Oct 292017


Once again I find myself with a small mountain of new music and recent announcements I’d like to share from the fecund gardens of musical nightshade. I had 12 items when I started writing yesterday, some of them advance music from forthcoming releases, some of them full albums or EPs, and one of them just an announcement (but a very exciting one).

I put all 12 in alphabetical order by band name and then divided them into three parts. With a little luck, I’ll get the second part finished and posted today. With a little more luck I’ll finish the third one in time to post on Monday morning. I hope you’ll find some things to like.


In January of 2016 we were lucky to premiere a song from the debut EP (Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom) of an Icelandic black metal band named Almyrkvi, which is the solo project of musician Garðar S Jónsson, who is also a member of the Icelandic band Sinmara. We followed that with Andy Synn’s laudatory review of the EP, which he described as a successful effort “to capture the fearsome cold and endless nothingness of the celestial abyss in five impressively atmospheric and morbidly mesmerising tracks”.



As we reported not long ago, Ván Records will be releasing Almyrkvi’s debut album, Umbra, on November 24th., with cover art created by Seals of Blackening and drums performed by Bjarni Einarsson (Sinmara, Slidhr, Wormlust).

Now we have the album’s opening track to absorb.

Vaporous Flame” has a chilling, otherworldly atmosphere, harsh and unforgiving, yet it intersects with sensations of deep sorrow and grim, forbidding majesty. There are clean vocals in this track along with blood-freezing roars and howls; the clean vocals enhance those feelings of loss and agony. What a completely enthralling piece of music this is….

01. Vaporous Flame
02. Forlorn Astral Ruins
03. Severed Pillars Of Life
04. Stellar Wind Of The Dying Star
05. Cimmerian Flame
06. Fading Hearts Of Umbral Nebulas

Almyrkvi on Facebook:

Ván Records on Facebook:










Back in September I followed the lead of my friend Miloš and discovered a remarkable four-way split released in 2011 named La Maisniee Du Maufe – A Tribute To The Dark Ages. It includes songs by Darkenhold, Ossuaire, Ysengrin, and the band who created the next song in this collection, Aorlhac, who are from the commune of Aurillac in the Auvergne region of south-central France.

I found the entire split marvelous, but especially Aorlhac’s song, “Les Charognards Et La Catin”, which I described in a previous edition of SHADES OF BLACK as gloriously incendiary, gloriously rifftastic, gloriously cruel, gloriously rampant in its soaring excess, and gloriously clever in the way it interweaves different melodic textures. And when the headlong pace abates just a bit near the middle of the song, and the lead guitar rears its head, it truly becomes epic.

At the time of that last post I had learned that Aorlhac were very close to finishing the recording of a new album, entitled L’esprit des vents. In recent days the French label Les Acteurs de l’ombre Productions (LADLO) announced that it would release that album, though I haven’t found a precise release date. Coincident with that announcement, LADLO revealed a track from the album, “La révolte des tuchins“.

Much of what I wrote about Aorlhac’s track from that 2011 split applies just as well to this new song. It’s a fiery and ferocious track with riveting riffwork, incandescent soloing, pulse-pushing percussion, and scalding vocals that summon feelings of both fury and despair. And on top of that, the music rings with the mythic accents of a medieval age. Glorious.

(Thanks to Conor O. for pointing me to this new track.)












Now I have that news item I mentioned at the outset. We don’t often publicize mere announcements of new releases without accompanying music at NCS, but this one got me excited enough that I couldn’t resist. It concerns a new split by Barshasketh (formerly based in New Zealand, now located in Edinburgh, Scotland) and the Polish band Outre. Entitled Sein / Zeit, the split will be released by Third Eye Temple and Blut & Eisen Productions, with cover art by Mentalporn.

Both of these bands have released some stunningly good music in the past, and that would alone be reason enough to get excited about this split. But the conceptual focus of the split makes the prospect even more interesting. Here’s the description from Third Eye Temple’s announcement:

This conceptual split takes inspiration from the work of Martin Heidegger, more specifically from the 1927 book Sein & Zeit (“Being and Time”). This seminal philosophical text, which attempts to get to grips with the meaning of being, provides the basis for an exploration of fundamental questions that underpin our understanding of human existence, with each band taking one of the two main themes.

SEIN (Being) by BARSHASKETH concerns creating one’s own purpose in a world without any objective truth or meaning. It deals with the process of pushing further and further inward to discover true will, sacrificing solace and unnecessary comforts along the way. As with all Barshasketh material, there is an element of facing and mastering darker aspects of the self in order to strengthen the spirit. The concept of Sein is that after facing such parts of the self, and pushing further introspectively beyond return, true will and purpose will be discovered.

ZEIT (Time) by OUTRE explains that the Now, the Past and the Future are all one. We exist in one consolidated frame of past events and future points that are about to become. Our Being is expressed through the time that flows through us. No one was and no one shall be. We are temporary.

As the Being. As the Time.

I haven’t seen a release date yet, but pre-orders are available via the first link below.

Sein / Zeit Track List:
A1: Barshasketh – Being [7:45]
B1: Outre – Time [5:38]
B2: Outre – Only True Believers (Armaggedda cover) [3:31]


Barshasketh Facebook:

Outre Facebook:









To conclude Part 1 of this SHADES OF BLACK edition I have a song called “New Understanding” from A Dark Forgotten Past by the Norwegian one-man atmospheric black metal project Eldamar. It will be released in December by Northern Silence Productions.

One of the melodic components sounds like an angelic voice but I assume is a synthesizer. It’s a gripping feature of the music, as is the human voice (which vents excruciating howls), the rippling keyboard accents, the surging rhythms, and the grandeur of the panoramically sweeping and soaring ambient melodies. It’s a mystical and mesmerizing piece of music.

Eldamar Facebook:

Northern Silence:



  1. Looking forward to that Almyrkvi album. And the Outre split. I still feel like “Ghost Chants” is one of the best, if underappreciated, Black Metal albums of the last few years.

  2. Almyrkvi was great…really brings across this idea of a vast cosmic space. The music is way different, but they manage to convey the same type of feelings as Darkspace.

    Even though I think synth has a tendency to be cheesy and artificial sounding, I really liked that Eldamar track.

  3. Taking good note of Almyrkvi, very promising!

  4. As others have said, the Almyrkvi is pretty impressive. I look forward to the album.

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