I have a large and broad array of music in this Sunday’s Shades of Black collection. In some instances I’ve stepped outside the usual boundaries of this series, mainly because I didn’t want to wait for an arguably more appropriate way to feature the music. Hopefully, this playlist will prove interesting to you, even if you came hear expecting nothing but black metal.
Earlier today we premiered a song from a band on the Naturmacht label, and the first music in this collection also comes from Naturmacht. It’s a complete album released on January 8 called Lopun Alku, by the Finnish project Author. The photo that comes next shows a full live band, but on the album one man (J.V.) did everything — vocals, lyrics, guitars, bass, keyboards, all music.
It’s time to blacken the Sabbath again. As usual, I find myself up to my eyebrows in new advance tracks and new or newly discovered full releases I’d like to write about. I picked this group not only because they’re among the best of what I have on my list but also because they provide an array of different sounds and a mix between higher-profile and more under-the-radar bands.
Agalloch is no more, of course, and I would guess that many people who mourn the band’s dissolution blame John Haughm, certainly in part because of a poorly worded and widely lampooned statement he made when the news broke last year. His former Agalloch comrades have joined forces with Aaron John Gregory of Giant Squid to form a new band named Khôrada, who are now busy recording demos — and I’m quite anxious to hear what they’re creating.
Meanwhile, John Haughm founded Pillorian.
I was again torn between writing a “That’s Metal!” post, which I foolishly promised to do on the first Sunday of each month and still haven’t done for December — or January — and compiling another collection of recent music in a blackened vein. You can see how that internal struggle ended.
KJELD and WEDERGANGER
This split by these two distinctive Dutch bands was released on December 16 by Ván Records and is now available on Bandcamp. It includes three tracks by Kjeld and two by Wederganger. I had intended to write about it prior to release, but failed. It’s very good, and deserves more extensive discussion than I’m able to give it now. But with a full stream now available, it can speak quite well for itself.
To all of you who may be celebrating this day, for whatever reason, all of us here at NCS hope you have a joyous Sunday.
Actually, I have no idea whether any of the other miscreants at NCS hope that. For all I know, they hope you contract leprosy. And I’m just saying that because I’ve seen other people say it. So I said it.
With that out of the way, let’s move right into the main objective of this post, which is to put this holiday to the torch, musically speaking of course. And perhaps these gifts will also add to your joy.
I’ve managed to complete the second part of a two-part post that I began earlier today, though it’s not as complete as I had hoped. This second installment includes five full albums or EPs, all of which deserve more words of praise than I have time to give them, but once the new week begins I’ll have even less time than I do today. And so I’ve decided it’s better to make relatively brief exclamations of excitement than none at all.
In addition to those five full releases, this post includes one new advance track. It’s only barely in the usual blackened vein of this series (if at all), but I like it so much that I’ve bent the rules.
We begin with a new album named LI_E by the one-man Romanian project Gravatus, which was released on November 12. This was my first exposure to the music of Gravatus, but I’ve found myself enthralled by LI_E.
Last Sunday was bereft of a Shades of Black feature, so today I plan to have two. Yes, I’ve obviously forgotten my oft-learned lesson about not announcing future plans when you’re a part-time, half-witted metal blogger who can’t predict the diversions of life. So the truth is, the second part of this post may or may not arrive today. But at least you’ll have two good advance tracks, two excellent full releases, and one wonderful tribute compilation to keep you company in case I go off the rails.
Here’s an excerpt from our man Andy Synn’s review of Wiegedood’s last album,
“The Belgian three-piece, whose name is also the Dutch term for ‘Sudden Infant Death Syndrome’ (way to keep it morbid, guys), possess an enviable knack for pumping out a ferocious torrent of rage and fury, whilst maintaining a keen melodic edge that’s neither weak nor overbearing. That may not sound like much, but it’s a hard balance to get just right, and these guys make it look like child’s play. Pun intended.”
I spent time yesterday pawing through a lot of recent releases and advance tracks by black metal bands. After some self-struggle, I picked a group of songs to feature in this post. And then late in the afternoon I got additional recommendations from various sources, and that tossed all my plans up into the air. When the dust settled, I revised my picks to include these:
Convulsing was one of the recommendations that took me by surprise (thank you to starkweather and DaNasher). This is a one-man band from Sydney, Australia, whose new album Errata was released just yesterday. It caught the ears of certain listeners because the man behind Convulsing, Brendan Sloan, is also a member of Dumbsaint, who have a following. And word has been spreading. When you hear the album, I think you’ll be convinced that word will continue to spread, and damned fast and far, too.
As you can see, this is the second part of a two-part post that I began earlier today (here). Both parts were combined in a single post as I originally wrote it. But even though I throttled back my usual wordiness in order to get it finished and make it more digestible, I eventually concluded that a 10-band post was still too much for a single serving.
Part 1 of this post focused mainly on advance tracks from forthcoming albums. Now I’m moving away from individual songs and into full album and EP streams — which means I’m really giving short shrift in my words to music that’s deserving of more fulsome praise. I do wish I had time to say more, because although the band names may be obscure, these releases are really very good. I hope you’ll make time to give each of them a fair listen.
Release date: October 25
Order link: https://lhommeabsurdebm.bandcamp.com/album/monsters
As I originally wrote this post, it included music from 10 bands. As I explained yesterday, I’m feverishly trying to spread the word about late-breaking new releases before being swallowed up by our year-end LISTMANIA orgy. In order to do that, I throttled my usual wordiness in what I wrote, atypically allowing the music to speak (mainly) for itself. But I still thought that 10 bands might be too much for a single post, so I’ve divided it into two parts. I’ll let Part 2 simmer in the pot for an hour or two and then spring that one on you today as well.
As usual for this series, all the music is charred black to differing degrees. I’m starting with some arguably better-known names and then, especially in Part 2, diving a bit deeper into the well of obscurity.
Song: “Mästarens resa i mörkret”
Release date: December 16
Order link: https://murg.bandcamp.com/album/gudatall
Once again I find myself drowning in attractive new black metal. I’ve assembled some of my new discoveries in this post and have in mind pulling together a second round-up for tomorrow — but yes, I do remember how foolish it is for part-time, half-witted metal bloggers to make forecasts of what they’ll do in the future. I’ll just say… maybe.
This is one of those times when all of the underground bands featured here are newcomers to our site, and I’ve bent the framework of this series a bit with the last band, which is more in the vein of death than black metal. Hope you find something to like…
Oh look! Another Icelandic black metal band! There seem to be more of them than there are snowflakes in Iceland, but on the other hand, I haven’t yet been disappointed by any of them. I was particularly unable to resist the lure of Draugsól (as if I wanted to) when I saw the fantastic cover art by Moonroot Art for their debut album, Volaða Land.