Apr 112016

Shadow Woods Metal Festival 2016


As we begin the new week, I have some unfortunate news (at least it’s unfortunate for me). Beginning today and continuing through Thursday morning, I have to bury myself in my fucking day job for one of those day-and-night projects that periodically descends upon me. I’ll make time to post what other writers have sent me, as well as a few premieres I’ve agreed to do, but aside from this round-up and one “Short But Sweet” review I wrote over the weekend, I will be missing in action until sometime Thursday.

Before saying good-bye, I’ve collected a few items that I wanted to share — including, at the end of this post, streams of ten recent videos without commentary (because I’ve run out of time for commentary).


I’m late sharing this news, but the news is so exciting that I’m following the “better late than never” mantra. Last year’s Shadow Woods Metal Festival was a marvelous event by all accounts — including this account by our guest Captain Karbon. As I reported in February, organizer Mary Spiro and her team (who are joined by Baltimore’s Grimoire Records as co-producers this year) have been planning the second installment of this open-air camping metal party, which will run for three days in central Maryland: from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. They’ve been announcing performers since January, and now the complete line-up has been revealed — and it’s an eye-popper:

A SOUND OF THUNDER (DC) **traditional old-school heavy metal
ATHAME (MD/WV) **black
AT THE GRAVES (MD) **solo doom-sludge
ACID WITCH (Detroit) **horror death
BLOOD STORM (PA/TX) **black thrash
BOUND BY THE GRAVE (Baltimore) *death
CEMETERY PISS (Baltimore) **black
COFFIN DUST (Philadelphia) **death
CORPSE LIGHT (Baltimore) *doom
DARSOMBRA (MD) **psychedelic drone
DESTROYER OF LIGHT (Austin, TX) **sludge
EMPYREUS (Chicago) **black
FAITH IN JANE FEATURING WINO (MD) ** doom trio joined by the godfather of the sound
GENEVIEVE (MD) **experimental black
GHOST BATH (ND) **suicidal depressive black
GRAVE GNOSIS (St. Petersburg, FL) **black
HAXEN (Rhode Island) **black
HELGAMITE (VA) **doom/stoner/sludge
HELLEBORUS (Manitou Springs, CO) **black
HERON (NC) **black
HORSESKULL (NC) **sludge/doom
LOTUS THIEF (CA) **blackened space rock
MYOPIC (DC) **death/doom
NUMENOREAN (Calgary, AB) **post-black
SACRIFICIAL BLOOD (NJ) **thrash death
SADGIQACEA (Philadelphia) **doom/sludge/black
SAPREMIA (New Jersey) **death
SURGEON (Philadelphia) **progressive
TEMPLE OF VOID (Detroit) **doom
TENGGER CAVALRY (NY/CHINA) ** Mongolian folk
T.O.M.B. (Philadelphia) **ritual noise
TOMBS (Brooklyn) ** black/post-metal
TORRID HUSK (WV) **depressive/melodic black
WIZARD EYE (PA) **doom
XEUKATRE (Baltimore) **black
ZUD (Maine) ** black

Tickets are available HERE. For more info, visit these locations:








Plague Rider vid clip


Despite the fact that I have ten videos asssembled at the end of this post, I started writing about this next one before later deciding to collect the other 10 in one place — and I’ve decided to keep it here, standing alone, with the words I originally scribbled after I first watched it.

The video simply shows Plague Rider performing a new song called “Without Organs” last month at First Avenue Studios, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne. The video originally premiered at Blank Slate Creative, which is also based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and if you go HERE you can also catch the audio of an interview of the band, which I thoroughly enjoyed — not least because the “Geordie” accent of these folks from the far northeast of England is so pleasing to my ears.

“Without Organs” is also quite pleasing to my ears, but in a very different way. The music (and the performance in the video — especially the vocal performance) is incredibly intense and mind-bending. The band have used phrases like “experimental death metal” and “controlled chaos” to describe their music, and you’ll see why when you listen to this song, which puts death metal, grind, and progressive metal into a blender (along with your brain) and punches the puree button.









