Mar 102018


As I woke up this morning and it hit me that the final edition of Oration Festival was over, I experienced a wave of sadness, coupled with regrets over not having made the trek for the first two years of the event. Oration Fest MMXVIII was, by my lights, an extraordinary experience, one formed by the combination of its setting in Reykjavik (a magical place), the wonderful friends, both old and new, with whom I was able to share the experience, and of course the incredible music.

I’ll have some more perhaps excessively emotional things to say about all that at the end of this post, but the first order of business is to provide photos, videos, and accompanying personal reactions concerning the performances last night by these bands, who appeared in this order: Almyrkvi (Iceland), Inferno (Czech Republic), Misþyrming (Iceland), Svartidauði (Iceland), Vemod (Norway), and Rebirth of Nefast (Ireland/Iceland).

Once again, the high-quality photos you’ll find below were made by my Seattle friend Tanner Ellison; I made the rest of them, and the (sadly mediocre) videos, with my phone. Continue reading »

Nov 172017


I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with e-mails or occurrences in the interhole the last few days, so I crawled through those fetid swamps last night and came up with a big list of intriguing new songs and videos to add to my previous big list. And then I began exploring what I found. I have a little time this morning to round-up a few of the good things I discovered in my listening, with more to come soon.

I have to fly to Texas this morning (for a high school reunion rather than my fucking day job), but I do plan to finish a further SEEN AND HEARD for Saturday. And unless the reunion crushes too many brain cells (or my soul), there will be a SHADES OF BLACK feature on Sunday before I fly home.


This first item will be regrettably brief — regrettable only in the sense that I have failed to write a review of the new Aosoth album prior to its full streaming debut, which happened yesterday. And so all I can do now (and maybe ever) is to give you a strong push to listen to V: The Inside Scriptures as soon as you can. You won’t regret that decision. The stream is below; the album is being released today (November 17). Continue reading »

Jul 232017


Listeners who have closely followed Iceland’s burgeoning black metal scene over the last decade know that there has been considerable cross-pollinization among bands in the vanguard of that surging movement. Sinmara is perhaps the best example, with a line-up that includes members of such other groups as Svartidauði, Slidhr, Wormlust, and Almyrkvi. Their 2014 debut album Aphotic Womb (which we had the privilege of premiering) was a gripping display of what such a creative collaboration could produce. Since then, Sinmara have released only one other song, “Ivory Stone”, which appeared on their split with Misþyrming early this year (reviewed here). But Sinmara now return with a new EP, and once again we’re fortunate to host its premiere.

The new EP, consisting of three interconnected songs, is named Within the Weaves of Infinity. It will be released on August 24th by Terratur Possessions on vinyl and CD and by Oration on cassette tape. However, as of today it’s available digitally via Bandcamp. We have the full stream below, along with some impressions of the music and news of a forthcoming Sinmara tour. Continue reading »

Apr 172016



So much music, so little time. In this post I’ve collected some recent black (or blackened) metal releases, and a few songs from forthcoming ones, that I’ve been enjoying, plus one other excerpt of a release that isn’t black metal but is pretty fuckin’ black anyway. Hope you find some things to like in here.


I’ll begin with two Icelandic bands I’ve written about frequently, because their music is so exceptional. The first is Naðra, whose debut album Allir vegir til glötunar was released in January of this year (reviewed here) and whose line-up includes members of other notable Icelandic bands, including Carpe Noctem, Ophidian I, and Misþyrming.

Early last week the band released a new two-song EP named Form via Bandcamp. The first track includes guest vocals by Eirikur Hauksson, a well-known vocalist in Iceland in both pop music and heavy metal. Continue reading »

Jun 252015


Yes, that’s right, in case you missed yesterday’s announcement I’ve resumed the roll-out of our list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs — a scant five months (ugh) after the last installment in the series. If perchance you don’t know what this list is about, you can find an explanation here.

To get this thing started again, I decided to jump into the turbid and turbulent end of a very black pool. Apologies in advance if I happen to kick you in the teeth on the way in.


I’m re-launching this series with songs by two Icelandic bands, the first of which is Sinmara, whose ranks include members from other personal favorites like SvartidauðiWormlust, and Slidhr. The song is “Verminous” and it comes from the band’s 2014 album Aphotic Womb, released last year by Terratur Possessions. Continue reading »

Apr 072015


 (Andy Synn took in the sights and sounds of the Inferno Festival on April 1-4, 2015, in Oslo, Norway, and this is the first of a multi-part report about his experience. Andy took the photos as well.)

Once again last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend Inferno Festival in Oslo, which this year is celebrating its 15th Anniversary, with a frankly flabbergasting line-up of bands that could almost have been hand-picked for yours truly, including some of my absolute favourites as well as a number of bands I’ve been dying to see live.

For those of you who are unaware, the Wednesday night always serves as a pre-festival “Club Night” and kick-off party, with a variety of different bands playing at different locations scattered around in relatively close proximity to the main venue. With the right pass (which, thankfully, included my fancy pink “Press” wristband) you can wander freely between the different places, picking and choosing what artists you want to see.

