Jul 282021


We’ve been following the momentous progress of the New Jersey black/folk metal band Windfaerer since early days, sprinkling our coverage (which began almost exactly nine years ago) with music premieres and increasingly elaborate and enthusiastic reviews of their accomplishments. It was thus a tremendous thrill to discover that Avantgarde Music would be releasing their new album, Breaths of Endless Dawns, and a no-brainer for us to accept the opportunity to premiere the new album’s first single — “Astral Tears“.

The band’s last album, 2018’s Alma, was (as we wrote) “a work of grand ambition and true passion, the band persistently driving themselves to unabashedly tug at the listener’s heartstrings and also to send the heart soaring and the mind spinning toward mythic heights.” The music was multifaceted, richly patterned, emotionally intense, and thoroughly immersive, creating moods that were dark and depressive, wrenchingly anguished, and vibrantly defiant. The songs become almost heart-stopping in their grandeur and explosive power, though every sensation of triumph was still edged with melancholy, as if modulated by the remembrance of loss.

Many of those same qualities are again on display in this new record, but the experience is, if anything, even more rich in its textures and moods, even more enthralling (and wrenching), and perhaps even more immense in its sheer unbridled power. Continue reading »

Jul 282021


(Nathan Ferreira provides this introduction to our premiere of another track off the debut album by Headshrinker, with additional insights into the album as a whole.)

I had been sleeping on the promo materials for Callous Indifference waiting for me in my mailbox, not fully compelled to listen. The album art is subtle and understated, the band logo a plain font, and the “OSDM meets Death/Doom with mathy dissonance” descriptor used in the email title was kinda intriguing but also not unheard of either.

That they feature Havok’s drummer doesn’t move the needle for me (I’m not too familiar with them, and as such don’t know Pete Webber’s style), and I wasn’t acquainted with Polyptych, the more progressive black metal styled group the other three members previously played in. Because of the volume of promotional materials I sift through to find the golden riff nuggets, my brain can become fried by similar descriptors across emails, and Callous Indifference just happened to have surface aesthetics that got lost in the shuffle.

But then, head honcho Islander gave a premiere of “The Burn of Indifference”, first Headshrinker song released to the public. That article was just the push I needed to dive into this band further, and I am very thankful I did. (I was a fan and reader of this site well before I contributed to it, after all). Continue reading »

Jul 282021


Finland’s Bonehunter just keep getting better and better, continually evolving in astute ways and zeroing in on an identity that’s now unmistakable and completely self-assured. Especially through their new album Dark Blood Reincarnation System, they’ve positioned themselves as preeminent purveyors of blackened-speed-metal-punk, indisputably maniacal and savagely lustful but also skilled in crafting songs that are immediately addictive.

As is so often true, even for music of such fire-storming extremity and riotous depravity, the quality of the music is rooted in the songwriting, and not just in the presence of riffs galore but in the dynamism of the music across the album and the head-hooking and blood-pumping nature of all the ingredients. We’ve got a prime example of this in “Parasite Eve“, the song were premiering today in advance of the album release by Hells Headbangers on August 20. Continue reading »

Jul 282021


(DGR compiled the following four reviews to help clear out his backlog.)

The first one of these smaller and shorter review roundups was pretty death metal focused and also well-travelled, taking us all over planet Earth in the quest for the finest gurgles and blastbeats upon which to gorge ourselves. It also helped alleviate some of the guilt of having such a massive collection of bands I’d wanted to write about but was quickly watching the sand dwindle on available time given that we’re slowly crawling towards another likely back half of the year flood.

However, as is always the case, there was still another collection waiting in the wings and this one much more diverse across the musical spectrum, though equally world-traveling. Mileage-wise it may be a little more concentrated, as it’s fairly European-focused but we do reach the outskirts a bit, with this roundup taking us to places like a France/Sweden combo act, all the way to Texas, to the Netherlands, to Greece, to the wild and exotic reaches of Sacramento, California.

If that seems like a wild mess, then let me assure you, this collection of music is also wild, but after this I may be as close to having a clean slate as I’m ever going to get. So, let’s start my second attempt at a ‘shorter’ review roundup and get this ball rolling. Continue reading »

Jul 272021


(We’ve previously published (here and here) two installments of a “dirty black summer” playlist compiled and written by Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood), and now we’re happy that he’s followed that with a third set of recommendations for your summer listening, presented below.)

