I used this format back in 2017, and I think this will be my year-end format for the rest of my time writing for this site. Continue reading »

Dec 022019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album (released on November 29th) by the German band Aeons Confer.)

Sometimes you have to… not temper your expectations, but when it comes to artists you love and the output they produce you have to learn how to divorce yourself from your own nostalgia-based bias.  I’ve never been a fan of nostalgia, and I’m someone who is always eager to try and avoid the pitfalls of it as much as possible.  I was confronted with this resolution when listening to Aeons Confer’s new record Zero Elysium.

I LOVE this band’s debut Symphonies Of Saturnus, which I reviewed here nearly six years ago.  Since 2013 I’ve actually listened to it AT LEAST once a week.  I never got over that album, so it’s expected maybe that someone like me might feel a bit cold when encountering a sophomore record that didn’t deliver on an assumed promise of “first album, part two”. Continue reading »

Nov 142019


(TheMadIsraeli wrote the following review of the new album by the Polish band Pedophile Priests, which was released on November 8th by Metal Scrap Records.)

I reviewed Anti-Catholic avant-garde/progressive death metal band Pedophile Priest’s excellent debut Dark Transgression Of The Soul back in 2016 and have been kind of in love with them ever since.  I feel like back then my review didn’t do this band proper justice.  I wholeheartedly believe Pedophile Priests are one of the best, most important bands in the modern death metal landscape.  Their combination of every style of death metal mixed with black metal mixed with a unique vocal style and the particular things they do with their genre bents results in a band I can 100% safely say NOBODY sounds like.  Nobody else even comes close as far as I’m aware (and I listen to a lot of fucking music). Continue reading »