Sep 252016



Time to make the Sabbath black again. I had great difficulty pulling together this week’s collection of black metal, and music next door to it (I’m apparently forbidden from using the term “blackened”, at least temporarily). I have a massive list of new music in this vein that I’ve assembled over the last week alone. I wish I had time to make this collection two or three times longer than it is. In other words, just another Sunday.

Lots of eye-catching cover art in here, too.


Almost exactly one year ago Metal Blade announced the signing of the Greek black metal band Ravencult, and now, roughly five years after their last album, a new one is on the horizon. Bearing the name Force of Profanation, it’s set for release on November 11. The first song in today’s collection is the album’s first advance track, “Beneath the Relics of Old“. Here’s what the band said about it:

Sep 252016



We post lots of premieres for music we like (and only for music we like). The opportunities don’t all come to us through labels and PR representatives. Some of them are requested by bands who are doing their best to spread the word on a DIY basis. That’s how this one came about.

The band is WOES, from Copenhagen, Denmark, and the video is for a new single named “Lost & Alone“. Before watching this video for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. It left me gasping.

Sep 252016

Rearview Mirror


Okay, I know some of you are probably laughing, or trying not to laugh. But I’m serious here. Yes, Tim Lambesis tried to hire a hit man to whack his wife and he’s now in prison for that. And yes, he’s now suing personnel at two San Diego County detention facilities for failing to provide medication to ameliorate the side effects of steroid withdrawal, leading to “painfully sensitive breast enlargement”. But even though reports of this latest occurrence are what dragged As I Lay Dying up from the depths of my memory, let’s just put all that embarrassment aside for a few minutes and reflect upon the music of As I Lay Dying.

Actually, I only want to reflect on six songs, two from Shadows Are Security (2005), two from An Ocean Between Us (2007), and two from The Powerless Rise (2010). All but one come with official videos.

Sep 242016



No, this post isn’t about the new Mithras album, though it has been on my mind lately. It’s about a listening experience I had late last night (after possibly drinking too much), when the music fell into place as if it had been ordained by some ingenious higher power. I feel compelled to share it, not only because of how good each piece in the chain is, standing alone, but also because of the interesting ways in which each piece flows into the next and eventually comes back around to join together, the end resonating with the beginning in an unexpected way.

I’ll tell the story of how I came to move from each of these four recordings to the next precisely in the order set out below, because at least to me it makes this playlist even more strange and wondrous. And to be clear, the connections between the recordings aren’t predictable — it’s more like an evolution, progression, and transformation that’s occurring instead of a collection of like-sounding songs — with things becoming increasingly heavy and extreme. By the end, I had bought all four of the releases on Bandcamp.


This experience began last night when I happened upon a Facebook post by metal writer and musician JR (I haven’t told the people involved in this story that I’m writing about them, so I’ll be using initials instead of full names). In it, he linked to a just-released new album by Kinit Her, calling it “magic”.

Sep 242016



(Andy Synn rants again….)

(Please note – the following rant is very much tongue-in-cheek and not intended as a piece of serious critical writing. No-one is going to actually stop you using these words. That being said, there’s possibly a kernel of truth or two in here somewhere…)


Ladies and gentlemen and smizmars… let’s try a little experiment shall we?

What I’m suggesting is that we – as writers, as fans, as commenters – agree to a moratorium (i.e., a temporary prohibition or embargo) on the use of certain words and phrases which have, to my mind, been roundly and seriously abused, over-used, and thoroughly bastardised in recent years.

Can we do it? I don’t know. What will happen? I don’t know either… but it might be interesting to see what comes from removing (albeit, only temporarily) certain “go to” words from our lexicon.

Plus, let’s face it, I’m sure some of you are just as sick of some of these words being misused, misapplied, and lazily attributed where they don’t belong!

Sep 232016



Now more than a decade into their career, the band Re-Armed from Kerava, Finland, are on the verge of releasing their third album, The Era of Precarity. A concept work that imagines a world in which the worst elements and tendencies in modern society become ascendent, the album will be released on September 30 via Finland’s Saarni Records. Today we give you the chance to hear all of it.

You may think you’ve been launched into space, with glowing nebulas to light your way, as you listen to the album’s opening track, but the second one quickly yanks you back to earth and sends you rocketing forward with a blaze of flame trailing behind. And from there, it’s a jolting rush of thrashing death metal that keeps the adrenaline levels in the red zone… but there are also gliding chorus melodies capable of keeping your head immersed in visions far overhead as the wind tears at your face.

Sep 232016



Here are a select group of new and varied songs I discovered over the last 24 hours that I think are well worth your time.


Almost four years have passed since the release of Sunyata, the second album by the Greek black metal band Acrimonious. That album was my own introduction to the band, and also one of my favorite releases of 2012. And so it was a very welcome surprise to find out yesterday that Acrimonious will be releasing a new album, the name of which is Eleven Dragons. As you can see, it features striking cover art by Vamperess Imperium.

Sep 232016

Departe album cover


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Tasmania’s Départe.)

So this is the point where I would usually say something about how great the last few years have been in terms of Australia’s Metal exports, coupled with some tongue-in-cheek reference to the country’s proclivity for producing some of the world’s most vicious and venomous creatures… the Box Jellyfish, the Eastern Brown Snake, Mel Gibson… ok, I know that last one’s originally from America, but cut me some slack ok? It’s hard to be funny when you’ve just had your eardrums pummelled and your soul scalded by an album like Failure, Subside.

Sep 232016



The new album Anna by the German project Doomed is astonishing — astonishing in its conception, astonishing in its execution. Immensely evocative, as intricate and meticulously crafted as a Byzantine mosaic, and as staggeringly heavy as a cascade of bunker-busting bombs, in all ways I can think of it’s one of the most powerful albums I’ve heard this year.

Now, how do I back up those over-the-top accolades? I will try, but fortunately I don’t have to rely entirely on my own strained efforts, because at the end of this post a full stream of the album awaits you. Be good to yourself, and seize the chance to hear it in advance of its September 26 release by Solitude Productions.

Sep 222016

Martrod-Transmutation of Wounds


I wish I had more time to write reviews of new releases, not because anyone really needs them but because it helps ME to unbottle my enthusiasm and to offer public thanks to bands who brighten my days. Reviews may be especially unnecessary in the case of EPs and albums that have already appeared on Bandcamp, as these have, where the sounds are far more meaningful than any words written about them. But I suppose scribbling at least a few words may help guide a few souls to the music streams…

…and so here is some brief scribbling about four recent releases that can now be heard and acquired on Bandcamp. Apart from the quality of these releases and the breadth of the variety in styles they represent, I picked them out of the hundreds of worthy releases I haven’t written about this year because they happened to be the ones I’ve spent time with most recently.


Thanks to an e-mail from our Norwegian friend eiterorm (and several other friends on Facebook), I learned in August that the band Martröð would finally be releasing their EP, Transmutation of Wounds — on 12″ MLP via Fallen Empire Records and Terratur Possessions. I first heard about this project almost two years ago (and wrote about it here). The band’s eye-catching line-up reportedly consists of:

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