Jan 242018


Because of an event-filled out-of-town trip last weekend I wasn’t able to prepare a SHADES OF BLACK column for Sunday, or anything for Saturday. Fortunately, DGR stepped in with a 3-part SEEN AND HEARD round-up that launched on Saturday and continued through Monday. Now I’m going to do something similar, with this column’s usual focus on black metal. I’ve amassed a substantial collection of new music and a few news items that also interested me. I’ve organized them in alphabetical order and divided the list into three parts, with the goal of posting Parts 2 and 3 tomorrow and Friday.

Of course, in the meantime the odds are that I’ll find something else I’d like to include, which may necessitate screwing up the alphabetized ordering.


I’m beginning Part 1 of this collection with the first of a trio of enticing news items I’ve included here. As announced today by Agonia Records, the Greek occult black metal band Acherontas (whose gear is pictured above) will be releasing a seventh studio album this spring. Yes, it’s true that Acherontas released an album only last year — Amarta अमर्त (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II) — but that’s no reason to be any less excited to receive a new one.

As for why this new one is appearing so quickly on the heels of the last one, the press release we received included this statement by the band:

“Originally crafted during the procreation of Amarta, the new material was chosen to become a separate entity, following a different musical and ideological approach. Exploring multiple crossroads the Coven return to the Atavistic Vision of Western path, at the source of their birth 20 years back, and two years after last the Union release with Nastrond”.

As for why we view this news as exciting, I refer you to Andy Synn’s review of the band’s 2017 album — here — and will provide a stream of it for those who might not yet have experienced its wonders.

Agonia tells us that more details including release date, cover artwork, and tracklist will follow soon.











After a 22-year career and eight albums, including the one that’s due to arrive on March 31st via Woodcut Records, the Finnish black metal band Alghazanth are calling it quits. I was a latecomer to the band’s work, discovering their music for the first time through their 2011 album Vinum Intus, which featured vocals by Mikko Kotamäki of Swallow the Sun and Barren Earth. I became a big fan of that album, and even included one of its tracks on my list of 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

Since then, the band released an EP in 2013 and another album that same year (The Three-Faced Pilgrim), and now we have this new one to look forward to. Its name is Eight Coffin Nails, which I suppose might be a reference to the band’s eight-album discography, with the new one being the final nail in the coffin.

Founding guitarist/vocalist Thasmorg is behind the mic for the new album, joined by founding drummer Gorath Moonthorn and other newer members. The advance track below is “Facing The North” — and what a glorious and fiery piece of music it is. There is majesty in the melodies, as well as sorrow, a feeling of grim defiance as well as soaring triumph — and ferocity in the delivery.

Now excuse me while I add this emotionally explosive track to my list of candidates for the 2018 Most Infectious Song list.


Woodcut Records:










And now for the second of the three news items I chose to include in Part 1 of this post. It concerns the Montréal black metal band Basalte.

More than three years ago the band released a debut album named Vestige that hit me like a bolt from the blue. It affected me so strongly that I did what I have a tendency to do when experiencing such episodes of euphoria — I launched into a spontaneous spate of metaphors (here):

Vestige consists of three long songs (from 9 minutes to almost 17), ‘Mirage’, ‘Luminaire’, and ‘Obtuse’. They are guitar manifestos, strange journeys across distortion-shrouded alien soundscapes that sometimes seem like the eruption of volcanos on a Saturnian moon and then at other times shine like the Saturnian rings themselves, shimmering with the glint of sunlight on ice crystals. The drumming is just as unpredictable and just as transfixing, like a comet with a mind of its own that moves around and through the cosmic lightshow, heedless of the pull of gravity.”

I didn’t stop there, but I’ll spare you from reading more of my amateur poetry. The point here is that Basalte have a new album named Vertige set for release on February 13th; conceptually, it’s a continuation of Vestige. I’ve been fortunate to hear part of the record and quickly fell into another one of those euphoric states. However, rather than start spurting metaphors again, I’ll wait until I have some of the new music to share with you. For now, I encourage you to explore Vestige if you haven’t already.












