(We’re happy to report that Neill Jameson (Krieg) has returned to his series on black metal from years long past, adding a fourth part to the first three (which are collected behind this link). And he still hasn’t exhausted the subject, so if you continue to support this project as you already have, maybe we can convince him to keep going with it.)
I’ve decided to come back to the idea of black metal records and bands that flew under the radar or were well known during their time but have gotten a bit of dust on them over the years as people go for bands in witch hats or whatever the fuck they’re using now. It’s probably something I could do a dozen pieces on, honestly, just by listening to shitty tapes of the radio show I did in the ’90s/early ’00s. I guess it all depends on who gets sick of it first; you, the fine folks at NCS, or me.
My money is on one of the first two.
Happy Monday! I mean that sincerely, despite the usual depressive aspects of the day, because this Monday brought us three exciting new song premieres that I discovered soon after caffeinating myself strongly enough to stun a bull, plus an announcement of an exciting U.S. tour. And here’s what I found:
As our regular readers are well aware, we have become ardent followers of the Greek band Aenaon since discovering the wonders of their 2014 album Extance, which made no fewer than four different year-end lists published at our site, as well as a host of our reader’s lists. It was also the source of a song (“Grau Diva”) that I included in my list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. You may then be able to imagine how eagerly we have been awaiting the band’s new album, Hypnosophy.
With three weeks having passed since the last time I was able to compile a Shades of Black post, I’ve accumulated quite a large collection of songs, EPs, and albums that I’d like to recommend. I’ve ambitiously given this post a “Part 1” moniker, signifying the goal of following this with at least one more collection during the coming week. Of course, this ignores the lesson I’ve tried repeatedly to teach myself, i.e., that part-time metal bloggers should never disclose what they think they are going to do, given the high failure rate. Hope springs eternal, I guess.
I’m starting with music from two Icelandic black metal bands. There seem to be an endless supply of them, and they seem to be never less than good, and often are great. I’m also beginning to suspect that all the line-ups are drawn from the same group of about five people.
Endalok is a new Icelandic band whose debut demo Englaryk will be released on CD by Hellthrasher Productions and on cassette and vinyl by Signal Rex. The identity of the member(s) hasn’t been disclosed, but the quality of the first preview track suggests the presence of a person or people who have some experience, as well as impressive talent.
Happy Hangover Day to one and all. In this Saturday round-up I’ve included one exciting news item and four songs that I discovered over the last 24 hours, which I’ve also found exciting. The first two are older songs. I tend to focus in these round-ups on brand new material, but I’m including these two not only because they’re very good but also because both bands have new albums in the works. The third and fourth songs are more par for the course — just-released advance tracks from forthcoming releases.
We begin with the exciting news item. Our brother Joseph at Invisible Oranges was quick on the trigger yesterday, spreading the news about Khôrada, which is how I found out about the announcement. For those who don’t patronize IO, Khôrada is the name of a new band whose line-up includes the three refugees of Agalloch, whose visionary founding member set them adrift last May.
As I explained yesterday, what you’re reading now was supposed to be Part 2 of a two-part post that we began with a selection of new songs compiled by DGR. Before I could finish this thing, some new tracks by Meshuggah and Asphyx appeared, and I decided to throw those at you right away. (Speaking of big names, a new In Flames song also appeared (here), but it mainly depresses me.)
Before something else happens to cause further delay, let’s get into the following new music and videos from eight bands — five of whom are old favorites, plus three new discoveries. (Yes, this is what happens when a round-up is delayed — it grows like a bramble of thorns.)
In mid-July we premiered the first advance track from Meta, the new album by Thy Catafalque. It was a heavy beast, maybe even a surprisingly heavy beast for those who may have formed their expectations for this album based on last year’s Sgùrr. The surprises don’t end there. For example, I can now share with you another song that premiered elsewhere yesterday: “10^(-20) Ångström“.
Earlier today I posted Part 1 of a planned two-part Seen and Heard round-up of new music, with the first Part prepared by my comrade DGR. What you’re looking at now isn’t the Part 2 that I had planned to write, because while I was toiling away on that, Meshuggah and Asphyx released songs from their new albums. Rather than tack them on to my original selection of cuts for Part 2, which is already pretty large, I decided to throw them at you now, and convert my original Part 2 into Part 3. Unless something else pops up and Part 3 becomes Part 4, because I haven’t yet figured out how to make time stand still.
The title of Meshuggah’s eighth album is The Violent Sleep of Reason. Nuclear Blast plans to release it on October 7. That’s obviously a big deal, given how vastly influential Meshuggah has become over the years, not to mention the high quality of their music. The first single from the album, “Born In Dissonance” premiered not long ago at Rolling Stone, along with an interview of drummer Tomas Haake, who as usual wrote the lyrics for the song.
DGR volunteered for round-up duty while the oaf who usually does this was furiously scribbling introductions to premieres over the last 48 hours. Said oaf is now working on his own round-up contribution, which will become Part 2 of this post later today. Meanwhile, here are DGR’s picks for noteworthy new songs and videos that emerged in recent days.
ULCERATE — EXTINGUISHED LIGHT
If you heard an immense boom recently and had to look around and wonder what the fuck was that?, it was likely due to the release of a new song by abyss-dwelling death metallers Ulcerate, from their October 28th album Shrines Of Paralysis.
That stunning vista above these words is what greeted my eyes this morning. I’m on a short vacation in the presence of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I’m not telling you that to be a dick, but only because I know how vitally interested you are in my every movement, except perhaps for bowel movements.
I did tear myself away from awestruck gazing at the horizon long enough to listen to four new songs, one of which comes with a video. I thought all four were good enough that they would make a nice collection for this Saturday morning, saving me the agony of trying to sift through all the other good stuff that came out since my last round-up.
The first two songs are exceptions to our oft-violated Rule, and the last two open up the extremity throttle in very different ways.
(Austin Weber takes over round-up duty on this Friday, focusing on new music from 8 bands. And no, the new Metallica song isn’t one of them.)
I was going to try to add some items to the next Seen and Heard when Islander told me he would be unable to do one for today. So call it serendipity, call it good timing, whatever it is, here I am with a varied post of new songs and releases to cover today since Islander is trapped in work hell. Let’s get to it!
An Endless Sporadic
While adventurous instrumental prog metal unit An Endless Sporadic may have gotten their biggest visibility boost from being featured in the videogame series Guitar Hero some time ago, the band has never ceased to continue delivering killer music. After a pause in new music for a bit of time, the band is set to release a new album, Magic Machine, on September 16th. Yesterday the band release a new animated music video/new single for “Sky Run”, which heavily features famed Dream Theater-associated keyboardist Jordan Rudess. The amazing visuals that grace the music video are from none other than NCS site favorite Costin Chioreanu, which adds that extra something special to the experience of enjoying “Sky Run”.
(We are happy to have Kaptain Carbon back with us. On this visit, he helps to commemorate the 10th release of a label called Vrasubatlat. Kaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)
It is no secret Vrasubatlat has recently become one of my recent favorite labels and collectives of bands. If you read my previous column on some of my favorite demos of 2016, you will see a glowing endorsement at the top of the page. It is only because this label keeps putting out music that I keep wanting to write about. Once they stop, I will stop as well. I do not know what to tell you. There is just something appealing about music when it feels like an open wound.
This article is to celebrate Vrasubatlat’s tenth release in two years, as well as introduce others to the wild and hellish world of black / death with social issues.