Oct 092017

 

I did just post a SHADES OF BLACK column on its usual day (Sunday), and I really do listen to other genres of metal. But as I began collecting music for a SEEN AND HEARD post today I found that half the candidates had some connection to black metal, and therefore decided to collect most of them separately from everything else. With luck, I’ll finish writing about the others in time to post that planned SEEN AND HEARD round-up tomorrow.

By the way, when I say that all of the following tracks have “some connection to black metal”, you’ll find that it’s definitely not the same kind of connection. In short, the music here is quite varied, which is one of the reasons I combined all of it here. And the second item (Funeral Hearse) is an exclusive announcement.

THAW

In a 2014 year-end list we posted here, one of our former contributors described this experimental Polish band’s last album Earth Ground this way:  “The use of dissonant guitar with face-cringing noise and vocal assaults layered throughout the space in this album gives a chaotic feel reminiscent of recent Deathspell Omega releases, but with more moments of space and resolution (for better or worse): contemplative and explorative.”

Oct 082017

 

I’m having to somewhat throttle my usual verbosity in this Sunday’s collection of music I chose from the black realms. Though I know it will break your heart to have slightly fewer of my linguistic contraptions to marvel at, I’m running out of time and am forced to let the music speak (mainly) for itself.

If you’re able to make your way through everything here, you’ll find a lot of stylistic twists and turns, and maybe something that will agreeably seize you by the throat.

WITCHERY

We have another new song from Witchery’s new album, I Am Legion, which will be released by Century Media on October 6. Presented with a video, “Of Blackened Wing” begins in a slow, dismal, head-moving fashion, and then Witchery cut loose with a blast of evil, blood-pumping black thrash, laced with eerie melodic accents that amplify its infernal atmosphere.

Oct 012017

 

This is the second part of today’s collection of new black and “blackened” metal (Part 1 is here). Even with a two-part article, I’ve still had to leave material behind, including a few full releases that I need more time to digest. I’m hoping I’ll get to those in the coming week.

There are some full releases included below as well. As is becoming typical, time constraints have prevented me from writing proper reviews, and instead I’m singling out individual tracks as a way of giving you a guide, and hopefully inducing you to explore further.

ARCKANUM

Four years after the last album, Arckanum has returned with a new one named Den Förstfödde (“The Firstborn” in English), but alas, Arckanum has made clear that this will be the final one in a career that dates back to 1993.

Oct 012017

 

One thing led to another. I knew I wanted to start this SHADES OF BLACK post with the Summoning news, and then as I made my way through my seemingly endless list of new or newly discovered black metal, the thoughts of that band influenced the other choices. I don’t mean to suggest that any of the other four bands in this collection sound quite like Summoning, but they do all create visions in the mind that don’t seem real, invoking either vistas of a distant past or perhaps mythic narratives of a past we wish had existed.

Having gathered these particular songs together, I was left with a bunch of others that didn’t seem to fit the flow I was looking for. And so my aim is to gather those in a second installment. I know it’s dumb of me to forecast something that isn’t finished yet, since Mondays always seem to disrupt my plans (but I never learn)… and for that reason I’m going to try like hell to wrap up Part 2 today.

I found a couple of the items in this collection myself, but for the rest I’m again indebted to my Serbia-based source of underground intelligence, Miloš.

SUMMONING

The last album by the Viennese wizards in Summoning was 2013’s Old Mornings Dawn. In early August Summoning updated their profile picture on Facebook with a new image suggestive of new activity, but without comment or explanation. Their Facebook page has only existed since late June, and there have been few posts since then, but one in mid-August included these words:

Sep 262017

 

Alcohol poisoning prevented me from writing about everything I wanted to write about in my last SHADES OF BLACK post two days ago. With that demon temporarily in submission, I’m now able to write about seven more musical demons in a blackened vein (and if you’ve been paying attention, I’ve added a couple of bands to this continuation beyond those I forecast on Sunday).

Regrettably, I’ve had to resort to a tactic I’ve used before. There are four albums or EPs included in this group of seven, but because I don’t have the time to write full reviews I’ve only commented on one track from each of those, but provided streams of the complete releases so you can explore further if I you like the tracks I’ve highlighted.

URARV

Aldrahn (Björn Dencker Gjerde) is a name of historical significance in the annals of Norwegian black metal through his work during the ’90s in Dødheimsgard and Zyklon-B, as well as his contributions to Thorns and more recently The Deathtrip. Urarv (“Ancient Heritage”) is his most recent endeavor, originally conceived in 2003 during his stay in a mental institution and now finally flowering in thorns through a debut album named Aurum (released on September 17 by Svart Records), in which Aldrahn is joined by bassist Sturt and drummer Trish (whose work in Asagraum I’ve written about previously).

