May 112021


Sometimes in our song premieres (in this case one that’s presented through a lyric video), it’s best to cut to the chase and then come back and fill in the back-story. This is one of those times.

The song here, which is as fascinating as it is unnerving, is “The Augurs of Spring (The Burial of the Dead)“. It’s the second movement in a rendition of excerpts from Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 orchestral work The Rite of Spring, and the people responsible for this rendition have taken the name 30 immolated; 16 returned. The lyrics, which seemingly appear as random words, were inspired by T.S. Eliot‘s great poem “The Waste Land“.

A compelling rhythmic pulse runs through this performance, executed in different ways, from primitive, titanic pounding by all instruments to brittle chords or a popping snare (and more). Around that reflex-triggering pulse (which occasionally changes in jarring ways), madness ensues — a cavalcade of burbling bass notes, dissonant slithering, seething, and screeching guitars, frantic drum acrobatics, insectile fretwork fevers, and an array of caustic growls and howls whose lunatic vehemence is almost as unsettling as all the bizarre instrumental intricacy.

It is, in a word, wild. Stravinsky may be spinning in his grave, almost at the speed your own head will spin. Continue reading »

May 112021


In the neverending musical combat between catharsis and comfort, byzantine boundary-stretching and banal convention, Cloak of Altering continues to leave no doubt where its allegiances lie. In the band’s eccentric and perpetually experimental maneuvers, it seems dedicated to rooting around in our subconscious in a way that makes it difficult to keep certain things buried that perhaps we’d rather remain hidden, just as it provides a necessary outlet for its creator’s own unsettling and unpredictable impulses.

Yet every new excursion by the band provides a multitude of fascinations, no matter how disorienting they may become, further proof of which is provided in Cloak of Altering‘s new album, Sheathed swords drip with poisonous honey (set for release on June 4th by Brucia Records).

We have the premiere of a song from that album for you today, “The Jesuscraft“. The opening line of our introduction, which is a few paragraphs below, is this: “The song seems diabolically calculated to keep listeners continually off-balance.” Perhaps, then, there is some hilarity to be found in the comment about the song from Cloak of Altering‘s alter ego Mories (the fiendish mind also behind Gnaw Their Tongues, The Sombre, The Night Specter, Hagetisse, and Golden Ashes, among other projects): “The Jesuscraft is the most straightforward song on the album.” Continue reading »

May 102021


In its lyrics, the title track to Eclipser‘s new EP, Pages, reflects the dismay, despair, and disgust of a religious believer who has reached the shattering realization that what he has been promised in biblical pages are lies, and were instead only a means of indoctrination whose hollowness has left him hopeless, frightened, and enraged. As Eclipser themselves explain: “‘Pages‘ is the tale of a weary soul in search of faith. He seeks out God but finds only empty words and misery.”

In its amalgam of black and death metal, the song is equally shattering. It channels sensations of torment and turmoil in unnerving ways, plumbing the depths of a mind coming apart as its foundations fracture and become rubble, with nothing left to take their place. Continue reading »

May 102021


Take a moment to contemplate what black metal might sound like if created by a band named Winter Eternal on an album entitled Land of Darkness, with song names that include “The Illusive Wings of Death”, “Isolation”, and “Shaped By Grief”. Add to that the fact that the band’s sole creator chose the name “Soulreaper”, and then absorb the vision captured in the Land of Darkness cover art created by Joan Llopis Doménech.

You might then naturally have expectations of music that portrays oppressive gloom and snow-bound desolation, and perhaps even an icy and depressive indifference to life. It’s indeed true that Land of Darkness is home to a fair share of dark moods, but what might surprise you if you’re unfamiliar with Winter Eternal is that the music is also bright and poignantly beautiful, and capable of weaving immersive and wondrous spells. And the emotional core of the music is anything but lifeless and cold. Continue reading »

May 092021


I think it’s fair to say that I’ve gone off the deep end. Between the new-music round-ups I prepared on Friday and Saturday and the column you’re now staring at, I’ve thrown out 28 advance tracks, EPs, or albums, almost all of which surfaced just within the last week or two. I don’t expect any normal person to pay attention to all of it, and I don’t really know how any normal person would pick and choose among all those tracks. So why have I done this? Don’t know… still waiting on the psychiatric evaluations….


