Apr 262018


Last September I came across a song called “Treachery and Id” that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a taste of what the UK trio Nihil Eyes had cooked up on their debut album Black Path (which was mixed and mastered by none other than Dan Swanö). As I impetuously wrote back then, it made me imagine a giant rushing freight train, exploding with destructive full-ahead power, delivering a barrage of skull-cracking grooves and quickly addictive riffs, and also including a couple of eye-opening solos that swirled, soared, and erupted in a volcanic frenzy. The vocals were downright bestial, too.

Nihil Eyes self-released that album via Bandcamp a month later, but it has now been picked up for a CD and digital release on May 18th by Ultraje, a print magazine and record label based in Portugal (with an edition in Brazil now as well). This new release facilitates the introduction of Black Path to new listeners who overlooked it last fall, as well as offering a physical edition to those who already know how damned good it is. And, as is obvious, it also gives us an occasion to write about the music once again.

And so, although this isn’t really a true “premiere”, we enthusiastically present a stream of Black Path’s opening track, which shares the band’s name. Continue reading »

Apr 262018


With a name like Torn the Fuck Apart, this Kansas City death metal band might not be one whom you would expect to practice subtlety in their musical creations. And indeed, there is a fundamentally eviscerating quality to what they’ve done on their newest album, A Genetic Predisposition to Violence. But the music isn’t sheer brute-force blood-letting either, as you’ll discover when you listen to the track we’re presenting today, the name of which is “Invitation Homicide“.

With three well-received albums behind them already, the band have had the time to hone their methods of violence and to enrich the slaughtering impact of their rampages in new ways. Continue reading »

Apr 262018


To the millions who wait with bated breath for a new SHADES OF BLACK column each Sunday (okay, just the two of you sulking in the corner), I apologize for being a disappointment last Sunday. By the time I finished writing the two premieres we committed to do for that day, I had run out of time. In an effort to make amends, I decided to prepare what you’re now looking at.

The songs I’ve chosen here aren’t the ones I had planned to feature last Sunday. I’ll get to those, or at least some of them, next Sunday, the Dark Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise. What I have here are a few of the songs I’ve discovered since the past weekend. I’ll warn you, or titillate you in advance, that all of them are intense.


To begin, I’ve chosen “Relationship in Pieces“, the first track to be revealed from Fredagsmys, the new album by the continually evolving, persistently interesting Swedish band Vanhelga. It has been presented through a video that displays the lyrics, in Swedish. Continue reading »

Apr 262018


(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, had the good fortune of recently interviewing Ihsahn, whose new album Àmr will be released on May 4 by Candlelight/Spinefarm, and we present their discussion here today.)


You mix together several genres in one song a lot, and this is complicated enough, so how do you compose? Do you have lots of riffs first or does the song develop out of an idea?

I think it’s more the latter. Although in my early years my way of doing it tended more towards having lots of riffs and then putting them together. But as a solo artist it has been more centered around an idea and developing everything taking it as a starting point.


But what about this idea, is it a musical one or can it be anything?

It is a musical one. Often times it has been just one vocal line. Take my first solo album, there is a song called “Called by the Fire” in there and those were some lines that I sang while driving, and all singing started from there. But frequently it is a musical theme, or a progression for example.


Does the music you listen to influence you when it comes to writing music?

I get inspiration from lots of sources. You named the fact that I bring in many genres… I do feel I still create music that belongs to extreme metal and Black Metal, but I get inspired by other musical landscapes. Other musical textures are something that I like to combine with the music, as it gives it a special character. Continue reading »

Apr 252018


The cover of Panchrysia’s new album is bereft of hope and joy, a scene of death and tortured spirits immolated by arcane energies. It prove to be a foreshadowing of the sensations spawned by the song we’re presenting today from this Belgian black metal band’s fifth album in a near-twenty-year career.

Dogma is the name of this new full-length, scheduled for release on April 30 by Satanath Records, and the song we bring you is “Never To see the Light Again“. Continue reading »

Apr 252018


The Irish band Soothsayer hit my own radar screen about 18 months ago when we were asked to premiere what turned out to be a phenomenal track from their then-forthcoming second release, At This Great Depth. That song, “Umpire“, was a 16-minute, atmospheric monolith of doom/sludge that managed to be massive and earthy, and also intangible, fleeting, and ghostly — both spine-shaking and hallucinatory.

