Jan 182018


I’m a bit rushed today, thanks to rude interference by my fucking day job, so… no multi-paragraph preamble to this edition of my growing list of infectious songs. I’ll just say that I grouped all three of these bands together because, each in their own way, they achieved success last year through genre-blending.


When I heard the first single (“XI”) from this Lithuanian band’s debut album, End of Chapter, I had a suspicion that we had something very special on our hands. By the time we ourselves premiered the second one (“XII”), I had a firm conviction that this record would stand well out from the pack and become a highlight of the year. Finally being able to hear the full album provided confirmation.

Jan 182018


We were introduced more than three years ago to the Indian doom band Djinn and Miskatonic through Comrade Aleks’ inclusion of them in one of his Doom Quizes. At that time, they had released a debut album, Forever in the Realm, and now they’re back with a second full-length, just released by Transcending Obscurity. Bearing the title Even Gods Must Die, it’s a six-track edifice of doom exceeding an hour in length. Three of the tracks have appeared in the lead-up to the release, and now we deliver the premiere of a fourth one: “Harvest of Kings“.

It’s difficult to imagine any fan of traditional doom not becoming enthralled by this long track, which casts a haunting spell that grows ever deeper as the minutes pass.

Jan 182018


In March of last year we brought you the premiere of the title track to The Abyss Noir, the latest album by the Greek metal band Disharmony. The album was released the following month by GrimmDistribution, and in its multifaceted musical textures it has drawn comparisons to the sounds of Nevermore, Sanctuary, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, and Anthrax. It also includes a hell of a good cover of Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes”.

What we’ve got for you today is a vivid reminder of the album, a video for one of its best tracks, “Vain Messiah“.

Jan 172018


The next three songs I’m adding to my list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs today have a couple of things in common despite their stylistic differences.

The first is that I picked more than one song from the 2017 releases that included them as candidates for this list — and I had a devil of a time deciding which track to include here (since one of my self-imposed rules is not to include more than one track on the list from any particular release).

The second is that I get a glorious and warlike vibe from all three of these songs, and so it just seemed right to me to join them together, like a mini-playlist. Whether they would strike you that way, I don’t know, but regardless, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Jan 172018


(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Spanish metal band Neter.)


Legacy… that’s a word which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The legacy that some bands leave, and the legacy to which all bands belong.

And it does seem, from my admittedly limited perspective, that the idea of legacy is considered to be more important in the Metal scene than most, what with our differentiation and delineation of “Old School vs New”, and our preoccupation with categorising various genres (and sub-genres) into historical “waves”.

Not that any of this is a bad thing, by the way. If anything it always helps to know where you come from, in whose footsteps you might be following, and on whose shoulders you currently stand.

It’s why pretty much every Metal band, no matter how “extreme” they might be, owes a significant debt to Slayer or Metallica, and are part of a legacy tracing its origins not just from Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, but also from Blues and Rock and Roll and from a host of other acts and artists and musical styles down through the ages.

Jan 172018


For every great thing you think you have accomplished, a nagging voice in your head tells you it really doesn’t mean anything of lasting value. And for every failure, the list of which is much longer, your mind hammers another nail into the coffin that time is constructing for you. And on top of that, you look at the world around you and what you see only compounds the feeing that right now, and maybe for all your tomorrows, the glass has never been so empty.

We’ve all had days like that, some of us more than others. On days like that, pretending that everything is rosy offers no solace, because reality stares you in the face with unblinking eyes. You have to stare right back without flinching, and fight back too.

Those are some of the thoughts I had while listening to “The Glass Has Never Been So Empty“, an unflinching track we’re premiering from Failed Ambition, the new album by WTCHDR, and watching the video that accompanies it.

Jan 172018


From humble beginnings and a focus on metal releases from Asia, Transcending Obscurity Records has mushroomed like an expanding nuclear blast front into a label with a globe-spanning, genre-spanning roster of very impressive bands. And the latest evidence of that is a 2018 label sampler released through Bandcamp a couple of days ago, which includes tracks from forthcoming releases by 36 bands, most of which haven’t been previously disclosed.

I’ve watched the ambitious growth of the label through a long-distance friendship with the label’s owner Kunal, and through that connection I learned some details about forthcoming T.O. releases that are the source of some of these tracks, and got a sneak peak at some of the cover art as well — which includes creations by such personal favorites as Costin Chioreanu, Juanjo Castellano, and Adam Burke. And speaking of cover art by personal favorites, the sampler artwork created by Misanthropic-Art is excellent.

Here are a few of the art pieces that Kunal previewed for me, beginning with part of Adam Burke’s creation for Imperialist and continuing with Juanjo Castellano’s album art for Eye of Purgatory, and the cover art for Depravity and Sathanas:

Jan 162018


We’ve arrived at the fifth installment of this rapidly expanding list of Most Infectious Songs released last year. As I did with yesterday’s edition, I had a kind of organizing theme in deciding to group the following three songs together. And the theme is perhaps better expressed through this famous visual than in words.


We had the good fortune to premiere an eye-popping video created by Chariot of Black Moth for a head-wrecking, bombing-run of a track called “Now” off Antigama’s latest EP, Depressant, along with a review of the EP. Although “Now” isn’t the song I’ve added to the list, I did want to excerpt DGR’s review by way of introducing the track I did choose.

Jan 162018


I first came across Kosmogyr last June when I was bowled over (and said so) by a song called “Quiescent“, which was the first offering from a promised debut album (it also appeared on several compilations — Crushing Intolerance Vol. 5 by Black Metal Alliance as well as We Are Shanghai Vol. 5). Now, the album has a name — Eviternity — and a concrete release date of March 9th. I’ve had the good fortune to listen to the album (which is fantastic), and it led me to do something I almost never do: I asked the band for the opportunity to premiere a song, and they agreed. What you will now hear is the new album’s title track.

By way of background, Kosmogyr is the name of a black metal band consisting of Shanghai native Xander Cheng (The Arcbane) and Ivan Belcic, formerly of Shanghai’s The Machinery of Other Skeletons and Death to Giants. Ivan now lives in Prague, but he and Xander collaborated by long-distance to record the album. And that collaboration has borne amazing fruit.

Jan 162018


I had originally planned to get a SHADES OF BLACK post ready for today since I couldn’t do it on Sunday (or yesterday), and I might still finish it before I turn into a pumpkin today. But instead I decided to begin this Tuesday with a collection of other things I spotted over the last 24 hours in the midst of the flood of new metal that’s been rushing out on a daily basis since the first of the year.


More than six years after their last album and almost four years after their last EP, Australia’s Mournful Congregation will release a new album named The Incubus Of Karma through 20 Buck Spin on March 23rd. This morning those details were revealed along with the album art — and the album’s first single, “Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment“.

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