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 »

Feb 102022

(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the self-titled debut EP of Kontusion, which will be released on March 25th.)

For many, the tidal wave of old school death metal bands that have saturated the scene for the past decade or so has been an embarrassment of riches. My formative musical teeth were cut from ‘89 to ‘95 or so, meaning that I can listen to this stuff all day long. Admittedly, this means that if a band nails this sound, even if they are pretty average, they will easily grab my attention. But when a band is really freakin’ good, rising above the hordes, well then I’m all in. Such is the case with Kontusion, These guys absolutely rip. Continue reading »

Dec 242021


(NCS contributor Todd Manning wades into our year-end LISTMANIA series with his picks for the year’s 12 best releases.)

Another year has came and went and somehow we as a species are still here. Maybe the apocalypse won’t arrive until we beg for its sweet release. Well, at least there’s always more metal to obsess over.

I can’t believe this is my sixth year contributing at NCS. Usually my lists oscillate between the experimental and the outright darkest and brutal shit there is. This year, while there are certainly those elements, things feel more varied. Just a little bit… Continue reading »

Dec 152021


(Todd Manning provides the following introduction to our premiere of the new album by Myrdød, whose release is imminent.)

Emerging from the rural nether-swamps of Pennsylvania, the duo known as Myrdød are set to release their full-length The Mourning Hollow on December 17th courtesy of Wise Blood Records. Originally formed by the mysterious Søppelskaler, the project released several singles before enlisting collaborator Fractal Creature.

While many bands claim both death and black metal influences, Myrdød truly blend the two genres and not in a fanboy sense. The Mourning Hollow reeks of pure death mysticism.  Søppelskaler states the following: Continue reading »

Nov 292021


(Here’s Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by Ontario-based VHS, which is set for a December 3rd release by Wise Blood Records.)

Halloween lasts all year long unless you’re a poser. So it doesn’t really matter that Canada’s death fiends VHS aren’t dropping their album I Heard They Suck…Blood until December 3rd, the shit is going to hit you the same regardless. Like Halloween, the influences VHS lean on feel eternal in Metal’s history. Take one part Scream Bloody Gore, mix in some early Autopsy, Repulsion, and more recently Exhumed, and you have a fist-pumping, gore-spewing recipe for old school death metal.

While not exactly breaking the mold, VHS take the sound of their predecessors and make it their own. They look to a time when death metal’s DNA still had a lot of thrash mixed up in it. Not the polished excellence of the Bay Area bands, but that nasty sound pioneered by Kreator and early Slayer. Oftentimes, such as on “Fake Blood and Push-Up Bras”, a track that features Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad, things take on an almost punk feel. For those sections, the Autopsy influence gives way to Abcess, yet when they do slow down, the evil melodies of Chris Reifert’s home base return. Continue reading »

Sep 202021


(Todd Manning reviews the third album by Copenhagen’s LLNN, which will be released via Pelagic Records on September 24th.)

Seems like not so long ago “Neur-Isis” was the hottest sub-genre in Metal. It saw vicious Sludge Metal re-purposed into a widespread and cinematic apocalyptic feel, and there were also heaping servings of Post-Rock to set the mood. While Neurosis and Isis put out some of the most fascinating and important Metal albums in recent memory, their legions of imitators did not fair so well.

The aforementioned Post-Rock sections so skillfully employed by those two bands became an overwhelming obsession for many of the imitators and eventually the music lost much of its visceral impact. While Copenhagen’s LLNN certainly fall under the “Neur-Isis” umbrella, they understand that heaviness is the top priority. Their latest full-length, Unmaker, is both epic and crushing. Continue reading »

Jul 222021


(In this article we present Todd Manning‘s review of a new EP by the Czech band Supreme Conception which will be released on August 6th, and our premiere of a track from the EP.)

It’s easy to get Tech-Death wron;, endless flurries of indistinguishable notes make for unremarkable material. It’s a good thing then that Supreme Conception avoid the genre’s pitfalls on their new EP Empire of the Mind. The trio consisting of Michal Kusak (ex-Imperial Foeticide) on vocals, Martin Meyer (Heaving Earth) on guitar, and Aaron Stechauner (ex-Rings of Saturn) on drums, display plenty of instrumental prowess on these five songs, but also manage to create an engaging listening experience as well. Continue reading »

Jun 302021


(Todd Manning returns to NCS with the following review of the new album by Seputus, which is out now on Willowtip Records.)

Originally the brainchild of drummer/guitarist Stephen Schwegler, Seputus has had to take a backseat to real life for far too long. The idea for the group started when he was serving in the Navy, but the growth was slow due to his commitments.

Eventually, Schwegler recruited vocalist Doug Moore and Erik Malave on bass and the project began to take flight. While they managed to release the album Man Does Not Give in 2016, Phantom Indigo, which came out on June 4th via Willowtip Records, feels like the true introduction of the trio to the Metal world at large. Continue reading »

May 062021


(Todd Manning rejoins us with the following review of the debut album by Obsolete, which was released not long ago through Unspeakable Axe Records.)

I don’t know about anyone else, but as time goes on, I find myself more obsessed with groups such as Watchtower, Atheist and Sadus. And now it’s time to add a new name to the list. Riding a fine line between Tech-Thrash and early Death Metal, Animate//Isolate is the stunning debut full-length from Minneapolis-based band Obsolete.

While some bands from the Tech-Thrash movement could create a pretty obscure sound (see Watchtower or Sieges Even’s Steps),  Obsolete never sacrifice immediacy in their quest for mind-bending technicality. The riffs stampede relentlessly, and the harsh vocals are firmly rooted in Death Metal. And while most the beats deconstruct and reassemble classic Thrash workouts, they find opportunities to squeeze in blast beats as well as softer moments. Continue reading »