Mar 112023


Really?!?,” I can hear you say, “Is that all you saw or heard this Saturday? Or yesterday? Or the day before?

Well, not exactly. I did check out a couple of other things, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to do more than what you’re looking at right now. It’s just been one of those weeks, when my effing day job hammered me into submission. On top of that, we had four visitors at the house yesterday, beginning at noon and extending pretty deep into the night. I slept away most of the morning, and my head has been fuzzier than usual. So this is what I have. Hoping for more tomorrow in the SHADES OF BLACK column….


If you’re looking for a way to un-clog your head of whatever gunked it up overnight, I can testify from personal experience that this first song and video will do that, and right quick. It’s called “Succumb“, and that’s what you will do.

The raw fury of the vocalists sprays like napalm transmuted into howls and screams. The riffing blazes and scrapes the senses too, with the bassist adding bowel-loosening slugs and the drummer veering from whip-cracks to the neck to bursts of high-speed obliteration. The riffing convulses in shrill hornet-swarm attacks too.

The vocalists’ throat ruining expulsions never calm down, but the music does get more bleak, and the band also find a time to give your neck a ticket to headbang city before exploding into one last dose of savage mayhem. Excellent video too….

The song is from the band’s upcoming EP of blackened death/crust The Pyre of Equivalence (the release date hasn’t yet been announced). It had its premiere at Idioteq (here), where you’ll find some more info.



GROZA (Germany)

In 2021 I wrote favorably about music from Groza‘s latest album The Redemptive End (released by AOP Records), including the time when I named the album’s title track to my list of that year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. So of course I needed to check out a new live video for the album’s closing song, “Homewards“.

This was filmed in late January 2023 at From Hell in Erfurt, Germany during the band’s recently completed European tour, and the music actually is a live recording rather than the studio track paired up with the visuals. Lyrically, the song is about proudly marching “homewards” toward self-inflicted death, to join with Gaia again, “the final salvation”. A grim and grievous subject, and the music sounds the same at first, but flames ignite in the video and you can feel the music beginning to catch fire as well.

The bass, which was once moody, becomes thunderous; the drums blast like weaponry; the riffing turns to a superheated boil, whirling and writhing with electrifying effect. The vocals are equally scalding in their fervent ferocity. Lots of other things emerge, including head-nodding grooves and chords that ring like glorious chimes rendering melodies of despair, as well as a soft and sorrowful chance to become meditative.

Especially as presented through the beautifully filmed and edited video (which turns to black and white as the music makes its most dramatic change) and the clarity and power of the sound, it’s quite a breathtaking and enthralling extravaganza. It’s also a good reminder to check out the whole album if you still haven’t.



WESELE (Poland)

And to close this abbreviated Saturday roundup I chose “Pustka“, the first advance track from Wesele‘s debut album Fine de siècle, which will be released by Odium Records on May 15th.

At nearly 10 minutes long, the song includes its fair share of twists and turns. It feels like a rumbling tank attack at first, the drums pumping like pistons, the bass seeming to crush rocks in its path, the head-hooking tremolo’d riffing whirring like heavy gears. It quickly gives a listener’s pulse a good kick into action (the scraped-raw vocals are nasty too.)

When the music makes its first change, after thoroughly driving the opening riffs deep into your skull, it’s just a grim-sounding bridge into another outburst which itself, sounds grim, as well as violent. Then you’ll encounter a dose of attention-seizing drum acrobatics after another bridge, and yet another fiery riff. Finally, after a bridge made of percussive detonations, the song shifts into a mid-paced movement where the bass and the guitar throb, infectious but kind of dismal too.

Wisely, Wesele use the time to take each of these motifs (and more) and repeat them, ensuring that they dig deep into the listener’s head, enlivening the recurring experiences (especially the long penultimate sequence) with exhilarating drum-fills. Even the final movement gets lodged in the head, even though the guitar sounds like agonized moaning.

I’ll add a second opinion from starkweather‘s most recent SubStack article:

“The mission statement for Wesele’s Fine de siecle makes me think of Grey Aura. Music isn’t as out there as Grey Aura but it definitely shares dna with acts the label cites as placemarkers: Furia, Odraza, Srogosc.”

And here’s the verbiage from Bandcamp by way of background info:

Wesele (The Wedding) is Rafal Chruscicki‘s solo project and, according to its author, the idea for it was born a few years ago and matured in the fumes of the painting and literature of Młoda Polska (Young Poland). The project was to be a departure from his earlier work; something completely serious and personal, an independent and artistically unlimited piece, in which the musical, lyrical and graphic layers correspond with each other and form a unity.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the song comes with a wintry B&W video made by Temira De Temirin, though the tracks you see in the snow probably weren’t made by a tank, and scenes of a young woman and an older man, both of whom seem emotionally stricken. Maybe he is calling for her in the woods?


  1. Of course: Wesele !

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