May 262015


It’s really not fair to all the other bands around the world who have been drenching their arms in the blood pool of black/death. When Deiphago unleash their brand of red dragon chaos, you just have to shake your head. How do you keep up with something like this?

I was lucky to hear this new Deiphago song — “Red Dragon of Chaos” — many weeks ago and I meant to write about it the moment I was free to do so. But when it finally became public I was just beginning my Maryland Deathfest XIII sojourn and missed the news. Better late than never, I hope.

Speaking of MDF, I discovered that Hells Headbangers was selling the new Deiphago album that includes this song at their MDF merch tent, more than two months in advance of its official release. By the time I got my ass in gear and visited the HH installation, only two CD copies were left. And then there were none, though one came home with me to Seattle. And speaking further of MDF, I think enough time has passed since Deiphago’s last appearance there in 2013 that they should be invited to return next year, especially because I didn’t make the trip in 2013.

May 212015


(This post was supposed to appear yesterday, following Part 1 (here), but my trip to Baltimore for Maryland Deathfest and the pre-fest show last night derailed those plans.)

I think once upon a time I explained that when I use the title Shades of Black in posting about collections of new songs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what follows will be black metal (though that’s usually what follows). Sometimes the music has strands of recognizable black metal instrumentation mixed with other motifs. Sometimes it’s a matter of shared spirit. Sometimes, the music is just bleak and crushing.

I’m reminding you of this because I doubt anyone would call all of the following songs “black metal”. But I sure as hell do like all of them, and hope you do, too.


It was almost two years ago when I last wrote about this two-man sludge metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden — July 4, 2013, to be exact. Back then, the subject was a song from their last album, Two Titans. Now they have a new full-length named Trail of the Serpent that’s being released on May 25 by Candlelight Records. (with vinyl coming in July via Pelagic Records). Thanks to an alert from Bandcamp yesterday I learned that a new song named “Stench of Prey” is now available for streaming. It is one hell of a song.

May 202015


Guess what? There’s a new Cattle Decapitation song, the name of which is “Manufactured Extinct”. It comes from the band’s next album The Anthropocene Extinction, which Metal Blade has scheduled for worldwide release on August 7. And you can see the delicious artwork for the album up above, created by longtime Cattle Decap collaborator Wes Benscoter.

I don’t have anything more to say about the song, because I’m at 40,000 feet at the moment, flying to Baltimore for Maryland Deathfest, and though there is wi-fi on this plane, it ain’t good enough to stream music. But I can embed the song for you to hear, and I can embed the lyrics right after the song, and I can ask you to tell me how awesome it is… and so I will do all those things right after the jump!

May 202015


I’ve accumulated an assortment of fine new songs and videos, some of which have black metal genes in their DNA. But there are other ingredients encoded within the genomes of each band, and the resulting musical expressions display considerable variety. There are enough tracks that I want to recommend that I’ve dividing this post into two parts. The second will come later today.


I suppose few listeners would apply the term “black metal” or even “blackened” to Zatokrev, and Zatokrev actually “refuse the void” in the lyrics of this first song rather than embrace it. But I’m including them in this collection anyway, because they are so damned good and because a heavy darkness emanates from their sound.

The Zatokrev song featured here is “Bleeding Island”. It comes from their new album Silk Spiders Underwater…, which was released on April 13 by Candlelight Records, and it’s the focus of the new music video you’re about to see.

May 182015


I’ve got a fairly large collection of new songs that I want to recommend, but I unfortunately don’t have the time to write about all of them now. Rather than just throw up my hands and surrender, I decided I’ll at least mention two of them now. To be more accurate, I’m recommending one and Grant Skelton is recommending the second. Me first…


Almost exactly four years have passed since I last wrote about Berlin’s Ära Krâ, reviewing their powerful debut album Ferne Tage, and then interviewing the band not long after that. Until yesterday they hadn’t released anything new since then, but yesterday they did — a song named “Strang und Schwert”. It’s the first release from a forthcoming self-titled EP, and I sure like it. It begins in intense fashion, a black metal flash flood of basting drums and swarming riffs with howling hardcore-styled vocals. And then it changes dramatically…

May 182015


(In this first part of a mammoth two-part essay, our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks explores a variety of spiritual rituals and their connections to doom metal.)

