Nov 262018
 

 

(Andy Synn prepare this review of the new album by Svartidauði.)

As a fan of this weird and wonderful sub-genre we call “Extreme Metal”, you’d have to have been living under a rock for the past several years not to be aware of how impressive and influential (not to mention incestuous) the rapidly developing Icelandic Black Metal scene has become over the last several years.

But even though the scene is, in terms of wider international exposure at least, still relatively young, such is the prolific nature of the various bands and artists involved that a recognisable hierarchy of heretics has already begun to take shape.

And right at the top of the totem pole, in my opinion at least, are Svartidauði. Continue reading »

Nov 042018
 

 

Two Sundays ago I had planned a giant edition of this column that included a trio of advance tracks and a trio of full albums, and then Kriegsmaschine‘s new surprise album diverted me. After writing about it I only had time to devote a second feature to the three advance tracks, and put off writing about those three full-lengths. I didn’t get to them last Sunday either, because a short vacation didn’t allow me the time I needed. And I’m not doing it this Sunday either.

This is the way things work in my defective brain. As you can see, this will be a two-part collection of new music (a very large one), but it’s all stuff I’ve discovered in the last two weeks. Those three albums that fell by the way-side two Sundays ago are still in the back of the room with their hands up, waiting to be noticed. I’ve promised myself I’m going to get to them, even if it means preparing a week-day edition of this thing. But for now, let’s get to the newer stuff.

SVARTIDAUÐI

As I hope you know by now, and certainly would know if you regularly hang around our putrid neighborhood, the Icelandic band Svartidauði will be releasing a new album named Revelations of the Red Sword via Ván Records on December 3rd, six years to the day after the advent of their debut album Flesh Cathedral. In mid-October the band provided a stream of a terrifying new song called “Burning Worlds of Excrement”, and now you can listen to a second one. Continue reading »

Oct 152018
 

 

I’m in catch-up mode on songs that debuted last week. At first I thought I would include the new Soilwork and Gorod songs in this collection, along with a few others from what I’d call similarly higher-profile bands, but then last night I hit this stretch of four songs in a row that seemed to hang together so damned well that I jettisoned those earlier plans. All four have slaughtering death metal at the core, hence the title of this post, but you’ll notice significant differences among them as well.

And then, the first thing I saw this morning were messages from multiple friends on Facebook pointing me to a new Svartidauði song, which was such a welcome surprise that I hurriedly inserted it at the top before getting to the four I chose last night. No need to change the post title.

SVARTIDAUÐI

Yes indeed, the Icelandic band Svartidauði, whom I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing live both in Reykjavík and here in the U.S., have a new album coming our way. Entitled Revelations of the Red Sword, it will be released by Ván Records on December 3rd, six years to the day after the advent of their debut album Flesh Cathedral. This morning, along with that announcement, the band provided a stream of a new song called “Burning Worlds of Excrement” — which could double as a headline for the daily news. Continue reading »

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.

AOSOTH

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
 

Nadra-Form

 

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.

NAÐRA

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.

SINMARA

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
 

Svartidauði

 (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 »