Jul 142023

Here we are at another Friday, with yet another big pile of new metal staring us in the face and not nearly enough time to make much of a start in selecting recommendations before the sun gets high in the sky (or is replaced by the moon where you might live).

I’m reminded of the statement attributed to Laozi about how the journey of a thousand miles begins, a proverb that usually doesn’t motivate me at times like this, when a thousand-yard stare is all I can usually muster. But today I tried harder to take the proverb to heart, and actually made two steps. Unless like puts a bog in my path, more steps will follow tomorrow and Sunday.

WOE (U.S.)

My first selection is a new song from Legacies of Frailty, a new album by Woe and the first one since 2017’s Hope Attrition. Since then, it’s hard to deny that the human world around us has slid backward, more rapidly and in more disgusting ways than even the pessimists among us had contemplated, and the natural world has suffered for it as well.

These developments certainly weighed on the mind of Chris Grigg, who for the first time since 2007 made this Woe album by himself (albeit with additional drumming on three tracks by Lev Weinstein). The result is a concept album, described by Grigg in these words: Continue reading »

Mar 172019


As I mentioned in yesterday’s round-up, my NCS time is being dramatically squeezed by my fucking day job, which hasn’t given me a break even over this weekend. I’m repeating that here partly because whining is therapeutic and partly to explain why my writing in this Sunday’s column is more truncated than I wish it were. There’s a tremendous amount of music in what I’ve chosen — including three full albums — but it’s one of those situations where I’m only able to provide brief introductions, and hope they’ll be enough to induce you to investigate more deeply on your own.

In organizing this post I’ve alternated those three albums with three shorter works — three songs from forthcoming releases and a two-track EP.


Kaatayra is a one-man black metal band from Brasilia, Brazil, whose music (he says) is motivated by overcoming the shame of being human by communing with the green of the land and the life of rivers, and by dreaming — “sonha-se as vidas de ascendentes”. His debut album, No Ruidar da Mata que Mirra, was released on March 11th. Continue reading »

May 052018


(The world hasn’t ended… another Saturday rises… and with it another of Andy Synn’s WAXING LYRICAL columns… with the insights provided today by Chris Grigg of the NY black metal band Woe.)

This is the third edition of Waxing Lyrical focussing on a band I handpicked for last year’s “Critical Top Ten” which… probably says something important. Though I’m not sure what. Maybe that great albums deserve great lyrics? Something like that?

Either way, Hope Attrition was a fantastic album “…as densely packed with clever ideas, razor-sharp hooks, and raw passion, as anything I’ve heard…” and Woe are a fantastic band, which is why I harassed and harangued the band’s vocalist/guitarist Chris Grigg into telling me a little about his background, his process, and his methods. Continue reading »

Mar 212017

Photo by Samantha Marble

(Wil Cifer delivers to us this interview of Chris Grigg — founder, vocalist, and guitarist of Woe, whose new album Hope Attrition has just been released by Vendetta Records.)


Woe is one of my favorite American Black Metal bands, right along side Liturgy and Nachtmystium, though Woe stuck closer to more conventional metal, even after their move to Brooklyn. With their fourth full-length Hope Attrition, the band continues to plow into fierce territory, blending in flourishes of death metal and hardcore. I recently caught up with main man Chris Grigg to discuss the new album and the state of black metal in America, and the results went something like this.


I heard that in the process of making this album you guys scrapped almost an entire album’s worth of songs in order to settle on what became the final product. What determined what made the cut?

It might not have been a whole album, but pretty close. We got rid of everything that sucked. We just kept reworking the songs and if there was a transition that felt forced, a riff that didn’t feel just right, we scrapped it. We demoed this intensely, so at the end of the day what would be left going into the studio were the best that they could be.

Continue reading »

Jan 192017


This is the third part of a mid-week round-up that I had originally planned to post yesterday, along with Part 1 and Part 2.

When I originally planned this tripartite collection of a dozen songs and videos, I had found a kind of musical theme or connection between the songs I allocated to each Part. But since I didn’t get Part 3 posted as planned, in the meantime I’ve changed one of the tracks I had originally planned to include here, and then also added a fifth one. So the theme of Part 3 has fragmented, and now we’ve got a lucky 13 items in this collection as a whole.

The music in here is still damned good though — and I’m still keeping my verbiage (relatively) short.


Man, it has been a long and sorrowful wait for new music from Woe (you should thank me for not saying “woeful”) — because I’ve really enjoyed the band’s previous releases, and four years have passed since the last one, an album named Withdrawal. The wait is over. Continue reading »

Dec 132013

photo by Charnelle Stöhrer

(We’re pleased to bring you a year-end list of favorite releases from Chris Grigg, a man of many talents and the founder-vocalist-guitarist of Philly black metal band WOE, whose 2013 album Withdrawal is one of the year’s highlights.)

