Oct 012020


In the midst of a time when it is all too easy to feel desperate and demoralized by forces both human and viral that seem bent on crushing both life and hope, it is worth remembering that humanity has been here before. Remembering such times, and the efforts of valiant people who survived and transcended them, can itself furnish hope. And maybe we can learn something about how this is to be done, as well.

In their new album Forthcoming Humanity, the Greek black metal band Yovel have devoted themselves to such remembrances, and others. A concept album, it is based upon the poems of Tasos Leivaditis, a brilliant poet and a revolutionary, who himself lived through harrowing times, including the second World War. Born in 1922, he died in 1988. Yovel themselves explain:

Tasos Leivaditis lived and wrote for the hopes, struggles and losses of the Greek people and Greek left movement. We found in his writing mourning; but also radiant hope, rooted in our own history but also in touch with the history of the peoples of this world and their struggles up to date. Hιs work stands as a tribute to that history, but also as a statement for our present and our future.” They quote these words of Leivaditis himself (from Confession, The Manuscripts of Autumn):

“One day I want them to write on my grave: He lived on the border of an indefinite age and died for things far away that he once saw in an un-certain dream.” Continue reading »

Sep 122020


Greetings, ladies and germs. As promised in yesterday’s round-up, I have MANY more selections of new music for your listening pleasure. Does this mean that I’m now caught up in showing you what I’ve discovered? Oh, hell no! I will have more in tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column (and still won’t be caught up).

To speed things along I’m just throwing you the music streams and my usual impulsive commentary, sans artwork. Later today I’ll fill in the art, a few more details about the releases, and the usual ordering and FB links. The following tracks are presented in alphabetical order by band name (with Greece coincidentally represented at the beginning and the end), and I’ll tell you that the music is all over the map stylistically.


This first song is such a heavyweight neck-wrecker at the beginning, although filaments of ravishing melody rapidly spiral out from beneath its bone-breaking rhythm. However, the song also explodes in breathtaking fashion — a storm of battering drums, blizzard-like guitars, and truly wild, howling vocal ferocity. The track is tremendously thrilling in all of its course-changes, which include sweeping, fire-bright sonic panoramas; the sludgy heft of the low end is a thrill all its own. Continue reading »

Sep 032018


It’s Labor Day here in the U.S. today, which won’t mean much or anything to half the people who visit our site. For those people, who don’t live here, it’s a holiday designed to celebrate the American labor movement. For me, it’s just another laboring day at NCS, though of course it feels more like fun than work or you can be damned sure I wouldn’t be doing it.

This is the second Part of a column I began yesterday, which I hope you’ll check out if you haven’t, because there’s a lot of good music there as well as here.


Although I mostly focus these columns on new or forthcoming releases, I’m stepping back in time for the first recommendation today. I overlooked this album when it was released on April 1st of this year, but was called back to it through a recent e-mail we received. The first track was seductive; the second track spun the turbine in my head into the red zone. Continue reading »