Jun 272020


This is a follow-on to another gigantic round-up I posted yesterday, and almost all of the songs and videos below were released during the last five days.

I may have mentioned that although my day-job (which still hasn’t reopened) is in Seattle, I live on an island in Puget Sound. Living here has lots of pluses and a few minuses, one of which is that whenever one of the weather gods so much as sneezes the power and the internet go out, which is what happened this morning.

So, I’ve been using my phone as a hot spot. That has slowed me down, and has made doing this tedious enough that I’ve not only cut back on my words but also largely left these items without the usual purchase links, Facebook pages, and other info about the records. I’ll try to go back and fill all that in when doing it is a less annoying process.

CIRKELN (Sweden)

An epic musical narrative, both gloom shrouded and frenzied, melancholy and murderous, haunting and majestic. Seemingly a Tolkein-esque tale told by an orc bred in the subterranean halls of Utumno and raging against his enslavement, the dramatic song blends numerous heavy metal styles to very good effect. Continue reading »

May 052020


(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the debut album by Umbra Vitae, which was released on May 1st by Deathwish Inc.)

Converge is one of my favorite bands. Yeah, I know they are not metal. Even their singer Jacob Bannon admits this and calls his band hyper-aggressive. But they are very influenced by metal, and on albums like Petitioning the Empty Sky you can hear Slayer dripping from the riffs.

Jacob might perform in a hardcore band, but he has a love for death metal that inspired him to put Umbra Vitae together. He enlisted guitarists from Hatebreed and The Red Chord, along with the ex- drummer from Job For a Cowboy and the bassist from The Red Chord.

So I went into this album with Converge as the bar by which I was going to be measuring it. It did not disappoint. This is not a love letter to Morbid Angel, though you can hear their influence in places. I would have been let down if this had been a color-by-numbers death metal album. Continue reading »

Apr 012020


We have SO MUCH planned for your enjoyment at NCS today, but I made a last-minute decision to begin with this interactive post (at least I hope it will become interactive).

Last night a metalhead friend sent me a Facebook message asking: “If you happen to have some scuzzy, vile, positively abrasive new music that you can put up or recommend my way, I’d certainly appreciate the fuck out of it.” I have my own plentiful stockpile of such stuff, but I thought I’d reach out for other ideas. So I posted his request on FB and asked for recommendations. I mentioned that I didn’t think my friend was a big black metal fan, so suggested that BM should probably be filtered out of the suggestions. Other than that, I asked people to open up the sewers on me.

And I did get suggestions, which I decided to leave below. And I further decided this morning to make an open call to anyone reading this post to leave your own recommendations in the Comments for our mutual benefit (but here there’s no need for you to filter out black metal). So go ahead, open up the sewers on me — and remember that the subject of the request is for scuzzy, vile, positively abrasive that’s NEW (or at least new-ish). Continue reading »