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 202016



Well, here we are on a Thursday and this is our first new music round-up of the week. I suppose it goes without saying that, four days into the week, I now have a very long list of songs and videos I’ve found that I like enough to recommend — but don’t have time or room to mention all of them.

I’ve made some choices that range far and wide in their musical styles, but because I have a hard time making choices, this is still a big post despite the fact that I haven’t been able to include everything. Stay with me though, because there’s a lot of good music below.


I first heard of Wędrujący Wiatr through an enthusiastic recommendation by Austin Lunn, the man behind Panopticon. When he first told me about the band, word had surfaced that a new album would be coming out this fall, but no music was yet available;  Austin‘s enthusiasm was based on the band’s debut album, 2013’s Tam, gdzie miesiąc opłakuje świt, and after I listened to it, I understood his passion for the music.

Well, now we have a song from the new album, and it’s pretty magnificent.

Oct 142016



I nearly decided to call this round-up “Overpowering Audio Carnage” or “Your End Is Near”, but decided those headlines wouldn’t quite suit everything I’ve collected here — though they would suit most of it.

I guess I’m in a bloody frame of mind, and these songs struck the right chord, some of them because they’re fucking bloody and cathartic and some of them because they turned my fevered mind in other appealing directions. I’m going to start with the especially nasty and destructive stuff.


I’ve been meaning to check out the music from Hierophant’s new album Mass Grave and finally took the plunge when CVLT Nation premiered a track from it yesterday (thanks to Utmu for pointing me to it). I’m glad I was sitting down or it would have knocked me flat.

Oct 122016



Yes, there are quite a lot of names in the headline of this post, but what follows isn’t quite as daunting as you might think. The first two items consist of news and art for forthcoming releases, but no music yet, and the last two items are just brief teasers of new music. In between I’ve sandwiched four full songs and videos, and I’m quite happy with what I’ve chosen, not only because the music is very good considered in isolation but also because collectively they make for a nice, varied playlist (and the two videos and album covers are quite eye-catching, too). At least it should be nice for people who have eclectic tastes. Here we go….


That’s a hell of a metal album cover up there, isn’t it? It was disclosed yesterday by Italy’s Hour of Penance and Prosthetic Records, who will release the band’s new album Cast the First Stone on January 27, 2017. The cover was created by Gyula Havancsak, whose work we’ve praised before in these pages.

The announcement was accompanied not only by a quote from our site (yay!) but also by the following statement from the band’s vocalist Paolo Pieri concerning the concept of the album, which revolves around the idea that “the injustices suffered during the Crusades and Colonialism do not justify the chain of hate that propagandizes the destruction of the West”:

Oct 092016



Over the last week, as I sporadically checked our e-mails and scanned my Facebook feed, I made a growing list of new black metal songs and a few full releases that I wanted to check out this weekend as candidates for this Shades of Black series. As seems to happen fairly often, I found so many excellent tracks when I worked through the list that I couldn’t bring myself to leave many of them behind. And so I’ve got another two-part Shades of Black for you. It’s a grey, dank day outside here in the Pacific Northwest, so the odds are that I’ll be able to get Part 2 written and posted later today.


Four years on from their last album Cold of Ages, California’s Ash Borer (whose members have also kept themselves busy with many other musical projects) now have a third one on the way. The new one is The Irrepassable Gate and it’s set for release by Profound Lore on December 2, adorned by excellent cover art created by Glyn Smyth (Stag & Serpent).

Oct 082016



Happy Saturday. At least I hope it’s happy for you. I’m feeling a little woozy from the usual bout of end-of-week inebriation, amplified by a celebration of what is surely the final nail in Donald Trump’s maggot-ridden coffin. Surely it is, isn’t it? (And yes, I hear you saying, “Don’t call me Shirley”.)

I spent basically the entire past week writing reviews to accompany premieres, of which we had a shitload of good ones (and one more is coming tomorrow). What fell by the wayside were Seen and Heard round-ups of recommended new music. I now have vastly more on my list than time or room to cover all of them. I’ve moved some into tomorrow’s usual Shades of Black feature, and these four I sifted from that giant list in part to provide variety and in part for… well, I don’t know what the other part is.


I’m pretty sure that I first discovered Dublin’s Vircolac through a 2014 year-end list on our site by the Siberian musician “B” (of Station Dysthymia, among other groups), who said of Vircolac’s debut demo Codex Perfida: “Very nuanced and dynamic release! Vircolac has to be one of the most organic black/death hybrids I know, not so much switching between as seamlessly fusing the parent genres.”

As you’re about to find out, Vircolac have become even more adventurous and adept at organically fusing musical elements together, and they’re not limited to the trappings of black and death metal.

Oct 052016



(Grant Skelton steps in for round-up duty today with a trio of features.)


Is it just me, or does every funeral doom band just hang out in cemeteries in the autumn? Their promo photos would lead one to that conclusion. But that’s fine by me, as I enjoy autumn, cemeteries, and funeral doom. And why not partake of all 3 together?

Enter Treurwilg from Tillburg, Netherlands. The band’s name is Dutch for “weeping willow.” Just listen to their new song “As His Final Light Is Fading” and you’ll see just how well that name fits the music.

Sep 302016



Gaze upon the image above. It is the cover of a new release by Deathspell Omega. The name of that release is The Synarchy of Molten Bones. It will become available on November 8, 2016. It consists of these four tracks:

1. The Synarchy of Molten Bones
2. Famished for Breath
3. Onward where Most with Ravin I may meet
4. Internecine Iatrogenesis

It is now available for pre-order on CD, vinyl, and digitally — here:

Sep 302016



I’m a few hours late spreading this announcement, but better late than never. The news is that Maryland Deathfest has announced the final round of confirmed bands for the 2017 edition of America’s best metal fest, set to take place in Baltimore on May 25-28. Here they be, cut and pasted from the MDF Facebook:

Candlemass (Sweden) – Nightfall set
Tiamat (Sweden) – Exclusive U.S. appearance
Grave (Sweden) – Exclusive U.S. appearance
Root (Czech Republic) – Exclusive U.S. appearance
Oranssi Pazuzu (Finland)
Mother Brain
Fucking Invincible
Organ Dealer
Junior Bruce
Flash Out
Night Raids
Disparo (Australia)

Sep 292016

Photo by Dirk Behlau


I intended to prepare a round-up much earlier this week than I have, but commitments to write premieres plus interferences from my fucking day job screwed those plans. So, I’m behind once again. Catching up isn’t realistic, but I’m going to make a stab at it anyway by doing a two-part Seen and Heard.

In this first installment I’m giving a tip of the hat to two widely popular bands — and no, Metallica isn’t one of them, though if you want to talk about the new Metallica track in the Comments, feel free. Then we’ll dive deeper into the underground with the final two bands in this group (with help from our contributor Grant Skelton).

The second installment, at least as I’ve planned it (because it’s not written yet), will be devoted to perhaps even more obscure and ferocious new music. But I do also have a couple of premieres to prepare for today, plus my day job isn’t leaving me alone… so there’s a chance Part 2 will slip.


Earlier this week Century Media announced a new Dark Tranquillity album, their 11th. Named Atoma, and again featuring cover art by the band’s guitarist Niklas Sundin, it will be released on November 4, 2016. Coincident with that announcement, DT released the video that’s the first item in this round-up, for an Atoma track called “The Pitiless”. The video was filmed during the band’s appearance at the Turock Open Air Festival 2016 in Essen, Germany, by director Dirk Behlau.

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