Jan 192015


I missed a day yesterday, but I’m resuming the rollout of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

In this Part 22 of the list I’ve paired two songs by two bands on both sides of the Atlantic who, at least musically, have a few things in common. And so do these two songs — principally, beautiful guitar melodies that just will not let go.


My NCS colleague and former friend DGR lobbied mightily for the inclusion of “Out To The Sea” on this list. Even though the song only appears on Shadows of the Dying Sun (reviewed here) as a limited edition bonus track, I still seriously considered it, but I think “While We Sleep” wins in the “infectious” category — but only barely. Actually, I’m pretty sure DGR won’t end our friendship over this decision. Pretty sure. Continue reading »

Nov 172014


(DGR reviews the debut album released last month by Woccon from Athens, Georgia).

While I was driving home from work today, two drops of rain hit my car. I know, because I counted them — which, given the current weather conditions trying to turn Sacramento into the Sahara desert via drought, means that I basically drove through a veritable hurricane. That, coupled with the hint of grey sky and the glorious ton of fog that blanketed the highway, pretty much signaled my seasonal shift in music reviewing. I’m probably not the only person in the world who does this (keeping in mind that six-billion-plus people roam this rock), but as Sacramento shifts between its two seasons — from too fucking hot to too fucking cold — I find that my tastes tend to change and I start to seek out some slower, darker, and doomier material, and the reviews come easier because of that.

We love us some melodic doom metal here at NCS, as evidenced by our coverage of bands like Daylight Dies, Aetherian, Mist Of Nihil, Enshine, October Tide, In Mourning, and even Insomnium’s slower stuff, just to raffle off a handful of bands, and Athens, Georgia-based Woccon have been a recent newcomer to that fold. We actually included a track from Woccon’s debut EP on our gigantic list of Most Infectious Songs Of 2013, and the wait for Solace In Decay has been a long one.

Woccon formed out of a common love of a group of influences in the melo-doom genre (for lack of a better term — I’ve seen “Ethereal Doom” bandied about and kind of like the idea, but only for the bands who feel more like they were born in frozen-over forests). When a band like Woccon put out a disc like Solace In Decay though, as a metal fan it feels like you need to take notice. Even as the group’s first full album after a string of demos and EPs, the band have released something that doesn’t make the mistake a lot of bands in this genre commit — sounding like a group whose influences are clear and just acting those out, putting checks in boxes and praying at the proper altars.  Instead, Solace In Decay is the sound of a band who have found their place within the doom genre and seek to share that sweet, beautiful misery from a place you wouldn’t ordinarily expect. Continue reading »

Jul 252014


We were really impressed by the 2013 debut EP (The Wither Fields) by Athens, Georgia’s Woccon and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the band’s debut album Solace In Decay, which is now scheduled for release on October 21, 2014, by Deathbound Records.  Earlier this year, Decibel premiered the album’s first single (“Giving Up the Ghost”), and today we’re bringing you a second one — “Impermanence”.

Tumbling drums and spiraling guitar notes announce the multifaceted song, which moves between passages that are shimmering and crystalline and moments of jolting, hammering power. Tyrannical, gravel-throated vocals deliver harsh proclamations as the band build an atmosphere steeped in melancholy, with melodies that are both beautiful and bereft. It’s another fine offering of melodic death/doom from an album that promises to be worth the wait. Continue reading »

Feb 102014

Happy putrid Monday to one and all. I have a nice little slaughtering playlist for you. All the songs are new, all of them are from forthcoming albums, all of them are very good.


This first item is such a pleasant surprise. It comes from an Athens, Georgia, melodic death metal band named Woccon, whose 2013 release The Wither Fields I enjoyed immensely. Those of you who have dutifully waded through my ongoing list of 2013’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs” will remember their name, because I included a song from that album (“Our Ashes”) on the list near the end of January (here). Over the weekend I discovered, thanks to a post at DECIBEL’s site, that Woccon will have a debut album named Solace In Decay coming our way this spring.

DECIBEL premiered one of the new songs, a track entitled “Giving Up the Ghost”. It’s something of a departure from the sounds I remember from The Wither Fields — less overtly doom-oriented and more progressively inclined — yet still quite impressive. It begins with a cosmic introduction and ends with a piano melody, and in between you’ll find a contrasting blend of spiraling, reverberant guitar melodies and heavy, blasting thunder. The dark, melodic doom of the band’s previous work is not gone altogether, but the song is a spreading of wings by a group whose talents should take them far. Continue reading »

Jan 252014

Welcome to Part 11 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three I’m announcing today, click here.

That’s right, three songs today instead of two. I have reasons for grouping them together, but not because they’re similar. In fact, the styles of metal are quite different. I’ve put them together in this post because all three bands are relative newcomers, they’re all from the U.S., and they’ve already given us ample cause to expect great things from them in the future — because what they’ve already accomplished is pretty great. Of course, these three songs are also damned infectious.


This Minneapolis-based band will not be a new name for followers of NCS because we’ve been covering them closely since June 2011, when I included them in a feature that focused on a handful of promising bands I’d found who had less than 100 Facebook likes (they’re over 2,000 now). Musically, Oak Pantheon haven’t been standing still since then. Every new release seems to bring surprises — and further proof that their talents are as expansive as their musical interests.

Their latest release was a 2013 split with Amiensus (yet another very promising U.S. band), which I reviewed here. Oak Pantheon’s contribution to the split is a song entitled “A Gathering”. It manages to rock very hard while also being worthy of the label “epic”. I thought the riffs were ridiculously catchy when I first heard it, and time has only confirmed my first impressions — I’ve been drawn back to the song a lot over the last three months. It was a foregone conclusion that “A Gathering” would have a place on this list. Listen: Continue reading »