I decided (for reasons which will become clear) to focus my activities around the new Vulkan arena, and particularly the smaller Pokalen bar down in the lower level… Continue reading »

Nov 262014


Iceland’s Svartidauði are perfecting the mechanics of tearing apart interdimensional membranes, exposing our ears to emanations from alien domains, while rocking very damned hard at the same time. Their latest offering, which will not be confused with the work of any other band, is a forthcoming two-song release from Daemon Worship Productions and Terratur Possessions entitled The Synthesis of Whore and Beast, and today we give you the chance to hear one of those two tracks: “Impotent Solar Phallus”.

Calling this music “black metal” feels unsatisfying. It’s too meager a description, and may in fact be misleading. “Impotent Solar Phallus” radiates reptilian menace, its exotic chords both disturbing and otherworldly, its booming/tumbling drumbeats conjuring images of a tribal ritual, as practiced by a tribe not found on this planet. Continue reading »

Mar 102014

Collected in this post are new songs from three black metal bands that I want to recommend for your listening pleasure.


Nefandus are a satanic black metal band from Sweden whose third album, Reality Cleaver, is scheduled for release by Daemon Worship on April 30.  Though the band’s line-up has evolved over time, they trace their roots back to the mid-90s, with their first album coming out in 1996. However, my first exposure to the music came from the two new songs that Daemon Worship recently began streaming on Bandcamp — “Qayin’s Hunt” and “Reborn As Wolf”.

The first of those songs is a mid-paced procession, almost stately in its cadence and in the grandeur of its dark, minor key melody, yet thoroughly occult in its atmosphere (due in no small part to the filthy vocal delivery). The second track, “Reborn As Wolf”,  quickly accelerates into a gallop, the whirring melody needling like a drill bit seeking flesh within the teeth, though the song also exudes a kind of infernal majesty similar to “Qayin’s Hunt”. Very nice. Continue reading »

Dec 062012

EDITOR’S NOTE: In May I got on an impulsive kick and wrote about as many Icelandic metal bands as I could find. One of them was Gone Postal, a band who won the Wacken Metal Battle contest in Iceland in March, which gave them the right to perform at Wacken Open Air this summer. Another was Svartidauði, a black metal band whose debut album Flesh Cathedral was recently released n the U.S. by Daemon Worship Productions. I didn’t know there was a connection between these two bands, but as you’ll see, there is.

Which brings me to the thoroughly awesome Gemma Alexander, a Seattle writer and NCS fan who visited Iceland this fall, timing her visit to coincide with the Iceland Airwaves festival. While in Iceland, Gemma generously arranged to conduct interviews of some Icelandic bands for NCS. So far, we’ve posted her interviews of AngistBeneathKontinuum, and Sólstafir. And today, we give you her interview in Iceland  of the following members of Gone Postal:

Nökkvi G. Gylfason (guitar), Ævar Örn Sigurðsson (bass), Þorbjörn Steingrímsson (Vocals, guitar), Stefán A. Stefánsson (drums), and the band’s manager.

Unless otherwise noted, Gemma took all the photographs accompanying. Be sure to read Gemma’s blog about her entire Icelandic trip here.


Gone Postal closed Iceland Airwaves’ heavy metal showcase at Amsterdam, turning the decent little bar into something unholy with their atmospheric, blackened-death sound and a few sticks of incense.  After the show, Amsterdam staff swept up broken glass while the four members of the band loaded up their gear. A man who introduced himself as their manager grilled me on my journalistic credentials and then hit me up for weed. Continue reading »

May 162012

How things have changed. In April 2010 I wrote a THAT’S METAL! post mainly for the purpose of displaying photos of the magnificent eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH’-plah-yer-kuh-duhl) volcano, which you may recall wrecked havoc on air transportation as far away as the UK and the European continent. But because this is a metal blog, I thought I ought to find some Icelandic metal as musical accompaniment for the rad pics.

I hunted and hunted across the interhole as it then existed, and I remember I didn’t find much. Of what I found, the best music was by a band called Changer, so I went with that. I’m sure there were many more Icelandic metal bands creating music back then than I was able to find, but it still struck me that the scene had a pretty low profile internationally.

It’s certainly much easier today to find music by a broad array of excellent Icelandic bands, and two of them in particular have become favorites at NCS — Atrum and Sólstafir. Hell, just last weekend I discovered another one — Severed Crotch (discussed in this post). Over the last few days I’ve been exploring two other Icelandic bands whose music is even more extreme than what I’ve heard from Iceland previously. Theirs is the kind of black/death metal that invokes the word “ritual” when performed live, or the term “apocalyptic metal”, or perhaps the phrase “death worship”. For English speakers, their names are also not nearly as easy to pronounce as those other bands’: Svartidauði and Vansköpun.


Svartidauði’s name means “Black Death”. That weird letter near the end is an “eth”, with a “th” sound. Between 2006 and 2010 they produced three demos and they contributed a song to a split in January 2012 with a Chilean band called Perdition (the eye-catching artwork for that split is up above), which was released by a German black metal label called the World Terror Committee.  They are now planning for the release of an album under the name Flesh Cathedral, which will be distributed in Europe by Terratvr Possessions and in the U.S. by Daemon Worship Productions. The artwork for that monstrosity is right after the jump. Continue reading »