Apr 022019


(In this post Todd Manning reviews the new album by Indiana’s Conjurer, which will be released on April 5th, and introduces our premiere of a song from the album.)

There is a tendency in the world of Metal to try to overload every available inch of sonic space with brutality. It’s an understandable and often effective approach, but at times, bands who utilize a more stripped-down strategy are equally capable of blowing the listener’s mind and ears. It is this kind of sense of refinement that is evident in spades on the new album Sigils by Indianapolis-based Sludge/Doom quintet Conjurer.

For anyone familiar with their debut, Old World Ritual, their latest is not a radical departure from the sound they established there, but is a logical and powerful step forward. Continue reading »

Mar 052019


(Here’s Todd Manning‘s review of the debut album by Sweden’s Wretched Fate, released on February 22nd by Redefining Darkness Records.)

When Old School Death Metal made its initial comeback, there was a welcome focus on the kind of Punked-up, hyperprimitive violence as best exemplified by Autopsy and their ilk. This particular approach is certainly fruitful and, for many, will never grow old, but it’s great to see other acts dive into other Death Metal discographies and come up with material that, while not technical the way the term is used today, is certainly more accomplished than the aforementioned OSDM acts.

One such band bringing their particular brand of pain is Swedish killing unit Wretched Fate on their album Fleshletting, which just came out on Redefining Darkness. At first glance, this album reeks of their Swedish heritage in the best possible ways. Furious d-beats, check. HM-2 distortion, check. Graveyard stench, check. But there’s more to this concoction than just rehashing old Dismember and Entombed records. Continue reading »

Feb 042019


(Todd Manning wrote the following review ofthe impending self-titled debut EP by Pittsburgh’s Riparian, which will be released by Grimoire Records on March 1st.)

Not to split hairs, but in the sweet spot between Grindcore and Death Metal there seems to be a small niche of what one might consider Death-Grind, a movement that may have reached its apex in the early aughts and was best exemplified by such acts as The Red Chord, Misery Index, and Cephalic Carnage. Pittsburgh’s Riparian are mining this same vein of brutal goodness on their self-titled debut EP, due out on March 1st courtesy of Grimoire Records.

To be clear, the alchemy that Riparian utilize is a sound that might eschew the most technical corners of the Death Metal world, but also isn’t nearly as primitive as most Grindcore acts nor their OSDM counterparts. What we are left with instead is a pulverizing blend of grind beats and mid-tempo muscular riffing. Occasional solos and Doomier passages that also pepper the proceedings give the EP an unpredictable quality as well. Continue reading »

Jan 282019


(Todd Manning wrote this review of the debut album by the band Witchgöat from El Salvador.)

With a name like Witchgöat, it’s safe to say we are probably not dealing with the latest Avant-Garde, Prog Metal sensation to sweep through the scene. Instead, these Salvadorians lay waste to everyone and everything in sight with their brand of Blackened Death/Thrash. Originally the brainchild of guitarist P. Scyther in 2016, the group issued their debut demo Umbra Regit via Morbid Skull Records, and now they are poised to release their full-length Egregors of the Black Faith on February 13th, also on Morbid Skull.

With their grim-as-hell artwork and general presentation, one might expect these guys to produce a whirlwind blast of Blackened noise a la Revenge or Conqueror, but that actually isn’t the case. While Witchgöat certainly owe a debt to ripping Black Metal, tons of molten Old School Metal and Thrash slag flow through their veins. Continue reading »

Dec 202018


(Here’s a Top 10 list for the year by NCS contributor Todd Manning.)

2018, a year of escalating violence, the collapse of logic, and the furthering fall of because. Can we even remember what happened from one week to the next? Narratives battle for your attention like two bikers stabbing each other with rusty screwdrivers. Is this the era Extreme Metal has always sought to narrate? I don’t know, but to paraphrase the Chinese proverb, we are cursed to live in interesting times. Here are the albums that made up my personal soundtrack. Continue reading »

Oct 042018


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the debut album by the Seattle band Hissing, which will be released by Profound Lore on October 26th.)

Barely any time has passed since Profound Lore Records unleashed the aural savagery of Infernal Coil’s Within a World Forgotten upon the world, and now they are already back at it with the debut full-length by Seattle-based trio Hissing. Titled Permanent Destitution, this album capitalizes on the buzz around their 2016 self-titled seven-inch and also a well-received split with noise mongers Sutekh Hexen. Continue reading »

Sep 112018


(We present Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by Terrorizer, set for release by The End Records on October 12th.)

There’s no need to belabor the point that most metalheads feel a sense of trepidation when a band known for their old school classic output puts out new material in this day and age. Admittedly, Terrorizer have been back for a while now, first with 2006’s aptly titled Darker Days Ahead, followed by 2012’s Hordes of Zombies. Each release has featured shifts in lineup, and their newest, Caustic Attack, is no different. But with Pete Sandoval as the only remaining member from both the original and the subsequent lineups, how does Terrorizer now intend to capture the essence of their own sound?

We’ll come back to that question in just a minute. First, let’s talk about who is in the new lineup. For Caustic Attack Pete Sandoval recruited Sam Molina on bass and vocals along with Lee Harrison on guitars. Both are primarily known for their work with Death Metal heavyweights Monstrosity, with Harrison’s tenure as the band’s drummer stretching all the way back to 1992’s classic Imperial Doom. Continue reading »

Aug 212018


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by Infernal Coil, which is set for release on September 14th by Profound Lore Records.)

Profound Lore is an underground label that has always enjoyed a certain amount of critical acclaim, with bands like Agalloch, Pallbearer, and Subrosa (to name a few) enjoying coverage across the entire Metal spectrum and even attention from such outlets as NPR, Rolling Stone, and Spin magazine. What is truly heartening for the underground fan is the label’s continuing commitment to releasing albums from some of the nastiest underground Death and Black Metal bands in the business.

The latest offering of unadulterated Death Metal from the label comes in the form of Idaho-based killing unit Infernal Coil. Their debut full-length Within a World Forgotten is due out on September 14th. Continue reading »

Jul 272018


(This is Todd Manning’s review of the new split by Integrity and Krieg, which will be released by Relapse Records on August 3rd.)

Oftentimes, split recordings are an opportunity for two lesser known bands to introduce each other to their respective fan bases. It is representative of the camaraderie of the underground, and one of both Metal and Hardcore’s most beloved formats. What we don’t see as often are two well-established acts doing a split together. While there are a few examples, such as Napalm Death’s work with the Melvins and Converge, these exceptions prove the rule.

The latest exception now comes from the pairing of Hardcore legends Integrity and Black Metal juggernaut Krieg. It’s unlikely these groups got together as some sort of calculated marketing move, but rather out of a mutual respect for one another. Continue reading »

Jul 092018


(In this post Todd Manning reviews the new release by Seattle-based Regional Justice Center.)

The combination of Grindcore and Powerviolence has always walked a tightrope between Hardcore and Metal, attacking the listener with feral onslaughts both fast and slow, short bursts of frenzied killing punctuated by neanderthal moments of sludgy-goodness. While employing the brutality of Extreme Metal, these acts often have a certain looseness to their sound, giving them their own Punkish charm within the cacophony of violence.

The new self-titled release from Regional Justice Center has all the hallmarks of these genres with short songs and hair-turn tempo changes, but there is no looseness to be found. Rather, everything here takes the form of a quick precision bombing, and while the record only clocks in at around twelve minutes, a single spin will leave the listener gasping for breath before hitting play again. Continue reading »