Sep 122016

Saturno-Thou Art All

 

Today marks the advent of Thou Art All, the debut EP by a band from Ferrara, Italy, named Saturno, and we happily bring you a full stream of this astounding new work.

Saturno’s ranks include past and present members of Unbirth, Demiurgon, Valgrind, and Hobnailed, and they have turned their talents to the creation of a concept EP about the Trimurti, a trinity of the supreme God in Hinduism formed by Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.

Sep 102016

krypts-remnants-of-expansion

 

On Thursday I mentioned that I was on the verge of leaving Seattle for a trip related to my day job. I’m still on that trip, which has taken me to a mountainous region of Utah for a “retreat” hosted by the company I work for. This happens every year, and it’s always fun. This year may be even more fun than usual, because so far I haven’t subjected myself to alcohol poisoning.

Yesterday and this morning I had time to pull together some new music and one news item. Despite the title of this post, most of the following six bands either straddle the line between black metal and death metal or might be considered all the way over on the black-metal side of the line. But the title wasn’t intended as a straight genre descriptor. There are other reasons for the title, which you’ll discover soon.

KRYPTS

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the new album by the Finnish band Krypts, because their 2013 debut full-length, Unending Degradation, was damned good. The name of the new album is Remnants of Expansion, it’s embellished with artwork by Timo Ketola, and it’s coming out on October 28 via Dark Descent.

Sep 062016

Singularity-Void Walker

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Arizona’s Singularity.)

By now you should be at least peripherally aware of Singularity, Arizona’s leading purveyors of Blackened Tech-Death, as we (and by “we”, I am mainly referring to regular contributor Austin Weber) have covered them several times before, most recently when premiering the band’s lyric video for “The Refusal”, the second track on their just-released new EP Void Walker.

Now I’ll admit up front that I was never quite as taken by the group’s debut (self-titled) album as some of our other writers and readers. It definitely had its fair share of stand-out moments, that’s for sure, but the band’s slightly scatterbrained, “kitchen-sink” approach to songwriting often left a fair bit to be desired in my opinion. And the less said about the perplexingly flat and affectless clean vocals the better…

Still, although the quartet didn’t quite manage to sustain the highest level of quality (in my opinion anyway) for the entire 51:30 run-time of their debut, the more restrictive confines of the EP format seem to have put the spurs to their creative juices, as (mixed metaphors aside) Void Walker is by some margin the best thing they’ve put their name to.

Sep 052016

Ov Shadows-Monologues

 

In this post I’m combining reviews of two short releases that were recommended by friends whose names may be familiar to long-time readers of our site — the first by .jh (Obitus) and the second by eiterorm. I owe them thanks, because both of these releases are excellent, and they also complement each other very well.

OV SHADOWS

Between 2008 and 2014 the Swedish band Waning released two albums and four shorter works, including a contribution to the Elemental Nightmares series of splits in 2014 that we wrote about incessantly. The song on that 2014 split turns out to be the last of Waning’s output, because at the start of this month they announced that the band had ended. However, members of Waning (one of whom is also in the aforementioned Obitus) and Black Drop Effect have formed a new group named Ov Shadows, and they have recently released a three-track EP called Monologues.

Sep 042016

Lluiva-Enigma

 

I’ve been messing with this site for almost 7 years and I continue to be astonished by how much good metal from all over the world appears on a weekly basis. And so a lot of new music awaits you in this round-up of metal in a blackened vein, but there could have been more. In fact, I forced myself to separate new music from five other bands and assemble those tracks in another one of these posts, though I can’t be sure I’ll finish it before being diverted by other things.

I’m starting off with tracks from two new releases that are headed our way from the Fallen Empire label, and then branching off into other directions.

LLUVIA

We haven’t given enough attention to Lluvia (a one-man project from León, Mexico), even though the band’s last album Eternidad Solemne was celebrated in our friend Ben Smasher’s list of 2015’s best albums (and he’s not the only writer around the web who embraced the album last year). We have another opportunity to do better, because Lluvia has already completed a new album, the name of which is Enigma.

Aug 282016

Endalok-Englaryk

 

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

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.

Aug 262016

Mordbrand-In Nighted Waters

 

I’ve developed a habit through years of experience, much like Pavlov’s dog was trained to salivate at the sound of the bell: When I learn that Sweden’s Mordbrand have released new music, I drop what I’m doing and hungrily scamper over to the music player to listen. This happened yesterday when, without advance warning, a new Mordbrand EP popped up on Bandcamp. The name of it is In Nighted Waters.

This new EP is actually the Mordbrand half of a split LP with California’s Gravehill, which will be released in the U.S. by Doomentia and is now available in Sweden via Carnal Records. It includes four original songs and a cover of “Compost Christ” by Bluuurgh… (rearranged by Mordbrand and including guest vocals by Mike Abominator (Necronizer, ex-Gravehill).

Aug 242016

Ovaryrot-Suicide Ideation

 

(DGR prepared this review of the new album by the Swedish/U.S. band Ovaryrot.)

This disc sounds like a goddamned nightmare.

Every once in a while we’ll come across a release that makes the hair fly back from minute one and then leaves us glued to the wall for the entirety of its run. Not that it is usually a mark of quality, but sometimes from the first moment an album will start out sounding like someone taking a saw to sheet metal and somebody else hammering on a trash can behind it. Sometimes the music is so abrasive that you kind of can’t help but be entranced by it; judgments of quality usually come after the second or third listen, which is just about the time when  you parse out exactly whatever the fuck that previous forty-some-odd minutes of whirlwind was.

Ovaryrot’s Suicide Ideation — which came out on August 14th — is one of those albums. Not that we would ever expect a band who go by the moniker of Ovaryrot to play nice; we’ve learned our lessons there before.

Aug 222016

Dawn Rayd-A Thorn A Blight

 

(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP of the UK band Dawn Ray’d, which is out now on Bandcamp.)

As our contributor Wil Cifer wrote recently, “Crust seems to be a hot buzzword when it comes to underground metal these days”, to the extent I’m even starting to see it edge out the near-ubiquitous over-use of the terms “blackened” and “Black Metal” in certain places (but don’t you worry, I have a whole other column percolating in my head about THAT particular topic).

It seems to be one of those terms designed to bestow instant underground-cred on a band, whether or not it’s actually reflected in any aspects of their music, and, as such, I’ve seen it crudely co-opted multiple times by bands and writers who don’t seem to know (or care) what it means, they just want the artificial credibility and cultural capital it bestows.

I’m saying all this as a preamble because I want to make it clear right away that – even though their unwavering anti-NSBM, anti-fascist stance and sharp, punk-edged sound certainly gives them more claim to the term than some others I’ve seen – gritty Black Metal three-piece Dawn Ray’d don’t seem to care one way or the other whether you call them “Crust” or not.

They’re just happy to let the music speak for itself.

Aug 152016

Scour EP

 

(DGR reviews the debut EP by Scour.)

There is no doubt that the reason the Scour EP and its mid-July release landed on most metal fans’ radar due to the presence of one Phil Anselmo trying his hand at extreme metal. Phil has proven himself to be a polarizing figure this year via one very particular scandal, and it is still not clear whether he thought he was being funny making a racist joke or if he is a fucking gigantic moron.

He seemed penitent enough when the inevitable backlash occurred, pretty much making it clear that if he was proving to be an obstacle to any of the bands he was in, he was willing to leave. But it makes you wonder if these events had any sort of effect on the lead-up to the Scour EP’s mid-July release.

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