Jul 182023


Today is the 199th day of 2023. On this day in history, among many other instances of idiocy and abuse, the First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility and Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf. It’s also the birthday of Nelson Mandela, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Hunter Thompson, Vin Diesel, Geno Suarez of the Seattle Mariners, and maybe you, as well as the death-day of Caravaggio, Jane Austen, Benito Juarez, Machine Gun Kelley, and hopefully not you.

It also happens to be a rare weekday when I had time to pull together a roundup of recommended new songs and videos, which has nothing to do with commemoration of any of the preceding events. There’s so much here that I’ve throttled my usual descriptive verbosity (Satan knows there’s more than enough hot air in the atmosphere today already) and left aside some of the cover art until I can upload it later today. (Presented alphabetically by band name, which led to some interesting juxtapositions).

BAXAXAXA (Germany)

Prepare for: low-end rumbling and thrumming plus grim vibrating riffage, immense jolting chugs and ethereal gothic synths, dragging tones of agony and fanatical serrated-edge yells. The experience is menacing and morbid, feral and ferocious, infernal and infectious…. Continue reading »

May 162023

(We have been devoted fans of Thy Catafalque for a very long time, and the band’s new album Alföld has only strengthened our ardor [see the review here]. And so today we are very happy to present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Tamás Kátai in advance of the new album’s June 16 release by Season of Mist.)

Thy Catafalque celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It started as the duo of Tamás Kátai and János Juhász, who were highly enthusiastic towards black metal with an avant-garde edge, and it took just a bit before Thy Catafalque established their own unique blend formed by elements taken from different genres and sub-genres, from extreme metal to electronic and folk music.

Years passed, and the band turned into Tamás’ solo project, but he managed only to sharpen his skills and it seems that he never suffers from a lack of ideas. Alföld is Thy Catafalque’s forthcoming eleventh album. It’s still unique and unpredictable but you can already form an impression about its direction if you check Season of Mist’s Bandcamp and find there three new songs: “A csend hegyei”, “Testen túl”, and “N​é​ma vermek”.

Recorded in Budapest with a dozen guest vocalists and musicians, it turns out to be one of most exciting releases in the metal underground. Tamás reveals a few secrets behind Alföld and the project’s current status. Continue reading »

May 022023

(Thy Catafalque‘s latest opus Alföld will be released by Season of Mist on June 16th, and today we present a review by our old friend and ardent Thy Catafalque student Professor D. Grover the XIIIth.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. It is once again my favorite time of year (well, my favorite time of every two or three years): Thy Catafalque season. That’s right, my favorite Hungarian multi-instrumentalist and musical genius, Tamás Kátai, has maintained his reliable release schedule and graces us once more with a new Thy Catafalque album. While the core principles of the musical project remain the same (Kátai is the sole member, supported by a sizable rotation of guest musicians lending their talents in various capacities), the Thy Catafalque sound continues to evolve, aided by a significant musical development.

If you’re a fan of the band, or happened to read my top album list from last year, then you’re likely aware that Kátai took a huge step on the past year or so by taking Thy Catafalque into a live setting for the first time. The band’s first live performance was recorded and released as a live album, and there have been a handful of other live performances since, with a shifting lineup appropriate to the band’s history. While Kátai‘s involvement in the first live show was surprisingly limited (only playing bass on a handful of songs), he has in subsequent shows taken up full bass duties, and it feels as though performing live has affected the tracks on this new Thy Catafalque album Alföld. Continue reading »

Apr 022023

Gabestok (2019) – photo by Adriana Zak

Every week we receive what mathematicians used to call a metric shit ton of black metal submissions. Maybe it’s because we tend to spend more time than many other metal sites focusing on that ever-expanding genre, and maybe because we try not to limit ourselves to well-known bands with substantial label backing or PR apparatuses.

But as some people still don’t understand, there are very few of us here, and our NCS time comes after paying work, family and friends, and every other demand and distraction that everyone else deals with on a daily basis. So, lots of worthy submissions just don’t get attention in our pages.

From amongst the worthy, there’s truly a high degree of randomness in what we choose to write about, and even more so on days like today when my own NCS time has gotten further compressed by unexpected events (including the Third World quality of internet service on the island where I live).

Yeah, I hear you — “Shut Up and Get On With It, you could have covered one more song in the time it took you to write that pathetic introduction!” I hear you, so let’s get on with it: Continue reading »

Jan 162023

Starting the third week of this annual songfest I picked three that go together so well, in addition to being infectious standouts on their own. It happens that two of them were also presented by two of my favorite videos of 2022.


