Apr 062021
 

 

Ever since discovering VEGAS (aka VVEGAS and V.E.G.A.S.) through their four-song EP Sagevisule in 2014, I’ve been repeatedly transfixed by their music. In their own words, their shifting amalgams of metal and hardcore embrace the “confrontational nature of Japanese punks G.I.S.M. via early-80’s ferocity of LIFE’S BLOOD & apocalyptic tenets of bands like INTEGRITY“, but passing time has seen them draw in other ingredients as well. The inability to predict exactly what they will do from release to release is part of the attraction — along with the persistently visceral intensity that burns at the core of every recording.

They also don’t let much grass grow beneath their feet. Their most recent album …not ever appeared last summer, but they’ve already been hard at work on a new one. Hints of it surfaced through singles that were scattered through the remaining months of last year, and most recently in a track named “Recovery” that was released last month. But we’ve been privy to even more of what the new album holds in store, with an advance peak at 10 pre-mastered tracks (four more are also in various other stages of completion). Continue reading »

Dec 252020
 

 

Childhood memories tend to be fuzzy, at least around the edges. I have some vivid ones, but can’t always place them in chronological order. For example, I have some very clear memories of opening Christmas presents with my brother, and the rest of my family happily watching our glee. Some of those happened on Christmas Eve, and some upon waking on Christmas Day. Having been infected by the Santa Claus myth, I assume the memories from the daybreak celebrations were the earlier ones, and the nighttime ones happened after our family figured out (rightly or wrongly) that we had wised up about the myth, but I can’t be sure.

What I do know is that the nighttime gift-openings were more magical, even if they didn’t square with the notion of deliveries by Santa and the reindeer while my brother and I were off in the Land of Nod. Maybe it’s because the lights and ornaments on the Yule trees shown more brightly (our family wisely turned off all other lights in the room). Maybe there are other reasons why those memories are more scintillating, but if so, those reasons are… fuzzy… kind of like the gauzy light that shrouds these recollections in my mind. Continue reading »

Oct 312020
 


Benighted – photo by Anthony Dubois

 

While slugging coffee this morning I got my daily text-message alert from the county health department reminding me that the safest way to celebrate Halloween is to stay inside my home. As if I needed that fucking reminder, on top of all the other miserable reminders that this Samhain will be like no other in our lifetimes.

I can’t even count the predictable absence of trick-or-treaters as a silver lining to this cloud, because they never came around our place even before the pandemic made that a potentially self-destructive choice. The screaming of the loris horde and the carefully-placed pools of guts might have had something to do with that.

So, most of us will have to celebrate the most metal day of the year stuck inside playing with ourselves our pets and trying to forget that global infections are now setting new records, that the U.S. set its own new record yesterday with more than 99,000 new cases (!), and that Sean Connery died. What a fucking year it’s been, and still two months of fresh hell to go before it ends.

But we can still listen to the devil’s music tonight, and here at NCS we need to do our part to enliven that experience and help you forget. So here’s an extravagantly-sized playlist of mostly brand new songs and videos that I assembled this morning.

BENIGHTED (France)

If you haven’t had enough breeeeee in your diet, we’ll fix that right away. Also included in the food groups within this first dish are cyclotron-speed drumming, incendiary riffage, back-breaking grooves, splendid blaring chords, carnivorous roaring, and a generally rabid approach to life. Continue reading »

Jun 042020
 

 

I’m way behind in compiling round-ups of new music and video streams, but nevertheless I thought I’d use this time to recommend a collection of recently released EPs, and to offer a few words about a forthcoming split. All but one of the EPs are debut releases; the one that’s not is actually a preview of a forthcoming album. The split comes from two well-known bands (at least in the underground) whom we’ve written about extensively in the past.  Sadly, I don’t have any music streams from the split that I can share with you at this point, which makes its inclusion here a rarity.

As you can see, I divided this collection into two parts, with the second half coming later today.

HERESIARCH / ANTEDILUVIAN

The split I just mentioned is entitled Defleshing the Serpent Infinity. It will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on July 31st. New Zealand’s Heresiarch contributes three tracks to the split, and Canada’s Antediluvian joins in with two. Continue reading »

Sep 162014
 

Five years ago I didn’t own any 7″ vinyl records. I can’t even remember reading about any 7″ vinyl records five years ago, at least in the realm of metal (though I hasten to add that the darker, deeper corners of the underground were largely unknown to me back then). My how things have changed.

Though I’d venture a guess that most 7″ records today are being released by smaller underground labels, it seems like everyone is getting into that game. What’s more, some of the best songs you’re likely to hear this year are waiting to be discovered on these small vinyl releases rather than on full-length albums (and fortunately, many of them are also being made available for download, for the record-player-challenged in the audience).

Here are three examples of superb 7″ releases from 2014 that I’ve discovered quite recently (thanks to a Facebook post by Krieg’s Neill Jameson). You’ll understand why I’ve grouped these three together after you hear them.

VEGAS

VEGAS is an acronym, which stands for “V.ermouth E.quilibrium G.hanoush A.sphyxia S.onata“. The band’s members are scattered around the globe, but I couldn’t tell you their names because they don’t exactly publicize them. They trace their musical inspiration to such bands as Japan’s G.I.S.M. and hardcore heavyweights Integrity. I was unfamiliar with them (because I only dabble in hardcore and crust) until hearing their new four-song 7″, Sagevisule.

This is bleak, multi-faceted, throat-gripping music — an amalgamation of riveting melodies (including acoustic ones!), massive riffs that slam with the weight of sledgehammers, bone-smashing percussion, and a combo of bearlike vocal roaring and shrieking blood spray. The pacing varies from doom-stricken stomps to crust-punk rampages, with incinerating guitar solos and head-smashing breakdowns to add extra punch. And goddamn, this thing really punches hard. Continue reading »