Apr 072021


Margaret Renkl wrote two days ago in The New York Times, in an essay about poetry: “[I]sn’t our own impermanence the undisputed truth that lurks beneath all our fears and all our sorrows and even all our pleasures?… Carpe diem is the song the poets have ever sung, and it is our song, too”. And then she quotes lines from “The Kingfisher” by the late, great Mary Oliver: “I think this is / the prettiest world — so long as you don’t mind / a little dying.”

Ah, but as Hamlet mused, there’s the rub: There’s always the dying, and we know not what dreams may come in the sleep of death, or if any will. Which brings us to the musings of vocalist Daniel Neagoe that accompany the new album by the funeral doom masters Aphonic Threnody, The All Consuming Void:

“There is darkness everywhere, in the serenity of our thoughts, deep encompassed into our very beings, on the endless canvas of our dreams. There is darkness inside the soil beneath our feet and in the heavens above us. A fading, tenebrous gloom enshrouded in suffering and mist, in the coming of time to pass once more guiltless and ignorant. There is a void, all-consuming and ruthless, an emptiness which expands to the very core of our souls, imploding, thundering and monstrous. An impending prophecy that stands the sands of time.” Continue reading »

Apr 072021


Most people probably know the Genesis tale in which Lot and his family escape the destruction of Sodom, and Lot’s wife is turned to a pillar of salt after violating a divine command not to look back at the city. Lesser known is the subsequent story of what happened when Lot and his two daughters took up residence in a mountain cave. There, after becoming drunk, Lot has sex with them, eventually leading to the births of the incestuous offspring Moab and Ammon.

The Danish death metal band Shadowspawn have taken this tale as the subject of the song we’re premiering today through a lyric video, a song off their new album The Biology of Disbelief, which will hit the streets on April 16th via Emanzipation Productions. The band introduce the track in these words: Continue reading »

Apr 062021


Ever since discovering VEGAS (aka VVEGAS and V.E.G.A.S.) through their four-song EP Sagevisule in 2014, I’ve been repeatedly transfixed by their music. In their own words, their shifting amalgams of metal and hardcore embrace the “confrontational nature of Japanese punks G.I.S.M. via early-80’s ferocity of LIFE’S BLOOD & apocalyptic tenets of bands like INTEGRITY“, but passing time has seen them draw in other ingredients as well. The inability to predict exactly what they will do from release to release is part of the attraction — along with the persistently visceral intensity that burns at the core of every recording.

They also don’t let much grass grow beneath their feet. Their most recent album …not ever appeared last summer, but they’ve already been hard at work on a new one. Hints of it surfaced through singles that were scattered through the remaining months of last year, and most recently in a track named “Recovery” that was released last month. But we’ve been privy to even more of what the new album holds in store, with an advance peak at 10 pre-mastered tracks (four more are also in various other stages of completion). Continue reading »

Apr 062021


Almost seven years after the appearance of their debut album Evil Seeds, the Danish melodic death metal band Sylvatica are at last returning with their sophomore full-length Ashes and Snow, which will be co-released on April 20th by Satanath Records and Pest Records. Two songs from the album have surfaced so far, and today we premiere a third one through a lyric video. Its name is “Helios“.

The words narrate the apocalyptic impact of extravagant solar flares on Earth and its human inhabitants, whose fragility is exposed by the invasion of those ravishing solar spirits. But while the lyrics are harrowing, the music is, in a word, spectacular — the kind of experience that gets the heart pumping and the head spinning. Continue reading »

Apr 062021


Last September the eccentric Norwegian grindcore band Beaten To Death made a vinyl release of a new album named Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos (which Google translate renders as “Never mind, I’m moving to the woods”). In keeping with other enticing peculiarities about the band, they then made a digital release of the album — but divided its four segments into four EPs that emerged every other week during November and December.

