Mar 292020


I did say in the abbreviated Part 1 of this round-up yesterday that there would be a lot more coming — so much that a Part 3 will be on its way later today. In these two Parts I organized the music in alphabetical order by band name, with Alpha through Omega in this installment and then picking up with letters after O in Part 3.

This is the stuff that stuck out to me as I waded through a big mass of new music and videos yesterday. I had to make myself stop, because this could have been a lot longer. I siphoned off some of the black metal I found, and they will be included in today’s SHADES OF BLACK column. Yeah, this is going to be a big NCS Sunday….

ACÂRASH (Norway)

This hard-rocking track is swaggering and sulphurous. It will rumble your guts and bob your head, and the pulsing energy of the riffs is highly infectious. With scorching black-metal vocals, a spiraling and shrieking solo, and occult lyrical themes, it’s a hellish — and hellishly good — song.



The song is “Satanic Obsession“, and that does seem to describe the condition under which this Oslo-based trio labor. The album, which blends hard rock and Luciferian black metal, is Descend To Purity, and it will be released by Karisma and Dark Essence Records on May 29.








Avoid Humanity‘s album Apex of Impurity was released on March 6th, and obviously was recorded well before Covid-19 became a household word, but their band name can now be taken as the edict of the age. The fact that they wrapped themselves in plastic sheeting to film their new video seems equally on-point.

The bleak song in the video, “Awaken the Chimera” (which includes a guest performance by Christian Blue of the Transylvanian band For the Wicked), delivers atonal bludgeoning in varying tempos and both ugly growls and feverish screams, as well as dismal moaning chords and shrill shrieking leads. Bleak and menacing music with deathcore in its roots….








This next song makes for a great companion to that Acârash track up above (I heard those two back-to-back when I first listened to them). It will also get your head moving and slug you in the kidneys, and there’s plenty of fury in the vocals and fiery grandeur in the riffing. There’s a big build-up to a flashy solo and another one that leads into a closing dose of jackhammering geared toward giving your neck an even more vigorous work-out.

Into Nothing” is off Bleed From Within‘s forthcoming fourth album Fracture, out May 29th via Century Media.








A Croatian stew of hardcore and grind. Maniacal, bone-smashing, and occasionally miserable, with absolutely unhinged vocals. A “rugged, total take no prisoners, full on attack”, as my friend Rennie (of starkweather) said when I shared it with him.

There’s a whole album here, entitled The Last Grinjober, and it was just released yesterday (March 28). Sixteen tracks in total, and a lot of talent on display, including the ability to stitch melodic hooks and punishing grooves into their wild eruptions of fury and mayhem. In other words, the songs don’t all sound alike. The instrumental performances are also impressive (the drummer is particularly good), and — to repeat — the vocals are just nuts (and they don’t all sound alike either).

(Thanks to Miloš for the alert on this one.)






NAGLFAR (Sweden)

Fireball chaos from this venerable Swedish black metal band — a volcanic eruption of hurtling drum blasts, wild ripping riffage, skittering leads, and maddened goblin shrieking. It’s a vicious and thrilling onslaught, made to stir mosh pits into bloody froths, with only a comparatively short interlude just past the mid-point to drag the mood down into misery and mysticism.

The song is “Vortex of Negativity“, and it comes with a wonderful video by Jakob Arevarn. It’s taken from the album Cerecloth, out on May 8th via Century Media.








This is a weird one. When I first listened to it I had conflicting reactions. The next time I was sold.

The name of the song is “The Cross of Nero“, and (as the band explain) it “describes the lucid madness of the Emperor Nero and the most infamous arson of history that burnt Rome to the ground in 64 A.D.; after 2000 years the symbol of eternal power and cradle of civilization as we know it, the Heart of Roman Empire, burns now as then.”

The permutations of the song, which could be thought of as an avant-garde amalgam of black metal, death-rock, classic heavy metal, and doom, are unpredictable. It locks into compulsive rocking rhythms and includes sulphurous and sorcerous riffing, old-school heavy metal chords, an array of demonic voices, sort-of-clean singing that takes some getting-used-to, and eventually a mad flurry of pummeling drums and delirious leads.

The album is Beneath the Swaying Fronds of Elysian Fields, and it’s the debut full-length of this Italian band, set for release by Naturmacht Productions on April 27th.







O (Italy)

A variably-paced hurricane of blackened post-hardcore, of teeth-on-edge dissonance, punishing rhythms, and screaming-for-bloody-life vocals. The imagery in the lyric video shows superheated lava pouring into the ocean, generating gouts of scorching steam. As metaphors from the natural world go, that’s not a bad one either.

I’ll also share the short-hand description that Rennie gave when he pointed me to this track: “new one from O. Italian mayhem sharing similar soundspace as Celeste and Plebeian Grandstand“.

The song here is called “C“, and it’s from a forthcoming album. I haven’t see an album title, release date, or artwork yet. These dudes are from northern Italy, which the virus has devastated. Hope they’re all okay.








If you’ve ever made time to dig into the discography of this Norwegian band, then you know they have an adventurous spirit, trying new things over the course of the four albums they released from 2010 to 2016 and creating an evolving hybrid of hardcore punk and changing elements of metal. There are consistent through-lines, however, including a talent for sounding really pissed-off, which I’m sure they are.

The song below, “Kiss of Death“, is one of nine tracks on Okkultokrati‘s new album La Ilden Lyse, which will hit the streets on May 15th. The blaring, anthemic main riff and the skipping drum rhythm are tremendously addictive; the vocals are scorching; and the bursts of pounding groove are mutilating. The song also includes leads that spiral up in glorious fashion, as well as a weird and wailing instrumental sound that rises and swirls, giving the music an even more sinister and supernatural aspect. It builds to a tremendous finale, and the finale leads (at least in my case) to a reflexive desire to return to the beginning and do it again.




  1. Even the baby is digging BOLESNO GRINJE. He doesn’t have the neck strength for headbanging yet, but those limbs were going everywhere.

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