Jan 142023


No, this isn’t a weather report on what’s happening in California this Saturday. The post title is just a sign that I decided to “go big” with today’s collection of new songs and videos.

The time it takes me to write up each day’s selections for our 2022 Most Infectious Song list (and surely you’ve been looking at those, haven’t you?) has prevented me from doing any “Seen and Heard” round-ups since January 4th, and consequently the pile of new things has grown to mountainous proportions. Hence the temptation to make this roundup a big one, even though what remains still looks like a mountain.

On the other hand, today IS a Saturday, and coming up I have both a work meeting and an NFL football playoff game I need to watch, even though the odds of our local team winning are remote, so to save time I’ve mostly dispensed with album art and order links, and cut back on the usual verbiage. I’ve organized these according to genre and style. Don’t forget I’ll have another column tomorrow, devoted to shades of black metal. Continue reading »

Feb 272020


Once gain I’m resorting to the round-up format I use when I’ve run out of time to provide my own scintillating commentary about each of the new songs and videos I’ve chosen to throw your way. For the most part, you’ll just have to listen and then imagine how eloquent and evocative I would have been.

In compiling today’s large selection, which is presented in alphabetical order, I had assistance from my colleague DGR. In fact, he recommended six of the 11 items you’ll find here.



This new Abysmal Dawn track, “The Path Of The Totalitarian“, is the second single from the band’s new album Phylogenesis, out April 17th on Season Of Mist. Continue reading »

May 212016

Sol Sistere-Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum


Over the last week I’ve accumulated a long list of new advance tracks and recent releases that I’d like to recommend. As usual, it’s too much stuff for me to cover completely or in depth. What I’m planning to do is make two collections for this weekend, focusing on black (and blackened) metal, and then compile some additional releases for a Seen and Heard post on Monday. So here’s the first part of a two-part Shades of Black post; the second one will appear tomorrow.


Sol Sistere are a Chilean melodic/atmospheric black metal band composed of veteran members from other groups. Their debut album Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum (which follows a 2014 EP on the Pest Productions label) is set for CD release on June 6 by Hammerheart Records, but a digital version of the album has recently become available for download on the label’s Bandcamp page.

Hammerheart describes the music as a “combination of past elements such as Dissection, Vinterland and Dawn, completed by influences of today” — referring to such bands as Altar of Plagues, Drudkh, and Wodensthrone. These are all worthy reference points, and pretty accurate ones as well (though there’s also a noticeable post-metal ingredient in play as well). This album was intriguing on a first listen and my affections for it have only grown stronger with repeat spins. (The album cover by Misanthropic-Art is also fantastic.) Continue reading »

Oct 062013

(This is a belated concert review, but I’ve also included streams of each band’s recent recorded music for those who may be unfamiliar with them.)

On the night of September 24, 2013 (and the early morning of September 25), a group of friends and I turned out at Seattle’s Highline venue to catch EsotericVelnias, and Saturnalia Temple, who have just finished a U.S. tour, plus Seattle’s Anhedonist, who opened the show. The very cool tour poster up there on the right is by David D’Andrea and Ben Vierling.

Highline has become my favorite place to listen to metal in Seattle. They book cult bands, they draw an adult crowd who know their metal (it’s 21+), and they know how to make a cocktail. It’s a great place to watch a show because it’s small, and because it used to serve food (and may still again), it has tables and chairs where the more decrepit patrons can take a load off between sets. Not talking about myself of course.

The foursome on the bill this night — headlined by an influential band on their first US tour in a 20-year career — drew a big crowd. For me, it turned into an endurance contest: would I survive almost four straight hours of almost unremitting dooooooooom or would the building collapse first from the weight of the music?


I had been looking forward to hearing Anhedonist live for a long time, having missed way too many of their shows around town. Their most recent release, Netherwards, appeared on a bunch of the year-end lists we published in 2012 (including lists from many other ‘zines and sites), and it really is a triumph of multidimensional death/doom. After hearing their set at Highline, I was kicking myself for having let so much time go by. Continue reading »

Jul 252012

(NCS guest contributor Mike Yost attended the Denver stop of Agalloch’s current tour with Taurus on July 17, 2012, and graciously shared this review with us.  It also appears on Mike’s own blog, Remnants of Words.)

It was just after 5pm, and I was pacing back and forth in my apartment, trying to watch a movie.  The concert didn’t start until 8pm, and I was attempting to exercise some patience.  Then I thought to myself:  “Fuck patience.  And fuck exercise, too!”  I grabbed my ticket, some cash for swag, and my ID.  I ran out the door, jogging (not walking) toward the theater where Agalloch was going to play.

Normally I wouldn’t stand in line for two-and-a-half hours to see a concert.  Nowadays I’m more content to hang back and enjoy the music with a cold beer in my hand.  But Agalloch isn’t just some nominal band rolling through town, and this wasn’t going to be just another show.

The concert was at Denver’s Bluebird Theater.  An official historical landmark, the brick building is one year shy of being a century old.  It was once a movie house, and its maximum capacity is only 500.  This creates an intimate atmosphere between the crowd and the band.  Best of all, it’s only a fifteen-minute walk from my apartment. Continue reading »