Each of those four segments was ostensibly devoted to a different forest — the Dutch forest Mastbos, the Japanese forest 青木ヶ原 located northwest of Mount Fuji, the Norwegian forest Østmarka near Oslo, and the forest moon of Endor (of Star Wars fame). If it seems odd that a grindcore band would devote themselves to the beauties of woodland nature, it’s not entirely clear that they did, given the presence of such song titles as “Flatulence of Emotions”, “The Night Is Young and We’re All Out Of Nekro”, “Rectal Dark Ages”, “If Your Music Were A Blowjob It Wouldn’t Suck”, and the song that’s the subject of the video we’re premiering today — “Hallway To Hell“.

On the other hand, there are surprising moments of beauty in Beaten To Death‘s music, which is part of what makes their unusual approach to grind so enticing. Continue reading »

Apr 052021


The creative energies of Swiss artist Bornyhake Ormenos seem boundless, and so multifarious that each impulsive surge of them may give rise to some new project, which seems to be the case in the spawning of his solo project Nivatakavachas.

Undoubtedly, this new menace has been gestating for some unknown period of time, building up its stockpile of evil power, but it is now ready to be revealed through a debut album named Ascraedunum, set for release by Satanath Records and Azif Records tomorrow (April 6th). One day early, we have a full stream of it for you. Continue reading »

Apr 052021


(In this interview Comrade Aleks posed questions to Artem Serdyuk, harsh vocalist and guitarist of the Belarusian band Woe Unto Me, whose new EP, Spiral-Shaped Hopewreck, was released on March 12th by BadMoodMan Music, a division of Solitude Productions.)

Woe Unto Me remains a most creative Belarusian doom band still, despite the social catastrophe which has happened in their country. The band was formed in 2008, and as their debut album A Step into the Waters of Forgetfulness (2014) was without doubt sheer funeral doom of epic scale, the second full-length Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed (2017) tended toward more complex, multi-layered structures and even avant-garde sound.

Their new EP Spiral-Shaped Hopewreck takes us further in a desperate sonic journey of doom, woe, and lethargy, but how far? The band’s founder and ideologist Artem Serdyuk (harsh vocals, guitars) is here tonight to answer this and other questions. Continue reading »

Apr 042021


I explained yesterday that I’m on a weekend vacation. I also wrote that I wasn’t sure if I would prepare this usual Sunday column. Obviously, I have.

But because I’m really trying to make as much room as I can for rest and relaxation (which in my case is like making room for self-mutilation), I’ve limited myself to things I can quickly and impulsively react to — just a scattering of advance tracks and one stand-alone video. It was even easier for me to make these selections because all of them are by bands in whom I already had complete confidence.

I’ve also been listening to some albums this weekend that have also seized my attention. Depending on how the day goes, I might have a second installment devoted to those. Continue reading »

Apr 032021


I’m on a short vacation. First time away from the small community where I live in nine months. Along with a group of family and friends, we made the trip yesterday to an AirBnB on the water in a place called Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington, in the Puget Sound. The photo above was one of the sunset views last night from the deck of this rental.

I had originally decided not to do any blogging this weekend, but I was awake this morning so much earlier than anyone else in the house that I started listening to a few new songs, and here I am blogging again. It’s just three new songs, so that’s a compromise of sorts.

I’m not sure if I’ll write a SHADES OF BLACK column for tomorrow. We’ll be headed home on Monday morning. Continue reading »

Apr 022021


On the 4th day of April the German black metal band Phreneticum will release their debut album Der Stille Zerfall through the collaboration of Satanath Records and Onism Productions, but you won’t have to wait until then to be consumed by it, because we’re presenting a full stream of all the madness today.

From the band’s inception in 2015 the line-up has varied, but this new full-length is the work of only two performers — vocalist Leichenfresse and multi-instrumentalist Tino Fluch (from Abigorum, Trond, and Wulfgar). As a hint of what they’ve done together, the releasing labels recommend the album for fans of Sarkrista, Imperium Dekadenz, and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. But here are a few more hints about what you’ll be experiencing: Continue reading »