Jan 092023

One week of this list behind us, a new week ahead, and we begin it with a trio of songs from albums that made blockbuster impacts on many of us who toil away at this site.


More often than not when you have an album as good as Complete Control, you’ll have more than one song that might qualify as “infectious”. That is certainly true of the latest full-length by Misery Index. No shock there, because this band has so much talent in the ranks that it would be unfair if extreme metal bands were in competition with each other (at some brutishly rudimentary economic level, you might think they’re in competition for limited consumer dollars, but if any underground bands think that way I’m pretty sure Misery Index isn’t one of them). Continue reading »

Jul 142022

(Andy Synn reviews Thought Form Descent, the upcoming sixth album from Canada’s Wake)

They say that the only constant in life is change – and Wake‘s discography is a prime example of this.

Casting an eye/ear over their back-catalogue you can observe their sound evolving, little by little, with each and every release, but 2020’s Devouring Ruin was such a quantum-leap that I think even the band themselves must have been surprised by what they had created.

Perhaps that’s why their new album, Thought Form Descent (scheduled for release next Friday) feels more reflective – though still blisteringly intense – than anything they’ve ever done before… because they’ve finally taken the time to take stock of who they are, where they’ve come from, and what they might become.

Continue reading »

Jun 182022


A Friday night spent carousing followed by a lazy Saturday morning doesn’t make a good predicate for a Saturday music roundup. And yes, I was languid this morning, rather than hungover, after exercising rare restraint on the alcohol last night. But though functional today, I wasn’t feeling motivated. The cool, gray, damp weather outside may have had something to do with that. While the rest of the country seems to be an oven, I was luxuriating in a Pacific Northwest gift.

And then, and then, I still spent an hour and a half flitting through a list of new songs and videos I’d made in as the week went by. Finally, I made these picks.

MANTAR (U.S./Germany)

Mantar have a new look, at least for the video you’re about to see, and new stylistic ingredients in the music too, but they haven’t forsaken their visceral intensity. It pours out through the vocals, which reach shattering zeniths (and also bring Kurt Cobain to mind at times), and through the angst-ridden but soaring riffs and keys, and the booming and battering drums. It’s also damned difficult to get out of the head once you’ve heard it. Continue reading »

May 062022


It’s another Bandcamp Friday today, when a bigger share of the money you spend on that platform goes to the artists and labels. So I made an extra effort to pull together a roundup of new songs and videos, even though I don’t have time to make it as extensive as I’d like. Here’s what caught my eyes and ears over the last 24 hours — and I’ll have more stuff to recommend on Saturday.

WAKE (Canada)

I’m starting with a new song and video for “Swallow the Light“, a track off these NCS-favorites’ new album Thought Form Descent. Its slashing and searing chords, electrifying drumwork, and torrid vocals will get your blood pumping, even as it creates moods of anguish, fear, confusion, and derangement. Often white-hot in its intensity, it will also give your neck a good workout. Continue reading »

Apr 012020


(We present DGR’s detailed review of the new album by Canada’s Wake, which was just released on March 27th by Translation Loss Records.)

If you’ve been following the site recently you might’ve spotted the massive review collections fellow NCS writer Andy Synn has kicked out. Among the many groups covered (here) were Seattle black metal newcomers Izthmi and their disc The Arrows Of Our Ways. The Arrows Of Our Ways is a rare album, one amongst a packed genre that somehow manages to encapsulate the entirety of its current scene within its track list. The music presents a perfect snapshot of where their scene was at that exact moment — slight hints towards the future but mostly a perfect picture of the hive of activity and creativity that currently exists within their own spectrum, as if the band had shot an arrow of their own right through the center of it, as if competing in a musical archery event.

There are certain bands who have become masters at performing this specific act, adding to and molding their musical core to often reflect where the band members’ heads are at that exact moment, as well as providing the musical snapshot discussed above. If Izthmi managed to do so for their specific subset of black metal, so too have Canada’s Wake. They have become experts at providing deep musical looks into their world at the specific moments when each of their five albums has been released, including their newest album Devouring Ruin — a disc that captures much of the current crust, grind, and overall underground metal scene by adapting and molding it to their own noisy purposes, and in the process releasing an album almost twice as long as its noise- and grind-heavy predecessor Misery Rites. Continue reading »

Dec 242019


Contrary to an accusation that one of my NCS comrades recently leveled at another one, I don’t hate fun. In fact, I love it, and I enjoy seeing other people have fun. And so, although the imminent Christmas holiday means nothing to me, I’m sure I speak for all of us here (except maybe one of us) in wishing you some joy.

To ameliorate the possibility that you will have nothing in your stocking but a lump of coal because you’ve been so baaaad, and to help relieve the brain death that the stresses of the holiday season demonstrably produce, here are a few gifts from us to you.


