Dec 052021
 

 

Those of you who stopped by today expecting a SHADES OF BLACK column may be disappointed. For the second Sunday in a row, unforeseen but self-inflicted mishaps prevented me from getting it done. Like last week, my plan (I should say my hope) is to complete it in time for posting tomorrow.

Unlike last Sunday, however, I’m not going to leave a gaping hole in the site today. To avoid that I’ve prepared this very small round-up of new songs and videos, chosen in part to keep you off-balance. The first selection will put a big jolt into your cranium and nerve endings. The second one will help you calm down, and might even put you under a spell.

[4672] (Poland)

Here’s the part of this short post that will stab a high-powered voltage generator into your neck. The video is a mind-exploder too.

Both the video and the song just premiered today. The track, “[cluster_B]“, includes vocals by Łukasz Myszkowski from Antigama and Dante, and it’s destined to appear on [4672]’s upcoming sixth album, [paradigm_blindness], which is projected for release in late 2022, assuming the world lasts that long. Continue reading »

Dec 042021
 

 

I’m going to dispense with an elaborate introduction to this Saturday’s round-up of new and newly discovered songs and videos. I’ll say only that it includes one complete album, one complete EP, and an assortment of tracks from forthcoming releases — and that the music bounces around quite a it, so don’t think you’ll be allowed to lock in to any one stylistic groove.

COFFIN DUST (U.S.)

Five years is a long time between releases, but save for a very short 2019 split, that’s how long it’s been since we’ve had something new from this enormously impressive Philadelphia band. But the ticking clock got re-set yesterday when Coffin Dust released a new album (their third), the name of which is Nightmare Vision. Continue reading »

Nov 272021
 


Nechochwen

 

Very early this morning I spent time listening to new music in order to select what I would want to recommend to you, and made the following selections. But then I unexpectedly had to spend a couple of hours on the job that pays me (advising world leaders on how to deal with problems that confound their feeble minds), and that left me with almost no time to provide my own (unnecessary) impressions of the music. So it will have to speak for itself, which is no problem because it speaks so fluently.

This is an idiosyncratic set of song choices, with very little to connect them to each other other than my attraction to them. But I think it will be a very interesting, albeit unpredictable, journey if you stick with everything through to the end.

NECHOCHWEN (U.S.)

After nearly 8 years since the release of the fabulous Heart of Akamon, West Virginia’s beloved Nechochwen have returned, unveiling the title track from their impending new album, Kanawha Black. Kanawha Black will be released worldwide by Bindrune Recordings in Spring/Summer of 2022. Continue reading »

Nov 252021
 

 

On November 21, 2009, I made the first post at this blog. On the 21st day of every November since then, I’ve made a post celebrating our birthday — except this year, when I completely forgot to do it. No one else who writes here or visits here seems to have remembered either, or maybe they remembered and were just quietly laughing at my brain fart. This year November 21 was a Sunday, and my spouse and I had house guests at the time, so I offer that as an excuse.

But this year the lapse isn’t as bad as it could have been, because by happenstance I remembered our anniversary today, which is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., and that works out well because giving thanks is ultimately what these annual birthday posts are really all about. Continue reading »

Nov 202021
 


Dormant Ordeal

 

I didn’t completely neglect NCS during the 10 recent days when I was in Iceland. I did write some premieres, though not as many as usual, and I did regale readers with tales of my Ascension Fest adventures. What I did not do was pore through the several hundred emails that hit the NCS in-box every day, looking for new music that might be worth writing about, or searching for new tracks and videos through other usual sources.

And I spent almost no time actually listening to anything other than the sounds that bombarded me at the fest for four days and nights, not for lack of interest but because I forgot how little sitting-in-my-room-time-with-nothing-to-do I actually have at festivals, especially when every other day I had to make time for a covid test.

So here I am at the end of the first (partial) week following the return home from the land of fire and ice. The thought of trying to completely catch up with all the new songs and videos that surfaced since my vacation began two weeks ago is a ridiculous one, especially because a sister-in-law and brother-in-law are house-guests this weekend. I did a little trolling through the waters yesterday, and had saved a few links from before I left, and from that I still had too much to listen to this morning. I did the mental equivalent of throwing darts, and this is where they landed: Continue reading »

Nov 072021
 

 

Normally this would be the time for a new SHADES OF BLACK collection, but instead I’m alerting you to the likelihood of a 10-day diminution of NCS content beginning today, because today I’m leaving for Iceland and won’t be back home for 10 days. The main purpose of the trip will be to attend Ascension Festival MMXXI, and to get reacquainted with the country’s many other attractions (this will be my third trip overall).

