On New Year’s Day of this year I posted a large round-up of new music that included brief teasers of music from a vinyl split release by Finland’s Hooded Menace and the Canadian band AlgomA. At that point, release of the split by Doomentia Records had been delayed past its originally scheduled November 2016 release date, but it finally became available at the end of January (and the limited-edition splattered-color version of the vinyl is already sold out), and full streams of both songs are now up on Bandcamp.
The artwork for the split was painted by the Italian maestro Paolo Girardi. My own admiration for his work probably appears slavish to regular readers here, but man, what he did for this split really makes me drool. I’ve ordered the split on vinyl just to be able to hold it in my hands, though I didn’t find out about the vinyl release until too late to grab one of these:
This is Part 2 of a post I started yesterday and decided to divide because I kind of went overboard with the volume of music. As I explained yesterday, this 2-parter includes streams of two full albums, three full EPs, two singles (I added one since yesterday), and advance tracks from two forthcoming releases. And lots of my words, of course. In the middle, I’ve spliced one very exciting piece of news… which comes first today.
On Friday, Debemur Morti Productions announced that Naas Alcameth, the mastermind behind Nightbringer and Akhlys, has joined the label with a new project named Aoratas, and an album that will be released later this year.
The announcement included a statement by Naas Alcameth that I’m just going to quote in full. I trust I don’t need to explain why this is newsworthy, but if an explanation is needed, I’d simply point you to the stream of The Dreaming I, which I’ve included below the statement.
I tend to go overboard with the volume of music in these Shades of Black posts, but this one includes even more minutes of listening than usual. In this one you’ll find streams of two full albums, three full EPs, one single, and advance tracks from two forthcoming releases. And lots of my words, of course. In the middle, I’ve also spliced one very exciting piece of news.
Due to the size of this post, I’ve divided it into two parts. Part 2 is almost finished, but because of the volume of music here in Part 1 and in yesterday’s post, I think I’ll wait until first thing tomorrow to unveil it.
Hetroertzen is a Chilean band now based in Sweden. I first discovered them through the music on their last album, 2014’s Ain Soph Aur (which I reviewed at length here). Their new album, Uprising of the Fallen, is now set for release by their new label Listenable Records on February 24.
Those of you impeccably tasteful metal aficionados who follow my Shades of Black posts know that I was too incapacitated to get one done for last Sunday. So I’m doing one now, although none of the songs collected here was included in what I planned to write about for last Sunday. I discovered all of these since then. I do still plan to complete the write-up I had originally conceived, perhaps later this week or at least for this coming Sunday.
Yesterday, I was reminded about a German label named Einheit Produktionen by seeing their release schedule for the spring. I would have discovered these plans sooner if I’d been paying closer attention to our daily e-mail flood.
In April, Einheit will be discharging the self-titled debut album of a German black metal band named Ferndal, whose influences are described by Einheit as “reaching from Darkthrone to Windir, from Beethoven to Arvo Pärt and from baroque grace to romantic melancholy, within a veil of pure black metal aggression”. Is it any wonder I paused in my scurrying to have a listen to the first teaser of music?
(TheMadIsraeli prepared this brief review of the new EP by Polarity of Life from Croatia.)
At least in terms of its global profile, Croatia seems to be a very underrepresented part of Europe, given the quality metal that its bands are always producing. Lots of the best aspects of Polish, Finnish, and German metal are fed into a blender, and the result is often killer, as well as something that seems uniquely Croatian.
Polarity Of Life are a Croatian melodic death metal band, of a more deathly, old school sort. The proper majestic, epic, sweeping melodies are present, but they exist amidst a torrid storm of heavyweight haymaker riffing with German weight and Polish military march. Insomnium meets Vader meets Heaven Shall Burn is definitely a fair assessment as references. Beginning/End/Beginning is an impressive sophomore release, and I’m eager to hear more.
Vitriol have accomplished something remarkable on their first release, in fact so remarkable that it’s going to leave the brains of a certain segment of the listening public spinning around like they’ve been dropped in a blender set to puree. It’s one of the most stunning and stupefying death metal releases I’ve heard in this new year, and I probably won’t hear its equal by year-end. But I must say in the same breath that it may repel all but the most scarred and hardened listeners, the kind of people who (like me) revel in new extremes of noxious but electrifying filth. For those kinds of fans, however, Vitriol have already reach dizzying heights of appalling power.
