Aug 262019


(Todd Manning wrote the following review of the new record by the Chilean thrash band Ripper, which is set for release on September 30th by Unspeakable Axe Records.)

For many, and myself included, Ripper’s 2016 full-length Experiment of Existence was a highlight of that year.  The songwriting on that opus was a deft combination of classic Teutonic Thrash and proto-Death Metal with hints of technical musicianship added in for flavor. Now these Chilean madmen are back with their newest release, Sensory Stagnation, once again with Unspeakable Axe Records. Continue reading »

Aug 132019


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by the Michigan-based grindcore band Cloud Rat, which is set for release on September 13th by Artoffact Records.)

It’s funny to watch the cycling of musical sub-genres. It’s not so much that anything goes away nowadays, but when it comes to sonic extremity, certainly flavors tend to move more or less out of focus. Recently, it seems Grindcore is starting to push to the fore with a batch of innovative releases. 2019 has seen not only the return, albeit in slightly altered form, of Discordance Axis, now under the moniker No One Knows What the Dead Think, but also forward-thinking releases from Immortal Bird and now, Cloud Rat.

Cloud Rat are certainly not rookies and their new full-length, Pollinator, is actually their fourth album. Much like Immortal Bird, Cloud Rat seize the innovation of classic Discordance Axis and make it their own. It is not that they are so much aping the sound of that classic trio as taking the torch of innovation and running with it. Continue reading »

Jul 112019


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by No One Knows What the Dead Think, which is set for release on September 20 by Willowtip Records.)

All hail the new flesh, the new band that is a merciless reincarnation of the insane and mighty Discordance Axis. No One Knows What The Dead Think contains D.A. alumni Jon Chang on vocals and Rob Marton on guitar, and they are joined by Kyosuke Nakano on drums, and the band make no bones about this being the culmination of the original series of albums by Discordance Axis.

For those not familiar with Discordance Axis, they produced some of the most stunningly original Grindcore albums of the nineties. The sound was utterly unhinged, partially due to Chang’s vicious and wide-eyed vocal approach, but also because of Marton’s almost Godflesh-like riffs being paired with Dave Witte’s blasting drum work. And just like before, the vibe here is suitably Post-Human, a sort of logical conclusion to Cyberpunk, where Earth’s hellscape is primarily populated by swarms of of artificial intelligence. Continue reading »

May 292019


(Earlier this spring Todd Manning reviewed the new album by the Indianapolis-based sludge/doom quintet Conjurer, and today he introduces our premiere of a video for a track from the album.)

At the beginning of April, Conjurer debuted the track “Across the Void” from their second album Sigils here at NCS, an album released later that same month. The song is immense and suffocating, reveling in the sort of rituals that can tear open the very fabric of the universe.

Today we bring you the premiere of the lyric video for that song. Heed the warnings, or heed the call, this is for those who dare to play with flames that feed on the minds of humanity. Continue reading »

May 282019


(Todd Manning prepared this review of the new album by Nocturnus AD, which was released late last week by Profound Lore Records.)

There is a small but dedicated group of metalheads who have been waiting a long time for a new record from Floridian Sci-Fi Death Metal powerhouse Nocturnus. Well, the wait is finally over. They have returned, now known as Nocturnus AD, and their new album Paradox dropped on May 24th.

Most fans consider their first album, 1990’s The Key to be their best. Nocturnus’ style was jarring to say the least, and at the time, it certainly triggered strong opinions both positive and negative from Death Metal fans worldwide. The production was cold and the band’s technical Death/Thrash hybrid could be bizarre at times. The most divisive element, though, proved to be their heavy use of keyboards. In the early days of the genre, this amounted to pure heresy. Continue reading »

May 062019


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by the Australian band Kollaps, which was released on May 3rd by Cold Spring Records.)

Kollaps are an Australian Post-Industrial trio deep-diving into the depths of sonic extremity on their second album Mechanical Christ, out now on Cold Spring Records. Not unlike their peers in this rather small niche in Extreme music, Kollaps take the listener on a harrowing journey through utter darkness and despondency, a place where guitar riffs are thrown out and replaced by sledgehammer percussion and waves of abrasive distortion.

The term Post-Industrial, used to describe Kollaps, is an interesting choice. Their sound in many ways is a return to the roots of Industrial Music. It is not hard to hear Throbbing Gristle, Test Dept., and Einstürzende Neubauten in the Sturm und Drang on Mechanical Christ, yet also present are more modern elements taken from Noise and Drone, and the effect is remarkably unsettling. Continue reading »

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 »