I hadn’t really planned on revisiting this series quite so soon but there were a few releases I missed last time and a few coming up that I wanted to shed a little light on, so here we are. There’s a few gloomier bits and some hints of the upcoming autumn in here which should help those of you who get a pumpkin spiced hard-on right after the Fourth of July get a bit of a fix in. Continue reading »

Jul 272021


The day may come when we no longer need to identify musicians in metal (or in other artistic genres) as women or men, as black or white, as queer or straight, but simply as performers, whose creative talents will speak for themselves, for better or for worse. But that day is still far away. And so we will note that one of the two people in Modern Rites is a young American black man, Jonny Warren (who is also behind the experimental metal band Kuyashii).

But we make that observation not only because black performers are still a rarity in metal but also because Warren’s personal experience is at the heart of “Black Wolf“, the song we’re premiering today from Modern Rites‘ debut album Monuments in advance of its August 27 release by Debemur Morti Productions. Continue reading »

Jul 272021


Vittorio Sabelli and his changing coterie of comrades in Dawn of A Dark Age are fully capable of donning their blackened armor, brandishing their swords and scythes, and going on the attack — and it’s thrilling when they do. But many heavy metal bands can do that. Very few are capable of surrounding those electrifying charges, as this band does, with such a rich and distinctive sonic pageant of other experiences, and none that we know of make the clarinet such a vital part of the pageantry.

I was late to the theater of Dawn of A Dark Age, having been oblivious until the 2020 album La Tavola Osca, which I reviewed and premiered here last July. But that record was one of those extraordinary musical adventures that makes one a fan for life. It arrived after Sabelli’s completion of a multi-album opus called The Six Elements, and it began a new thematic cycle. Now we have the second installment in the cycle.

This new album, which will be released by Antiq Records on September 24th, is named Le Forche Caudine, and it’s another remarkable achievement. It consists of two “Acts”, two very long compositions that succeed in transporting the listener to a very different age, in a very different world than we know now. Today we present an excerpt from Act I that’s absolutely exhilarating. Continue reading »

Jul 262021


We are told that the Finnish band Moon Oracle was first formed by Sûrya-Ishtara and U after spending years searching for their own sound with previous bands, and that they then asked Harald Mentor to fill the role of vocalist, knowing his abilities from such acts as Ride for Revenge, Incriminated, and Uskonrauha, among many others.

What they’ve accomplished together is the creation of a 26-minute debut record entitled Muse of the Nightside, presenting music that’s equally informed by archaic black metal and eldritch doom. It is a strange and twisted experience, capable of invoking dread and fear but simultaneously proving to be charismatic in its own ghastly and primeval way — as you shall learn for yourselves through our premiere today of the record’s opening track, “The Huntress and the Hunted“, in advance of the full release on August 18th by Signal Rex and Bestial Burst. Continue reading »

Jul 262021


Active since 2013, the Australian doom band Lucifer’s Fall follow in the footsteps of the greats, of Witchfinder General and Saint Vitus, of Pentagram and Reverend Bizarre. And they’re resuming their march with a new third album that’s set for release on August 8th by Sun & Moon Records. Its name is III – From the Deep, and today we bring you a video for the new record’s opening track, the epic “Trident Steel“.

This song alone demonstrates the variations that Lucifer’s Fall bring into their sounds, and the supernatural inspirations of both their lyrics and their music, while remaining true to the traditions of classic doom and heavy metal. And yes, it’s an exception to our porous rule about singing — for good reason. Continue reading »

Jul 262021


(Our contributor Gonzo wrote this review of the new album by Eternal Valley from Portland, Oregon, which was released earlier this month by Northern Silence Productions.)

While I’ve certainly endured plenty of shit over the past year, as I’m sure all of us have to some degree, the right music can capture the mood and makes the grief a little more bearable. There’s a certain comfort in listening to music that’s been written and played by someone who might be experiencing the same thing you are at the time, and when it’s played so intensely and urgently, it can prove to be downright fucking cathartic.

All of this is what I immediately felt the first time I listened to Kingdom of Misery by the Northwest’s one-man master of the morose, Eternal Valley. Continue reading »