Jun 132017

 

This is the third and final installment of a SHADES OF BLACK feature that I began two days ago. You’ll be shocked to learn that as long as this post has been, I added music from two more bands on top of what I originally planned for this Part 3 yesterday. If I hadn’t been placed in restraints by orderlies here at the asylum, I would have added more.

EREB ALTOR

The wonderful Swedish band Ereb Altor, who have taken their main cues (but not their only ones) from the mythic Viking metal of Bathory as established in Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods, have a new album named Ulfven that will arrive on July 21 via Hammerheart Records. Earlier today they revealed a song from the album that’s simply magnificent.

Jun 122017

 

This is the second part of a collection of new black metal recommendations that I began yesterday. There were eight bands whose music I included in Part 1, and originally there were eight more here. Yes, I know, I’ve gone overboard. But since that’s never ever happened before, I know you’ll be in a forgiving mood — especially when I tell you that I’ve siphoned off three of the second group of eight and have put them into a Part 3, coming later today or tomorrow.

ELFSGEDROCH

The debut album of Elfsgedroch (which is apparently Dutch for “mischief of elves”) was released on tape during the spring of 2016, but was released as a digital download and on vinyl in the spring of this year. The album’s name is Op de beenderen van onze voorvaderen (“on the bones of our ancestors”, if Google Translate is to be believed).

I’ve written twice before about individual tracks from the album as they appeared, and intended to write a proper review of the entire album. But now I’m afraid I may never get around to doing that — which makes me feel guilty because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this record. Not only is the music exceptional, so is the care with which it has been packaged. Take a look:

Jun 112017

 

It’s been three weeks since the last time I compiled music for a Shades of Black post, mainly because I was away from home the last three weekends. To somewhat make up for lost time, I’ve picked recommended new music in a blackened vein from more than a dozen bands and have divided the collection into two parts. Not sure if I’ll get Part 2 posted today or Monday, but most likely the latter.

GRAVEIR / MAR MORTUUM

I decided to start this post with a new split release by the Australian bands Graveir (Brisbane) and Mar Mortuum (Melbourne) so I would have another excuse to prominently feature Jef Whitehead’s artwork for it (I already posted it on our Facebook page yesterday). The music is also very good.

May 212017

 

I’m still with family in my old hometown of Austin, Texas, enjoying yet another mini-vacation. Like yesterday, I did have a little time this morning to do some listening, but not enough time to do much writing.

So, as was true of yesterday’s OVERFLOWING STREAMS post, I’m once again recommending the following song streams but including only some basic info about the music. The difference is that almost everything you’ll find below comes from the realms of black metal.

May 012017

 

This is the second part of a large post I began yesterday (here). It reflects why I chose SHADES OF BLACK as the name for this series many years ago, in that all of the music has connections to the traditions of black metal, but those connections vary, sometimes significantly.

Two of the songs in this post come from forthcoming albums, and one is a stand-alone single, but I picked all the rest from recent albums or EPs. Lacking the time to review most of those full releases, I thought it better (with one exception) to confine myself to specific songs rather than neglect the releases altogether. But they’re all good, and you’ll be able to stream them in their entirety if you like what you hear.

ACHERONTAS

The sixth album by the formidable Greek black metal coven Acherontas is named Amarta अमर्त (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II), and thereby draws a connection to the band’s last album, 2015’s Ma​-​IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification). It includes participation by Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Akhlys, Bestia Arcana) (synths) and Indra (Naer Mataron) (additional guitars). The cover art was created by Karl NE/Nachzehrer (Ex-Nastrond/Shibalba), and W.T.C. Productions plans to release it on Walpurgis Night (May 31st).

Apr 302017

 

If you scroll down the posts at our site that have appeared since Friday morning, it will be obvious that I’ve lost what was left of my mind. No sane person would test the patience of even the most devoted listener by throwing so many musical recommendations into the void in such a short space of days. I suppose I ought to give you at least a short break for recovery, and so instead of packing this Sunday’s edition of SHADES OF BLACK with everything I intended to recommend, I’m saving half of it for Monday.

The music in this post consists entirely of music that appeared over the last week, beginning with a new album that deserves a full review — which you’ll have to find elsewhere. What you’ll find here is a stream of the album and some pathetically brief but heartfelt praise. It comes from…

HAVUKRUUNU

With their first album, Havulinnaan, Havukruunu proved very quickly that they were something special. Two years later, they have produced Kelle surut soi, which was released by Naturmacht Productions on April 29th (yesterday). Anyone who might have worried about a sophomore slump can perish those thoughts — they’ve managed to surmount a debut that was itself spectacular.

Apr 242017

 

This completes the two-part post I started yesterday, collecting music in a blackened vein that I sifted from my discoveries over the last week. Beginning yesterday and continuing today, the music is organized in alphabetical order by band name.

CORPUS CHRISTII

Delusion is the eighth full-length by the Portuguese black metal band Corpus Christii. It will be released on April 28 by Folter Records. In another one of these SHADES OF BLACK editions, I wrote about the album’s powerful first single, “The Curse Within Time”, and now a second one has appeared, which is yet another sign of this album’s excellence.

Apr 232017

 

I whittled the great limb of blackened music I found over the last week down to a spear, but it was a spear with 10 barbs. I organized the music alphabetically by band name and decided, as I stared at what I’d done, that music from 10 bands was too much for a single post. So, I’ve divided it into two parts, while maintaining the alphabetical ordering. I haven’t finished writing Part 2, so not sure if it will come later today or tomorrow (but probably tomorrow).

ÆRA

Of Forsworn Vows is the debut EP of a two-man project named ÆRA (the creator of all the music seems to be from Chile, the vocalist from Missouri). It was digitally released in February, but it’s now available on tape through Desolated Woods Records, and it appears that Aeternitas Tenebrarum plans to make a CD release (the Bandcamp download has been updated so that the tracks now consist of the CD masters).

Apr 162017

 

Salutations, and welcome to another edition of SHADES OF BLACK. As usual, I have a lot of new music I want to recommend that’s mainly in a blackened vein, perhaps more than usual this time. Below you’ll find brief reviews and streams of three complete albums of significant length, along with individual songs from three other recent or forthcoming releases. No two of these bands sound alike, each of them revealing their own distinctive character.

BESTIA ARCANA

In March of last year, Daemon Worship Productions launched a YouTube video which said nothing more than “Bestia Arcana. Holókauston is coming.” After doing further research I was unable to find more details but reported the event anyway, while commenting that the excerpts of music in the video “sound like the gates of Hell have been forced open, expelling great heaving waves of dark, terrifying, unearthly sound… some of it the sound of arcane ritual, some of it the sound of civilization being put to the torch”.

Apr 092017

 

Greetings again from Seattle, where the sun has chosen to shine on this Sunday. Nevertheless, I will again try to help darken the sabbath with a selection of new black metal that I hope you will find pleasing. All of this has certainly pleased me.

HAVUKRUUNU

I hadn’t been awake for long this morning when I learned (thank you Conor!) that Naturmacht Productions had revealed the first taste of music from the new album by Finland’s Havukruunu — an album I have been very eagerly awaiting.

The song is brilliant, and so at the last minute I’ve added it to this post in a prominent position. I’m now especially anxious to explore the rest of the album, which it seems I now have in my clutches. Something will have to yield to it today… perhaps food, bathroom breaks, interaction with my spouse… one must establish the correct priorities.

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