Dec 192019


Although I have many things to be proud of about what we’ve accomplished at NCS in helping spread the word about worthy music, I have many regrets too, one of which is our failure to pay more attention to the immensely accomplished Swiss band Unhold. That failure is all the more shameful because Unhold are now five albums deep into their career. The most recent of those, Here Is the Blood, was released in November 2018 by Czar of Bullets, and represents the pinnacle of their significant achievements so far.

Briefly summarizing the music on that album (or really, on any of its predecessors) is a daunting challenge, as is any effort to provide a pithy genre description. References to post-metal, sludge, doom, and hardcore might be useful, but don’t really give you much guidance about how fascinatingly Unhold have combined those stylistic ingredients (and others) in ways that dynamically create such a wide range of emotionally powerful and often transportive experiences, ranging from mesmerizingly beautiful to crushingly bleak and compulsively body-shaking — and much else besides.

But while we’ve regrettably neglected Here Is the Blood since its release, we do have a chance to make partial amends today by premiering a new single entitled “Barren” which was recorded in the same sessions that produced that album. This new single is not only well worth having in its own right but also should serve as an inducement for people who haven’t heard that album to check it out immediately. Continue reading »

Sep 192018


Here’s a mid-week collection of new songs that have struck a chord in my listening over the last day or two, and have the added benefit of presenting a range of styles and moods, increasing the odds that you’ll find something to like as well.


1914 are based in Lviv, Ukraine. Their debut album Eschatology of War was released at the end of 2015 by Archaic Sound. As the band’s name suggests, they have devoted themselves to exploring the horrors of World War I in their music. That’s rare subject matter in metal, and for that reason alone I decided to explore that first album, and came away mightily impressed by its blending of samples from period songs and punishing hellfire, and by its agile balancing of musical elements from black, death, doom, and even progressive metal. I wrote at the time: Continue reading »