This New Jersey death metal band turned out a hell of a debut album in 2018’s Negative Life, which Steve Schwegler (of Pyrrhon, Seputus, and Weeping Sores) beauatifully reviewed for us. I’ll excerpt just a few of his thoughts about that album: Continue reading »

Feb 272019


I feel like I should subtitle this installment of the list “The DeathGrind Bloc”, or at least “The DGR Bloc”.

Heretofore, I haven’t included much grindcore, of the deathly variety or not, on this list. It’s not that I don’t enjoy grind. In fact, as a mechanism for achieving a cathartic release through the kind of violent fury that would land me in jail if I tried to act it out myself, it’s hard to beat. But for some reason I don’t often encounter grind songs that have the kind of catchiness and distinctive memorability that would make them “infectious”, as I conceive that classification.

In the case of the three songs below, I think they pass that test. Or maybe I’ve just fallen too far under the influence of my comrade DGR, who recommended each of these songs for the list, and reviewed two of the three albums that include them — hence that other subtitle.


I think it’s likely that during the more than 9 years NCS has been in existence, we’ve written about Aborted more than any other band (and by “we”, I mean every one of the longest-standing writers for our site). I count 36 articles, which include premieres of songs and full albums, interviews, show reviews, commentary about a host of advance tracks, and even a previous appearance on the 2014 edition of this Most Infectious Song list — not to mention appearances on year-end lists, which I didn’t attempt to count.

So yes, we have a soft spot in our hearts for Aborted, or at least a soft spot in our skulls, which becomes softer and more worn-down with each new Aborted release. Continue reading »

Jan 022019


(Here’s the third installment of DGR’s 5-part year-end effort to sink our site beneath an avalanche of words and a deluge of music.)

Now that I’ve broken it out from the tremendous bulk of the rest of my year-end collective, I’m amused by how much world traveling this specific subset of the list does. It spends a surprising amount of time in France (which has done very well for itself these past few years), some time in the States, some time in Australia, and even manages to touch base with both Canada and Sweden for a few. It is also probably the most varied intsallment so far — the tech-death crews make a strong play here, but you’ll also start seeing some of the prefix-core resurgence that happened recently, as well as some ugly-as-fuck grind (on two fronts). And then there’s however in the hell Author & Punisher might be described.

Oh, did I spoil that Author & Punisher is making an appearance here? Whoops. Well too bad, Beastland is fucking killer but if you want to know why you’ll have to read on and see just where the San Diego noise-engineer found himself. There’s still a lot of list left to go, and knowing me, at least two-thousand more words of intro paragraph left to be written somewhere so let’s get the third chunk of this motherfucker going. Continue reading »

Feb 282018


(Here’s DGR’s review of the new album by Wake from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.)


Some albums take a while to review. On a personal note: I’ve always been the type to really want to listen to a disc a ton, really learn what each song is about, how it flows, get a general sense of what informed the disc, before writing about it.

Going from a first glance often feels like criminally short-changing bands sometimes, although by that same token the first impression can also be an immensely valuable take on things in a world where time is incredibly limited, and some — like many of our readers here, given the constant refrains about how much music we post — have limited listening time. So it doesn’t hurt to have a sense of immediacy in the delivery.

And therein lies the opposing side of the “album that takes a while to review”. You have the ones that are so up-front, so immediate, the kind that grab you by the throat and ragdoll you around the room so quickly that you can’t help but almost immediately lock-in with the group’s chosen sense of ferocity. The urgency with which the material is delivered becomes the driving force behind it.

Those album’s don’t take nearly as long, because as a listener you can recognize every aspect and every weapon deployed from moment one, and from there the experience becomes more about how a band uses them and with what amount of lethal auditory force. And that brings us to the recently released Misery Rites, by Canadian noise-heavy grinders Wake. Continue reading »

Aug 022016

Theories-Wake-Vermin Womb Fall 2016 tour


During the month of October and continuing into the first week of November, three bands with tremendous firepower at their disposal will threaten the structural integrity of venues up and down western North America, from Tijuana, Mexico, in the south to Vancouver, BC, in the north. The bands are Wake, Theories, and Vermin Womb, and we’re helping spread the word about this tour, basically because we enjoy the spectacle of large-scale demolition jobs — and because this is a completely DIY tour booked by the bands that deserves our support.

If you get out a map and trace the precise route of this tour, it comes uncomfortably close to tracking some major fault lines that run down the West Coast.  Theories play two shows in Nevada and then join Wake and Vermin Womb for performances at the Southwest Terror Fest in Tuscon (headlined by Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed). After that the tour heads to Tijuana for the bands’ first-ever appearance there and then turns north and rampages right up the coast, through California, Oregon, Washington, and then on across the border into British Columbia. Continue reading »