All right now! Tonight we’re summoned for a divine cause!

Mankind started the basis of society since its  primordial childhood. Many old and good traditions have been lost to the ages, yet ritualistic aspects and traditions were set very deeply in the turns of our brains. Certain traditions and ceremonies have been transformed into religious acts or became social rituals during our evolution, but most of them remain alive in modern days. Something took the form of the Christian Eucharist, something else developed into the form of the Easter Rabbit or the bacchanalia of a metal gig. These rites have provided new trappings to the symbolism at their core, but some people still seriously follow and perform its archaic elements. Let us take a look at which forms of religious rituals live their new life in the sermons of modern priests of the doom cult.

This text is a reworked, renewed, extended, and a bit rude translation of an article that I wrote for a Russian e-zine (here), but I and some of the bands who were discussed thought it would be a good idea to have an English version as well. Of course, it’s not really as much of a scientific or anthropological work as it could be, but if there’s someone who’s ready to make a proper investigation then let me know — I have an idea or two.

Here I’ve used some of my past interviews or just asked some bands straight question about their vision of certain rituals.

Don’t take it too seriously! And don’t try to perform it at home!

And as I’ve mentioned above — tonight we’re summoned for a divine cause!

May 172015


Happy Sunday. I thought I would recommend a few new songs. No, not that new Lamb of God song – I like it, but I figure almost every metalhead in creation already knows about it, and I’d rather focus on some things you might not have heard about.  But by all means, feel free to share your thoughts about that song in the Comments, along with any reactions to the following four items.


Costin Chioreanu is probably best known in metal circles as an incredibly talented graphic artist whose work appears on the covers of a wide array of excellent albums (including releases by At the Gates, Sigh, Arcturus, Mayhem, and Darkthrone). But he’s also the vocalist/guitarist of a Romanian band named Bloodway, whose fine debut album Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon was released on February 27th 2014, by I, Voidhanger Records.

May 142015

Hey there. I thought I’d quickly throw a few new things your way that I found earlier today. Then I have to go do something that actually pays my bills. Regrettably, on some days there seems to be a limit to how much unvarnished fucking off I can do at my job.


There’s a new play-through video for one of the best songs on Hideous Divinity’s latest album, Cobre Verde. The song is “The Alonest of the Alone”, and though you may be expecting a guitar or drum video, because most people seem to find more sex appeal in those things than a play-through on the humble bass, this is A BASS VIDEO.

May 122015

Lots of news about High On Fire and new HoF music today.

First, we received a reminder that the band’s new album, Luminiferous, will be released on June 16 via eOne Music. It was recorded at Salem, Massachusetts’ GodCity Studios with producer Kurt Ballou. You can see the artwork above,

Second, the group premiered a new song from the album named “The Black Plot” via Rolling Stone — and I’ll have a bit more to say about it in a minute.

Third, the band announced a headlining U.S. tour that begins on July 30 in San Diego and finishes in New Orleans on August 23. Along for the ride will be Pallbearer, Lucifer, and Venomous Maximus. Here are the dates:

May 122015


From my wanderings through the interhole and the NCS mailbox yesterday I came across four diverse new songs that grabbed me. So I thought I would put you in their clutches as well.


I paused in my wanderings to hear this new song from Vanum based on the disclosure that the band consists of K. Morgan of Ash Borer and M. Rekevics of Fell Voices, Vorde, and Vilkacis. All those bands are quite good in my estimation, and so I was curious to hear what the union of these talents had produced. Profound Lore must have been intrigued, too, because they’re releasing Vanum’s debut album Realm of Sacrifice in June (digital and CD), with vinyl coming later via Psychic Violence.

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