Jul 042016



Yesterday I posted the first half of what was supposed to be a two-part post collecting recent advance tracks and full releases in a blackened vein that I wanted to recommend to you. When I finished Part 1, I had music from three more bands collected for Part 2. Sure enough, between then and now I found a lot more stuff that got me excited. And since we’re celebrating Independence Day here in the States, I might as well go big.

So, I’ve expanded this edition of Shades of Black into a three-part post, with the final segment coming tomorow. Please enjoy this jumbo fireworks display as we all strive for our own independence.


Kampfar previously released a fantastic video for one of the tracks (“Daimon”) from last year’s excellent Profan album (reviewed here), and today they premiered another one. This video is for “Tornekratt“, and to quote from the site that handled the premiere, it’s “a nightmare vision of the end of the world featuring a vast demon wielding a fiery whip over the last remnants of humanity, a grotesque take on the last supper, monolithic hooded deities serving judgement and all manner of cinematic suffering.”

The video premiere was also accompanied by these words from Kampfar’s frontman, Dolk:

Tornekratt is the song that draws a line under the story arc that started with the title track of the Mare album. This is where it ends, this is where the bastards and corrupt souls of the world get their comeuppance. Shaped by the minds of the people behind Krakow, Poland’s Red Pig Productions, this video again pushes the boundaries of what can be done in the underground of the black metal scene. Riksregistrantene eier dere alle!”

Feast your eyes below.











For the next newly discovered item in this collection I have a debut EP released last week by a Cleveland-based band named Axioma, whose line-up includes current members of Keelhaul (bass-player/vocalist Aaron Dallison) and Forged In Flame (drummer Jon Vinson and guitarist Cyril Blandino, who was also a member of the French death/grind band Morgue), as well as guitarist Justin Meyers. The name of the EP is Opia.

While I haven’t spent as much time with the EP as I intend to spend, it made such an immediate impact that I wanted to strike while the iron was hot.


“No Devil” moves between episodes of violent frenzy and hallucinatory staggering, between riffs of full-bore drilling and chords of clanging, chain-dragging dissonance, with fully inflamed vocals that rise up like the howls of a wolf caught in a trap and a very impressive drum performance (which remains impressive throughout the EP).

After the perilous, hauntingly dreamlike interlude “The Exit”, “No God” builds slowly in intensity, with a prominent role for the bass in a song that’s steeped in gloom and vertiginous in the atmosphere generated by the disorienting guitar melodies and the nightmarish ambient outro.

“Cognitive Dissonance” lives up to its name, with Axioma using writhing, discordant arpeggios and dismal reverberating riffs over a huge, grumbling bass line to put your teeth on edge and unbalance your inner ear, segmenting this utterly bleak song with bursts of chaotic acceleration.

With Aaron Dallison’s wrenching yells and searing shrieks leading the way, “Giver of Time” alternately seethes, hammers, and flows like congealing blood from an open wound. There are powerfully infectious rhythms in the song, but it nonetheless conveys a sensation of delusion, derangement, and emotional collapse.


Perhaps the best short genre description of Opia would be “atmospheric black metal”, heavy on the dissonance, with elements of post-metal, sludge, and doom in the mix. It’s a compelling and disturbing piece of art, and one that I hope isn’t the last poisonous creation from this crew.








Todessucht - Wertlos EP


Todessucht is a new discovery for me, a German band originally formed in 2006 by the duo of Fäulnis (vocals, guitar) and Kadaver (drums) and later expanded into a more complete line-up. They’ve released an extensive series of splits, demos, and EPs since 2008, and their new EP Wertlos is projected for release in the August/September timeframe by Narbentage Produktionen.

While engaged in some random web-surfing I came across a recent YouTube upload of the new EP’s title track and became enthralled by it. The guitar melodies are sublimely beautiful, though heart-breaking in the power of the dismantling despair they convey. Fitting for this kind of depressive black metal, the vocals burn in the intensity of their agony. The thunder rumbles, the rain falls all day and into the night, hope fades to a pinpoint of light… and then disappears.

Watch these spaces for more news about the release of Wertlos:









Hellbringer-Awakened From the Abyss


Since this is the Fourth of July, and since fireworks are virtually mandatory everywhere you might look in our nation today, I felt compelled to hunt for some blazing blackened fireworks for the conclusion of this installment, and I found something suitable in the following two songs.

They come from the second album by the Australian band Hellbringer, which is entitled Awakened From The Abyss and features thoroughly metal cover art by Finnish artist, musician and photographer Samu Salovarra.  It will be released on August 19 by High Roller Records. The two advance tracks that have surfaced so far are “Dark Overseer” and, more recently, the title track.

Hellbringer root the inspiration for their brand of blackened thrash somewhere between 1983 and 1986. Both songs are thoroughly electrifying romps, and as vicious as a pack of rabid wolves on the attack. The drum fusillades keep the blood rushing in the red zone, the riffs make an immediate connection to the reptile part of the brain, and the spitfire soloing is guaranteed to put a drooling grin on your face. Also, the vocals are raw, unhinged, and demonic — just as they should be.

This is just the kind of pulse-pounding hellfire you need to get the blood boiling on this Independence Day, all primed and ready to get boozed up and blow off some digits with your explosives of choice. Have fun!

Awakened From the Abyss can be pre-ordered here:











  1. Fuck yeah…its been way too long since that debut album by Hellbringer. Really looking forward to that one!

  2. No one in Todessucht is or was a member of Fäulnis. You mistake them for Faulen which also is a German black metal band.

  3. Damn, 4 for 4 again. You’re giving Ted Williams a run for his money.

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