Nov 072020


Two things have combined to cut way back on what I’ve been able to do at NCS this past week, and especially yesterday and today. First, my effing day job has gotten me busier than at any time since the pandemic hit hard in March. I even spent most of this Saturday morning working that job instead of listening to metal and pulling together a Saturday round-up. And second, you may be aware that here in the U.S. we had an election.

Even though I knew it wouldn’t be good for my mental health, I’ve been glued to the reports of vote counting since election day on Tuesday. Because of our screwy Electoral College system, the counting of national popular vote totals is irrelevant. Instead, we had to spend days and days watching votes dribble in on a county-by-county, State-by-State basis, which I imagine is something like being waterboarded. The four words I now hate the most are “Too Close To Call.” But at last it’s over.

Of course, lots of votes still remain to be counted all over the country, but not enough to change the outcome. And lots of lawsuits remain to be decided, but I’ll confidently predict, based on all my obsessive reading, that none of them will change the outcome either. And there will be automatic re-counts of votes in some States where the victory margins were thin, but again (and again based on my obsessive reading), they won’t change the outcome of the election either, because they rarely change the vote totals by more than relatively tiny amounts.

And so, one long dark night of the soul is over, and for some of us that’s worth celebrating (for those who are mourning or pissed-off now because of the election results, I hope those feelings don’t last, though I’m not optimistic or sympathetic). But we clearly have a lot of dark days ahead. It’s just a question of how many and how dark.

Speaking of darkness, I did quickly find a new video by Finland’s Wolfheart to include here, because I hate posting anything at NCS without music — though it’s the kind of darkness that blazes (the lyric video seemed particularly appropriate for how I’m feeling). There will be time enough to feel grim and despondent again later.

I do intend to spend a lot of time in what remains of today and tonight just processing and enjoying what has happened, but I feel like I’ll be up to doing enough listening to select some things for tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column before getting wasted. So, see you then.




  1. Yes!!!!!!! Finally, something truly good and worth celebrating in 2020. Won’t end all of the idiocy and assholery of the last four years, but it is a pretty good start. Enjoy it, my friend.

    • Thank you JR. Michael Che summed up my thoughts very well on SNL last night: “The problems are still there, but you remember that “Shawshank” scene when the dudes are drinking beer on the roof? They were still in prison, but for one day, everything just felt OK? That’s how I feel now.”

  2. Fuck yeah, man. I feel you, it’s been fucking brutal trying to concentrate on anything this week. Love me some Wolfheart, though. Enjoy the celebration!

  3. Our family has been glued to the results too, and we’re not even in the U.S. (we live in Australia). I remember during the 2016 election, at our son’s primary school, when the election results came in that afternoon during school (there was no chance of the teachers trying to focus the children away from the election for any length of time), there was a lot of half-jokes amongst the kids about ‘does this mean world war three?’ that covered up genuine anxiety about what the election result might mean. The last four years have felt so surreal, it feels like we’ve been holding our breath.
    This is a moment where we can breath – while taking moments to acknowledge that some others haven’t (literally haven’t) been able to do so – and knowing that it’s a breath amidst continuing insanity, darkness and suffering. But it’s important to celebrate – we’ve been moved by the tears we’ve seen on news reports from some people of colour in the U.S. about what this means to them.
    (sorry, sounds preachy, just a long exhale)
    Looking super-forward to Shades of Black as always. Last night I found solace in a full release that you’d featured two songs from earlier – the latest LP by Eoront. I don’t myself usually like folk-tinged BM (I still have this silly association that this type of BM is just not broootal or intense enough… which really is silly, look at Panopticon for example, you can’t get more intense or gripping than some of their CDs). Gods Have No Home, to my ears, sounds such a high quality release, an evolution above / beyond Agalloch etc (who I do have respect for). It’s so well put together, earthful, fantastical, very personal and moving, and heavy/pulsing all at the same time.

    • I also have really grown to love that Eoront album. Everything you say about it is true. And thanks for your other thoughts too. I think many people here forget that as screwed up as the U.S. is on so many levels, lots of people around the world still watch closely what happens here — maybe in part because we have the capacity to screw up lives, and help lives, around the world. By my lights, the last 4 years have been unimaginably awful. I’m under no illusion that suddenly everything is going to be made right. But things will get better, and if nothing else, we have avoided a further slide even deeper into the abyss.

      • Absolutely, while our family had a political crush on a certain even older (and imperfect) white guy than JB during the primaries (there was lots of jokes around here in 2016 and 2020 on hoping that an old white cisgendered male won the primaries), the difference made will be immense through the new administration.
        PS Wolfheart have such a way of taking a poignant emotional moment, representing it so accurately, and amplifying it, making it really big, with no cheese factor whatsoever. They take their stuff so seriously, and it shows.

  4. Joe Biden isn’t perfect, but he’s a marked improvement upon his predecessor, and his election is inarguably a good thing.

    Between that, Notre Dame upsetting Clemson last night, and that new Shattered Hope album (thanks!), it’s been a preeeeetty, pretty good weekend.

    Party hardy dude. Lord knows you’ve earned it. Shit, we’ve ALL earned it.

  5. I’m sorry.

  6. This election is a big thing, as is the win. Hell I saw 9 year olds pretend to be Biden & Trump last week at school. In Sweden!

    I saw this Oatmeal image which describes USA’s performance in the election quite well. 😀

  7. I started with this site’s lists and worked forward, finally came across an article as hilariously absurd as I could imagine. From the picture of the sunset over a lake, to overdramatic statements like “…one long dark night of the soul is over,” and my personal favorite, the hilariously condescending wish that the 50% of the country gets over their disappointment of losing but not expecting or offering your precious sympathy to these poor rubes is absolute gold. My only wish is that I found this article at the time of the election, I think my friends from across the aisle could have united in opposition of people melodramatically celebrating Biden’s win while somehow whining at the same time. Hope that your mental health is improving, can’t imagine the trauma you felt during Trump’s presidency!!

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