Feb 052022

Photo Credit: Evelina Szczesik


I heard a couple of the following tracks last Saturday and saved them for what I hoped would be one of these collections during the last week, but I never had enough time to put one together. The rest of them I checked out this morning (they’re even more recent), along with others I took a pass on, and more that I’ve saved for tomorrow’s Shades of Black column.

In assembling this collection I followed one of our fairly standard strategies: I decided to include some big names at the outset, in the hope that would lure people into the more obscure names that follow, and I included a curveball at the end.

WATAIN (Sweden)

When you know the band is Watain and you see they’ve released a song named “The Howling“, you already have a good idea what’s coming. But Eric Danielsson spelled it out: “‘The Howling‘ refers to the wordless voice of the wild, wailing eerily through the ages, urging us to leave our safe spaces and explore the dark recesses of the great Abyss both within and without. To see it, to learn from it, to know it.”

The song is indeed a hellish howler, a blast of battering and blazing ecstasy with a panoramic sweep, segmented by doses of head-moving, swaggering arrogance and glimpses of sinister grandeur. The diabolically barbaric appearances of the band in the well-made video make it a fun one to watch as well.

The Howling” has been released by Nuclear Blast on a 7″ vinyl single that includes a cover of Profanatica‘s “I Arose” on its B-side. The song will also be included on Watain‘s new album The Agony & Ecstasy Of Watain, which will be released on April 29th.




KREATOR (Germany)

As further proof that Kreator are unstoppable (and possibly immortal), they’ve got a new album named Hate Über Alles coming out on June 3rd, embellished with a cover painting by the great Eliran Kantor. It’s probably worth sharing Mille Petrozza‘s comment about what the title signifies:

Hate Über Alles reflects the time we’re living in. Everything is really loud and aggressive. The way we communicate has changed, thanks to social media. It causes a lot of imbalance. The world is in a state of disrepair. Life is not harmonic right now, it’s disharmonic… that’s where I was going with the title.”

Accompanied by a riotous video, the title track has a livid riffing pulse, blistering solos, and screaming, turbocharged intensity through and through. It will get your motor running hot. Of course, it’s damned catchy too.




NIHILO (Switzerland)

Now we move into more obscure names, beginning with the Swiss band Nihilo and their new album Resolution. Two tracks have been released for streaming so far.

Brazen riffing, skull-rattling drumwork, and bestial howls and growls make the fast-paced, thrash-influenced “Abysmal Pain” a blast to hear. It’s a groovesome, gut-slugging beast too, so get ready to bang your noggin.

“Chaos Within” is another short, sharp attack that’s even faster and more maniacal. It delivers bursts of bullet-spitting drums and start-stop guitar savagery, along with flurries of slashing and scything fretwork mayhem, crazed dive-bombing soloing, livid vocal insanity, and… again… some very potent grooves.

Resolution will be released on February 25th by Iron, Blood and Death Corporation.





Lately Matt Moss from the terrific UK band Slugdge has been busying himself by recording covers. Last month I featured his take on Napalm Death‘s “Twist the Knife Slowly”, and now he has released a cover of “The Killchain” by Bolt Thrower (in between those two he covered “Bad Year” by Iron Monkey, which you can find here). This is one of my favorite Bolt Thrower songs ever, and so there was no chance I was going to miss Moss‘ cover.

Moss makes the cover a skull-splintering, concrete-cracking crusher, and the vocals are frighteningly ravenous. Just… fucking… great….





This L.A. band (with a veteran lineup) unabashedly worship at the altars of Entombed, Dismember, and Grave — just like I do (I’m still hunting for incense that smells like chainsaw exhaust). Their debut EP, The Crescent and the Cross, has a concept described this way at Bandcamp:

On April 6 1453, the Ottoman Army, led by Sultan Mehmed II, began a 53 day siege on the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos led the Byzantine army in Defense of the heavily fortified city. This defense would prove futile as the Ottomans pressed onto their final attack in the evening of May 26th. The city fell on May 29th when the wall was breached and the Byzantines were overwhelmed by Ottoman forces. The fall of Constantinople marked the end of the Roman Empire and is generally regarded as the end of The Middle Ages.

The Last Roman Throne” is the song that opens the EP. The HM-2 distortion is dialed in, and the after-burners are engaged. The song rampages like a jet-fueled juggernaut with circle saws out front, accented by dynamic drumwork, demented and dismal soloing, and monstrous, raging vocals. This will stick live electrodes into your neck.

The Crescent and the Cross will be released by Transylvanian Recordings on February 11th.




SIDEREAN (Slovenia)

Yesterday this Slovenian death metal band premiered an animated video for “Coalescing into the Expanse“, a song from their debut album Lost on Void’s Horizon, released last year by Edged Circle Productions and premiered/reviewed here by us.

I still strongly recommend that album’s amalgam of progressive and technical death metal. I summed it up as “a true tour de force, an endlessly intriguing adventure that makes one think of rocketing through a wormhole, twisting the listener’s brain inside-out and upside-down while revealing wondrous beauty in flashes along a dangerous but electrifying course toward a galaxy unknown”.

Coalescing into the Expanse” draws out an atmosphere of unearthly evil within disturbing dreamscapes, and stands as one of the more experimental-sounding and weirdly unconventional creations on the record (which is saying something). Wonderful video too.




BESTIA ATER (Bulgaria)

The next item is a new video for the song, “Haures“, a track taken from Bestia Ater’s punishing 2021 debut album Anno.Bestia.Chrysallis. Prepare for darting, lunatic fretwork, spine-snapping, head-butting drumwork, and theriomorphic vocals. Also be prepared for the song to segue into a channeling of evil menace. (The video title says it’s a lyric video, but I’m not seeing any words. You should listen to the song anyway.)





Now for the closing curveball from a band which is itself one big curveball, and a favorite of mine.

It is SO damned much fun watching Ottone Pesante play live in this video, and watching people maniacally moshing to these blasts of trumpet, trombone, and bullet-spitting drums. The band say this about the song: “’Black Bells of Destruction’ is the more fierce and dissonant track of the EP and it shows our frustration and anger of the last years. The video represents how much we really want to come back on stage without any rules!”

The dizzying, dazzling, and demented song is indeed dissonant, and more than a little unnerving.

As hinted in the quotation above, the song is one of four on a new EP named …and the Black Bells Rang, scheduled for a March 4 release by Aural Music.



  1. Covering “The Killchain” is a bold move, but I think Slugdge acquitted themselves nicely there. Setting it over one of the best pictures in the history of television probably didn’t hurt.

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