CarcassSurgical Steel

I can’t stand Heartwork, no matter how hard I try, so I had no good expectations for their return album. Do you ever expect to hate something, or maybe even WANT to hate something, and then feel a sense of excitement when you’re wrong? It reminds me that the world is not always predictable and that even old dogs can learn the best fucking tricks they might ever perform. This album is unrelenting in its union of intense, memorable riffs and brutality. Sacrilege though it may be, I find it hard to argue that this is anything but the best work of their career. Continue reading »

Apr 252013

There’s a sense of urgency that pervades Woe’s new album Withdrawal, the kind of urgency you might feel if an arsonist threw a gasoline bomb through your bedroom window at 3 a.m. Which is to say, it’s scorching, and it delivers the kind of adrenaline rush triggered by the fear of being burned alive. Speaking of being burned alive, Chris Grigg shrieks his way through the album as if that’s what was happening to him, crying out in astonishing pain or rage, or maybe both, his vocal chords seared by emotion until surely they reached the limits of their endurance by the time recording ended.

I don’t know about you, but I’m perfectly happy listening to music that sounds like it’s been fueled by an accelerant. The cathartic effect of hailstorm riffs and blasting drums coupled with barely human screams is a pearl of great price, even when I remember nothing of the experience after the fire has been extinguished. But if that’s all Withdrawal offered, it wouldn’t be one of the best black metal albums of the year — and it is.

Even on the first listen to the first song, it began to dawn on me that there would be surprises in store on Withdrawal. I began to anticipate them in each song, and I wasn’t disappointed. In both small and large ways, the music pushes beyond the boundaries of conventional black metal (and yes, by now what was once revolutionary has become conventional), warping the form into something not merely cathartic but also fascinating, and ultimately quite memorable. Continue reading »

Apr 232013

Within the last few days (and mostly today), seven albums I’m very high on (and have written about here) have begun streaming in full on various web sites. They shouldn’t be missed — it’s a great chance to check out the music before deciding whether to plunk down money for them.

Each of the sites where these streams are now available includes info on how to order or pre-order the albums, so I’m not going to take time to repeat that info here. I’m also not going to take the time to write about the music (though we do plan to review some of these albums) because . . . you can hear them right now! The relevant links are below, in alphabetical order.


http://pitchfork.com/advance/81-teethed-glory-and-injury/ Continue reading »

Feb 182013

Hey, happy fucking Monday to all you brain-dead metal heads. Here’s a big collection of new music and news that I came across at the start of my bleary-eyed morning today.


I’ve confessed before that straight-up old-school thrash is not among the metal genres that are nearest and dearest to my black heart. In addition, I’ve become even more numb due to the avalanche of re-thrash releases by many new bands who all sound alike to me. But with that said, I’m digging the shit out of a new song clip that premiered today by a Finnish band named Lost Society.

The song title alone hooked me: “Braindead Metal Head”. And then the music Finnish-ed me off. It’s a jet-fueled, out-of-control thrash rocket with multiple warheads. The riffing is catchy as fuck, the vocals are pleasingly drunk on the high energy, and the obligatory guitar solo is a first-class trip to shred city. This is speed metal I can get behind.

The video strings together words of high praise by the likes of Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Schmier (Destruction), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Craig Locicero (Forbidden), and Kragen Lum (Heathen), and they might know what they’re talking about. Continue reading »

Feb 172013

I’m still catching up on new music unveiled last week that I didn’t find time to spotlight when I first heard it. In this post I’ve collected new songs (and a video) that I think are worth your time. It’s also quite a diverse collection of metal. The bands are Tribulation (Sweden), Woe (U.S.), Lorelei (U.S.), Sectioned (Scotland), and Man Must Die (Scotland again).


I’m exceedingly stoked for this Swedish band’s second album The Formulas of Death, which is due from Invictus Productions and The Ajna Offensive on March 1. Two songs from it have premiered to date, and they’re striking. The first one (“When the Sky Is Black With Devils”) I wrote about here, and the second one — “Wanderer In The Outer Darkness” — got its debut last week on CVLT Nation.

It’s a catchy, head-rattling mix of rocking riffs, a punchy rhythm section, scalding guitar leads and solo’s, and acid vocals. And the subdued guitar outro is a very pleasant surprise. These guys have definitely created something out of the ordinary. Can’t wait to hear the rest of these Formulas. Be kind to yourself and go HERE for “Wanderer In The Outer Darkness”.

http://invictusproductions.net/ Continue reading »