Oct 312017


We are told that Voëmmr recorded their debut album Nox Maledictvs during two nights in an abandoned farm in the Portuguese countryside. What we are not told, but may infer from the sounds they’ve created, is that they were not alone, but instead participated in a communion with spirits of the dead, assisted by witches, warlocks, and shape-shifting, void-dwelling entities stinking of sulphur.

This is an album both bewitching and toxic, bewildering and beguiling, haunted and terrifying. It is entirely fitting that we present a full stream of the music on Samhain, that liminal time when the veil between our world and the Otherworld is tissue-thin, that old festival of darkness when black magic most easily parts the veil. The album is being released today by Harvest of Death, a division of Signal Rex, and you may listen to all of it below.  Continue reading »

Oct 312017


The name chosen by this masked Brazilian band has always seemed a brilliant choice, invoking not only the mythic and occult associations of Mesopotamian Neberu, Babylonian Marduk, Sumerian Enlil, the fourth sphere of the Kabbalah, and of course the bright father of the Roman pantheon, but also the crushing gravitational force of our solar system’s most gigantic planet, whose mass is two and a half times that of all the other planets in our system combined. In their music, Jupiterian create both haunting, otherworldly atmosphere and sensations of titanic physical force.

I’ve written about the band’s music frequently in the past. In attempting to describe their last release, an EP of cover songs, I referred to the band’s ability “to club a listener senseless” and to channel “pure evil — cask-strength and undiluted”, the “stark, desolate, and devastating” moods of their music, and the capacity of the vocals alone “to give any normal person a shivering case of the night terrors”. I’ve been anxiously awaiting their second album, and it will soon be upon us.

With the name Terraforming, it will be released by Transcending Obscurity Records on November 15, and continues the band’s collaboration with the brilliant Brazilian painter Caue Piloto. Three singles have been released so far, and today we present a fourth, entitled “Sol“. Continue reading »

Oct 312017


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new EP by Pennsylvania-based Zao, which will be released this coming Friday and is streaming in full as of today.)

Zao’s fantastic comeback album, The Well-Intentioned Virus, was easily one of the best and brightest releases of last year, even if its December release date kept it from appearing on most end of year lists.

Regardless of this, the band are clearly keen on capitalising on the momentum of their return, and are already working on their next full-length… while also set to drop a brand new EP, the five-track Pyrrhic Victory this Friday.

Well, you know what they say about striking while the iron is hot, right? Continue reading »

Oct 312017


Here, we bring you a most unusual premiere from a most unusual new album, a multifaceted conceptual work of dark and ceremonial chamber music that intersects with certain aspects of black metal despite the use of acoustic instrumentation and the intimate and “conversational” nature of the chamber-music format.

The album is Canticles of the Holy Scythe by LÜÜP, which is the project of Greek composer and multi-instrumentalist Stelios Romaliadis. It will be released by I, Voidhanger Records on the 8th of December. It consists of six tracks that are described as “a concept about Death through occult philosophy; a journey of understanding and reconciliation with Death as a symbol of renewal through self awareness and enlightenment,” drawing upon folk traditions and superstitions as well as “the secrets of Alchemy and the Kabbalah, with Aleister Crowley’s magick and with ancient invocations of cosmic deities and astrological energies”.

And if that’s not enough to peak your interest, I’ll add these further descriptive words from I, Voidhanger’s introduction to the album: Continue reading »

Oct 312017


I posted the first two parts of an extra-large SHADES OF BLACK column on Sunday, intending to post the third part yesterday after first arranging all the music in alphabetical order by band name and then dividing the collection into three segments. I obviously didn’t get the final segment finished — mainly because it contains the most music of all three parts, with four complete albums or EPs in addition to a new video.

Perhaps needless to say, I haven’t written in detail everything I’d like to say about all four of the complete releases, but I hope I’ve written enough to lure you into listening for yourself.


On Friday of last week, without much advance fanfare and no musical teasers, Krallice released their seventh album, Loüm. It’s available as a digital download now, and orders can also now be placed for CD and LP editions. It includes lead vocals, lead synths, and lead lyrics throughout the album by Dave Edwardson of Neurosis, as well as painted cover art by Carl Auge. Continue reading »

Oct 302017


(DGR reviews the new album by California’s The Kennedy Veil, which is out now via Unique Leader Records.)

Three years after the release of their 2014 album Trinity Of Falsehood, Sacramento, California’s The Kennedy Veil return to the stage a somewhat different beast than what they presented on that disc.

