Feb 242018


Two nights ago on my way home from a late meeting in Seattle I hit a patch of black ice less than a mile from my house. My car skidded off the road, rolled over, and landed on its side in a deep ditch. I missed hitting a telephone pole by two feet, but did destroy a mailbox and probably my car as well.

On the other hand, I’m unharmed, just a bit sore in a few places. I spent three hours sitting in a police car with a very decent officer while we waited for and then watched some remarkable tow-truck guys figure out how to get the car on its wheels and out of the ditch, in 20-degree weather in the middle of the night. The cop finally drove me home at 4 a.m. yesterday morning.

That scary incident fucked up my plans for a round-up yesterday. I’m afraid to go back and read the premieres I wrote after a sleepless night and in an addled frame of mind, but I sure didn’t feel up to writing anything I hadn’t already committed to do.

Anyway, the past week was another blockbuster in terms of new metal, and I’ve left a lot of stuff out of this post — which is still pretty long. I picked the music of the following five bands to provide a wide spread of different genres.


So far, the Irish troubadours in Primordial have released videos for two singles from their new album, Exile Amongst the Ruins, the second one appearing last week. Both songs will likely be surprising in some ways to Primordial fans, although Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill‘s remarkable voice is still front and center in both.



The most recent track is “To Hell or the Hangman“. Here’s what Averill wrote about it on Facebook:

“So this is the new Primordial video in case you missed it! The song is a bit out of left field, something a little different and unusual, bit of a foot stomper and a hip shaker. Album number 9, sure you’d want to throw a few new spices in the pot right? 🙂 and you need not worry there’s plenty of chest beating gloom over the other hours worth of music on the album.”

It definitely is a hip-shaker, with an ’80s new wave vibe to my ears (Killing Joke comes to mind first). However, the subject matter of the song is shuddering. I knew that the word “lynch” originated with the actions of an Irishman named James Lynch. But I didn’t know all the details of what Lynch did that put the word into common parlance. Here’s Averill’s explanation accompanying the video clip on YouTube:

“In 1493 Walter Lynch was hanged by his own father James Lynch, Mayor of Galwayon on the West coast of Ireland for the murder of a young Spanish noblemen who was visiting the family home. He had fallen in love with a young woman by the name of Agnes in the Lynch of household and in a fit of jealous rage one night Walter took the young Spaniard’s life. The story goes that an angry ‘lynch mob’ took to the streets and barred the way to the usual execution spot so James took his son Walter and hung him with his bare hands from the open window into the street…..he was lynched from the hanging sill.

“‘To Hell or the Hangman’ is this story through Walters eyes, a tale of unrequited love with a murderous end. Enough drama for you? A curious and strange song for single number two from the new album, dark romanticism! so get on the dance floor…”

The previously released video and single is “Stolen Years“. Here’s what Averill wrote about this one:

“’Stolen Years’ may seem like a strange choice as our lead single, and on the face of if I guess it is. It’s not a blood and thunder epic about tragedy and might and the ruin of nations, nor is it a 9 minute epistle of doom. Have no fear, the album does contain those also but to open this time we chose something different. This album has some surprises and this is one of them, a short and painfully simple song which almost didn’t make the final cut if you can believe so.

“The video, cut by Costin Chioreanu, is about the journey involved in finally getting to that moment where you walk on stage, the song itself about that last night on earth that comes to us all, sometimes we never know when that might be, hold your loved ones tight tonight, this could be it…”

I listened to “Stolen Years” not long after the police brought me home near the crack of dawn yesterday, thinking about how close I’d come to having my own last night on earth. Both that song and the newer one have gotten well under my skin.

Costin Chioreanu was involved in the making of both videos.















“Australia’s Nocturnal Graves, featuring current and ex-members of Denouncement Pyre and Deströyer 666, will unleash hell in the form of new album Titan on May 18th, 2018.” And so began Chris Dick’s introduction to a song called “Ecdysis, Shedding Weak Flesh” that DECIBEL premiered from Titan a few days ago. According to the band:

“Our first single, ‘Ecdysis, Shedding Weak Flesh’ deals with tearing down boundaries and ridding oneself of the restraints that hinder the advancement of the individual. When removing weakness, one must march forward and abandon ways that are tried and tested. This is representative of the approach that we took to the album as a whole. ‘Ecdysis’ in particular forges a new path that we have previously left unexplored. Still revelling in darkness, yet twisting in ways we had not imagined.”

“Ecdysis…” is indeed a devilishly twisted and wonderfully multi-faceted song, delivering an intoxicating brew of death and black metal (and other ingredients) with sinister vibrancy, interweaving passages both haunting and viciously ripping.

Titan is available for pre-order from Season of Mist.












