Feb 252020


The name Pete Helmkamp will be a familiar one to fans of underground terrorists such as Angelcorpse, Order From Chaos, Revenge, Kerasphorus, Terror Organ, and Feldgrau — all of them bands whose ranks have included Helmkamp at one time or another. But he also has a project named Abhomine, and on February 28th Hells Headbangers and Osmose Productions will jointly release Abhomine‘s second album. Like the 2016 debut, Larvae Offal Swine, the title of the new record evocatively stitches together three words — Proselyte Parasite Plague.

On this new album, Helmkamp is accompanied by drummer/vocalist Cazz Grant, known for his work with Crucifier and Grand Belial’s Key, and together they race through a non-stop barrage of neck-snapping, mind-mauling, black/death barbarism, and we’ve got a full stream of it for you today. Continue reading »

Feb 252020


(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new EP by the UK-based progressive black/doom band Lychgate, which will soon be released by Debemur Morti Productions.)

It’s getting hard to ignore Lychgate, not that anyone should be trying. This UK based Extreme Metal band continue to push their awe-inspiring blend of Black Metal, Death, and Doom into more progressive and experimental realms with each release, and their latest EP is a case in point. Also sprach Futura is due out on Debemur Morti Productions on March 13th and illustrates beyond any doubt that Lychgate is one of the most exciting bands going right now. Continue reading »

Feb 252020


(Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo brings us this review of the the fifth studio album by U.S. progressive metal pioneers Psychotic Waltz, and their first music in 23 years, released on February 14th by InsideOutMusic.)

Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when a criminally underrated band emerges from the ether after years of radio silence and releases some of their best work. Since that seems to be the trend lately for metal bands, reformed prog metal gurus Psychotic Waltz have decided to follow suit, surprising the world with the release of their newest album, The God-Shaped Void. Continue reading »

Feb 242020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the French band Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, which is set for release by Season of Mist on February 28th.)

One thing which struck me, in a way that it didn’t first time around, when listening back to the first two albums from underrated Black Metal coterie Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, was just how much their sound, their style, and their whole approach, reminds me of Abigail Williams.

Seriously, just take a listen to the slow-burning menace and spiteful savagery of songs like “They Came… To Take Us” and “The Incandescent March” (from 2015’s Exile) and try to tell me you don’t see/hear the resemblance to Ken Sorceron and co. circa In The Absence of Light/Becoming.

Of course the fearsome French five-piece are far more than just a European derivative of their American cousins, and others have also pointed out some of the band’s sonic similarities to artists like Altar of Plagues, Amenra, and their countrymen in Celeste too, but now that I’ve made this connection in my mind it’s impossible for me to un-hear it.

It also makes me wonder whether the reason for the band’s relatively low profile, at least when compared to some of the French scene, might be because – much like Abigail Williams – they don’t neatly fit into some people’s perceptions of what a Black Metal band should sound like or how they’re supposed to present themselves.

But, just one listen to Ascension makes me think that not only are Regarde Les Hommes Tomber fully aware of all this, they also don’t give a damn about fitting neatly into anyone’s preconceptions. Continue reading »

Feb 242020


In the well-made video we’re about to present, an ancient warrior draws his sword and makes his way by torchlight into a deep and ominous cavern, drawing closer and closer to the three hooded figures he seeks, three blind sisters who share only a single eye among themselves. By stealth he steals the eye from the witches, holding it as ransom until they tell him what he wishes to know.

Also lit by torchlight, the French death metal band Gohrgone also appear in the video, performing “Weak Ones Deceived“, a song from their most recent album In Oculis, with increasingly harrowing intensity, matching the tension and frightfulness of the tale that’s also depicted in the film. Continue reading »

Feb 242020


Alexander Ivanovich Vvedensky was a Russian poet who died in 1941 at the age of 37, and whose work is said to have had a formidable influence on “unofficial” and avant-garde art during and after the times of the Soviet Union, though his writing was little-known in Russia until long after his death. During his life he faced repeated arrest and died while being transported to one of Stalin’s Gulags.

One of Vvedensky’s poems, “Potets“, recounts the experiences and reflections of a dying man, including his last conversations with his sons. The poem inspired the Russian band Ethir Anduin to create the song we’re premiering today from Ethir Anduin‘s new album, Pathway To Eternity. The Agony. It is one of eight substantial tracks on the album (collectively they amount to 80 minutes of music), each one with its own concept, but in the aggregate forming a diverse yet unified whole.

