Sep 122021
 

 

Due to me frittering away my time with lazy and inconsequential pursuits, Part 2 of this weekend roundup of new songs and videos is like Part 1 — generally bereft of artwork, the usual links, and my own descriptive commentary. Nonetheless, it does reflect the exercise of my own (possibly addled) judgment about what is worth your time, plus a desire to provide variety.

As explained in Part 1, I alphabetized 16 choices by band name before dividing them into two segments. Here we pick up with “M” and make it to “W”.

MASTODON (U.S.)

I’m getting memories of Crack the Skye from this new Mastodon song, which is a very good thing (at least it is to me). The well-made video is mysterious, and ultimately disturbing. The new album is Hushed and Grim, due for release on October 29th by Reprise Records. Continue reading »

Sep 122021
 

 

Yesterday a combination of factors prevented me from posting the usual Saturday round-up of new songs and videos that appeared during the week. I did spend a big block of time surveying the field and making selections, but by the time I finished doing that it was mid-day and I decided to fuck off instead of beginning to write.

It has become clear to me that I can’t do the usual writing today either, if I’m to have any hope of preparing a SHADES OF BLACK post today. So I’m resorting to the format of just throwing all this stuff at you without artwork, or most of the usual links, or my usual commentary, just a few scattered notes.

But trust me, I did exercise some judgment about what I thought was worth sharing. It’s just that I thought A LOT was worth sharing — 16 songs and videos, to be precise. I alphabetized the collection by band name and then divided it into two parts.

ANOMALIE (Austria)

This is a very welcome return after a four-year hiatus between albums. The new full-length features Nornagest of Belgium’s Enthroned on harsh vocals. The new album, Tranceformation, is coming on November 5th from AOP Records. Continue reading »

Sep 082021
 

(Andy Synn presents another fully justified exception to our usual rules in the form of the exceptional new album from Pittsburgh’s Chrome Waves)

It is always fascinating, often a little bit thrilling, and even occasionally slightly fulfilling, to watch a band achieving its true/final form.

This is not, in any way, an attempt to downplay the quality or value of said band’s previous work – which, in this case, includes an extremely solid debut in A Grief Observed and an even better (and emotionally deeper) second album in last year’s Where We Live, along with a couple of shorter, but equally intriguing, releases along the way – but an acknowledgement that growth, be it physical, emotional, or musical is an ongoing process whose end point we don’t always know in advance.

Case in point, even the most casual listener, on their first run through The Rain Will Cleanse, the third album in as many years from prolific “Post-Black Metal” group Chrome Waves, will quickly realise that the band have pretty much abandoned… or, perhaps it’s better to say, grown out of… their more blackened influences (the only real remnant being the scattered shrieks strewn here and there throughout cathartic closer “Aspiring Death”) in favour of a sound that favours the more emotive and expansive, Post-Rock, Post-Punk, and Shoegaze-inspired side of their identity.

It’s still recognisably the same band, yes, but is also just as clearly the next step, the next necessary step, in their ongoing evolution.

Call it the beginning of their post “Post-Black Metal” phase.

Continue reading »

Aug 222021
 

 

I’m going to dispense with an introduction to today’s column, other than to say that what I’ve chosen is going to give you a strange trip from beginning to end.

LIGHT OF THE MORNING STAR (UK)

I was quite taken by both of this band’s first two releases, a 2016 EP named Cemetery Glow, and a 2017 debut full-length named Nocta, both of which were released by Iron Bonehead. Now there’s another album headed our way, via the band’s new label Debemur Morti Productions. DMP describes the new one in these words:

“Potently blending cinematic Deathrock, ghoulish Doom, heavy Post-Punk and atmospheric Black Metal, Charnel Noir is a hook-ridden exploration of the necromantic Undead which captures the restraint, tension and dark romanticism present in the great canonical Gothic works”. Continue reading »

Aug 172021
 

(Speech Act are a new-ish band from North Carolina, and Andy Synn has fallen pretty hard for their debut album, which was released just last week, despite the fact  that it contravenes our usual rules)

While all of us here at NCS share an abiding love for Metal, there’s definitely certain niches which we each seem to “specialise” in a little more than others.

Islander, of course, tends to stick more to round-ups than reviews, but – either way – if you see something you’ve never heard of, from a band who’ve either only existed for a hot minute or who’ve purposefully hidden themselves away in the shadows for the last several decades, then chances are they’ll be something he’s found and chosen to feature.

