Oct 242016



Bahrrecht are a black metal band from northeastern France. Their debut album Nuit de neige was released by the German label Ketzer Records in 2011, and one week from today Ketzer will also release the band’s second album, L’Aube Glacée (“frozen dawn”). Today we’re giving you the chance to hear this distinctive and compelling album in its entirety, in advance of its October 31 street date.

Bahrrecht made the album in part as an homage to the European black metal of the ’90s, and in particular as a sign of respect to bands such as Windir, Dissection, Taake, and Ragnarok. But it won’t take you long to realize that the album has a character, complexity, and atmosphere all its own.

Oct 242016



Ritual Theophagy is the second album by Blasphemer, a death metal band from Muggiò in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It follows by eight years the band’s first album, On the Inexistence of God, and a 2010 EP named Devouring Deception that we praised in a review (here). Ritual Theophagy is already available through the band and Comatose Music, but we’re now bringing you a full public stream of the album for the first time.

Blasphemer throw 11 songs at you in the space of about 28 minutes, with only one of the songs reaching the three-minute mark. And from that, even if you’re unfamiliar with Blasphemer‘s take-no-prisoners approach to death metal, you might deduce that Blasphemer traffic in speed… and you would be right.

Oct 232016



This Sunday’s edition of Shades of Black is quite large, but I nevertheless decided not to divide it into two parts for fear that I’d get diverted by something and never finish Part 2.

The first two items are new videos for songs from previously released albums. The next three are new songs from forthcoming albums. And the last three items are all songs from releases that have been out for a while but that I only discovered recently.


Andy Synn wrote a special three-part review (collected here) for Triangle, the new album by Schammasch, calling it “a true triumph of ambition and creativity”: “[A]ny listener who embraces the experience of Triangle on its own terms, with their eyes, their ears, and their mind open to the spiritual signals it transmits, will find their decision rewarded ten-fold.”

Oct 232016



Thornium was a band I was considering for our usual Sunday installment of The Rearview Mirror. Throneum was a band I was considering for this Sunday’s installment of Shades of Black. And then in rapid succession last night I came across songs by Thoren and Thornspawn that Facebook friends had posted on their pages. How could I resist?

Well, obviously, I couldn’t. And so rather than isolate Thornium in a Rearview Mirror post, I’ve compiled this selection of songs instead.


Sweden’s Thornium recorded a demo in 1994, and their debut album Dominions of the Eclipse was released in 1995 by a label named Necromantic Gallery Productions. Two other albums followed that one (after a few stints in prison for the band’s founder Daniel “Thypheuz” Munoz), Mushroom Clouds and Dusk in 2009 and Fides Luciferius in 2010. The band’s Facebook page includes a note from May of 2015 indicating that they were set to record a new album that summer, with the title of Deathcatharsis, but I’ve seen no further news about that. When it is complete, it appears that Soulseller Records will release it.

Oct 222016



Greetings brethren and sistren on this beautiful Saturday. At least it’s beautiful where I am, deep in the heart of Texas, where I’ve been visiting family members the last couple of days. In fact, it’s such a beautiful morning that I felt compelled to ugly it up with new metal. I found some good ways to do that, which you will hear below, and I found one other surprise, too.

But before we get to music that will bruise the day, I’m beginning this collection with something that’s as beautiful in its own way as this morning. And before I get to THAT song, I’ll leave you with YouTube links to some new music and videos that appeared just yesterday from the following bands, though I’m not writing about them here: Hail Spirit Noir; Madder Mortem; and Dark Tranquillity. I’ll also embed the videos at the end of this post if you’d rather not leave our humble site to hear and see them.


I thank Grant Skelton for alerting me to this first song, which appeared about five days ago. Its name is “How Can I Be There” and it’s from Departe, the second album by the band Clouds.

Oct 212016



(Todd Manning provides this review of a debut EP by the Texas band Monte Luna.)

Austin, Texas duo Monte Luna have just released their debut two-song demo on Bandcamp at the name-your-price level, and it would be best if you didn’t sleep on this one. Mixing equal parts Doom, Sludge, and Dark Psychedelic vibes, they create an atmosphere of tasteful heaviness, full of subtle menace.

“Father Arbitor” kicks things off with bits of noise swirling around while a sample invokes the dark spirits overseeing the material. James Cl’s guitar is distant and striking, heavy but not overtly so. The gravity of the track comes from Phil Hook’s immense beats, slow and tectonic. The vocals sound like they blew in on the wind, ghosts creeping at the edge of the campfire. While it would be mistake to say this isn’t heavy, atmosphere seems to take center stage.

Oct 212016



On November 18, Temple of Torturous will release the first album by Poland’s Eternal Deformity since The Beauty of Chaos four years ago. The new one is named No Way Out, and today we bring you a song virtually guaranteed to carry you away with its vibrancy, dynamism, and emotional power — “Reinvented“.

Those of you familiar with the band’s previous releases will be aware that Eternal Deformity have been on an ever-changing path of musical exploration, from the doom and gothic-slanted leanings of their early material to the circus-themed nightmare of Frozen Circus and the symphonic/blackened traits of The Beauty Of Chaos. The new album incorporates these previous elements of the band’s journey, but it also moves in other directions.

Oct 212016



Today the Swedish band Zornheym are releasing their new single “A Silent God” through Non Serviam Records, and we are helping spread the word through our stream premiere of this new song. “A Silent God” will appear on Zornheym‘s album Where Hatred Dwells, And Darkness Reigns, which Non Serviam plans to release this coming winter.

Regular followers of our putrid site may remember that in August we premiered this Stockholm band’s first single from the album, “The Opposed“, which also provided a first glimpse of the album’s concept, which revolves around the horrors of the Zornheim mental institution and its inmates. When the album arrives, it will be accompanied by a comic strip created for each track by artist Anu Bring (Märvel, Evil-lÿn, Satan’s fall). In addition, the music features a live string section (performed by Dies Iona Ensemble) and a full choir.

Oct 212016



(Andy Synn wrote the following opinion piece.)

The initial title for this column was “The Law of the Average”, as its overall focus was initially supposed to be on how easy it is for bands to settle for just being average… often without even realizing it.

But, as I was writing it — and, as usual, my thoughts were racing ahead of my typing — I realized that although my musings on the curse of being merely “average” was definitely still a big part of the piece, the main focus had shifted somewhat. I was no longer writing about how it must feel to realize (or, even more frequently, not realize) that your band may not ever rise above being simply “average” in the grand scheme of things… I was writing about how and about why I think this happens. Which is a subtle but important distinction.

And, ultimately, I decided (though I don’t really know if “decided” is the right word) to zero in on one fact in particular.

The importance of influences and how they shape you, as a band, as a musician, and as a person in general.

Oct 212016



(Comrade Aleks brings us his interview of pack leader Ralf Winzer Garcia from the Swiss doom band Wolf Counsel, whose new album Ironclad was released last month)

I bet that fans of right traditional doom metal have heard about the Swiss band Wolf Counsel because of their debut Vol.1 – Wolf Counsel released just one year ago, performing confident and strong doom material in the vein of the forefathers of this genre. But as for me, I almost missed the release of Wolf Counsel’s sophomore work Ironclad, which saw the light of day in September 2016. And you know… this album is an excellent example of flawless doom metal, and after a few listenings I was motivated enough to send questions to Wolf Counsel’s leader Ralf Winzer Garcia (bass, vocals).

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