This is the third and final news item in this collection, which is that Casus Belli Musica and Beverina will be issuing physical editions of The Great Adjudication: Fragment One, the excellent 2017 EP by the Australian black metal band Claret Ash. A black vinyl edition limited to 150 copies will be released on March 30, and a digipack CD edition will be coming in April — which will include both Fragment One and the band’s new EP, The Great Adjudication: Fragment Two. That combination of both Fragments will then be released on vinyl by the same labels in September.

If you haven’t yet listened to Fragment One, I’ve included a stream below, and you can find Andy Synn’s review of it here.


Claret Ash:









Now I’ll turn back to newer music, with a recommendation that you check out the self-titled debut EP by Covered In Flies, which was released on January 16th.

This is the one-man project of Shane Elwell from San Antonio, Texas, who has also been a member of Flesh Consumed, Excantation, Vaginal Bear Trap, Intestinal Disgorge, and more. As Shane explains, “Covered In Flies has a sound reminiscent of bands like Craft, early Goatwhore, and the early waves of Scandinavian black metal, where drummers utilized d-beats in addition to the standard drumming found in black metal”. And in that regard, it should be noted that Covered In Flies was recorded with real, rather than programmed, drums.

Apart from Shane Elwell’s own accurate description of the music, I’ll add that the music here is heavy as hell, kicks harder than a country mule, and is a sure-fire adrenaline trigger. The powerhouse rhythms in the music are also physically arresting, to the point that remaining still while you listen to this explosion of barbarity just isn’t going to happen.

Covered In Flies is a free download at Bandcamp (and I wasted no time in getting it for myself). Shane Elwell is looking for a label willing to provide a vinyl release.










I’m almost two weeks late in reporting on the forthcoming album by the Ukrainian black metal band Drudkh, but better late than never.

The new album is named Їм часто сниться капіж (which translates to ‘They Often See Dreams About the Spring’), and it will be released by Season of Mist on March 9th. The advance track below is “Nakryta Neba Burym Dakhom…“, which includes lyrics inspired by the Ukrainian 20th century poet Bohdan Ihor Antonych.

I confess that I was immediately carried away by this song — by its surging, sweeping melodies, by its booming rhythms, by the fiery passion that burns in the music like a wildfire, and by the more more somber and subdued measures as well. Yes, here’s another strong candidate for our 2018 Most Infectious Song list.










To conclude Part 1 of this post, I have some Goat Semen for you.

A few days ago Dunkelheit Produktionen presented a 12″ vinyl edition of this Peruvian band’s self-titled 2002 demo (and 2002 does appear to be the correct date despite the title at the Dunkelheit Bandcamp page where you can find the demo). I think you can get a pretty fair idea of Goat Semen’s stance by looking at their album cover. And the bestial black/death warfare on the demo is in keeping with that bloody, Christ-raping image.

This is a very effective manifestation of throat-cutting savagery, boiling chaos, and grim, murderous brutality. The vocals are terrifying; the shrieking solos alone are certifiably insane; the drum and bass work is riveting; and be careful or these offerings of filth and profanity will get stuck firmly in your head.




  1. Can Goat Semen please go on tour with Goat Penis

  2. From what I’d read on the band’s facebook page, my understanding was that April is going to see the release of the full “Great Adjudication” album (part 1 and 2 on the same cd) while September will see the release of part 2 on vinyl (since they’re splitting the two up for the vinyl release)…

    …I think.

  3. A stunning collection! Acherontas, Drudhk, Claret Ash, and Alghazanth are all awesome. Alghazanth’s earlier stuff was always a highlight for me. Looking forward to the new album. Those Acherontas and Claret Ash albums are out of this world.

  4. Alghazanth will apparently be going out with a bang.
    Covered In Flies sounds ripping.
    I have a future date with Claret Ash.
    And Acherontas is always welcome.

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