Apr 012023

Still playing catch-up on all the new songs and videos that surfaced last week… and before….

I suppose I should include some kind of April Fool’s joke, but I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be obvious. We’ve been nominated for a Pulitzer? We’re starting a clothing line? We’re merging with Rolling Stone so their year-end list will become our own? An AI wrote all the song descriptions in this article? Well, maybe that last one might be believable, if the writing were better.

Anyway, no jokes in the following music, though I have made these selections with the intent of keeping you off-balance.

HASARD (France)

I, Voidhanger Records has once again dropped a bunch of pre-orders and advance tracks for forthcoming albums in one fell swoop. I’ll probably get around to saying something about all of them, but impulsively chose just one today — a new song from Hasard‘s debut album Malivore.

Well, it’s a debut album, but we’ve heard from the man behind it before. He goes by the name Hazard, and he spun many heads around through a combining of black metal and 19th century classical music under the name Les Chants du Hasard. So, what would cause Hazard to create Hasard? I, Voidhanger provides an explanation:

In HASARD… the French musician overturns the assumption of his original project and gives birth to a chaotic and dissonant black metal album, in which he opens glimpses of classical music helped by John Steven Morgan of WRECHE on the piano….

At times the music recalls that of early Ævangelist, Abyssal and Blut Aus Nord, but the powerful orchestral injections, the grandiloquent choirs and Morgan‘s piano frenzies, combined with the raven voice of Hazard, transport it to personal expressive dimensions. Perverse, brutal and visionary….

As evidence of this we have Malivore‘s 11-minute opening track “Hypnocentrisme“. Though not amenable to any pithy summing up, overall it’s scarier than a demon’s nightmare. The vocals are possessed by something inhuman that’s eating itself alive. The orchestral elements are abrasively discordant and ominously towering. The layered guitar tones ring in wails of agony, like the sound of angels being de-fleshed, if they still had flesh.

The drums follow no predictable path, veering between maniacal blasting and slow processions, with many other patterns in between, followed by trauma-inducing bass heaviness. When the drums eventually vanish, and the orchestration takes over, the music becomes an experience of harrowing tragic grandeur… and world ending calamity.

Words like “labyrinthine” come to mind, and like an ingeniously conceived labyrinth, it’s easy to get lost in this elaborate audio maze. It stops abruptly at the end, which suggests the extremely frightening idea that this entire album is really one piece of music in which each song flows into the next. I should know, but I haven’t yet mustered the internal strength to listen to my advance copy of the whole thing.





Last Days of a Dying World is the name of this Portland, Oregon band’s debut album on Church Road Records. It was also the name of an album-length EP they independently released in 2020, which I haven’t heard, but which apparently was recorded as a solo effort by the band’s main songwriter Matt Mitchell). Looking at Metal-Archives, four of the five tracks on the new album have the same name as four of the five tracks on that previous release, but all the earlier tracks are classified as instrumental, and they’ve obviously now added other members and a vocalist — who it turns out is actor/musician Michael Malarkey (Vampire Diaries, Project Bluebook).

The song on the forthcoming album that didn’t appear before is the opener “Cloudsplitter“, and it makes a hell of a dire and daunting impression. The wailing guitar-leads claw at the mind. The heavily corrosive riffs heave, moan, and seer. The drums boom and batter. The bass vividly undulates. The distorted vocals, which sound doubled, also have a wailing tone, but they also ruthlessly scar the senses with their blackened cut-throat screams.

It’s a long song, and as it moves forward, it begins to slow and carry us into a trough of suffocating gloom, but the haunted singing elevates it, and the clobbering drums punch the pulse. The ebbs and flows continue in changing shades of darkness and despair. Beleaguered and beseeching at times, the song is also wrenching in its moods of torment and agony, and the intensity of the harsh vocals is constantly startling.

Church Road will release the album on May 12th.




NEÀNDER (Germany)

These next two doom-influenced post-rock songs got their hooks in me damned fast — because they’re so full of hooks.

The fuzzy opening riff of “odèm” is a bit woozy and a bit serpentine and wholly magnetic. The big bass-and-drum rumble will also get a quick lock on your reptile brain, and then lead it forward into a muscle-twitching, hard-rocking pulse.

The guitars simmer and soar in glimmering waves, the drums suddenly explode in a blasting tirade, and the band also work in a slower and more oppressive variation of that hooky opening riff, as well as some gloomy strummed guitar against a glittering sonic backdrop.

There are no vocals in that song, or in the next one, but they both sound just fine without them, though they’re not copy-cats of each other. In its own opening, “yola des goz” is more mysterious and sinister, and then it hits the accelerator in blood-rushing fashion — drums hurtling hell for leather, and the guitars slowly weaving their own uneasy spell.

But despite how dismal that spell is, it’s a hooky thing too, and so is the plaintive twanging melody that follows. The band continue switching things up, bringing in some more of those body-moving drum-and-bass grooves, panoramic sounds in the high end, an extended episode of swirling guitar magic, and a soulful solo, much of all this backed by sounds of celestial splendor.

This seems to be just a two-track EP, streaming now but set for release by Through Love Records on May 3rd.




DJATLOW (Germany)

Today’s twists and turns continue with “Nuclear Winter“, the first official release of a band that could hardly be more obscure. I can find no info online about them at all, including their location [subsequent to the original posting of this roundup I learned they are from Dresden, Germany]. But the song is worth a listen, trusting that eventually more light will be shed.

Nuclear Winter” administers a brutal battering and delivers gargantuan gutturals and crazed screams, but it’s also packed with quick-change drumwork, mercurial riffage that sometimes even seems to dance as well as gnash and snarl, an unexpectedly proggy guitar solo, doses of insectile fretwork and machine-gun percussion, and hideous gurgling.

I guess you might call it brutal death metal, but it’s more unpredictable and head-spinning than typical, which is why it’s here.

I found out about the song from Miloš. I’ll have to remember to ask him how he found out about it.




To close things out I’m turning to NCS favorites Hideous Divinity and a new song and video that I’ve been meaning to feature for three weeks.

The song, “Mysterium Tremendum“, is a stand-alone single, but it won’t leave many people still standing. A ripper and a scorcher, it’s packed with obliterating drum fusillades, blistering fretwork, blazing and screaming chords, and unchained vocal ferocity. Dark and distressing melodies surface and re-surface, even in the white-hot soloing, along with moods of dementia and catastrophe, but the song further includes a dreamlike ambient sequence that comes out of nowhere — right before the band mercilessly jackhammer your neck.



  1. Nice write up!

    Worth a note that Djatlow is a reference to the infamous and mysterious 1959 Dyatlov Pass incident wherein 9 people were driven from their tents in sub zero temps and all died of various injuries. No one knows how they really died. There were no signs of an avalanche and most of the hikers were in various states of undress, with some not even wearing shoes.

  2. Always looking forward to a new record from Hideous Divinity. That new song is wicked good.

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