Jan 112023

(Andy Synn digs into the upcoming third album by long-time NCS favourites Turbid North)

Pick up a coin, any coin, and take a look at it.

Now, turn it over. What’s changed?

In some ways, not much. It’s still the same object, after all. Still the same size and shape, still composed of the same elements and materials.

Yet, at the same time, it’s now showing you a whole new side of itself, a whole other face that you couldn’t see before, even though you knew it was there.

And that’s a surprisingly fitting metaphor for what Turbid North have done on The Decline.

Continue reading »

Dec 162022

I’ve been reading my friend Andy‘s writing about metal for more than a decade, and even so, what he’s done this week had been mind-boggling. I marveled at how much music he listened to this year and at his ability to make year-end selections, organize them, and write about them distinctively. I mean hell, I marvel at how much time it must have taken him just to put all the embedded links to the streams in his articles this week!

All of which is to say that his week-long series of lists deserves the spotlight, and deserves all the time it would take you to go through them and make your own discoveries. His series ends today, but LISTMANIA will roll on next week as we begin posting year-end lists from other NCS contributors, including the annual five-part list from DGR.

Last weekend I announced that, by design, we wouldn’t have the normal volume of premieres on the calendar this week in order to keep the focus on Andy‘s series (and a few lists I’ve shared from “big platform” sites). I thought I might take advantage of the lull in premieres by compiling more new-music roundups during the week than I can usually manage. I admit that does seem a bit inconsistent with the goal of keeping the focus on year-end lists, but the lure of spreading the word about new music is a powerful one.

I did manage to get a roundup done on Monday, but failed at the next chance on Wednesday because of interference from paying work. Today, as you can see, I was able to follow through. I’ve also got things lined up for the usual Saturday roundup too. Continue reading »

Nov 212022


From the birth of our site (exactly 13 years ago today!) one of our founding principles was, and still is, to write only about music we enjoy and want to recommend. Of course, that doesn’t mean everything we’ve written about stands on equal footing. Based on their growth and consistent achievements we’ve put some bands on higher pedestals than others, and few have garnered the kind of praise over many years that we’ve heaped upon Alaska-born, Texas-based Turbid North (see for yourselves).

Almost exactly seven years have passed since the release of Turbid North‘s last album Eyes Alive. But even seven years weren’t long enough to dim the memory of that record, or for that matter its predecessor Orogeny (from 2011). As proof of the point, our own Andy Synn listed a new Turbid North record as one of his “most anticipated albums” of 2017… and of 2018… and probably would have continued doing that if we hadn’t scrapped the early-year “most anticipated” columns.

Well, you can imagine the burst of excitement we experienced when Turbid North at last announced that they would release a new full-length on January 20th of the coming year. Continue reading »

Jul 272018

Climate Reanalyzer Global Weather Map – July 27, 2018


(Andy Synn has compiled a collection of songs from seven bands suitable for the hell we find ourselves in.)

Depending on where you are right now in the world, there’s a good chance you’re enjoying/enduring (delete as appropriate) the same sweltering heat and blazing sunshine which is currently scorching us here in the UK, and perhaps you find yourself wondering, as the earth around you slowly returns to its molten, primordial state… what albums provide the best soundtrack to my current situation?

After all, while a lot of Stoner Rock/Metal bands have built a career out of an association with lazy, sun-kissed vibes and hazy, weed-fuelled riffs, the majority of the more Extreme/Underground bands we cover here at NCS tend to be more associated with darkness and shadow… heck, about 50% of all the world’s Black Metal bands are obsessed with snow and ice, regardless of where they actually hail from… and there’s a reason we so often use words like “dank” and “cavernous”, “chilling” and “frostbitten, to describe their music – it just fits!

As a result I had to think long and hard about what albums truly capture the sensation of being trapped and tormented by the oppressive weight of the burning sun in all its torrid and terrible glory, before finally settling on the handful of suggestions you’ll find below. Continue reading »

Jan 132018


(Here’s a personal list by Andy Synn identifying eagerly anticipated forthcoming 2018 albums.)