The album, which will be released by GrimmDistribution on March 16th, also marks a turning point for Ethir Anduin. The band was formed in 2006 as the solo project of A.V. Fenrir, and while guest vocalists appeared among the seven albums preceding this one, Ethir Anduin now has an official vocalist named Luka, who makes her first appearance with the project on this new album. Continue reading »

Feb 242020


(This new interview by Comrade Aleks takes us through an extended discussion with vocalist/lyricist Clode Tethra and guitarist Federico Monti , members of the Italian death-doom band Tethra, whose new album will soon be released by Black Lion Records.)

Tethra are a death doom band from Italian Novara, Tethra spend their twelfth year on the scene, and there are two full-lengths plus one EP in itheir discography. Oh, correction – their third album Empire Of The Void is planned to be released by Black Lion Records on the 20th of March.

The album sounds both familiar and refreshingly new. Familiar because it radiates that warm melancholic vibe of classic mid-tempo melodic doom death. Refreshing because of its potent sound and its richness. It’s interesting how Tethra survive – and not just survive but succeed, as the only original member is Clode Tethra, who has provided both deep growling vocals and amazing clean singing in the band since 2008. Other members are relatively new, including guitarist Federico Monti who just left the thrash death band Total Death in order to join Tethra in 2017. Clode and Federico tell Tethra’s story tonight. Continue reading »

Feb 232020


At some point in the past, I forget when, one of my NCS comrades argued within our group that we should be more careful in our description of a certain sub-genre of death metal, to make clear that it’s really not a single monolithic sub-genre at all.

If memory serves, he contended that the term “tech-death” should be reserved for bands (many of whom are in vogue these days) who rely on blizzards of frantically discharged, maniacally veering notes and hyperventilating drum work, i.e., the kind of stuff that seems mainly designed to showcase speed and dexterity, everything dialed up to 11, without necessarily producing anything coherent — and sometimes forgetting the DEATH METAL part of the genre descriptor.

On the other hand, he argued, the term “technical death metal” — or as I might call it, technical DEATH METAL — should be reserved for bands who are really death metal groups at heart, with all the gruesome savagery that term usually connotes, but accent their barbarism with technically impressive accents, and do so in service to actual structured songs rather than just putting on chaotic displays of instrumental pyrotechnics.

Which brings us to Inhuman from Costa Rica. Continue reading »

Feb 222020


I’m about to drive to Portland with friends to take in a mainly acoustic show by Austin Lunn (Panopticon), Aerial Ruin, and Mike Scheidt of Yob. That means I probably won’t have a SHADES OF BLACK column on Sunday, though I’ve already written a premiere for that day, so we won’t leave you completely lonesome tomorrow. As for today, I’ve resorted to the “Overflowing Streams” format because there are SO MANY new songs and videos I’ve been enjoying that I didn’t want to cut the list back, and don’t have time to write about them.

Almost everything here surfaced over the last 48 hours. Perhaps needless to say, there’s a lot of variety on offer. I don’t expect anyone (but me) to get a kick out of all this, but hopefully you’ll find at least one or two things to like. Continue reading »

Feb 212020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new double-album by the one-of-a-kind Czech band Cult of Fire, which has been released today.)

Czech Black Metal collective Cult of Fire have never been ones to follow the stereotypical path.

Whereas much, if not most, Black Metal styles itself as adversarial – not surprising considering the genre’s rebellious roots – Cult of Fire have always seem less concerned with pushing back against the outside world and more focussed on exploring their own inner world, taking instead their inspiration from Buddhist teachings and Vedic mysticism.

In their own way, of course, this makes them just as iconoclastic as the most rabidly anti-Christian of tremolo-abusers, except that instead of seeking to define themselves by what they’re against, Cult of Fire seek only to define (or redefine) who they are, their true spiritual selves.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising then that the band’s latest musical exploration (released digitally today, with a physical release following next month) comprises a double-disc duology of scorching sounds and meditative moodscapes, as we all know that the search for wisdom is both endless and eternal, and knows no bounds. Continue reading »