Jun 042022


This has been a discombobulating week for me, which began with a long trip back to Seattle on Monday from a crazy time at Maryland Deathfast and stumbling into my house at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Apart from being worn out, I had the thrill over the next few days of learning that about half the people I traveled and hung out with at MDF, all of whom were vaxxed-up, were testing positive for covid. (If you were at MDF you need to get tested even if you feel fine, because MDF is showing strong signs of being a super-spreader event.)

I also had a ton of shit to catch up with at my day job, and things to do in the planning for Northwest Terror Fest, which is fast approaching. On top of that, my spouse and I had a house guest for one of those days. And on top of that, I paid almost no attention to new releases while I was in Baltimore.

Long story short, I’m way behind on what’s been happening with new songs and videos. That makes today’s selections even more random than usual.

MASSACRE (U.S./Sweden)

I decided to begin with a heaping helping of rotten red meat for lovers of old school death metal, beginning with a track off a forthcoming EP by the venerable Massacre.

This new song, “Behind The Serpent’s Curse“, is a rattling and ravaging menace — and “menacing” really is the best word for the mood of the music, even though the song switches gears repeatedly. The growled and screamed vocals are utterly malicious; the riffing seethes, swarms, and soars; the soloing is an eerily swirling and swooping extravaganza; and the drumming is deliciously battering. In short, this is a wrecking machine that will get your blood pumping.

“Behind The Serpent’s Curse” features a guest vocal appearance by Anders Odden of Cadaver. It comes from the EP Mythos, which will be out on July 1st via Nuclear Blast Records. For this recording, Massacre is:

Kam Lee – Vocals
Michael Borders – Bass
Rogga Johansson – Guitars
Johnny Pettersson – Guitars, Backing Vocals, Keyboard
Scott Fairfax – Guitar Solos
Brynjar Helgeton – Drums





Fleshrot‘s new song “Intricate Dissection” makes a fine follow-on to Massacre‘s new track. It’s also a mean and murderous beast, one made up of cavernous gutturals, gagging snarls, cruel slashing and scything riffage, gut-punching and head-butting grooves, gruesome lumbering slow-downs, and weird wailing solos. All in all, a sickening and savage experience that I think will leave you hungry for more.

The song is from the band’s debut album Unburied Corpse, which will release on August 1st through Me Saco Un Ojo Records (Europe) and Desert Wastelands (U.S.).





Where to go from that opening death metal duo? Is it time for a change? Not yet… because I can’t resist including the next new song by Entrails.

Possessed” is the track’s name, and it does seem possessed — by evil marauding spirits. Wild howls and malignant growls lead the attack, backed by grisly chainsaw riffing, spine-cracking chugfests, and the kind of scampering that sounds like a tank battalion run amok, with a demented solo adding to the mood of mayhem.

The song is off a new album named An Eternal Time of Decay, which will be released by Hammerheart Records.





Shit, I’m so deep in death metal red meat now that I’m having trouble crawling out of the viscera and bone splinters. I actually wanted to, and I really didn’t intend to include this next song and video, because Amon Amarth certainly need no help from our putrid little blog. Moreover, absolutely no molds were broken in the making of this next song. But I got hooked anyway.

It’s an interesting song in the sense that the first half of it is right in line with the first two tracks in today’s collection. It takes that long before a melody surfaces that recalls the “epic Viking metal” blueprint of this band. Of course, it’s that melancholy melody (plus the voracious growls) that stick the song in the head.

I don’t have much use for the brain-dead, testosterone-fueled lyrics (can’t we talk about Ragnarok instead?), but I’m a big fan of the Road Warrior franchise, and so the post-apocalyptic video is still enjoyable.

Get In the Ring” is off a new album named The Great Heathen Army, which will be released by Metal Blade on August 5th.





I’m now beginning the process of crawling away from death metal, but not completely away, because of course it’s still an ingredient in the grindcore of Antigama (a perpetual NCS favorite).

Antigama are a band of many facets, but this new song “Unclear Conversions” is a blast-front of destruction, drums going at a blistering pace, guitars convulsing in a paroxysm of roiling madness, the vocals an explosion of unhinged howling fury. There’s a shift in the chaos launched by the word “GO!”, where the riffing jitters and brays and the drums snap and pop, but insanity soon rages again.

