Mar 262021


As you can see, I had enough time to pull together a round-up of new tracks and videos today. It’s the first time I’ve managed to do this during the work-week in ages, usually having to wait until Saturdays before I can pull it off. As I meandered among things I was interested in checking out, the following six items began to cluster together in my head. Other things I enjoyed didn’t fit in this cluster, so I’ll leave them for tomorrow.

What caused these songs to coalesce in my thinking is because all of them seemed made of madness. For sure, they do have their distinctive thrills, but in varying ways they’re almost all a fracturing of sanity in sound.

KHANDRA (Belarus)

The first song I’ve chosen is the first single from a new album by this black metal band from Belarus, whose past music we’ve gratefully premiered and reviewed on two previous occasions. The name of the song gives you fair warning about what’s coming:  “Irrigating Lethal Acres with Blood“.



This is really unnerving but weirdly enthralling music — dissonant and turbulent, feverish and shot through with rumbling undertones and rapidly clattering drums, but also infiltrated by the ring of unearthly guitar chiming. The vocals claw at your flesh like some rabid beast; the mayhem in the music finds glorious plateaus of poison and peril; and yet in those ringing leads there is an invitation: Come join us in our revels, but leave your mind behind.

The name of the new album is All Occupied by Sole Death, which will be released by Season of Mist Underground Activists on May 28. The great cover art of death triumphantly galloping was made by Chris Kiesling (Misanthropic-Art).









BORGNE (Switzerland)

The prolific Bornyhake strikes again, this time in his group Borgne, with a new album named Temps Morts.

The first advance track, “Vers des Horizons aux Teintes ardentes“, rockets like a blazing comet from the first moments, glorious in its shine, primal in its energy. Maybe it’s the wildness of the vocals that makes this seem like lunacy, but also something about the grim cruelty in the sounds.

Oh hell, the glittering sparkle and vast cosmic sweep of the high, spectacular cascades don’t sound sane either. It’s the kind of frightening magnificence that makes you take big gulps of airs, wide-eyed and heart pounding. Where it leads, as it turns out, is a slow, spectral drift somewhere out in the sub-zero among the stars.

Temps Morts will be released by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions on May 21st. The striking cover art was created by Javor Rado.










Aduanten was formed by three members of Texas-based Vex, though they are quick to say (and rightly so, based on the music of Aduanten) that this isn’t a continuation of Vex. One of the ways they’ve differentiated themselves (but not the only way) is by bringing in guest musicians, and two of those appear on the first single from Aduanten’s debut EP Sullen CadenceTanner Anderson (Obsequiae) on lead vocals, and additional vocals by Damian Herring (Horrendous).

That first single, “The Drowning Tide“, was recently premiered by Invisible Oranges through a lyric video. What a fantastic amalgam of turbulence and torment it is, a race at times, and a stately march at others, but always laced with mercurial fretwork and scorch-the-earth vocals. It reaches zeniths of near-ecstasy and ebb-tides of grim hopelessness. It puts serious jolts into the spine and sorrow into the heart, and a bit of wistfulness into the mind at the end. The fact that it puts all of this (and more) into something less than four minutes is even more striking (and guarantees that you have to listen to it again to grasp everything that happens).

The Sullen Cadence EP will be digitally released on May 3rd; a cassette tape edition will be released by Eihwaz Recordings.










The Swiss black metal/doom quintet Rorcal have collaborated with a new project named Earthflesh (the solo work of Rorcal’s original bassist Bruno) to create a collaborative EP named Witch Coven. Well, I say it’s an EP, but each of the two tracks on the EP (“Altars of Nothingness” and “Happiness sucks – so do you”) are in the 14-16-minute range, with a combined length of more than half an hour.

I haven’t yet listened to those two, only the “snippet” from the EP that Cvlt Nation recently premiered, accompanied by a nightmarish video created by Chariot of Black Moth. The harrowing introduction to the music at that site concluded this way: “It’s like opening a portal to the rotten place where we all hide our shadows. Hopefully, by opening it we let some light in”.

There is nothing inviting about this music. It is pure catharsis, a grappling with the frustration, pain, disgust, and fury so many of us have felt over the last year (and longer), and giving all that a traumatically intense voice. There’s tremendous tension in the music, riot in the drumming (which is riveting), and derangement in the vocals, but no light here (at least in this excerpt); whether any light emerges remains to be seen.

Witch Coven will be released on April 2nd by Hummus Records.










The next song (and video) in today’s collection proves that you don’t need all-electric instruments to make extreme music that up-ends your comfort and tests your sanity. That song, “No Guts No Glory“, comes from a new EP by None, the solo work of Nicholas Mendiola, accompanied here by session drummer John Bradford Schuler.

You may be misled by the song’s title. Rather than a rallying cry for foolish courage, it speaks instead of “an assailant yearning for blood”, with each new day just “one day closer to dying!”. Consider the opening stanza:

I want to wake up in a world where I can drink myself to death
Or one where I can hear the sounds of bones breaking and guts being chewed
The words which follow are deadly, so don’t forgive me
Just tell me something that I don’t already know

It’s relatively simple music — strummed acoustic guitar, murmuring bass, mysterious keyboard accents, and visceral beats — but there’s darkness in the music, and it spasms and shines, and becomes hallucinatory too. The vocals find a place between a gasp and a growl, and as much as anything else they make the song chilling and venomous. Yet there’s an unmistakable vibrancy here too. The dynamism of the music becomes magnetic.

The name of None’s new EP is Interdimensional War Poetry, which is a great title. A release date hasn’t been set yet, nor has a vehicle for the release been announced. Watch these spaces for more news:









GHASTLY (Finland)

I’m going to close this collection with madness of perhaps an even more multi-faceted brand than you’ve heard in the preceding tracks. This song — “Parasites” — is a constantly changing gauntlet of death metal, loaded with spinning, scissoring, and blaring fretwork, fashioning a creature of sound that’s exultant in its lunacy.

Shrieking and slithering leads intertwine with big anthemic chords and jolting chugs, all of it underscored with head-hammering drumwork and capped by a solo that wails and spirals in ecstasy. The only thing that doesn’t sound thoroughly given over to madness are the vocals, which just want to methodically tear your throat out and chew your leg off.

The album by these brilliant Finnish deviants that includes this track, Mercurial Passages, is set for release by 20 Buck Spin on May 28th. It features artwork by Riikka Pesonen.





  1. That Borgne song is so good… LADLO is becoming one of my favorite labels, they consistently release such interesting black metal.

  2. I liked Ghastly’s last album, “Death Velour”, which is an awesome name by the way, so i am looking forward to this new one.

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