Islander

Oct 182021
 

 

The fire-breathing band photo of Demonic Temple featured above hearkens back to ancient black metal days, to the fiery expulsions of Quorthon, Frost, and Abbath. Apart from linking arms with the vanguard of black metal’s second wave, the photo also serves as a mission statement for the music of this Polish duo, as revealed through their forthcoming third album, Through the Stars into the Abyss.

The sensations of the album are incendiary, but they also set fire to the imagination, creating both blood-freezing and blood-heating visions that seem both subterranean and celestial. Put differently, the trip through the album is very much what the album title portends — a dazzling but terrifying excursion through the stars above into the abyss beyond.

You will get a very good sense of this by listening to the album’s title track, which we’re premiering today in the lead-up to its November 11 release by Putrid Cult and Dark Horizon. Continue reading »

Oct 172021
 


Hemelbestormer 2021 – photo by Istvan Bruggen

Greetings earthlings. It is reportedly the 42nd anniversary of the publication of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — not the 40th, not the 50th, but the only anniversary that matters, and you know why, don’t you?

Today we resume hitchhiking through the galaxy of black and blackened metal, with occasional detours. Please follow along, and don’t forget to bring your towel. (I may have a second installment of SHADES OF BLACK for you later today, but am not positive, and so I haven’t called this Part 1.)

HEMELBESTORMER (Belgium)

I must confess that the anniversary of Hitchhiker’s Guide may have had something to do with why I chose the first three songs in today’s collection, though this opening trio of tracks isn’t nearly as light-hearted as that book. Moreover, thoughts of traveling through the dangers of space also had something to do with why I decided to open with a long a track that’s much more post-metal than it is a spawn of the black arts. I also just think the song and video are so damned captivating that I didn’t want to delay putting them before you. Continue reading »

Oct 162021
 

 

I experienced NCS anxiety again this morning. That’s what comes from having 84 open tabs on my computer for new songs and videos, all of which I opened just since last Saturday. Not lying — 84 of them! To increase the anxiety level, I hadn’t listened to any of them until this morning.

Of course, I didn’t listen to 84 music streams, some of which are complete albums and EPs that were released over the last week, nor to all the other songs on the long list of candidates that I’d made over previous weeks. I did add all 84 to that pre-existing list, so I could stare at the band names and try to figure out what to spend time on. I stared… made choices… and from those choices here’s what I decided to share:

PHRENELITH (Denmark)

Nice to have these Danish death metal heavyweights back, with a jaw-dropping song named “Awakening Titans“. That’s what the music sounds like too, mystical and ringing at first, and then furiously slaughtering, packed with electrifying drumwork, unhinged, venomous riffing, jolting grooves, gargantuan growls, and maddened howls. Continue reading »

Oct 152021
 

 

I grew up in central Texas in a household of three generations that included an old-time folk fiddler and a square-dance pianist. Sometimes other musicians would drop in for rehearsals or impromptu performances for friends and family. I’d sprawl on the floor with my brother, mesmerized by the sometimes fiery sometimes forlorn bluegrass and mountain music they made.

This was long before black metal (or really any kind of extreme metal) existed. I mention it because it may help explain how thoroughly my mind was blown when I first heard Primeval Well‘s self-titled debut album two years ago, though that was probably evident from the run-away words that spilled out of me at the time:

Primeval Well make you understand what black metal would have sounded like if it had originated along the Mason-Dixon line in America or in the Appalachian mountains, instead of Norway. It swirls and spins, it dances and cavorts, it soars to grandiose heights of sheer ebullience, it takes us under sodden wisteria beneath crescent moons. It unleashes hellfire and black magic, lunacy and seizures, the savage delight found by lean, hard-living people who were given nothing by anyone and found their own pleasures in the devil’s dream, and the woozy somnambulance brought about by corn liquor from the still.”

All this comes back to me because I’ve had my mind blown again, this time by Primeval Well‘s second album, Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, which is set for release on October 20th by Moonlight Cypress Archetypes, and which you will now have a chance to hear for yourselves. Continue reading »

Oct 152021
 

 

The German black metal band Dauþuz, whose musical tales have largely focused on mining in the Old World, have readied an hour-long fourth album for release by Amor Fati Productions on November 12th. The name of this new one is Vom schwarzen Schmied (“Of the Blacksmith” in English). All-consuming darkness and lyrical despair, which ultimately leads to fatal realization, characterize this fourth full-length from Dauþuz. And yet the music is very much a fantastic and even mythical experience.

Take for example, the song we’re premiering today. “Zauberwerk / Bergschmied IV” is a grand blaze of sound, all-consuming in its heart-pounding power and dazzling melodic extravagance. Continue reading »

Oct 152021
 

 

The video we’re presenting today includes stunning scenes of sunrise and of cold flowing waters, of haunted souls, the descent of winter, and of graveside grief. The words tell of emotional wounds that won’t heal and of the approach of a time to die.

