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 »

Jul 202015



(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the previous month.)

June is long gone, but alas, there’s music that needs some light shed upon it!

Apologies for the delay on this one. Life finds a way – to get in the way of my getting this done faster. Thanks, Dr. Malcolm, for the line!

How good was June? It was loaded like a politician’s rhetoric, but not vomit-inducing. In other words, lots of audible goodies! A lot of styles represented, too, possibly being the month with the most diversity thus far.

Let it begin!


Chaotic as they are potent, Abyssal’s third album displays a band who continue to hone their craft to devastating effect. This sublime combination of black, death, and doom metal is so crushing that it gives a dinosaur a run for its money. There’s also a little bit more melody than the previous two discs, which is used to great effect. Continue reading »

May 262015


(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Vattnet Viskar.)

I am glad this album doesn’t sound like its cover. After the first note you are assured that it won’t. If this is black metal it’s a very American take on it. They bring the blasting to an end for “Yearn” as they morph into more of a sludge band. There is even a tinge of melody beneath the rasp of the vocals, which are mid-ranged and overdriven at the mixing board by Sanford Parker. ”Yearn” is woven through some interesting twists and turns, before the point is pounded home and it’s time for heads to bang. This tends to be carried out in a meaner feel than Sky Swallower. Credit goes to the wider dynamic scope allowing the heavy sections to feel heavier, despite the album’s crisp production.

Slamming a blast of well-mixed double bass right into your fucking face, Vattnet Viskar make “Impact” live up to the song’s name. Like any lasting piece of art, more reveals itself when you return to it, like the doubled gang vocals that were hidden til the third listen. Continue reading »

May 022015


Happy Saturday to all you motherfuckers (and I say that with the greatest affection and respect). A lot of new music videos appeared in the interhole yesterday, and here I’ve collected four of them — plus one somewhat older video that I was tipped to earlier in the week. So grab a big bucket of buttered popcorn, turn down the lights, mute your cell phones, and prepare to be entertained.


The new video for Misery Index is set to the music of “The Harrowing”, which is one of the best songs on one of last year’s best albums, The Killing Gods. The video was made by David Hall (Handshake Inc.), who also directed a previous video for the album for “The Calling” and whose work for other bands we’ve featured here on many occasions.

The new one incorporates film of the band performing on their European tour last summer, new performance footage shot by Jeff Grindstopher, some of the excellent artwork that Gary Ronaldson (Bite Radius Designs) created for the album, and a creepy narrative about a group of Zodiac-style killers. Continue reading »

Jul 072014

Here are two North American tours announced this morning that are worth mentioning.


In our first post this morning I included a report from Metal Hammer based on an interview with Gojira’s frontman Joe Duplantier that the Gojira would be touring with Mastodon this October. There were no further details then, but there are now.

In addition to the pairing of Mastodon and Gojira, the tour will also include Norway’s Kvelertak and it will include dates in both the U.S. and Canada. A pre-sale for tickets and a limited number of VIP packages will become available this Wednesday, July 9, at 10 a.m. local venue time. General sales will begin on July 11.

Here’s the schedule (sadly for me, they’re skipping Seattle this time): Continue reading »

Sep 052013

Century Media released Vattnet Viskar’s debut album Sky Swallower on September 3 in North America and it will be out on September 9 in Europe). Previously we featured the first advance track from the album, “Apex”. Not long ago a second song from the album debuted via a music video — “Breath of the Almighty”.

I can’t watch it or listen to it at my current location. I can merely embed it and then come back here when I get a better internet connection and say something. But of course by then you will have seen it, if you know what’s good for you. Here it is: Continue reading »

Sep 052013

The last time we featured Gothenburg’s Deals Death (here) was way back in April 2012. Their debut album on the Spinefarm label (Elite) had recently been released and they had just premiered a video for the song “Collapse”. In typically eloquent fashion, I wrote that “it pushes all those ‘Fuckitall, let’s headbang!’ buttons.”

Now we have a new video, and a new album on the way, with a September 13 European release date. The album is named Point Zero Solution, and the video is for the title track. And guess what? It pushes all those headbang buttons again.

The video was directed by Patric Ullaeus, who’s a real pro at this kind of thing, so it’s a slick production. Lots of fireballs and contrasts between light and shadow, and of course plenty of opportunities to admire (or get jealous over) frontman Olle Ekman’s impressive physique. The song plays to Deals Death’s strengths, which is to say it’s a thundering gallop of wild-eyed, flame-maned Gothenburgian stallions, all pounding hooves and compulsive riffs, with Ekman’s glass-scraping howls and brief keyboard notes rising above the fray. Continue reading »

Aug 202013

As you may have surmised if you read today’s first post, I was immersed in live metal from about 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon until late last night. But before the immersion began, I found some new things while stumbling through the interhole yesterday that I thought were worth some attention, and here they be:


Way back in January, we reported the bombshell news that Tuomas Saukkonen had decided to shut down all of his previous musical projects — Before The Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Routasielu, Dawn Of Solace, and Final Harvest — and start a completely new one under the name Wolfheart. At the same time, he released a teaser of new Wolfheart music. And yesterday he released another one, along with info about the new Wolfheart album, including the ethereal cover art by Heino Brandt (above).

The album’s name is Winterborn and it includes 9 tracks, except that if you pre-order the album now you’ll get a download code for two bonus tracks that will accompany the CD when it ships. The release date is October 11.  Continue reading »