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 »

Sep 142018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the multinational collective Sinsaenum, which was released last month.)

Sinsaenum is a weird band, in the sense that I think supergroups usually end up being failures, but Sinsaenum are not.  The music they write is good, but they also serve as a case study for one of the bigger problems that comes from forming a supergroup in the extreme metal world:  When the membership of a supergroup is diverse, and when efforts are made for each member’s background to be represented sonically, that can lead to albums that are… fragmented, to say the least.

Sinsaenum, the brainchild of Joey Jordison and Frédéric Leclercq, boasts alumni and current members of Dragonforce, Mayhem, Dååth, and Slipknot, just to rattle off the big names, and their new album sounds like they don’t know what they want to be, even if the resulting product is still in my mind fairly excellent.

The thing is, even the fragmented, stylistically inconsistent nature of Repulsion For Humanity isn’t even consistent. Among the various pure death metal metal, pure black metal, and straight-up groove and nu-metal-bordering tracks on the album, there is a blackened death metal mix on songs in the latter part of the album that very distinctly stands out, and sounds like something the band could make an identity out of. I enjoy all of this album, but I have no doubt that many people will have a hard time finding a baseline to dial into. If there is one, it’s on those latter tracks. Continue reading »

Aug 222018


(Our Rearview Mirror series, which used to be an NCS fixture on Sundays, has been eclipsed by black metal, but has been temporarily revived today as a vehicle for this retrospective by TheMadIsraeli.)

This is one of my favorite albums of all time.  I’ve never heard anything like it, not before it and not after it.  Nu metal was a weird, kooky-ass genre but it produced some gems, and this is one of them. For me personally, this is probably the best record ever made during nu metal’s reign.  The passion and the weird inter-sectional nature of the elements involved made this album, for me, basically perfect.

American Head Charge themselves are a weird band, releasing a 1999 debut (an underground, very rare release that mostly had songs from this album with much worse production and less fleshed-out sounds), this album where they hit an unreal stride, followed by a detour into just… kind of plain nu metal.  I’m not sure why they didn’t continue what they did on this album; it’s a mystery that bugs me to this day, but I genuinely do believe that The War Of Art is one of the best albums made in metal’s history, in addition to being the best of its entire sub-genre. Yeah, I said it. Continue reading »

Aug 142018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Finland’s Mors Subita, which was released by Inverse Records on April 6th of this year.)

Mors Subita are a peculiar band to me, but one that scratch a lot of itches. While they’ve always embodied everything great about energetic, riff-driven European melodic death metal might, their embracing of the more metalcore elements of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal bands like Chimaira, Lamb Of God, etc., has always caused them to stand apart from a lot of their current peers. These guys love the ’90s and early 2000s at their core, which resonates with me considering that a lot of my favorite metal in my formative listening years came from those eras.

The thing is, this Soilwork-meets-Chimaira-ism of Mors Subita produces some pretty compelling, consistently driving piston-pressure metal that includes the epic melodic scope and guitar work of melodic death metal as well as the beefy sense of groove and emotive sensibilities of their metalcore influences.  It’s junk food metal at its purest and finest, and I mean that as no insult whatsoever.  Into The Pitch Black is one of the year’s best records in my book, both addictive and engrossing. Continue reading »

Aug 122018


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new third album by the French death metal band Exocrine, which will be released by Unique Leader Records on August 17.)

There’s a sort of hyper-manic, throw-in-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink school of death metal that, while adopted by few bands, has always been really appealing to me. The main two bands I think of when this approach comes to mind are the legendary hydro-grinders Cephalic Carnage and Cattle Decapitation since their reinvention, starting at Monolith Of Inhumanity. Cephalic Carnage have been out of the album-release game a long time especially, and I feel like they’re a definitely missed icon in extreme metal right now.

Exocrine, however, appear to be a band who’ve been working on usurping the throne of the legendary progressive technical death/grind behemoths by not only doing a convincing spin on the band’s sound, but taking the template Cephalic established and propelling it to an over-the-top extreme. Continue reading »