Dec 222014


I spent most of my listening time this past weekend delving into shades of black (and also trying to narrow down the candidates for our Most Infectious Song list). But I also did a bit of additional searching for new things to recommend, and here’s what I found — along with a contribution from Grant Skelton who has a recommendation of his own at the end.


I discovered that last Friday Xibalba debuted a song named “Invierno” from their forthcoming LP, Tierra Y Libertad. The album is coming out on January 27 via Southern Lord and sports fantastic cover art by Dan Seagrave.

Based on past experience, I was expecting something crushing and savage, and I wasn’t disappointed. “Invierno” is one big sonic meat tenderizer. Everything about it is immensely heavy and dark, driven by a combination of needling and piledriving riffs, and with a couple of skull-smashing breakdowns. It’s an exclusive stream, so go here to listen:




Grey Aura are a two-man Dutch band who have recorded a massive debut album, a double-record entitled Waerachtighe beschryvinghe van drie seylagien, ter werelt noyt soo vreemt ghehoort that was initially self-released on Bandcamp and will now be released in early 2015 by the Finnish label Blood Music both digitally and as a 2-CD set.

Reportedly, the album is an hour and a half long and is conceptually devoted to the final voyage of a 16th-century Dutch explorer named Willem Barentsz, who survived being stranded in the Arctic with his ship and crew for a year, only to perish on the return voyage, and for whom The Barents Sea is named.

Two songs from this opus have been released for streaming so far, “De Kust Van Nova Zembla” and “Naar Het Noorden”. Both songs are unusual and fascinating. I suppose you could call the music atmospheric black metal, but that really wouldn’t prepare you for the experience. It’s eerie and chilling music and yet it also often moves like a dance, with a theatrical or carnival-like quality, and a warm prominent bass provides balance against the acid vocals (there are clean ones in the mix too), the shrill guitar leads, and the caustic clouds of tremolo-picked distortion.

Check out the two tracks below.










Aethyr are a relatively young doom band from Moscow who released a debut album (Messio) in 2010 and a handful of shorter releases since then. Recently they released a new single and an accompanying video from their forthcoming second full-length Corpus.

At first, the big, sludgy riffs and methodical drum hammer-blows in “CVLT” don’t move very fast, but there’s something about them that I found almost immediately catchy — along with the more rapidly slithering dissonant guitar solos. The song catches fire briefly before settling back into that massive stomp, this time electrified by a wah-wah guitar solo that’s damned sweet. I thought this was a cool song.

Corpus is due for release on February 18, 2015, by Cimmerian Shade Recordings










And now, Grant Skelton introduces the final piece in this collection:

Swamp Witch, a sludge/doom outfit from California, are streaming their new album in its entirety on Bandcamp. Now, that in and of itself might not seem out of the ordinary. But they launched the stream on November 21. The album (The Slithering Bog) doesn’t come out until February 20, 2015. Fans will be able to legally check out the album a full 3 months before it’s release. I can’t think of a better way for a band to build hype for a record.

When I initially listened to this band, I thought of Hooded Menace a bit. But it’s grimier, muckier, and filthier than most of the deathdoom I’ve heard. Very fuzzy guitars and loud rumbling bass. It should be the soundtrack to a dark violent Voodoo ritual in an isolated cabin in Louisiana. Perhaps a seance that involves reanimating the corpse of someone who was recently devoured by crocodiles. That said, if the band wanted this record to sound “swampy,” then they succeeded by leaps and bounds. Here’s the band camp link, followed by the stream:




  1. Swamp Witch sounds pretty awesome : )

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