Oct 312016



As I rapidly reported a few hours ago after receiving a Bandcamp alert, Deathspell Omega jumped the gun on their previously announced November 8 release date for their new album and uncaged The Synarchy of Molten Bones on Samhein night, to the surprise and glee of hordes of costumed and un-costumed fans.

Everyone can listen to it now; vast numbers undoubtedly already have. There is probably no need for myself or anyone else to review it. But I’m sharing some thoughts anyway, because I’ve so eagerly anticipated its release and am now near-bursting with thoughts. Better to get them out than risk an aneurism. Plus, I thought some of you might want to share your own reactions in the Comments.

Upon finishing a first listen (and my only listen as I write this), I was — to quote the title of the second song — famished for breath. Every track is so breathtakingly energetic and so flooded with mind-bending intricacy that hearing them straight through risks completely overloading the capacity of the normal human brain to keep pace, or to manage even a modicum of comprehension. I thought my brain had been unceremoniously teleported into the clutches of a centrifuge that had developed a mind of its own — and then immediately lost its mind. Continue reading »

Oct 312016



After a self-titled debut EP released in 2015, Vancouver, B.C.’s Heron now return with a new one named Fire Twin. It’s being released today — in fact, it has just today become available for streaming and download on Bandcamp, and you’ll find it down below as well, since we’ve eagerly agreed to help spread it around.

It’s well worth your time, especially if you have a taste for bleak, blasted sludge/doom that’s heavy enough to split concrete and powerfully atmospheric enough to cast a deep and dark spell. Continue reading »

Oct 312016



Some of you have been rick-rolled in recent days by YouTube streams uploaded by assholes, advertised as tracks from the new Deathspell Omega album, when in fact it was a song by Outré or something else. But about thirty minutes ago on this Samhain evening (or afternoon here in the Pacific Northwest), Deathspell Omega made the full stream of The Synarchy of Molten Bones live on their Bandcamp page for the album, despite the November 8 release date. I learned of this through a Bandcamp alert because I had pre-ordered the album.

I’m anxious to listen, as many of you will be, but have delayed the experience just long enough to type these words… and to embed the stream after the jump. Continue reading »

Oct 312016



On November 25, Eternal Death Records will release a 7″ split named Drunk and In Charge by two head-wrecking bands of black metal savages, Ecuador’s Alcoholic Rites and Lustrum from New England, and on this Samhain Day we give you a full stream of what they have wrought. Of course, we will first have our say about the music, with a bit of background about the bands.

But first, can we all agree that there’s nothing like being drunk and in charge? In fact, one of the great things about being drunk is feeling in charge, even when you can’t find your ass with both hands (speaking for myself — of course, individual experiences may vary). Continue reading »

Oct 312016



We’ve been watching the rapid ascent of Delaware’s Scorched with increasing excitement ever since we premiered a full stream of their self-titled demo in May 2015, which was then about to be released by Unspeakable Axe. And just this past July our Norwegian friend Gorger praised their split with Putrisect (Final State of Existence) in his own distinctive voice. We also made mention of the excellent four-way split they joined along with GatecreeperHomewrecker, and Outer Heaven.

But now the band have reached new heights with their first full-length album, Echoes of Dismemberment, which it’s our pleasure to premiere for you in advance of its November 25 release by Unspeakable Axe.

When I heard the first publicly released song from the album (“Rot In Confinement”) after it premiered at DECIBEL, I ventured the opinion that Scorched were “about to blow up”. Now having heard the full album, I still feel that way — in spades. Continue reading »

Oct 312016



This makes the third time we’ve written about Gaerea in recent months, the first time when we premiered a teaser of a song from their forthcoming self-titled debut EP and the second time when we lauded a song from the EP called “Void of Numbness” that premiered at CLVT Nation. Now we have the chance to bring you a full song premiere ourselves, and this one is “Through Time“.

Before getting to the music, consider a couple of quotations. The first is from the band itself:

““Let’s make one thing clear. We need to stress the fact that our era is lost in a huge void of numbness. We are here to bring and present you what your system could not solve by itself. We’ll cover the daylight with ashes and smash the massive skull that’s blocking your brain and will to evolve. We’re GAEREA.”

Continue reading »

Oct 312016



The first two full-length releases by the Danish band Woebegone Obscured were immense albums that immediately established an impressive edifice within the landscape of Funeral Doom — 2007’s Deathstination and 2013’s Marrow of Dreams. Since then the band haven’t yet returned to the full-length format, instead releasing an EP named Deathscape MMXIV through Solitude Productions two years ago and now another EP, this one self-titled. Today is the official release date for the new one, which can be streamed and downloaded at Bandcamp. And we’re helping to spread the word about it through this premiere.

In addition to the fact that the new EP bears the band’s name, so do its two songs. The first is “Woebegone”, the second is “Obscured” — and both are staggeringly powerful. Continue reading »

Oct 312016



(Grant Skelton reviews the debut album by the Dutch doom band Treurwilg. and brings us a premiere stream of all the songs.)

Earlier this year, I stumbled across Treurwilg on Bandcamp. In January, they released an album of tracks recorded live at the Little Devil bar in their hometown of Tilburg. The album art intrigued me, so I gave it a listen. Since then, I’ve been chomping at the proverbial bit for a proper studio album. So when Treurwilg unveiled the track “As His Final Light Is Fading” from Departure, their debut release, my expectations were exceeded. Readers may remember that I featured the track in a previous Seen & Heard. There, I described it thusly:

“The track is heavy and slow. Heavy like a stony albatross about your neck. And slow like the way you’d die from drowning. It’s also ambivalent, fluctuating between violence and melancholy. The last minute is absolute savagery that flays the flesh of the inner ear. And I mean all that in the best way possible.”

Continue reading »

Oct 302016



As usual, I had trouble picking which songs to include in this Sunday’s edition of Shades of Black — just too damned much new music in a blackened vein that I wanted to recommend. But in the end, this collection felt right to me. It includes considerable variety as well as a mix of well-known names and obscure unknowns (who will perhaps become somewhat better known after today).

I’ve presented the music in alphabetical order by band name, except I bumped Antaeus up by one place to begin this playlist, because… duh… it’s fucking Antaeus.


Ten years after their last studio album Blood Libels, the French black metal band Antaeus have a new album set for release on November 18. Entitled Condemnation, it was recorded by guitarist Set and vocalist MkM as the two sole members of the band, with session drums by Menthor (Enthroned, Lucifyre, Nightbringer), who coincidentally was the drummer on the excellent debut album of the Dutch band Soulemission that we premiered just a few days ago. Continue reading »

Oct 302016



Earlier this month I reviewed the impressive new album Winterwaker (“Guardian of Winter”) by the Dutch black metal band Tarnkappe, whose two members come from such bands as KjeldStandvast, and Gheestenland. At that time the only song available for public streaming was a track called “Bodemkruiper”, but today we’ve got the premiere of the album’s title track for your listening pleasure.

As I wrote in the review, Winterwaker is firmly rooted in the traditions of fierce Scandinavian black metal from the early ’90s, yet it still has its own vivid and dynamic personality. “Bodemkruiper” is one of the more fiery and blasting tracks on the album, yet even it reveals that Tarnkappe are concerned with melody as much as driving intensity. Continue reading »