Sep 282023

VOLA – photo by Heli Andrea

(Denver-based NCS writer Gonzo had himself a hell of a good time at a show about two weeks ago, and made time to show his appreciation in the following review.)

Denmark’s VOLA has always been a fascinating band to me. On one hand, their sound is an angular, merciless assortment of riffs that pay homage to the likes of Meshuggah, while on the other hand, one could be forgiven for comparing their vocals to that of Radiohead.

It sounds like a confusing juxtaposition on paper. But the way these Danes (and one Swede) in VOLA have cultivated their sound into its final form is no less remarkable. Their 2022 album Witness was a favorite of mine from that year and continues to get much of my attention now.

When they announced their biggest North American run yet, I circled the date on my calendar and let the excitement build. My hopes were already high, but the addition of Finland’s Wheel and Boston’s Bent Knee as supporting acts only bolstered the anticipation levels.

The result, as it turned out, would be a night I would not soon forget. Continue reading »

Jul 022021

Photo by Jørn Steen

(Today we launch what we hope will be a long-recurring column by our contributor Gonzo in which he spotlights favorite releases from the month just ended.)

No matter how much ground we cover at NCS on a daily, weekly, and even monthly basis, there’s always some music lurking in some dark corner of the metal universe that gets overlooked somehow. Some of that is, of course, by design – we don’t typically highlight the bigger names you’ll see in larger publications; we tend to reach farther down the smoldering depths of the metal underbelly for the stuff that doesn’t get as much exposure.

Earlier this year, I tried to keep up with a New Music Friday weekly column that was, unfortunately, all too short-lived. I blame my day job, in which I also write for a living (though it’s much less satisfying than heaping profanity-laced praise upon my favorite music.)

So, given the aforementioned constraints, Islander has been kind enough to green-light my latest idea: A monthly column dedicated to the bands, songs, and albums that I want to highlight from that month, without double-dipping into territory that’s already been covered.

Enough backstory – let’s dig into what kicked ass in June (and late May, since this is post #1.). The lead band was once in a deep, dark corner, but no longer is. Continue reading »

Nov 232020



(For the second (or is it the third?) time, our editor (that would be me) screwed up and didn’t get Gonzo’s Friday music round-up posted before having to turn to non-NCS work, but we’ll just pretend again that Monday is the new Friday. Hope you have a good weekend on Tuesday.)

Doing what you love for a living can often be the ultimate study in double-edged swords, in the sense that getting paid to do it all day makes doing it for fun… somewhat less fun.

In this case, I’m talking about writing. The past month has seen me doing a lot of it, and unfortunately, the bulk of that has gone towards my new day job instead of describing the dark and devastating tones found here at NCS.

Today is Friday, though, and my chronic addiction to loud music is overtaking any professional obligations. For now.

Join me as I blast out some words about some new shit you can crank up and bang your head to. Continue reading »

Sep 172016



The rule stated in explicit terms in the title of this site has been riddled with exceptions beginning even in the early years, and it has become more riddled over time. But on a percentage basis, it’s still mainly THE RULE. Why then does this post exist?

I suppose even I need a short break from the generally bestial and infernal ferocity that’s my daily metal bread and butter. And these songs happen to have struck a chord, despite the fact that the singing is mostly clean and most of the music relies more on syncopated rhythms and a particularly recognizable guitar sound than what I usually listen to.

Perhaps something here will also prove appealing to you. And if not, there will be a Shades of Black Post on Sunday, and you know what that means.
Continue reading »