Four and a half years have gone by since I last wrote about the Scottish band Sectioned. I first came across them in May 2012 through MISCELLANY excursion, which turned into a review of their second EP, Monotonne. I revisited them twice in 2013, when they released another EP by the name of Outlierwriting first about a song from that EP named “Trismus”, and then later about a single released on Halloween named “Repeater“, which appeared the next year on a split with Shudder. Of the latter track I exclaimed

Sectioned have dialed up the raw factor in the production on “Repeater”, to good effect. It’s a thundering, howling, shrieking, skittering blast of heavy-ass grind, as unstable as nitroglycerine and just as explosive. The tempo changes on a dime, from hair-on-fire rampaging to groovy hammering to methodical skull-pounding, and the band also manage to incorporate melodic guitar leads and unhinged electronic noise. Also, the vocalist sounds like he’s being doused with acid.”

At some point not long after that single, Sectioned imploded, but have risen again with a revamped line-up and a new album named Annihilated that will be released on April 27th. The album will be free to download at Bandcamp upon release, and physical editions can be pre-ordered now. Based on the title track from the album, released yesterday, it’s one to anticipate with eagerness.

Annihilated” is annihilating — a veritable hurricane of battering drumwork, murderous riffing, shrieking leads, pile-driving grooves, and lunatic raving, all wrapped in a squall of abrasive noise. It left me wide-eyed and trembling.












Since the organizing principle of this round-up is stylistic diversity, I thought I’d make a jump into thrash (with touches of punk and classic heavy metal in the blend), with a song from Grave Condition, the fourth album by Norway’s Blood Tsunami. It will be released by Soulseller Records on April 27th and includes four new songs and five older but previously unreleased tracks.

If you want to super-heat your bloodstream and get it rushing in a flood, “Poison Tongue” is just the ticket. It’s catchy-as-hell, from the addictive riffing to the vocal lines, which I want to sing along with in my head. The raw vocal yells, by the way, are a big part of what makes the song so fiery, but the white-hot soloing and hammering grooves make big contributions, too.

Soulseller Records:

Blood Tsunami:










After that Blood Tsunami track, I thought I’d close with something that would slow you in your tracks, something that would methodically crack the floor beneath you and then pound your staggered frame right down into that gaping hole.

The new album by Denver’s Oryx, Stolen Absolution, was released just yesterday. As I write this, all I’ve had time to do is check out the title track. Although it’s the last song on the album, it’s set to stream first at Bandcamp. It’s a heavy, shaggy, gloomy beast with sludge, doom, and stoner in its DNA. Before it gets to that point that will crack open the ground beneath your feet, it will make you want to move. And even when the true crushing begins, the dismal melody seeps still deeper under the skin.

By the way, the two-toned vocals in this calamitous song are gripping. I have a feeling the whole album will be, too.

And with that, enjoy the rest of your fucking day. I’ll see you tomorrow with a SHADES OF BLACK column.





  1. Shit man…Glad to hear you walked away from that with just some sore body parts! Seriously, no one would have thought twice if you skipped posting things for a few days and just wanted to take sometime for yourself.

    …on a more positive note, greatly looking forward to new Nocturnal Graves and Primordial

    • Thanks man. I hate to break a promise, and so did my thing yesterday. I got lots of sleep last night, feel better this morning, but still a bit freaked out and also depressed about my car, which became a dear old friend after 13 years. I’m afraid it’s un-fixable, but I’ll find out on Monday.

  2. Well, that was a roller coaster of an opener. You mentioned black ice which is usually rough shit but I figured “hey he’s posting, it must not have been that bad!” but then it WAS that bad!

    Glad to hear you’re doing OK, dude…take whatever time you need, obviously.

  3. Glad you walked out of that without serious injury. Rest up, dude.

    • Thanks my friend. I’ve been wondering a lot lately why I’m still here, but as the years pass and the breaths keep coming, I’m sure we’ll all wonder the same thing.

  4. Glad you’re still in one piece! We wouldn’t know what to do without you!

  5. Sorry to hear about your accident. Glad to hear you are unharmed.

  6. Wow crazy. We get black ice around here too… luckily I’ve only slipped on it while walking and not in my car, that’s nasty! Good to see you followed it up with some nasty tracks 😉 seriously, that Primordial is great.

    • As they say, Primordial was definitely what the doctor ordered. I’ve landed on my ass before, thanks to black ice, and had a few skids in the car too, but nothing like this one. I’ll be driving like a great-grandmother for the foreseeable future… that is, when I can line up another vehicle some way.

  7. Damn man, glad to hear that you came out of that in one piece. Stuff like that definitely leaves a mark on the psyche for a while, but it’s good to hear that you’re coming out of it with a pretty good outlook.

    On the note of the music, I’m very excited for this new Primordial – them and Thin Lizzy are probably still the best musical exports out of my ancestral land (and recently the country of my second citizenship). That Oryx album is goddamn massive too.

  8. primordiaL: Undisputed Metal K.I.N.G.S.

  9. Who does Primordial think they is? Baroness?

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