The song premiered at Decibel a couple days ago. It arrived with a video that rapid-fires a collage of disturbing images at you; it’s unmistakably the work of Chariot of Black Moth. “Unclear Conversions” is taken from the band’s 8th full-length album, Whiteout, which is set for release on July 15th by Selfmadegod Records.





Where to go now? Well shit, back into foul and ferocious death metal I go! But this one is a bit different from what has preceded it in today’s selections.

Labyrinths of Self Reflection” is mainly a slow, heaving leviathan of sound, morbid through and through, and accented by guitar-leads that wail in hopeless misery. You can feel the bass in your bones and the drum blows in your neck, and the vocals veer easily from horrid gutturals to flesh-searing screams.

The song does pick up energy at places, eventually becoming a mauling juggernaut with flaring solos, but also slows even more, clawing through tar. Speaking of solos, there’s a terrific extended dual-guitar workout that takes over when the song becomes a towering, stomping brute, and another one that cries in desolating grief at the end.

The song is a very promising new single released by this Massachusetts band on June 3rd. It will appear on a forthcoming album named Sacred Vessel.





I’m at least stepping sideways from death metal now, with two tracks off a new album by Pittsburgh-based Negative 13, who describe their music as “Punk Infested Stoner Sludge Doom Core”. But I’m not done with music that smashes bones and fires up nerves.

My Scars Are Showing Again” is a terrifically bludgeoning and bleak affair. The screamed vocals are frightening in their intensity, and the growled roars are thoroughly monstrous. The thick riffs both swing and slash, buzz and boil, while the rhythm section inflict their ruinous traumas in varying ways.

That first song is relentlessly shattering, and so it’s a bit of a relief to hear the bass solo that begins “Pain Prism“. But as the song title foretells, this one is a punisher too, merciless in its ministrations, broiling the mind with dismal wailing guitars and throat-ruining vocals, and doing its thuggish best to beat listeners senseless at the same time. But strangely, I also found “Pain Prism” to be unexpectedly hypnotic, falling prey to its bare-knuckle grooves and its dire ringing melodies, and it has an astonishing finale.

Both songs are from Mourning Asteri, an album pegged for release as a birthday present to me on July 8th.





To end this collection, I thought it might make sense to pick something that would provide a segue into tomorrow’s usual SHADES OF BLACK column, i.e., something in a blackened vein. I have a ton to choose from, but I threw a mental dart and it hit the following lyric video for a multi-faceted and enthralling song from the Italian one-man band Suffer In Silence.

Time Left” is a whirling dervish translated into sound, propelled by wild spinning guitars, vivid bass lines, and galloping percussion. It’s segmented by bursts of blaring fretwork over hammering drums and by grand but grievous chords.

A folkish melody surfaces just past the mid-point, when the dance becomes more stately and wondering. That provides a prelude to a screaming solo and then a sudden mesmerizing acoustic guitar instrumental. After that a conflagration blazes, and the dervishes come out again. Throughout, the snarled vocals are savage.

The song is one of 8 on a new album named Obscurity, which is out now through Via Nocturna.



  1. Sorry to hear about your crew, Islander. I also tested positive the day after it. I caught it early enough and went into immediate isolation and – knock on wood – (hopefully) spared my family from getting it. I have thankfully had a relatively minor case of it.

    I was also fully vaxxed, masked most of the time indoors, and generally thinking I was being careful. But, I guess after four full days….It was a fun festival, but, yeah, a bummer…

    Hope your crew gets a speedy recovery and good thoughts and luck with NWTF.

    • Thank you my friend. I’m sorry the bug got you. All of my friends who got hit have been experiencing severe fatigue more than anything, plus some congestion. I have to think the fact that they were vaccinated had a lot to do with it not being more serious. It’s so unpredictable. I’ve done 3 home tests since last Monday, all negative, and I feel fine. Others in our group in close contact with the folks who got infected have likewise been testing negative. At Terror Fest we will be requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests at the door, and will probably take some shit for that, but you’d have to be blind not to realize that the country is in the midst of another surge. It’s not just a matter of trying to protect the people who come to the fest, it’s also a matter of reducing the volume of people who catch the virus and take it back to friends and family who may not weather it as well.

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