Feb 282023

(On March 3rd Dead Sage Records will release No More Torture, the debut album from Seattle-based Vanishment, and today we’re delighted to premiere the album in its entirety, preceded by the following review written by Todd Manning.)

Retro-thrash can be a dicey affair. Too many bands opt to play an oversimplified version of the genre and forget the nuance and complexity exhibited by many groups as they developed. However, this isn’t the case on No More Torture, the debut full-length from Seattle’s Vanishment.

While No More Torture is the group’s debut, these guys are no rookies. Containing current members of Trial, Himsa, Heiress, and Lair of the Minotaur, their collective experience shines through in both instrumental chops and songwriting acumen. Continue reading »

Jan 202023

(Here’s Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by the UK’s Memoriam, which is set for release by Reaper Entertainment on February 3rd and features stunning cover art by Dan Seagrave.)

Old School Death Metal is more vital than ever, with both old fans and new initiates alike being drawn into the crypts searching for their next fix. While many of the original bands continue to put out new records, other scene veterans form new groups in order to develop the genre’s sound even further.

Such is the case with the British act Memoriam. Formed by Karl Willetts, vocalist of Bolt Thrower, and bassist Frank Healy of Benediction, and joined by guitarist Scott Fairfax and drummer Spikey T. Smith, Memoriam draws on the blueprint of those seminal acts and adds a number of new elements to the sound. Their latest album, Rise to Power, forms the second section of a trilogy that began with 2021’s To the End. Continue reading »

Dec 212022

(NCS writer Todd Manning wades into our year-end LISTMANIA series with his picks for the year’s 15 best albums, plus separate lists for EPs, compilations, and “metal adjacent” records.)

I love year-end lists. I love the thought that goes into making them. And once mine are finished, I will pour over everyone else’s lists with a notebook in hand, searching for all the releases I missed. There’s always more music.

All this is to excuse my overly long article this year. You have a Top 15 albums, a top seven EP and compilation list, and a small metal-adjacent list. Because this is for the nerds like me. I wrote the kind of year-end list I would want to find with tons of bands to possibly follow up on.

And I should also note, that while I am probably biased, I think 2022 has been an absolutely stellar year for my hometown. Four Indianapolis-based bands made my year-end list and I think they deserve to be there regardless of our shared locale. I hope you agree. Continue reading »

Sep 232022

(On October 14th Wise Blood Records will release the debut album of Indianapolis-based Mother of Graves, an album mastered by Dan Swanö and with cover art by Paolo Girardi, and below you’ll find Todd Manning‘s review of this new opus.)

Mother of Graves has picked the perfect time to drop their debut full-length, Where the Shadows Adorn. First of all, anyone who heard their excellent EP, In Somber Dreams, has been dying to get their hands on more material from this great band. In addition, there is something about this particular brand of death/doom that just seems to herald the changing of the seasons. The music feels autumnal, or even winter-ish. Like black metal, this type of forlorn music feels connected to the seasons. Continue reading »

Sep 152022

(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the fourth LP by San Francisco-based death/crust metal act Acephalix, which is set for release by 20 Buck Spin on September 30th.)

Five years is too long to wait for a new Acephalix record but that’s how long it’s been. And what a five years it’s been. Their new record, Theothanatology due out on September 30th via 20 Buck Spin, explores the idea of the death of god, an understandable train of thought where the daily news is nothing more than an autopsy of our dying civilization. The album oozes with all the pent-up anger, frustration, and anxiety of our modern world and channels it into the group’s trademark brand of atavistic, mongrel death metal. Continue reading »

Sep 022022

(Today Wise Blood Records is releasing a kick-ass four-way split whose title says a lot, and Todd Manning says a lot more about it in this review.)

For those paying attention, record label Wise Blood Records has been spitting out pure fire with their releases since their inception less than two years ago. The latest release from the label is called Faster Than the Fucking Devil. It gathers together four blackened thrash acts from around the world, each spitting their own brand of blasphemous madness over the album’s thirty-seven-minute runtime.

Hailing from Northwest Indiana, Wraith kicks things off properly. Their sound draws on the early thrash classics like Exodus’s Bonded by Blood, Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends, and Metallica’s Kill ‘em All, but interjects a good dose of Motörhead as well. With tracks like “Demons of Doubt” and “(Call Me) The Destroyer” we get served the hooks of old-school metal with the rawness of black metal. They close their three songs with “Seven Serpents” which sports an awesome Slayer-inspired bridge. Continue reading »

Jul 262022


(Todd Manning has turned in this extravagant review of an extravagant album by Philadelphia’s Sarattma, which will be out on August 12th.)

It may take years for us to know all the things we missed during the early days of Covid. Apparently, Philadelphia-based duo Sarattma recorded their debut album Escape Velocity in 2019 but it’s just now about to drop, courtesy of Nefarious Industries.

The duo consists of guitarist Matt Hollenberg, best known for his work in various John Zorn projects, along with Cleric and John Frum as well, joined here by Sara Neidorf, who did a stint with Brian Jonestown Massacre and played with doom metal band Aptera and doom-jazz duo Mellowdeath. Both those outfits are vastly underrated and deserve investigation. Sarattma, though, finds Hollenberg and Neidorf at the pinnacle of their instrumental abilities. Continue reading »

Jun 302022


(In late May Blood Harvest Records released the second album by the Indiana-based death metal band Obscene, and here we have an enthusiastic review of it by Todd Manning.)

It’s been a pleasure to watch Indianapolis-based death metal unit Obscene evolve from a scrappy and primal bunch of berzerkers on 2018’s Sermon to the Snake to the ruthless, well-oiled killing machine they are now. Their latest, From Dead Horizon…To Dead Horizon,  finds these guys in prime form, with the underground theirs for the taking.

From Dead Horizon…To Dead Horizon sees Obscene taking their foot off the accelerator a bit and leaning into more mid-tempo material. In some ways, it’s a bold move in a genre that favors the extremely slow or the extremely fast, but it pays off.

Continue reading »

Jun 012022

(We present Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by Haunter. It was released earlier this month by Profound Lore.)

Hailing from Austin Texas, the trio known as Haunter released Discarnate Ails via Profound Lore on May 6th. While only consisting of three songs, the album is nothing short of an epic journey through complex and progressive death metal.

The album opens with the ten-plus-minute song “Overgrown With the Moss”. The clean guitar that opens the track hints slightly at early Metallica at their most subdued, but this quickly gives way to a mammoth riff and powerful vocals. The feel is black metal in its scope but death metal in its density. A melodic guitar figure adds to the feeling of grandeur, yet things change again to a bit of Gorguts-inspired dissonance. More clean guitar work returns and things continue to shift and transform. And all this in the first half of the lengthy piece.

Obviously, Haunter are not lacking in ambition, and thankfully they’re able to execute all of this with great skill. Continue reading »

Mar 252022


(Next month Suppression will release their debut album via Unspeakable Axe Records (with vinyl coming later from Dark Descent), mixed and mastered by Colin Marston and adorned with artwork by Paolo Girardi, and today we present Todd Manning‘s enthusiastic review.)

It’s hard to say what’s going on down in Chile, but there’s some killer metal emerging from there. Ripper seems to have been spearheading the movement in recent years with their brand of technical death-thrash, and now some of those members appear in Suppression, whose debut full-length, The Sorrow of Soul through Flesh, drops on April 25th courtesy of Unspeakable Axe Records.

While Ripper marries old school Kreator vibes with technical brutality in the vein of Atheist and Sadus, Suppression feels like a love letter to old school Floridian death metal. However, they sidestep many of the obvious choices of influence in favor of other no-less-deserving bands. Continue reading »