DGR, on the other hand, is our go-to guy for Grind, but also often swings the other way (as it were) by providing expert coverage of many of the big (or, at least, big-ish) and/or up-and-coming names from across the scene, and has proven himself a great pinch-hitter in those moments where the rest of us have dropped the ball on something we really should have written something about.

And, of course, then there’s our various (ir)regular contributors (some of whom are very irregular indeed), who each have their own special subjects which they like to focus on.

As for me? Well, while I cover just as much Death Metal and Black Metal (and its many permutations) as the next guy, chances are if you see something here that’s of the proggy or “Post-” variety, or that’s from the Hardcore end of the spectrum, or anything that features a lot of, gasp, clean singing, then it’s probably one of mine… like the album we’re about to discuss.

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 232021
 

 

Although the command in our site’s name has always been subject to exceptions, it’s nevertheless true that those exceptions are rare and must be well-earned. The singing in the song that’s the subject of a stunning video we’re premiering today is one of those well-earned departures from our usual nastiness — though it’s joined with throat-slitting vocal viciousness.

The song in question is “Moon and Sun“, a thoroughly gripping track from the third (and most recent) album by the band Arsenic Addiction from Salt Lake City, Utah, the title of which is XIX. As you’ll discover, if you’re not already familiar with the song, it’s a multi-faceted affair that brings into play ingredients of gothic metal, melodic death metal, and symphonic metal (among others). It’s heavy and hard-hitting but also completely enthralling, and it’s disturbing as well as beautiful. Continue reading »

Jul 192021
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by San Francisco-based King Woman, which will be released on July 30 by Relapse Records.)

Unlike the interviews of the average metal band Kristina Esfandiari does not say this album is going in a much heavier direction than our first one, she just does it. The band’s first full-length, Created in the Image of Suffering, was heavy only by the sheer magnitude of melancholy churned from the sludgey blues it summoned. This new album, Celestial Blues, not only bears a greater emotional weight but carries a more metallic malice.

Sure many of the riffs are depressing at times, which I of course love since darkness and sonic heaviness are what I seek out in music. They lure you in with the introspective title track, teasing a few punchy dynamics. Then slowly the aggression begins to leak from the cracks of the songs. Continue reading »

Jun 242021
 

 

(Our old friend Professor D. Grover the XIIIth returns to NCS with this review of the new album by Thy Catafalque, which will be out tomorrow on Season of Mist. A full stream of the album follows the review.)

Greetings and salutations, friends. Once again, the impending release of something truly special rouses me from my nocturnal haze and guides me to my keyboard, compelling me to write. Yes, as the title of the article likely gives away, there is a new Thy Catafalque album ready to enter the public eye, and so I take upon myself the honor of reviewing it. Vadak is the tenth Thy Catafalque album, compilations and the Zápor EP notwithstanding, and as is fitting for such a significant number, it’s a truly noteworthy album in a discography full of noteworthy albums.

By this point in time, my devotion to the work of Tamás Kátai is a well-worn, well-documented history, but for the uninitiated, Thy Catafalque is primarily the work of one man, typically with a number of guests. Kátai is a Hungarian multi-instrumentalist and the driving force behind this project, and (as I will further explain in the paragraphs to come) is something of a musical genius. In the 23 years that Kátai has been recording under this moniker, the band’s style has evolved almost constantly from a relatively experimental black metal project to something that is, frankly, impossible to define. In the lead-up to this review, I did a chronological listen to the entire Thy Catafalque discography, front to back (including the first three albums, which are the most black metal releases and my least favorite simply because they’re the harshest and least listenable), and that endeavor served to further bolster the knowledge that Kátai’s musical fingerprints have been all over this project since the beginning. Continue reading »

May 272021
 

 

This is a rare weekday at NCS. For the first time in maybe years, we have no premiere on our schedule. And none of my comrades has sent in a review or interview. And despite knowing that our calendar would be a big blank space today, I didn’t get my ass in gear to do anything in advance either.

So here I am, having wandered around exploring new music for a couple hours this morning but having written nothing. To avoid further delay in pitching something up onto the site, I decided to make a brief start with two new songs that seemed to fit together well (fans of doom will be attracted to them). As the day wears on, I’ll add one or two more Parts to this round-up as time permits.

THUMOS

Thumos is a mystery. Metal-Archives identifies the location as the United States, but the members are anonymous. On the other hand, it seems that Thumos is some kind of successor to a project named Mono No Aware, and M-A identifies that project as the creation of a Spaniard. So there, I’ve saved you a little time trying to ferret out background info about Thumos. With that, let’s consider “Epithumetikon“, the first song revealed from a Thumos album named The End of Words. Continue reading »