Vainaja-second album cover


Almost exactly two years have passed since I briefly spilled some words about the Finnish band Vainaja and their then just-released album Kadotetut. Vainaja are now returning with their second album, Verenvalaja (“Blood Caster”), which is also the title of a book the band say was written by Wilhelm Waenaa, “a mystic figure of Finnish folklore” who “was one of the leading forces behind the 19th century cult of Vainaja spreading terror in rural Finland”.

Over the weekend, the band unveiled the first part of an 11-minute song named “Usva”, which consists of three parts in total. It’s a titanic doom/death crusher that’s haunting… and haunted.

Verenvalaja is due for release from Svart Records on May 20.









Einar Selvik-Vikings


The following video is another I had decided to feature in this round-up before deciding to collect 10 more at the end, and I still think it deserves its own stand-alone position here. The video has been out in the world since December, but I just saw it — and it gave me chills.

What you’re about to see is a performance of composer Trevor Morris’Vikings Suite” at the International TV Series Gala during the eighth Krakow Film Music Festival in Poland on May 30, 2015. The music is performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Polish Radio Choir, and was conducted by the composer himself. There are two soloists in the performance. One is Tina Guo, who performs on the electric cello.

The other soloist is Einar Selvik of Wardruna and Skuggsjá, who sings in the Norse language and plays the taglharpa. He is amazing.








Phobocosm - Bringer of Drought


At the end of March, I reviewed Bringer of Drought, the new album by Montreal’s Phobocosm. That was a rare occasion when we posted a review without any music from the album that we were able to stream. But last week Invisible Oranges premiered a track from the album named “Ordeal”, which is the shortest of the album’s four songs. As I attempted to describe it in my review, “It alternately rips and tears like a beast and methodically pounds its listeners into dust, with a dissonant lead guitar melody that moans like a wraith — and then vibrates like a bone saw. It’s a chilling and unearthly song, and like all four of these tracks, it also gets its hooks into your head.”

I encourage you to go over here and listen:






And now, here are those ten videos I promised. The first one from Abbath is a few weeks old, but I overlooked it until this weekend, and the rest have appeared more recently — all the way up to the Schammasch video which debuted this morning. Enjoy!


















































  1. The new Plague Rider is excellent and Siderate sounds damn cool as well \m/

  2. Absolutely loving that Einar Selvik performance. His voice is spellbinding.

    That Aborted track is a bit of a different flavor from their normal fare. I’m really liking the sound of it though.

  3. New Vainaja track was a monster!

  4. That Kvelertak video looks like it’s made up of scenes from a movie, anyone have an idea what it is? Looks somewhat promising.

    • According to a press release we received, the video was directed, written and edited by “longtime collaborator Fredrik S. Hana”, and the press release included this comment from Hana:.

      “In my third collaboration with Kvelertak, I wanted to make a music video where the story and characters took the center stage. The video revolves around a micro-community, a four man cult, where a deep and twisted friendship lies beneath it all. They don’t see themselves as a part of the normal society and decide to honor their differences in a unique fellowship. We follow the character’s growing addiction to push limits, and in the end, their incompetence to see any real consequences with their actions. I wanted to get across the fantastic feeling of being a part of something, but also the dangers of not daring to take a stand, to just swim along with the current.”

  5. The Vikings Suite is fantastic, I don’t think I’ve seen drumming on backs of cellos before. So cool to see an experimental orchestral piece like that played on the big stage.

    • I really loved that drumming section, too. It’s one of the things that put an early smile on my face when I saw this. And had I simply heard the sound, I never would have guessed how it was being made.

      • In all honesty I’m really pleased to see the musicians behind Wardruna getting more coverage too, they’re one of the best random finds I’ve come across in the last few years.

  6. Cheers for the Plague Rider positives – much appreciated

    • My pleasure. “Paroxysm” was such a great release, and it’s exciting to hear (and see) the band still firing on all cylinders and pushing things to the next level.

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