I decided to begin with one of the two complete albums in today’s collection. It landed, fully formed and without warning, on the most recent Bandcamp Friday, two days ago. As you can see, I didn’t defer paying attention to it, because the man behind it is Mick Barr (of Krallice and Encenathrakh). Continue reading »

May 082021


Even after yesterday’s humongous round-up of new music, I’m still playing catch-up with new songs and videos, and picked seven more entries to include here today. These are mostly individual songs, but I’ve mixed in a pair of new EPs. As usual, part of my goal in making this selection was to provide diverse experiences.

SOL DE SANGRE (Colombia)

On April 30th this killer Colombian band released a new EP named Despair Distiller, and I’m way late in crowing about how really fucking good it is. Better late than never, I hope! Continue reading »

May 072021


Phoenix-based Thorn (the solo project of Brennen Westermeyer) made its advent last year with an EP entitled The Encompassing Nothing, revealing itself as a musical monstrosity dedicated to the creation of cavernous, ominous, and dreadful death metal. Thorn followed that auspicious debut by joining forces with Toronto’s Fumes for a fearsome split release in January of this year. We hosted the premiere of songs from that split, summing up Thorn’s contributions as “an amalgam of crushing brutality, freakish mayhem, and eerie supernatural frightfulness”.

Now we’re helping spread the word that Thorn has completed work on a debut album. Entitled Crawling Worship, it’s set for release in multiple formats on June 18th by Gurgling Gore and Life After Death Records, and once again we have the ghoulish pleasure of premiering a new Thorn song — “Drowned Serpents” — which is presented through a lyric video. Continue reading »

May 072021


The self-titled debut album of Finland’s Crimson Dimension consists of four tracks, but it’s more than an hour long, with each of those songs ranging in length from 12 minutes to more than 18. Two of those epic-length excursions have already been revealed (the first one as far back as 2017), and today we present a third one — the longest and perhaps most astounding of them all — “Age of Awakening“.

The length of these songs should not be a deterrent, because notwithstanding their duration they are all tremendously captivating. They represent a union of wildly adventurous song-writing ideas and jaw-dropping instrumental skill, and trust us when we say that it’s very easy to lose track of time as you get caught up in them.

If there is a genre label to be applied to music of such high-flying and wide-ranging ambition, “blackened progressive metal” seems to be the one preferred by the band. And that makes some sense, because although the music does incorporate sinister and ravaging elements of black metal, it is absolutely the kind of record that should prove powerfully appealing to ardent devotees of progressive metal. Continue reading »

May 072021


The usual insanity of our in-box reached a fever pitch overnight, because it’s another Bandcamp Friday. That fever has been building all week in anticipation of the day, with the typical flood of new music reaching typhoon proportions. I’ve diverted some of that flood into this collection, a baker’s dozen of new songs and videos that range from the dreamy to the decimating, and includes both the re-surfacing of old gods and the emergence of promising new names – but without the usual artwork or my usual wordy reflections. Not everything is available on Bandcamp, but where it is available there, I’ve included links.

Mother’s Day is also on Sunday, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to have added to the torrent of releases. In catch-up mode, I’ll continue recommending more new music that day and on Saturday (if you don’t keep swimming, you drown). By the way, for those of you who don’t live in the U.S., “Mother’s Day” does not stand for Motherfucker’s Day, so most of you won’t have any reason to celebrate.

Continue reading »

May 062021

Ereb Altor


(Nathan Ferreira wrote the following reviews of four new EPs that are all well worth your time.)

In these pandemic-ridden times, I’ve had online discussions with internet cretins about how EP releases may be a more viable format for artists, especially those that rely on touring as an income source. There’s less time and expense required to record, produce, and promote them, and it allows the artists in question to focus more on moving other projects forward – in theory, anyways.

Plus, how often do you actually make it through all those hour-long albums you own front to back in one sitting? Is there really that much of a difference between 25- and 40-minute runtimes in terms of how complete an album feels? If the music is good enough, probably not.

For the reasons above, and because I’ve been seeing an unusual number of artists both bigger and smaller embrace the EP format recently (a sign of the times, perhaps), I thought it was appropriate to give some attention to some of the more bite-sized musical snacks that have caught my ear in the past couple of months. Mini-albums need love too, you know. Continue reading »