Vitriol is a two-man operation based in Nuremberg, Germany. They originally released this self-titled debut demo last summer on tape, and now Hellthrasher Productions will expose the music to a wider audience through a CD release on January 27. We’re about to expose you to it with the premiere of a full stream. Prepare yourselves for something completely wild, and uglier than sin.
(Austin Weber reviews the new album by the Belarusian band Leprous Vortex Sun.)
Try as I might, it’s just not possible to catch every new gem that dropped in 2016, especially among releases that dropped in December, such as the Youdash which Islander covered and I recently covered myself elsewhere. But, since Youdash has been covered here, let’s focus instead on the Belarus black metal band Leprous Vortex Sun, who dropped a terrifying new album on December 21st. Thankfully, my fellow geeky friends often tip me off to stuff like this, so thank you Amir for sharing this with me!
I had to translate the album title (По направлению к Солнцу, плавящему изнутри кости), as it’s originally written in the band’s native tongue using the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, if I’m not mistaken. Roughly translated, what it comes out to in English is: Towards the sun, melting the bones inside. Couple that creepy title with the freakish artwork, and the vibe is set for something grim and otherworldly before you even hit play.
Once you do, it’s a veritable carnival of feverish horror at every turn, mainly consisting of lengthy lumbering songs punctuated by intense chaotic shifts. It poisons you with skin-crawling dissonance masked as “riffs” amidst waves of bestial hoarse screams and growls, while the drumming alternates between a lurch and a full-on weaponised full-throttle assault on a whim. To call this fucked up and deranged-sounding is almost an understatement.
(This is Todd Manning’s review of the debut EP by Australia’s mysterious Miserist.)
A new year is upon us and there’s no reason to believe we’re not just one more step closer to the carnivorous abyss. No wonder extreme music just gets nastier and more oppressive, the most recent torchbearers coming in the form of the Australian mystery collective Miserist. This self-titled debut EP is a cavern-borne Death/Industrial hybrid, and strangely, considering the style, entirely instrumental. This one facet proves to be most compelling, coming across as a strange absence at first, but then as an abstraction upon repeated listens. The more one listens, the more this one facet opens itself up to speculation about the thought process behind the decision.
For the most part, Miserist alternate between devastating yet obscure slabs of blast-beat-driven Death Metal, often reminiscent of the mighty Portal, and more mid-paced Industrial-fueled sludge. Without vocals, the music becomes both inhuman and weightless; even the most straightforward riffs become atmospheric. And there is a layer of grime and filth overlaying the whole affair as well. The listener is invited to imagine all sorts of post-apocalyptic futures stimulated by their assault.
I first paid attention to the UK black/death metal band Vacivus when discovering their 2015 EP Rite of Ascension, much as one might pay attention to a nuclear air burst overhead, just before the shockwave hits. We delivered the premiere of Rite of Ascension in all its terrible glory, and today we bring you the premiere of another Vacivus EP, this one a two-song detonation named Nuclear Chaos that will be released in March on 7″ vinyl by Goatprayer Records. It can be considered a prelude to the band’s next full-length album, which this time will be released by Profound Lore Records.
I frothed at the mouth over this band’s last EP, writing of Rite that “it’s not for the faint of heart, but I think it will hold a strong appeal to fans of savage, void-faring death metal that brings both killer riffs and a poisonous, otherworldly atmosphere.” I also ventured the guess that it marked “the stunning appearance of a band whose name we expect to see praised throughout the dark places in the underground where ancient death worship is the order of the day.” The Profound Lore signing could be seen as confirmation of that forecast.
(TheMadIsraeli wrote this feature about Connecticut-based Stone Healer.)
About a week ago I spent some time digging for older releases by bands people should know about. Stone Healer is such a band and seemed a good choice for this post-holiday feature.
Dave Kaminsky, the mastermind behind Stone Healer, is an interesting character in the super-underground black metal scene just because of his style and overall production aesthetic. We’re talking the real garage tier; you’d have to be looking in the right places to find his obscure projects.
I had stumbled upon his previous band Autolatry, a progressive black metal band that also incorporated elements of post-hardcore into their sound, resulting in music that was abrasive, caustic, yet forlorn and melancholy.