Dec 092016

NCS The Best of 2016 graphic


(So far, our LISTMANIA series has mostly been devoted to year-end lists from other sites and print zines, but today we begin rolling out our own lists. As has become customary, we start with the first of six year-end lists that Andy Synn is preparing. Every day next week we’ll post his remaining five — along with other staff and guest lists.)

Somehow another year seems to have passed by, which means it’s almost time for my annual, week-long round-up of the year’s best and brightest (and most disappointing) releases.

For those of you unaware of how this whole thing works, I split my assessment of the year into three categories initially:

The “Great” albums, the ones which I honestly consider the true cream of this year’s crop, regardless of fame, fortune, or style.

The “Good” albums, which vary between solid (but not necessarily stunning) morsels of metallic goodness and those which (arguably) come within a hair’s breadth of greatness.

And the “Disappointing” albums of the year, the albums which, while not necessarily bad, I feel don’t live up to the standards which the band(s) have set for themselves, or which their listeners have come to expect.

Then, finally, I put together my two Top Ten lists. The “Critical Top Ten”, where I try to be as objective as possible in selecting ten of the year’s finest albums to serve as a representative sample of the best which 2016 has to offer, and my “Personal Top Ten”, which are simply the ten albums which have tickled my fancy the most over the past twelve months.

But first, how about we have a little round-up of some of the best EPs of the year? Continue reading »

Nov 102016



A decade has passed since New York’s Thralldom released their last album, A Shaman Steering the Vessel of Vastness. But Thralldom have returned after ten years with a new album named Time Will Bend Into Horror, which will be released through Ritual Productions on November 11. Last week an advance track from the album called “Chronovisions”  ensnared me, and lo and behold, now we get to bring you another one: “Stars and Graves“.

Though many years have passed, the members of Thralldom remain the same: Killusion and Jaldagar, i.e., Ryan Lipynsky (Unearthly Trance, Serpentine Path, The Howling Wind) and Jared Turinsky, though in composing Time Will Bend Into Horror they haven’t remained creatively rooted where we found them long ago. Continue reading »

Nov 042016



I’m still in our nation’s capital on a business trip, doing the best I can to ignore the last frightening days of the presidential campaign in an effort to avoid an aneurysm. I had some time to kill before my flight home today, so I quickly sifted through some of the new music I discovered in recent days and compiled this selection.

My disturbed mind decided the following songs would make a nice grouping. In different ways, they summon a skin-crawling sensation of horror, which is how I’ve been feeling in light of tightening poll results in that torturous presidential campaign I mentioned.


The new album by The Great Old Ones falls into my “highly anticipated” category. Two days ago Season of Mist announced details about the release and DECIBEL premiered a song. Continue reading »