I don’t know if I will make posts about the festival. I’m going to try to just enjoy it, but I don’t think I’ve attended any metal music event in the last decade when I haven’t inserted some words and photos about the experiences at NCS. We’ll see.

I did agree to continue writing premieres during the weekdays while I’m gone, but not as many as usual. I also have a big backlog of interviews sitting in draft, and I’ll probably do what I usually do to get those ready for publication (or at least some of them). I think one or two of my NCS comrades will make a few posts while I’m gone as well. Still, if you’re a frequent visitor you’ll probably notice a change. (more after the jump) Continue reading »

Nov 062021
 

 

Given the usual massive flood of new music this past week, I was hell-bent on getting at least one round-up completed before the weekend — but I failed. I had this lined up for Friday, with all the picks made, but ran out of time before I could finish it.

About these picks: When I made the selection on Friday morning it didn’t turn out at all like I thought it would. I had been building a mental list during the week just based on the band names I added to my monstrous list, most of them at least fairly well-known, but not one of those names is included here.

What happened was that as I started listening, this group just fell into place before I ever got to the names that had affixed themselves to my mental plan. These fell into place because they are all intense assaults on the senses and the emotions, albeit in different ways, until you reach the final track, which helped me partially recover from all the music that preceded it — but that last song still haunts me. Continue reading »

Oct 302021
 

I know I sound like a broken record, but this past week was a crazy one on all fronts for me, and so I did a piss-poor job keeping up with new metal, largely neglecting the NCS in-box and failing to make the usual list of candidates for round-ups. I did make that list this morning, but it took a ton of time, and I didn’t have much room left to dig very deep into it.

However, I dug deep enough to feel some inspiration about what to include in this compilation. I chose music from two Seattle bands that I happened to see in early live performance by both of them at the same show more than four years ago. I picked two more songs that came with Halloween-themed videos, because of course Halloween is tomorrow. And I chose a curveball to throw at the end.

I had a difficult time figuring out what to use as the opening song for the collection, but eventually settled on the one you’re about to witness, in part because of the video’s setting.

BESNA (Slovakia)

I guess Besna couldn’t find a barren warehouse for their live video for “Fúga“, so they had to make do with the ramparts of an ancient castle called Strečno in northern Slovakia, perched atop a 103-metre-high calcite cliff (it was also the location of a World War II battle between the German army and the Czechoslovak resistance). Continue reading »

Oct 232021
 

 

We’re on “bomb cyclone” watch here in the Puget Sound area of Washington. High winds and lots of rain are expected through the weekend, though official forecasters aren’t positive how intense it’s going to be. The power at our house is likely to go out, but I’m mainly wondering about why no metal band has yet picked Bomb Cyclone as a name (a search for it on Metal Archives yields zero results).

Now that I’ve updated you on freaky local weather conditions, let’s get to the music. Today I mostly focused on bands I consider old favorites, but explored a couple of new names (at least new to me) as well, and I’m throwing a curveball at the end.

MAZE OF TERROR (Peru)

I’ve wished for a long time that the day will come when I can catch Maze of Terror in a live show. I’m not holding my breath, because they’re in Lima, Peru, and I’m 4,969 miles away from there, as the crow flies. But we can dream, can’t we? Now my dreams are even more ardent, having seen their new video for the song “Starbeast” off their latest album. Continue reading »

Oct 212021
 

 

I wrote yesterday that there would be a Part 2 of this mid-week roundup. I wrote that to keep pressure on myself to follow through. Self-pressure doesn’t always work, but it did this time.

Just like the music in yesterday’s installment was geared to keep you on your toes as you move through it, or set you back on your heels, I think this collection will do the same. It consists of three EPs and then a couple of songs from a forthcoming album.

BLATTARIA (U.S.)

This makes the third time I’ve raved about this solo project of Oklahoma City musician Manuel Garcia, having done so in considering both the 2019 album Life Is A Disease and the self-titled 2017 debut. What makes it even easier to continue raving in the case of Blattaria’s new EP They Seek Power is the realization that Blattaria just keeps moving from strength to greater strength. Continue reading »