Sep 272020


As regular visitors to our site know, I didn’t post anything yesterday, which was the result of me sleeping in (sleeping way in) and then having to devote hours to my fucking day job, which sometimes views Saturdays and Sundays as just more work-days. I’m not going to post a SHADES OF BLACK column today either. I decided to goof off yesterday after I finished with work, and this morning I’m going on a hike.

You have no way of knowing how unusual this is. The only hiking I’ve done since March has been between the front door of my house and the mailbox, and between my computer and the refrigerator or bathroom. I get winded going to the mailbox and back. Only a blob of mercury on an undulating surface would be less “in shape” than I am. But my spouse, who hikes with a friend several days a week for hours at a time, has finally talked me into going with them this morning. I think she worries that as a result of muscular atrophy, my skeleton is the only thing that keeps me from dissolving into a puddle of fleshy goo.

So I’m going to hike. How far I get before my wife and her friend have to begin dragging me like a sack of cement is a question I can’t answer. We’ll have to see.



Anyway, I’m sorry that I’ve left the sight barren of new music this weekend. But not completely barren — because I’ve left two tracks below.

Thinking of myself as only a flimsy skeletal infrastructure away from becoming goo, I picked “Chant of Coagulation” by Arvalastra from the Basque Country of Spain, a one-person band that uses no guitars, only electric bass, acoustic bass and drums. This track is chilling in a spectral way, and hypnotic. If you let the stream continue to run, you’ll encounter “By Rotting Dieth the Compound Corporeal“, which will give you a different side of Arvalastra – one that’s much more terrifying. The album is The Key to the Shrine of Putrefaction, and it will be released on October 17th by the Dutch label Knekelput.



The second track is “Жертовна кров” by the Ukrainian black metal band band Mørkt Tre, from their new album (released on September 17th) Земля забута богом і людьми. Unlike Arvalastra, Mørkt Tre do use guitars (and use them wonderfully), but their bassist does play an important role. The song is mesmerizing and mysterious, but when the band kick into driving gear they’ll get your blood up too, demonstrating a fine talent for combining savagery and sorcery, barbarism and beguiling beauty, and a wide range of stylistic influences. Its multi-faceted and well-crafted permutations should appeal to fans of “avant-garde” and “progressive” black metal — and I for one am really interested to hear the rest of this album.


  8 Responses to “ON HOLD”

  1. As always, thanx Islander!

  2. <my skeleton is the only thing that keeps me from dissolving into a puddle of fleshy goo…true in my case. Gotta get out more. Unfortunately, I live in a small city. They are all out there, hard to avoid and quite often oblivious to social distancing. Even a walk can be stressful 🙁

    Enjoy the walk (or I hope that you enjoyed the walk)

    • I did enjoy the walk, tough as it was for me to get through three miles of forest trails, which sadly were not all flat. Reading your note reminds me that I’m very lucky to live near a giant pristine forest, where this hike took place.

  3. Take care of yourself Islander; the same goes for all NCS contributors, ofc!

  4. Gotta always take time for yourself, especially in these quarantine times. Hope it was enjoyable!

    • Thank you man. It was exhausting, but beautiful. I’m hoping I develop the motivation to keep doing this at least a few times a week, at least until the rain and the cold begin in earnest.

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