Nov 272017

 

The year is supposed to be barreling toward the end, with a deep breath and a gasping look backward, but it’s obvious that the life pulse of metal takes no breaks. If you spend too much time reflecting on the last 11 months, you will inevitably miss a lot in the 5 weeks yet to come. I’m going to have to take that break, but not quite yet.

I intended to post this particular collection yesterday in its usual Sunday spot, but couldn’t finish it before departing for some Thanksgiving weekend festivities with friends. Since then it has grown a bit, but could have become much longer.

ABIGOR

Yesterday the brilliant Austrian black metal band Abigor announced that their new album, Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition, has been sent off to the pressing plant. They made clear that the release will not be preceded by “any fancy youtube video, tons of merch or other promotion campaigns”. But the band did provide a few insights into the music, as well as a stream of song excerpts, which I’ve included below.

Nov 242017

 

I saw a meme this morning on Facebook, which read as follows:  “Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” And yes, I suppose it’s so. For some of us, however, the last thing on our minds on this day, a thing to be avoided like the second coming of the black plague, is an excursion to retail outlets of any kind. The stronger impulse is to become even more hermit-like, to hunker down in our bunkers and put the thought of voraciously consuming crowds as far away as possible.

On the other hand, getting trampled is not in itself a bad thing, and can indeed be a very welcome experience, as long as the trampling is inflicted through the earholes, and the resulting visions of turmoil are spawned by the mind rather than observed through the eyes. And so here’s a rare Friday edition of SHADES OF BLACK, probably to be followed by another one in its usual place on Sunday.

TAAKE

Unless I missed something, the release of Taake’s new album, Kong Vinter, was preceded by the release of only one single (“Inntrenger”), and what a fine one it was. But the entire album is now publicly available, having been released yesterday by Dark Essence Records, in physical form and as a Bandcamp download. We failed to prepare a review in advance, and I’m afraid that what I’ve written below may not merit such a word, but I do want to share my enthusiasm, along with the music stream.

Nov 192017

 

I’m approaching this Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK post in a different way.  As usual, I have a long list of new music I’d like to recommend to you this week, but as I begin writing this morning, I haven’t decided in advance which items from the list I’ll feature here, and that’s not usual.

I’m still in Texas, where I’ve been since Friday, but I’m flying home later today and am meeting up with some friends in advance of that, and I don’t know how far I’ll be able to go with this post before I have to stop. So, I’m going to put together the artwork, the music streams and links, and a few words for each selection before moving to the next one, and when I have to stop, I’ll stop.

MEPHORASH

In this Swedish band’s last album, 2015’s Rites of Nullification, my colleague Andy Synn saw the flowering of a band whose previous releases hadn’t really stood out to him. He wrote (here):

Nov 142017

 

In this past Sunday’s edition of this series I mentioned that I had enough new recommendations to fill a two-part post, but wasn’t sure that I would have time to write the second part. Well, I did, and this is it.

Three of the recommendations are individual songs (one of which comes with a video). The other three are complete albums, accompanied by something less than full reviews, and one of those (the first one below) was a last-minute addition.

VRÅNGBILD

As mentioned, this first album wasn’t part of my original plan for this carry-over from Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK. I became aware of it on Sunday night through a recommendation from starkweather, who never steers me wrong. After listening to the first track on Bandcamp, I bought it immediately.

Nov 122017

 

Time once again to blacken the Sabbath. It was another savagely exciting week for the release of advance tracks from forthcoming albums, and five of those are in this post. I also had time to explore a few EPs and albums that came out recently, and I’ve included one of those here, too.

I nearly called this “Part 1”, because I have some other discoveries I’d like to recommend. I hope I’ll soon have time to write about those, too.

TAAKE

A new Taake album is always a welcome event, and the seventh one — Kong Vinter — will be released by Dark Essence on November 24. Last week Taake released the album track “Inntrenger“, which proved (to me at least) to be an interesting surprise. 

Nov 062017

 

This is the second part of this week’s SHADES OF BLACK collection. You can find Part 1 here.

This post begins with one advance track and follows with three complete releases, which a shortage of time prevents me from discussing in full. I’ll give you a smattering of garbled thoughts about them, and then hope you’ll give them the time they deserve.

HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY

Last Thursday Stereogum premieredTomb Omnia“, the first excerpt from the new album by Austria’s Harakiri For the Sky, the name of which is Arson. To say that we’re excited about this album is like the martyr on the stake whispering “it’s a bit warm here” as the flames begin to lick his legs.

Nov 052017

 

To blacken the Sabbath this week I picked a lot of new music to share with you. I again decided to split the collection into two parts, to make it a bit less daunting, and also because I’m not positive I could finish writing a post that included all the choices before having to leave my computer for the rest of the day. For that same reason I’m not sure I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today. If I can’t, you’ll see it tomorrow.

HALPHAS

To begin, I have a track named “Through The Forest” from the forthcoming debut album Dawn Of A Crimson Empire by the German black metal band Halphas. It will be released by Folter Records on December 15.

Oct 312017

 

I posted the first two parts of an extra-large SHADES OF BLACK column on Sunday, intending to post the third part yesterday after first arranging all the music in alphabetical order by band name and then dividing the collection into three segments. I obviously didn’t get the final segment finished — mainly because it contains the most music of all three parts, with four complete albums or EPs in addition to a new video.

Perhaps needless to say, I haven’t written in detail everything I’d like to say about all four of the complete releases, but I hope I’ve written enough to lure you into listening for yourself.

KRALLICE

On Friday of last week, without much advance fanfare and no musical teasers, Krallice released their seventh album, Loüm. It’s available as a digital download now, and orders can also now be placed for CD and LP editions. It includes lead vocals, lead synths, and lead lyrics throughout the album by Dave Edwardson of Neurosis, as well as painted cover art by Carl Auge.

Oct 292017

 

Once again I find myself with a small mountain of new music and recent announcements I’d like to share from the fecund gardens of musical nightshade. I had 12 items when I started writing yesterday, some of them advance music from forthcoming releases, some of them full albums or EPs, and one of them just an announcement (but a very exciting one).

I put all 12 in alphabetical order by band name and then divided them into three parts. With a little luck, I’ll get the second part finished and posted today. With a little more luck I’ll finish the third one in time to post on Monday morning. I hope you’ll find some things to like.

ALMYRKVI

In January of 2016 we were lucky to premiere a song from the debut EP (Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom) of an Icelandic black metal band named Almyrkvi, which is the solo project of musician Garðar S Jónsson, who is also a member of the Icelandic band Sinmara. We followed that with Andy Synn’s laudatory review of the EP, which he described as a successful effort “to capture the fearsome cold and endless nothingness of the celestial abyss in five impressively atmospheric and morbidly mesmerising tracks”.

Oct 222017

 

I took a break from NCS yesterday… sort of. Instead of writing something to post on Saturday, I used the time to get a head-start on a two-part SHADES OF BLACK for today. Both parts are long ones, and could have been even longer. But the first four items in this Part 1 mainly consist of album announcements and artwork rather than any new music. And yes, we’re now getting into announcements of new albums that will be released in 2018.

HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY

In the first week of this month the German label AOP Records announced that it would be releasing a new album by Harakiri For the Sky early next year, and then on Thursday of last week it revealed further details, including the cover art (by Striga) that you can see above.

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