Sep 242017

 

The word for the affliction I’m suffering today begins with “hang” and ends with “over”, preceded in this particular instance by the word “vicious”. The timing is unfortunate because I had plans for a gigantic SHADES OF BLACK post, but it has taken me so long to claw my way back to a functional state that I’ve had to abandon those plans. Due to the lateness of the hour, I’ve only written about music from three of the eight bands I had originally intended to say something about.

I have a faint hope that I can write about the others early in the coming week, but things tend to get very busy around the NCS compound once Monday arrives. Time will tell, as it always does….

BLAZE OF PERDITION

We showered praise on this Polish band’s last album, Near Death Revelations, with one writer calling it “a landmark release that has a huge helping of everything… complex, on-point, and refined as hell,” yet also “primitive and crushing”, while another at our site lauded it as a “home run” — “you are surely going to get your blitzkrieg black metal assault in spades”, but “they know when to practice restraint and inject atmosphere/melody for maximum affect”. I also called the music “a really excellent offering of dynamic black metal with galvanizing riffs and a doomed atmosphere”.

And so we welcome with open arms the new Blaze of Perdition album, Conscious Darkness, which will be released on November 3 by Agonia Records and includes cover art by Karmazid.

Sep 102017

 

As you can see, I have music from 10 bands from the blackened realms in this post. I thought about dividing it into two parts to make it more easily digestible, posting the first 5 as soon as I finished writing about them and then beginning on the second 5. But then I remembered what happened last weekend, when the rest of life intruded and I didn’t finish Part 2 before the typhoon of Monday made landfall. So I forced myself to defer posting this collection until I had completed all of it. Though I guess I could have divided it then. Oh well.

Doesn’t mean you have to consume all of this at once. You can pretend there’s a dividing line after Witchcraft Sadomizer and come back later… just don’t forget, or let the rest of life get in the way.

VERGE

Finland’s Verge are fascinating on many levels. Wholly apart from the evolution of their music into increasingly distinctive shapes, the lyrics of their songs are also engrossing and thought-provoking, though in their unsettling poetry you must be prepared to experience despair and hopelessness in a search for self-becoming that seems perpetually elusive, always challenged and usually defeated by our own wretched flaws and misunderstandings.

Sep 032017

 

As mentioned in today’s earlier post, I binged on new music yesterday after being deprived of the chance to do much at the end of last week. That led to the selection of the blackened tracks in this post (many of them recommended by friends who have a knack for spotting things that hit my sweet spots), and a second group that I’ll finish today and post tomorrow. Without further ado, on we go….

WITCHERY

I’m leading off with “True North“, a name that’s been used by other bands for other songs, but this one comes from the new album I Am Legion by Sweden’s Witchery, which features eye-catching cover art by Andreas Diaz Pettersson.

Yes indeed, a new Witchery album only one year after the band re-grouped to put out In His Infernal Majesty’s Service to commemorate their 20th anniversary. And this new one features the same line-up that recorded that last album — drummer Chris Barkensjö, guitarists Jensen and Rickard Rimfält, bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, and vocalist Angus Norder. Apparently, they were so delighted with response to In His Infernal Majesty’s Service that they dived right back into writing more new songs.

Aug 232017

 

Here’s the second part of a column delayed from Sunday. I began it yesterday with a news item and then new music from four bands, and continue it today with new music and a new video from five more. From yesterday through today, these items are organized in alphabetical order by band name.

KADAVERDISCIPLIN

Kadaverdisciplin is a newish band of Swedish black metal slaughterers whose line-up includes a core trio of musicians from Västervik, Sweden (who include members of Zombified and Blodsrit) plus drummer extraordinaire Fredrik Widigs (Marduk, The Ugly). After a couple of digital singles, they have finished a debut album appropriately named Death Supremacy that will be released by Hammerheart Records on October 20.

Aug 222017

 

Greetings from western Wyoming. I’m two days late posting this column. I intentionally delayed it from Sunday to Monday because it seemed to make more sense to post this installment on the day of the total eclipse here in the U.S. — a time when actual shades of black would become manifest as the totality approached, and a moment when we could greet a black sun edged with the brilliance of the corona as night triumphed over day.

But I obviously didn’t get that done. After finishing yesterday’s three premieres, I ran out of time before the approach of the black sun beckoned.

I originally chose new music from seven bands for this week’s feature, but with the delay I’ve added two more new discoveries, in addition to one news item, which leads off this column. The new music is organized in alphabetical order by the name of the bands — and because of its length I’ve divided this into two parts. Because I’ll be making my way back to Seattle today, I might not get Part 2 posted until tomorrow.

ORATION

Yesterday Oration Records and Studio Emissary announced the first group of bands for next year’s edition of the Oration fest in Reykjavík, Iceland, which will take place on March 7-9, 2018, at the Gamla Bíó venue. As you can see from the flyer above, the bands announced yesterday are as follows:

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