Apr 032021


I’m on a short vacation. First time away from the small community where I live in nine months. Along with a group of family and friends, we made the trip yesterday to an AirBnB on the water in a place called Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington, in the Puget Sound. The photo above was one of the sunset views last night from the deck of this rental.

I had originally decided not to do any blogging this weekend, but I was awake this morning so much earlier than anyone else in the house that I started listening to a few new songs, and here I am blogging again. It’s just three new songs, so that’s a compromise of sorts.

I’m not sure if I’ll write a SHADES OF BLACK column for tomorrow. We’ll be headed home on Monday morning.





The locale where I’m spending the weekend has a primeval feel to it. It’s grey and chilly today, dead quiet except for the sound of the receding tide, and the land masses far across the water look ghostly in the overcast light. I had a feeling a new song by Ereb Altor would suit the mood.

Of course “The Twilight Ship” has an ancient and epic feel, because that’s what these Swedes traffic in. They traffic in other things too, as demonstrated by this song, which begins jolting and stomping beneath the sweeping synths and soaring vocals. And the haunting darkness in the music suits the sights from where I sit.

The song is from Eldens Boning, a vinyl-only 12” EP featuring four new tracks, one of which is all-acoustic. It will be released by Hammerheart Records.










Exponential Decay is the debut EP of this Toronto-based death metal duo. When I first checked out the music this morning, it was just one song I heard — “Death Bias Alpha“.

That one is a potent amalgam of crushing oppressiveness, pile-driving brutishness, moaning agony, abyssal roaring, and unhinged frenzy. When the music goes completely insane, it’s an exhilarating and highly infectious experience, and those pile-driving sequences are made for the infliction of sore-neck syndrome.

But it turns out that all three tracks from the EP are available for streaming, and I’ve included the full stream below. I eventually figured out that the EP was released on CD and cassette at the end of 2020. I discovered it today because Exponential Decay has a vinyl release date of April 30th via Blood Harvest.

Those other two tracks, by the way, are also outstanding examples of mauling, mangling, skull-busting death metal depravity — composed of massive, grotesquely distorted riffs with highly addictive qualities, bone-bruising drumwork that changes on a dime, gut-busting bass lines, screaming leads, and malevolent gutturals; the third one also includes a spectral intro that transforms into a dragging crawl of utter misery — before chaos explodes.







ODAL (Germany)

I’ve been meaning to include the first advance track from Odal’s new album in one of these collections, but because of the delay there’s now a second one that surfaced just yesterday.

That new one, “Der kalte Nächte Atem“, blazes in glory, capable of sending your hard-pumping heart into your throat as it sweeps you off your feet and rushes you along with Odal in a wild, ravishing race across the sky. The music has a larger-than-life, mythic quality, and seamlessly intertwines moods of sorrow, thrilling defiance, and joyous abandon.

Odal’s new album, Welten Mutter, is set for release on April 23rd via Eisenwald. I’ve also included a stream of the first advance track, “…um Ewiges zu schaffen“.






  1. Enjoy your well-deserved time away. Really coo and excitingl to see that, holy shit, it is actually becoming possible to do things safely again.

    • Thank you man. This trip just involved driving, I’ve had both doses of the vaccine, and everyone else on the trip has been super-careful all along. On top of that, I don’t think any of the restaurants in this area are open for in-door service, so we’re just making stuff in the house or getting takeout. And there’s no one around us on this stretch of waterfront. I saw one couple walking along the water this morning, and that’s it in terms of sighting human beings from the water side of this house. Even if I hadn’t been vaccinated, I wouldn’t be very concerned.

  2. At first glance Ms Welten Mutter looks like she’s packing heat.

  3. That Perilaxe Occlusion is fantastic stuff. One of the best death metal demo/EPs I have heard in a while.

  4. Whidbey is alright, didn’t find too much for hiking, prefer Anacortes which has more hiking than any town not on the peninsula.

    • I’m sure you’re right. We did no hiking on this trip. The most exercise I got was a slow and short stroll along the beach. The objective was to be completely sloth-like in a place with a beautiful view, and in that we succeeded. 🙂

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