Aug 242022
 

 

Maybe you noticed that I posted no round-ups last weekend, neither the usual Saturday SEEN AND HEARD nor the usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK. An annual two-day event connected to my day job proved to be too disruptive, even though it was a shitload of fun. So, the grab-bag of new music has swollen, continuing to fill since the weekend. I kind of blindly stabbed into the bag this morning until my hands filled up, and here’s what I chose from those handfuls.

I imagine these selections will cause people to feel like they’ve been blindfolded, spun around a dozen times, and then let loose to stumble about and run into hard objects at every turn. It’s a fun thing to think about.

BOTCH (U.S.)

Okay, I fibbed a little. It wasn’t blind groping that led me to this first song and video but a surprising press release and a torrent of “Holy Shit!” from assorted friends online. About what you’d expect when you get the first new song in 20 years from an influential and much-beloved band like Botch (especially beloved up here in the U.S. Pacific Northwest where they originated). Continue reading »

Aug 182022
 

The last 24 hours brought forth a deluge of new songs and videos, from names both prominent and obscure. It completely messed up my plan to use today’s column as a way of continuing to catch up with new stuff that emerged over the last week. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to that, but everything in the following collection is hot off the presses.

AUTOPSY (U.S.)

Prepare for a heaving and stomping death/doom horror of massive proportions that screams, roars, and leaves pain and madness in its wake… and also convulses in outbursts of mindless marauding savagery, all of it accompanied by a suitably chilling video. So deep into their career, Autopsy still know how to make even long-lived metalheads sit up and take notice. Continue reading »

Aug 172022
 

We had another rare day today when there were no premieres on the calendars. Because I write almost all of those, this gave me some extra time to use in compiling another roundup of new songs and videos. But then my fucking day job unexpectedly reared its head like a hungry serpent, and greedily consumed almost all that extra time. So, this roundup wil be short, but hopefully you’ll find it sweet.

BLACK LAVA (Australia)

I always get a thrill when I see a new cover painting by Paolo Girardi. One of these days I’ll then discover that some album adorned by his artwork turns out not to be worth recommending. Maybe that has already happened at some point in the past, but if so I’ve forgotten it. It didn’t happen today.

What I saw today, and what you now see, is Paolo‘s cover painting for a debut album named Soul Furnace by Melbourne-based Black Lava. Lots of molten vulcanism in that verbiage, and the just-released title track provides some justification. Continue reading »

Aug 132022
 

 

This makes three days in a row where I found enough time to compile a roundup of new music and videos. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but it was surely long ago. And not only was I able to do this three days in a row, but time also allowed me to pack an extravagant amount of music into this third compilation.

I also think it’s fair to say that what I picked ranges far and wide — and I’m not just talking about the bands’ global locations. I suppose it’s possible there’s someone out there who won’t find one damn thing to like among these seven songs, but I’d be surprised if that were true.

LIGHTLORN (Sweden)

I don’t usually lead off these collections with an unknown band’s very first published song, but this one dropped my jaw. I became so enthusiastic about such a welcome surprise that I would have been ashamed at myself if I hadn’t put it in the starting position. Continue reading »

Aug 122022
 

 

Yesterday I took the first step in a journey of a thousand miles — an only slightly exaggerated metaphor for the task of wading through all the recent songs and videos that might yield selections for these roundups. Today, as you can see, I managed to take a second step. By rough count that leaves about 2.5 million additional steps.

I’m beginning with artwork, unaccompanied by music (the column is called “SEEN and Heard”), but then moving into some new sounds and videos (and more cool cover art).

MOTHER OF GRAVES (U.S.)

This Indiana death/doom band released their debut EP in January of last year, and Todd Manning gave it a very good review for us. He concluded by hoping that a full-length would be close at hand. The hope is now fulfilled, because Wise Blood Records will be releasing the band’s debut album Where the Shadows Adorn on October 14th. And for that album the maestro Paolo Girardi created the stunning cover art you see above.

But what you see above is only half of the full painting. Here’s the complete work: Continue reading »

Aug 112022
 

 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That well-known saying attributed to the Chinese sage Laozi (but sometimes erroneously attributed to Confucious) came to mind today as I gazed bleakly at the massive backlog of new songs and videos that would provide the source material for this roundup. Getting through it feels like a journey of a thousand miles, but that old adage encouraged me to make this first step. Will I be able to make another one tomorrow, or instead trip and fall on my face? Time will tell….

BLOODBATH (Sweden)

I know Bloodbath need no help from our fetid little corner of the interhole, but I’m beginning with a lyric video for their grisly new song “Carved” anyway. It’s just too damned much hellish fun to ignore, and Luc Lemay makes a guest appearance on it too. Continue reading »

Aug 052022
 

Today we’ve already presented a pair of raunchy reviews, the premiere of some dismal and nightmarish black metal, and another evocative installment of a Fire in the Mountains festival report. But even with all that, I thought I’d still try to squeeze in a roundup of new songs and videos, just to somewhat lighten the load on me for the usual Saturday roundup. It will still be a crushing load, but maybe getting the following five items out there mow will leave a few vertebrae intact tomorrow.

BLACK ANVIL (U.S.)

Let’s begin with something bracing, something that’s both chilling and muscular, a song that creates tension and tightens it, becomes scathing and sweeping in its portrayal of despair, stampedes in a fury, and raises its voice in proclamations of hellish reverence. Continue reading »

Aug 042022
 

Regular visitors to our site are aware that roughly once a week we compile round-ups of new songs and videos that have seized our attention. The round-up you’re staring at now, however, is different from the usual ones.

In this instance we’re putting the spotlight on four recent or forthcoming releases from a single label — Redefining Darkness Records. And there’s another difference, because in some instances what you’ll be discovering are premiere streams of the music.

HERUVIM: SHADOWHEART EP

The first release we’re spotlighting has goals that go beyond giving you something (very good) to listen too. It’s the debut EP by a death metal band from Odesa, Ukraine, named Heruvim, and all proceeds from digital sales are dedicated to the support of the Ukrainian army in their fight against the Russian aggressors. Continue reading »

Jul 302022
 

 

A couple of updates for you weekend visitors: First, I’ve had to rush today’s roundup, thanks to a late start on the day and way too many new songs and videos to go through in order to make these choices. Due to the rushing, I had to leave lots of good stuff on “the cutting room floor”, despite how many choices I made.

Except in the context of deadly sins and circles of Hell (the violent and bestial one), 7 is a lucky number, so I initially decided to stop there. But I couldn’t help myself, and so pushed it to 10 instead, presented alphabetically by band name.

Second, I’m going to a big party in Seattle tonight. It was originally scheduled to happen in January, but last winter’s covid surge fucked those plans. It will be very late before I get back to the NCS island headquarters, and there’s at least a 50/50 chance I’ll wake up on Sunday with a hangover, and a 100% chance that most of the morning will be gone by the time I open my red eyes. Which means we may not have a Shades of Black column tomorrow. Continue reading »

Jul 232022
 

 

Would one four-song roundup yesterday have been satisfactory? Were two of them too many? Is it overkill to add music from four more bands today, for an even dozen of them? I hear your answers to those questions, all those deafening howls of “NO!!! WE WANT MORE!!!””

So, on we go….

DEATH BREATH (Sweden/U.S.)

It took me almost a week to catch up to Death Breath‘s two-track EP, The Old Hag, but once I did I haven’t been able to get enough of it. It does its dirty work in just a bit more than 7 minutes, which makes it really fucking easy to keep going back to it whenever I need a musical riot to rocket me out of the doldrums and make me feel like fighting the bastard world. Continue reading »