Now it’s our pleasure to present a new Soothsayer song that will soon be released on a split. Its name is “Cephalopod“, and it provides both further confirmation of this band’s prodigious talents and further reason to get excited about their next release, an album that the band are nearly finished writing and will eventually be presented through Transcending Obscurity Records (hopefully before the end of this year). Continue reading »

Apr 252018

photo credit: Lars Johnson


For this mid-week round-up I was again up to my eye-brows in worthy new music to choose from. I decided to do something a little different from usual, combining the formats of these SEEN AND HEARD collections and the occasional OVERFLOWING STREAMS columns. In other words, I’ll begin with some new songs and videos that I’ve introduced with my own descriptive verbiage (beginning with a couple of “exceptions to the rule”), and then followed that with a few more music streams that will somehow have to represent themselves through sound alone, difficult as that may be to imagine. (I also intend to present a rare week-day edition of SHADES OF BLACK later today or tomorrow in order to foist some more recent music on you.)

By the way, did you see that on July 6 Nuclear Blast will be releasing the first new Immortal album (Northern Chaos Gods) since All Shall Fall? It’s just Demonaz and Horgh, of course, but with Peter Tägtgren as session bassist. Even without Abbath in the line-up, I’m kind of excited.


I was also kind of excited about the prospect of a new Amorphis album when I first learned of it. That band has been the source of many joyous moments for yours truly in the past, and they put on a hell of an exciting show the only time I’ve seen them live (at Maryland Deathfest). Of course they and I have evolved to the point where their music isn’t as “extreme” as most of what I listen to these days, but when they’re on their game, even in these later days they still produce a thrill. Continue reading »

Apr 252018


(Andy Synn continues his occasional series in which he devotes attention to new releases by UK bands, here presenting a trio of reviews and music streams.)

Despite the fact that these days I exist more on the periphery of what one might loosely describe as “the scene” here in the UK, I’m still very much on a mission to talk/write about some of its best and brightest stars, and hopefully expose them to a whole new audience in the process.

And while each of the following bands has been featured here at NCS before (some more than others), this isn’t so much a case of favouritism as it is an acknowledgement that all three continue to make extremely compelling, attention-grabbing music, and their latest albums are no exception. Continue reading »

Apr 242018


(Guest writer Conchobar returns to NCS and, with our thanks, provides the following writings about the debut album by Panegyrist as an introduction to our premiere of a track from the album named “Ophidian Crucifix“.)

[Panegyrist is an avant-garde black metal project comprised of, among others, artist Elijah Tamu, whose incredible visual talent has been featured on many albums, including the recent Metamorphosphorus split and of course the one discussed below, and drummer Marcello Szumowski, whose most recent work can be heard on Inferno’s Gnosis Kardias album (WTC 2017). Hierurgy, their debut album, will be released via I, Voidhanger Records on May 18, 2018. From the label: “Hierurgy – meaning ‘ritual’ or, literally, ‘holy work’ – is an expression of burning religious impulse. This collection of meditations explores the theme of theosis, the process whereby the individual is transformed and united with God through the operations of the divine energies’.]

Reviewers of music often drop into what I have come to see as a default template, particularly of albums and musicians they like: non-substantive introduction, brief encomium, and then a strange, magpie-like effort of nitpicking along a number of predefined trajectories:

1) it is too new, and hence alien, and strays too far outside the envelope

2) it is too much of what it is, and thus stays too comfortably inside the envelope

3) it is not what the reviewer imagined it to be, and thus fails to live up to some unspoken futurity that existed only in the mind of the reviewer

Musicians are thus caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of being told not to reinvent the wheel while being accused of patent infringement on the aforementioned wheel, all whilst navigating the back roads of the reviewer’s unmapped and poorly articulated expectations. This caveat lector is my justification for providing, in place of either a review or an interpretation, what I will frame as a reaction, and hopefully a response, to Panegyrist’s debut album, Hierurgy. Continue reading »

Apr 242018


Unless you happen to be one of those few benighted souls for whom pounding and plundering death metal produces irritable bowel syndrome, the news of a new record by Dave Ingram and Rogga Johansson will be cause for rejoicing. Both have already left such a heavy and un-erasable mark on the genre that they could coast comfortably for many years to come, sustained by reputation alone and warmed by the embers of past glories. That they have rejected any inclination to shift into neutral, take their feet off the gas, and simply glide on the inertial push of past success must be seen as a testament to unquenched passion.

These two have also collaborated as members of the excellent Echelon (whose most recent album was The Brimstone Aggrandizement in 2016), and both have each separately participated in other recent projects whose albums have been released by the same label (Transcending Obscurity) that’s releasing this latest collaborative effort, i.e., Ursinne and Paganizer. Their joint venture which is the subject of this post brandishes the evocative name Down Among the Dead Men, and its new (third) album is …And You Will Obey Me. And of course, yes I will. How could I resist? Continue reading »