Jul 032020


I’m mindful of the fact that today Bandcamp is waiving its revenue share, which means that more of the money you throw at Bandcamp releases today will land in the pockets of bands and labels. So I’m trying to make a lot of recommendations, many of which were included in Part 1 of this post. But I’m also mindful of the fact that time is running out. And so although this Part 2 of today’s collection consists of complete releases rather than individual songs, I’m not attempting anything close to reviews, just a few words of description and recommendation.

Needless to say, there are dozens of other recent releases I could have included here (2020 has been ridiculously strong for metal, IMO), so there’s more than a bit of randomness in the choices I made. Nevertheless, I back each of these wholeheartedly. (I should add that this collection is heavy on the black and blackened metal, because that’s where I’ve spent a lot of my recent listening time.)


A beautiful and ravishing split that includes not only a great Amiensus song but also the magnificent return of Adora Vivos after a 7-year silence, a band that includes former Amiensus multi-instrumentalist J. Waller (on both Restoration and Ascension) and Amiensus vocalist/guitarist James Benson. This one won’t leave you the same way it found you. Continue reading »

May 132020


As you can see, it’s time for another gigantic round-up. I took extra time and included artwork for this installment. I’m also very happy with the variety of what I chose, which I’ll forewarn you includes a batch of songs at the end which include singing.


Two tracks off the new album by this death metal band from Santiago De Querétaro, Mexico, are now streaming. They provide vivid reminders of just how good Question are, providing ravaging vocals, unpredictable rhythmic shifts, and equally surprising fretwork that moves the music in eerie and freakish directions while also generating an atmosphere of unearthly menace and unhinged mania. Continue reading »

Jun 172018


I’m well aware that a lot of black metal fans out there are hard to please when it comes to new releases. Some of them, yawning or rolling their eyes, find most current black metal bands too slavishly devoted to what has been done before, re-treading riffs and blasts and particular approaches to production rather than attempting or succeeding in creating music that sounds genuinely creative. Others, gnashing their teeth or choking on their own disgust, find a lot of bands unworthy of the name “black metal”, bastardizing the music to the point of fracturing it or acting the part of charlatans without true spirit or devotion.

I, on the other hand, find it very difficult to compile these Sunday posts because every week I have more to like than I have time to write about what I’ve enjoyed. I have this same problem in other genres of metal. Maybe my tastes are too catholic (small “c”), maybe I’m not sufficiently discerning or demanding. At least I can’t legitimately be accused of dishonesty — I truly like the music I recommend to you. And I try to provide variety in these posts because I’m well aware it won’t all appeal to everyone. If you make only one new discovery that you think is worth your time, then it will have been worth my time. And if not, there’s always next week…. Continue reading »

Aug 182017


(We are very happy to welcome Kaptain Carbon back to NCS with this feature on a series of forthcoming 2017 releases by a label known as VrasubatlatKaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)

This is not the first time I have written about Vrasubatlat, nor do I believe it will be the last. Over the course of these past years, I have become enamored with the output from this Pacific Northwest label. Aesthetic is important in heavy metal, and the bands that revolve around the universe of Vrasubatlat all seem to be circling the same themes. While each of the bands represented on the label has its own personality, the general tone of spiritual violence, existential ruin, and transcendental obliteration seem to make a solid foundation.

I have decided to wait until now to discuss the recent and future releases from Vrasubatlat. Perhaps I can only experience this type of music in segments, as too much would leave me inverted and eviscerated. Through this showcase and review, I will most certainly be using flowery and colorful descriptions. Part of this is just a writing style, but the other is to express the immersion into unsettling waters. Vrasubatlat is certainly not the end of harsh and dissonant sounds but they are certainly a label with an energetic spirit for it and a lack of caring for others.

Below are a list of releases and new demos from new projects from 2017. I feel fortunate to hear these demos before their release date like some sort of chosen prophet who sees imminent doom in the stars. What I can tell you is that this label, while already ornery and antisocial, has found new ways to describe disgust. Continue reading »

Aug 182016



(We are happy to have Kaptain Carbon back with us. On this visit, he helps to commemorate the 10th release of a label called VrasubatlatKaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)

It is no secret Vrasubatlat has recently become one of my recent favorite labels and collectives of bands. If you read my previous column on some of my favorite demos of 2016, you will see a glowing endorsement at the top of the page. It is only because this label keeps putting out music that I keep wanting to write about. Once they stop, I will stop as well. I do not know what to tell you. There is just something appealing about music when it feels like an open wound.

This article is to celebrate Vrasubatlat’s tenth release in two years, as well as introduce others to the wild and hellish world of black / death with social issues. Continue reading »

Jul 072016



(Kaptain Carbon returns to NCS with this feature on black and death metal demos. Kaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)

Islander and No Clean Singing have been champs regarding my sometimes insane focus when it comes to articles. I remember at the last Maryland Death Festival I met Islander for two seconds and the first thing I mentioned to him was “Thanks so much for letting me write about Dungeon Synth.” I am in the process of writing the second part on that series but I have decided to do an article more in line with the site’s ethos. Black and death demos. Hopefully he will let me keep being weird.

Demos have been of immense interest to me because they are an entity whose intent has changed over the years, particularly since the era of the digital internet landscape began. Artists can release full-length albums to fans without the need for a record label intermediary. Demos were originally intended as a demonstration to labels, which could lead to albums and further releases with that label’s support. While this seems like a dream of the halcyon days of big labels, the process of demo to album still exists in underground metal, albeit slightly different in intent. Continue reading »