Dec 192021


News flash: If you don’t get shit-faced at night, sleep half the next day away and wake up with a crippling hangover, you can get more stuff done. Unlike last weekend, I didn’t do any of that this weekend. Turns out that parking on the couch with snoozing cats and watching movies while sipping moderate amounts of booze works out a lot better when it comes to writing for NCS the next day. And so I got this column done in time to blacken the sabbath, as usual.

The following selections are a reminder that lots of new music is still coming out near year-end, even though it’s less likely to get noticed now. We still have the winter solstice ahead of us, and especially in the pagan-influenced realms of black metal we’ll undoubtedly see a surge that day, even with only 10 days left in 2021 at that point. By all means, enjoy all the YE lists that are coming out here and elsewhere, but don’t completely take your eyes off what else December is bringing us.


Anything connected to the NYBM band Yellow Eyes is going to be worth a listen, and that’s certainly true of Ustalost, even if you missed the project’s tremendous full-length debut in 2016 (The Spoor of Vipers). The connection in this case is that Yellow Eyes vocalist/guitarist Will Skarstad is the man behind Ustalost. Under the Ustalost name he released a new album named Before the Glinting Spell Unvests on December 17th (via Gilead Media). Continue reading »

Nov 082020


I spent a joyful day yesterday, though I was rooted in front of the TV instead of listening to metal. But the good feeling carried over into this morning as I began listening to things, and in rapid succession found music that just seemed to fit together beautifully for this column. The arc of sounds as I’ve arranged them here was almost exactly the sequence in which I heard them, and I’ve kept it that way even though not everything here qualifies as black metal.

What made the experience even more thrilling was that five of the seven bands here were new to my ears (some of the music comes from debut releases).


I don’t have to spend a lot of time formulating words to describe Stormkeep’sGlass Caverns Of Dragon Kings“, because Jon Rosenthal did his usual excellent job in writing about it when Invisible Oranges premiered the track two days ago: Continue reading »

Aug 092020


My wife insists that there’s no such thing as “catching up” on sleep, that getting 10 hours of sleep doesn’t really make up for getting 5 hours of sleep the night before. All I know is that today the bags under my eyes look more like satchels than the usual fully packed duffels. But the 10 hours of slumber I got last night produced a late start on this column this morning, and thus a bit of hurrying in both the selections and the writing.

Still, I’m happy with what I chose and hope you will be too. As for the writing, well, it’s of secondary importance after all

0-NUN (Brazil)

The discovery of 0-Nun‘s debut EP The Shamanic Trilogy Part I – Nihility Ascetics proved to be a big bright spot at 2020’s mid-point. As the title suggests, it was the first part of a conceptual work, which 0-Nun describes as follows: “It deals with the notions of inexistence, nothingness, void and all absence of being but in a shamanic way. It is a paradox per se: it portrays what is not from a conscience perspective”. Continue reading »

Jun 212020


I had a big block of uninterrupted time to myself yesterday afternoon, with my spouse out of the house at a safe birthday celebration and the cats sleeping. So of course I spent the time digging through my list of new black metal(ish) music in preparation for this column. You see the results: More time means more picks.


I have Cvlt Nation to thank for this first discovery. The introduction to their premiere was brief and didn’t include much detail about the music, but the blaring headline did the job: “Listen To Non Serviam’s Salem – It’s Depraved And Sick! This Band Sounds Like NO OTHER!” I also thought the cover image was fantastic, and so decided to see what was going on with the music. Continue reading »

May 172020


Well, it’s already late in the day, so I’ll dispense with introductory blather and just get right to it.


Potencée d’Or” first appeared on this French band’s debut demo T.R.I.A.D.E back in 2008. Along with three other tracks from that demo, it has been “re-imagined” and re-recorded for the band’s new album (and their last one) Initiatio. The album also includes a revised version of “Monumentum” from the Archivum MMV-MMX demo dating to 2010, plus four new compositions, including two ambient numbers recorded live with the help of Frater Stéphane (N.K.R.T., Rosa Crux). Continue reading »