Like the video, the music brilliantly soars like the sun, and ebbs and flows like tidal waters. It has the majesty of nature in its vast ringing sounds, and the gloom of hopelessness and death in its gripping melodies. Its stately rhythms are viscerally compulsive, its heaviness is crushing, and its feelings of resignation and despair are heart-shaking. It casts a spell that penetrates deeply, and the spell survives the end of the song.

The name of that song is “Fractured“, and it comes from the third album by the Spanish band In Loving Memory. Entitled The Withering, it will be released on January 14, 2022, by the Funere label. Continue reading »

Oct 142021
 

 

“The Lights of Zetar” was the 18th episode in the third season of Star Trek, originally broadcast in January 1969. It clearly made an impact on R.G., the central Texas musician who chose Zetar as the name of the metal project he created in 2019, choosing to carry forward (as he has written) “the name of a planet of telepaths who’d transcended into a roaming mass of pure psychic energy to curtail their own meteoric extinction”.

Sci-fi inspirations have also carried forward into the band’s striking debut album, Devouring Darkness, for which R.G. enlisted the aid of French vocalist T.P. and Ecuadoran drummer David Lanas to help realize his vision for Zetar. And it is indeed an arresting vision, both thematically and in the unusual and unpredictable amalgam of influences which make their way into the music, including ’90s death metal, synth-laden and thrashing black metal, and classic science fiction scores.

Today we invite you to experience those visions of horror and wonder through our complete premiere stream of Devouring Darkness in advance of its October 15 release by Spirit Coffin Publishing. Continue reading »

Oct 142021
 

 

Today we have a translated conversation between two Russians, one of them our ally Comrade Aleks and the other a member of the impressive sludge/doom band Ил (IL), and a very extensive and interesting discussion it is.)

 

Okay, it’s time to learn one more word in Russian and it’s IL. Il / Ил translates as “slit”, and as you can guess that fits right for a sludge band… But you know this band started back in their early days as a drone doom band, then they turned onto a hazy stoned doom path, and now ∫ performs an amalgam of hard-boiled doom metal with a tight delivery, a sludgy vibe, and authentic (!!!) pagan atmosphere.

Their fifth album Heresy / Ересь was published in December 2020, and sometimes you need time to sort things out and find how beautiful the world is around you! Il was always here, but I guess it was the video for the title song from Heresy that opened my eyes. This album is one level higher than its predecessor, Nechist / Нечисть / Evil Spirits (2017), but at the same time it’s a logical development of the grim images that Il channeled through Heresy’s forerunner.

I welcome you to research Russian sonic-chthonic ritualistic life together with Vlad Stepanenko, who has performed vocals and guitars in the band since 2013. If you ask me (and if you don’t) Il seems to be one of the three most solid and impressive Russian doom bands nowadays. Continue reading »

Oct 132021
 

 

Before listening to a note, I loved the idea of Crystal Coffin‘s new album, The Starway Eternal. So let’s begin with that idea, which also helps explain the cover art and the adventurous sensations afforded by the music. As presented in the press materials:

“Cast against the historical realities of the Chernobyl power plant meltdown of 1986, the assumed protagonist – an operator at the power plant – discovers the portalway behind an inoperable console and soon finds that her longing for meaning in this chaotic world answers the opportunity to seek out the purported gods and angels that live among the cosmos in our known solar system.

“To find such entities would be to imbue a sense of importance in our collective existence beyond the daily disorder and existential despair that one accepts. Her trips into various corners of space reveal little to no such beings, and during one such fruitless endeavor, her portalway back to earth is shut permanently; reactor 4 at Chernobyl back on earth has suffered its meltdown during shutdown operation.

“Frantic, she makes the decision to return to earth by falling through the fiery atmosphere as a lonely, final and futile act of desperation. Of course, survival is impossible, and such an act becomes a metaphor for our time, wandering the earth with little connection to anything beyond the physical world”. Continue reading »

Oct 132021
 

 

(Comrade Aleks connected with Pim Blankenstein to discuss his band Extreme Cold Winter and the impending release of their debut album World Exit by Hammerheart Records, plus the latest news concerning his main band Officium Triste, the Dutch Doom Days festival, and a lot more.)

I learned about Extreme Cold Winter from Pim Blankenstein some years ago, I think. We’ve done interviews with Pim on a regular basis; it’s almost routine, as it seems that I’m the biggest fan of his main band Officium Triste here in Russia. And in some of these interviews he told about Extreme Cold Winter, the promising doom-death band he takes part in alongside A.J. van Drenth (guitars, bass) and Seth van de Loo (drums).

A.J. played in one of the first Dutch doom-death bands, Beyond Belief, he took part in Asphyx, and now he does deafening deathly noise with Beast of Revelation. Seth played with ten bands or so, and most of the time it was death metal. He even sang in Deicide during their tour in 2007. You see? Serious stuff.

But long story short: the trio proclaimed the start of Extreme Cold Winter in 2009, recorded the EP Paradise Ends Here in 2015, and… and… and I did check from time to time to see if there was some news on their side and didn’t find any. So I was surprised to see in my main box a promo pack with their debut full-length album World Exit some weeks ago. There was no chance to avoid it, so we get in touch with Pim and pretty swiftly this interview was organized. Continue reading »