In that gap of time, the group have been joined by vocalist Monte Barnard, who has been in a handful of groups around Sacramento (among them the short-lived Soma Ras, and a stint in fellow Unique Leader labelmates Alterbeast) as well has having been live vocalist for groups like Fallujah and Thy Art Is Murder.

Added to this, the group have made a shift in their writing style — as evidenced on their newly released album Imperium — which sees them favoring longer and more densely layered songs, still maintaining the high-speed tempo and blast-heavy brand that the band have made their foundation, but amplified by a very light symphonic element and a heftier focus on letting the rhythm section thud their way through more of the songwriting. Continue reading »

Oct 302017


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album, released earlier this month, by the Russian band Kartikeya.)

I’ve been out for awhile and I apologize for that. I had a personal tragedy occur and it caused me to have to pull back for awhile. I had originally asked Islander to review this album since I didn’t think I could, but I decided to pick myself up and do it since I’ve got a lot of history with this band.

Kartikeya’s brand of ethnic-influenced melodic death metal with modern groove and progressive influences has been a beloved sound here at NCS, among both the staff and the site’s readers. Samudra is an album that’s been waylaid by a lot of delays and suffered a lot of difficulties in coming to fruition. It’s now been SIX YEARS since Mahayuga, and for people who love this band I think there was a lot of speculation as to whether all the delays would spell doom and whether Samudra would be up to par.

We got a taste of Samudra with the 2011 Durga Puja EP (which I reviewed here) — the EP’s title track is included on the album — as well as what were originally three stand-alone singles, “The Horrors Of Home” (2012), “Tunnels of Naraka” (2013), and “The Golden Blades” (2016), which are also on this record (and each of which we’ve reviewed). “Durga Puja” was an exercise in Kartikeya pushing their Vedic elements to the absolute forefront, a borderline danceable snake dance that really served to emphasize Arsafes’s love of the culture he was raised in, while the first of those singles was more of a traditional Kartikeya-style death metal song, gnarly mangled riffs, fast as fuck, with a juxtaposed melodic chorus to keep a bit of hookiness in there.

I was surprised to find out when I finally got the promo of Samudra that those four songs were only the tip of an expansive soundscape that is like being hit by a sandstorm filled with flesh-gnawing insects and majestic wonder. Continue reading »

Oct 302017


You’re about to have the chance to hear a full stream of Guilty Pleasures, the fourth album by the French underground band Jessica93 in advance of its November 3 release by MusicFearSatan and Teenage Menopause.

I nearly didn’t agree to host this premiere, despite how hard the album hooked me. It’s pretty far away from the varieties of extreme metal that are our bread and butter, and the vocals are entirely clean, which always generates confusion among those who take us at our word when they see the site’s name.

But then I thought, if someone as musically tunnel-visioned as I am can get enthusiastic about this music, maybe the same will be true of others who usually come here to get their skulls fractured and their brains purified by flamethrowers. And in fact I do think there are aspects of the music that are likely to appeal to segments of metal fandom. Besides, you’d have to be the victim of a C4 cervical fracture not to reflexively move to these songs. Continue reading »

Oct 292017


This is Part 2 of a three-part SHADES OF BLACK feature for this week. As I explained in Part 1, I assembled a dozen items, all but one of them consisting of new music. I arranged them in alphabetical order by band name and then divided the list into three parts. I’m going to try to finish Part 3 in time to post it on Monday morning.


James Fogarty has a long and impressive list of bands and solo projects on his resume, including The Meads of Asphodel, Old Forest, Svartelder, and In the Woods…. But his longest-running project, the one that came first, is Ewigkeit. The first album under that name was Battle Furies, released in November 1997 by the Eldethorn label, and now it’s being released again — but this isn’t a mere reissue. Continue reading »

Oct 292017


Once again I find myself with a small mountain of new music and recent announcements I’d like to share from the fecund gardens of musical nightshade. I had 12 items when I started writing yesterday, some of them advance music from forthcoming releases, some of them full albums or EPs, and one of them just an announcement (but a very exciting one).

I put all 12 in alphabetical order by band name and then divided them into three parts. With a little luck, I’ll get the second part finished and posted today. With a little more luck I’ll finish the third one in time to post on Monday morning. I hope you’ll find some things to like.


In January of 2016 we were lucky to premiere a song from the debut EP (Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom) of an Icelandic black metal band named Almyrkvi, which is the solo project of musician Garðar S Jónsson, who is also a member of the Icelandic band Sinmara. We followed that with Andy Synn’s laudatory review of the EP, which he described as a successful effort “to capture the fearsome cold and endless nothingness of the celestial abyss in five impressively atmospheric and morbidly mesmerising tracks”. Continue reading »