In putting together these lists there’s always been a bit of confusion in my mind about what to do with songs that premiered in one year from albums not due for release until the following year. Here’s a case in point: Enslaved‘s new album Heimdal isn’t due out until March 3rd of this year, but the song “Kingdom” from that album debuted in August of last year. So should it be considered for the 2022 edition of this list or should I wait a year and make it a candidate for the 2023 list?

I don’t think I’ve had any consistent policy on this issue, though in general I hate waiting. In this case the song was first released as a stand-alone single almost three months before the album was even announced, so that seems like adequate justification for putting it on the 2022 list now. Continue reading »

Nov 052022


As you know if you’ve been here routinely, I make lists, lots of lists, of new music I want to check out. Last night when I began making my way through the latest one (an extremely long one), it happened that the first five selections were so good and fit together so beautifully that I decided to go no further, for fear of breaking a powerful pattern that had serendipitously taken shape. When I listened to them again this morning, it still made sense.

I’ve set out these songs in the order I heard them. I said they created a pattern, but they were also a journey, and one that ended in stunning fashion.


Well of course I started with a new video from Thy Catafalque, especially because the video is for a performance of my favorite song from one of my favorite albums of 2011. Yes, more than a decade ago! But until senility encroaches I’ll never forget “Fekete mezők”. Continue reading »

Jan 212022

Primeval Well


No, we’re not like an elevator in a hotel. We don’t skip 13. In my way of thinking, 13 is a lucky number — a prime one. And I’ve chosen three prime cuts to include in this installment of the list. The first two have important folk ingredients, from traditions separated by about 5,000 miles. The third one is more extreme than the first two, but is also intensely memorable.

To check out the songs on the list that have preceded these three, and to understand what the list is all about, use THIS LINK. Continue reading »

Jun 242021


(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with this review of the new album by Thy Catafalque, which will be out tomorrow on Season of Mist. A full stream of the album follows the review.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. Once again, the impending release of something truly special rouses me from my nocturnal haze and guides me to my keyboard, compelling me to write. Yes, as the title of the article likely gives away, there is a new Thy Catafalque album ready to enter the public eye, and so I take upon myself the honor of reviewing it. Vadak is the tenth Thy Catafalque album, compilations and the Zápor EP notwithstanding, and as is fitting for such a significant number, it’s a truly noteworthy album in a discography full of noteworthy albums.

By this point in time, my devotion to the work of Tamás Kátai is a well-worn, well-documented history, but for the uninitiated, Thy Catafalque is primarily the work of one man, typically with a number of guests. Kátai is a Hungarian multi-instrumentalist and the driving force behind this project, and (as I will further explain in the paragraphs to come) is something of a musical genius. In the 23 years that Kátai has been recording under this moniker, the band’s style has evolved almost constantly from a relatively experimental black metal project to something that is, frankly, impossible to define. In the lead-up to this review, I did a chronological listen to the entire Thy Catafalque discography, front to back (including the first three albums, which are the most black metal releases and my least favorite simply because they’re the harshest and least listenable), and that endeavor served to further bolster the knowledge that Kátai’s musical fingerprints have been all over this project since the beginning. Continue reading »

Apr 172021


Roadburn Redux is going on right now. It should be a “must watch, must listen” event for me (and for you), but I’ve had too many distractions the last few days to glue myself to my computer and take it all in. Sadly, I can’t do that this weekend either. All I’ve done so far is to check out a few songs and videos, and I’ve included two of those (which were premieres) at the front of today’s round-up — along with a bunch of other good stuff I discovered over the last 24 hours.

To see the full line-up of events at Roadburn Redux go HERE. You’ll see that it includes both live and pre-recorded music, some of it full sets and some of it individual songs and videos, including premieres. You’ll also see that if you have missed something, the streams and videos will remain on-line at the Redux site until the evening of April 20th.


Next month this excellent Dutch band will release their ninth album, As The Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes. At Roadburn Redux they premiered one of its songs along with a video for it. That song, “Melancholia“, is true to its name in some of its moods (which have a wistful quality) — but the rambunctiousness of the rhythm section, the vibrancy of the gleaming guitar harmonies, and the soaring brilliance in the high end are bursting with life (and the strangled harshness of the vocals are vicious). Continue reading »

Apr 042021


I explained yesterday that I’m on a weekend vacation. I also wrote that I wasn’t sure if I would prepare this usual Sunday column. Obviously, I have.

But because I’m really trying to make as much room as I can for rest and relaxation (which in my case is like making room for self-mutilation), I’ve limited myself to things I can quickly and impulsively react to — just a scattering of advance tracks and one stand-alone video. It was even easier for me to make these selections because all of them are by bands in whom I already had complete confidence.

I’ve also been listening to some albums this weekend that have also seized my attention. Depending on how the day goes, I might have a second installment devoted to those. Continue reading »