Jun 082024

Welcome to another Saturday roundup of new music and videos. Confronted again with the daunting task of choosing from among a vast array of new releases to check out, I defaulted this time to bands I already like, and that decision didn’t steer me wrong.

The music mainly consists of variants of death and black metal, but with some interesting twists along the way.


Whenever I think of Hail Spirit Noir I usually think of their 2012 debut album Pneuma, not because it’s their best one but because it was so different from everything else I was listening to at that time, and because so many of those songs got so quickly and firmly stuck in my head (I listened to it a lot).

Since then, they’ve followed their wandering muse in different and usually unpredictable directions. They now have a new album on the way, four years after Eden In Reverse and almost three years after Mannequins, and of course the upper-most question is: What have they gotten up to this time?

photo by Dimitris Katsenos

We all have two partial answers to that question, provided by the first two singles from the album. The first of those, “The Temple of Curved Space“, is glittering and glorious, but it rumbles and hammers too. It includes sinister and seductive singing, but also harsh, raging howls and vehement pronouncements.

Whirling and dreamlike, spritely and dancing, it also comes screaming out of the void and continually drenches the senses in a rich tapestry of exhilarating and psychoactive sounds.

The second single, “Curse you, Entropia“, arrived this past week with a lyric video. Shimmering crystalline synths and gentle acoustic picking introduce it, and the band then carry the acoustic melody forward in beguiling fashion, like an otherworldly waltz (and not only because the lyrics refer to gods “waltzing through the universe till the Milky Way goes stale”) — but it’s a waltz that begins to sound sinister and delirious.

Harsh vocals are dominant in this one, along with extravagant wails and screams, and it includes a phase when a warm, humming bass takes the lead role. Like the first single, it’s a sonic kaleidoscope that’s thoroughly engrossing and electrifying — and damned catchy too!

The name of the album is Fossil Gardens, and it’s set for a June 28th release by Agonia Records. The cover art was created by George Baramatis. HSN call it their “most extreme album to date”, and that seems to be borne out by these first singles.

But Agonia explains: “Thematically, this is a positive album, since it is inspired by the charm of our cosmos and the scientific struggle to unlock its secrets and transcend the barriers of space and time”. Those themes certainly come through in the lyrics to the newest single, as you’ll see.





Like Hail Spirit Noir, Wolfheart is another old favorite around these haunts we inhabit. Allowing very little grass to grow beneath their feet, they’ll have a new album out in September, almost exactly two years after King of the North.

The new album’s name, Draconian Darkness, portends something dark and dire, maybe even evil. The lyrics to the first single, “Grave“, bear out those expectations, though the imagery in the accompanying video is devoted to the band performing the music in a dramatic natural setting (albeit with some bloody ax-wielding in the mix).

As for the music, it gets there too, but only after a haunting piano overture. After that, frenzied riffing, blasting drums, and savage snarls create a mood that’s both delirious and deleterious. The song also charges hard and rapidly jolts, but glittering keys and soaring howls elevate it into a plane of fierce glory. (This one’s highly infectious too.)

The album will be released on September 6th by Reigning Phoenix Music.





There’s something strangely woozy about the brittle strumming and wailing keys that open up this next song, and even when the murmuring bass, pounding drums, and menacing ragged growls come in, it’s still hallucinatory.

The rhythm section do eventually give listeners the strong compulsion to nod and shake a leg with their post-punk grooves, and they drive increasingly fast, but the swirling, gleaming, and glittering surround-sounds and those grim guttural pronouncements still create an other-worldly — and exultant — experience.

The name of this thriller is “Losing A Fixed Game“, and it’s from a new album by Executioner’s Mask entitled …Almost There. It will be released on August 30th, with multiple labels providing multiple formats.





If you haven’t heard Lightlorn‘s 2023 debut album At One with the Night Sky, stop frittering away your time and go do that here today. If you’re a fan of atmospheric black metal that reaches beautiful heights (in keeping with the band’s celestial interests) but also harries the heart, you won’t regret it.

Following up that album, Lightlorn have now released a lyric video for a new single named “Noctalgia“, which includes performances by a new bassist and drummer (and they do a fine job). The song’s name isn’t a typo. Lightlorn explain that it means “night grief”, “a new word coined by astronomers and reflects the pain felt over losing our night skies due to light pollution”.

The song is intended as the soundtrack to that grief. And thus the opening synths quaver like stellar radiance, beguiling the listener, but the boiling riffage and the scorching intensity of the vocals channel torment and fury. Even the feverishly whirring guitars begin to sound desolate and despairing, and that mood deepens with the arrival of a gripping and golden instrumental solo, which sounds almost like the peal of horns.

A somber piano melody, followed by soft and otherworldly instrumentation, enhances the song’s feeling of loss and provides a dynamic break from its previous intensity, but the blazing yet broken intensity returns (accented by clarion-clear keys), creating a sweeping panorama that’s both wondrous and despondent.





To close this Saturday’s collection I chose a new EP from the Turkish band Hellsodomy, and it’s one that’s guaranteed to kick your pulse-rate and adrenaline-flows into overdrive, with a risk of sore-neck syndrome too.

Hellsodomy have already proven their talent for whipping up viscerally compulsive death/thrashing and charred-black riffs, and they do it again on Nocturnal Incursion. They also provide bowel-loosening bass upheavals, skull-busting drums, and crackling vocal ferocity that add to the sensations of rabid beasts on the attack.

In these four songs, Hellsodomy veer from slashing, head-hooking chords to swarms of blackened derangement and the infliction of gut-busting grooves. The music throbs and gallops, hammers and blasts, becomes maniacal and incendiary, but also desperate and bleak, tyrannical and terrorizing, and the dive-bombing and high-flying guitar solos in “Symphony of Agony” and “Illusion of Survival” are fucking fantastic.

It’s a hell of a thing to realize that Hellsodomy‘s songcraft manages to create distinctive and changing moods while they’re simultaneously sticking hooks in your head and rampaging like a hellish horde that’s violently escaped the confines of Hades. Your reptile brain will love this; a few of your higher faculties may also become momentarily involved.



  1. Hell, sodomy sounds good to me!

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