One week ago Islander published a list of upcoming albums expected to be released over the course of the next twelve months, and also solicited comments and recommendations from our readers concerning which albums (and EPs) they were most looking forward to.

Well, as successful as that endeavour was, now it’s my turn to talk up some of my most anticipated album scheduled for release in 2018. Continue reading »

Mar 012017

Dyscarnate in the studio…


(Andy Synn shares a list of his most anticipated releases of 2017… along with musical reminders… and a request for your own most-anticipated releases.)

Somehow, even though it’s only March, I’m already well behind in terms of covering new and upcoming releases. Partially that’s due to how many albums from last year I still had left to catch up on during January/February, but it’s also a testament to the sheer number of killer albums which have been released already in this year.

Now it was around this time last year (in fact, I just checked, and it was almost exactly one year ago) that I published a list of five albums whose impending release had me afroth with anticipation, including two albums (Death Fortress, Khonsu) which ultimately proved to be two of my absolute favourites of the year… although another two, Nidingr and Decrepit Birth, ended up being delayed until 2017, with the latter still not having a confirmed release date even now…

So, in a vain bid to get ahead of the curve a little, here are five six seven upcoming releases which I’m extremely stoked/jacked/hyped to hear this year, starting with… Continue reading »

Mar 072016

Turbid North-2


(Here’s Andy Synn’s interview with the members of Turbid North, a band originally from Alaska and now based in Texas, whose albums were the subject of a SYNN REPORT in January [here] and whose 2015 full-length Eyes Alive received special praise.)

Hello gentlemen, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the band, would you care to introduce yourselves to our audience at home?

Nick Forkel – Guitar, Vocals
Chris O’ Toole – Bass, Vocals
Jono Garrett – Drums Continue reading »

Feb 052016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(Year-end lists… you just can’t kill em’. But Andy Synn has made a habit of crowning our annual LISTMANIA series with one final offering — his selection of the last year’s top songs — and this year is no different.)

Did you REALLY think I was done with lists? Are you really that naive? Oh, how foolish are those who are most willing to be.. umm… fooled. Or something.

Yes, it’s no secret I enjoy making lists, and as such have a particular fondness for the end-of-year period here at NCS, not just because it lets me indulge my numero-erotic list-making proclivities in full (and in public, no less) but also because I sincerely enjoy reading and debating all the other lists we publish and reference and, in the process, discovering bands I’d otherwise overlooked.

The hardest list to pull together though is the list of my favourite songs of the year. Not because of any hard-fought pretence of objectivity (there’s none of that here), but because there’s simply so many options to choose from, with my initial list coming in at well over 100 entries, each drawn from albums across the length and breadth of my Great/Good/Disappointing lists of last year.

But, finally… finally… I managed to whittle it down to the ten selections you’re about to encounter.

I’m not suggesting these are the definitive “Best” songs of the year by any means, they’re just ten tracks which have burrowed their way under my skin and into my brain the deepest.

So, without further ado… Continue reading »

Jan 122016

Turbid North 2015


(In Part 67 of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of a band who began in North Pole, Alaska — Turbid North.)

Recommended for fans of: Crowbar, Misery Index, Mastodon

Ok, cards on the table – this edition of The Synn Report is basically just an excuse for me to finally wax lyrical about last year’s Eyes Alive, an album which only just missed out on consideration for my Critical Top 10, and which I’ve been jamming repeatedly ever since discovering the manifold pleasures contained within its nine tracks of gritty, blood-pumping Death-Prog stomp and swagger.

That’s not meaning to downplay either of the band’s two previous releases. Their debut, Under the Eight, is a solid (if somewhat familiar) enough slab of heavily Pantera-influenced Death-Thrash, while the follow-up Orogeny (the album which first brought them to wider attention) ups the ante considerably, showcasing the group beginning to truly find their feet and their own sound in a whirling cavalcade of rumbling Death Metal riffs, grinding sludge-soaked grooves, and dizzying prog/tech fretboard freak-outs.

But it’s definitely on the band’s most recent album where their star truly began to shine, culminating in nine tracks of blissful metallic perfection that sound like the members of Crowbar, Misery Index, and Mastodon having one last narcotic-fueled jam at the very end of the world.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em! Continue reading »