Jul 162020


If you scan across the discography of the Belgian band Thurisaz, it becomes apparent that they do not hurry their work. Yet the time between their last album, 2015’s The Pulse of Mourning, and their forthcoming fifth album, Re-Incentive, has been significant. Those five years were difficult ones for the band, a time during which a dear friend was coping with severe depression and in which a member of the band and another close friend were experiencing their own emotional turmoils.

These experiences fed into the group’s decision to make this newest record “a concept-like album covering the darkness one feels when dealing with the feelings of depression and heartbreak”. And then, to get it right, they spent significant time writing and re-writing.

But now, at last, Re-Incentive is complete and ready for release on September 1st. The melodically rich music, which braids together elements of doom, death metal, and black metal (among others), does unmistakably sound like a very personal record, one that embodies and conveys heart-felt emotion, and the song we’re presenting today through a lyric video — “The Veil” — is a prime example of its compelling power. Continue reading »

Jul 162020


The nightside musical arts of Ars Magna Umbrae leave the mundane world far behind, inspired by interests and ambitions that seek to explore other worlds beyond the sight of banal souls who creep across the earth in their daily trudges. Not for naught does I, Voidhanger Records describe the band’s new album, Apotheosis, as “an occult black metal journey across the shores of plutonian nights, through starless aeons and oneiric fields, to later plunge them into the depths of boundless devotion and joyous madness”.

The label also describes the album’s music as “a fusion of dream and reality”, and the music is indeed the stuff of waking dreams. It inspires the imagination, spawning visions that are simultaneously wondrous and deeply disturbing. “Immersive” may be a trite descriptive phrase, but it’s nonetheless entirely accurate in describing the effect of Apotheosis. Immersed within its sensorium, your mind may take you to unforeseen places, without any conscious direction.

It’s likely that no two people will experience the same visions, or find themselves in the same mental and emotional states. What follows, therefore, is only what this writer imagined in listening to the song we’re premiering today, “Of Divine Divergence“. Continue reading »

Jul 152020


Death Nova Upon the Barren Harvest is an evocative title. The words alone suggest a desolate experience fraught with menace and morbidity, and a portrayal of crushing despair beneath the incandescence of the sweeping scythe that eventually cuts us all down. The words alone provide an inkling of what the music might bring, but the sounds prove to be even more terrifying and soul-crushing, and they also give vivid meaning to the idea of a “death nova”.

That title is the name chosen by the German death-dealers Nekus for their debut EP. Although it’s this band’s first recorded work, it’s no surprise that Blood Harvest Records seized upon it and is giving it a lavish release that includes a full panoply of physical editions — CD, cassette tape, and vinyl. The CD and cassette versions are set for release on July 17th, while the vinyl is set for August 28th. Now you’ll learn for yourselves why the label is backing this so hard. Continue reading »

Jul 142020


One thing leads to another, even when you don’t see the progression of cause and effect, sometimes with disastrous results, sometimes with happy ones. This is a tale of the latter kind.

In December of last year I happened upon a video I couldn’t turn away from despite its adverse effects on my appetite, in part because I wanted to see where it was going and in part because the song — “The Flayed Man” — was such a death/thrashing powerhouse. That was my introduction to the band Liberatia from Vancouver Island, but it wasn’t my last encounter with them.

In May of this year I latched onto another Liberatia video, quite different from the first one, for a song called “Adaptive Biology“, and wrote about that one too.

And then we were invited to premiere the entire EP that includes those two songs as well as two others — an invitation we greedily accepted. And so now we present the entirety of Where the Wretched Lie Slain in advance of its release on July 17th. But first, a bit of background for newcomers… Continue reading »

Jul 142020


Let’s cut right to the chase and then come back and fill in some important details.

Today we’re premiering “Divination – Marked By the Unknown“, a tremendously good and abundantly multi-faceted song off the new album by the fascinating Italian death metal band Valgrind. Its introductory phase is mysterious and mesmerizing, with ringing notes rippling across a shimmer of wondrous ambient sounds. That lasts almost long enough to cast a spell — but its entrancing effects are abruptly cut short by a Vesuvius-like eruption. Continue reading »

Jul 132020


Steel yourselves for a ghoulishly deviant and decadent experience, an excursion into sepulchral realms of esoteric black metal and doom that draws upon the likes of Beherit and Demoncy for its soul-defiling inspirations.

The album in question is Thaumaturgical Rites of the Damned by the Norwegian project Deadlight Sanctuary, which is the solo work of G., a member of the black/death band Goatkraft. The album will be released on July 24th by the unholy alliance of Sentient Ruin Laboratories (U.S.) and Iron Bonehead Productions (E.U.), and it’s the source of the song we’re premiering today — “Trance of Doom“. Continue reading »

Jul 132020


Two years on from their Inferno Deathpassion debut album, New Jersey’s Siege Column are back with a new full-length, appropriately named Darkside Legions. Stripped of pretense and with an obvious abhorrence of gimmickry, sanitized production, and just about any other sign of modern calculation, the album is vicious, visceral, and evil to the core. It’s like some ancient bestial monstrosity that’s been excavated from its rotten tomb and jump-started back to life with a phalanx of truck batteries. Its hellish energy is likely to have the same effect on your own pulse rate.

Darkside Legions is the name of the new album, and it has a release date of August 15th via Nuclear War Now! Productions. What we have for you today is the premiere of the album’s title track, which provides a very good representation of what the new album holds in store. Continue reading »

Jul 132020


The white-robed figures in the video move in unnerving spasms through mist lit by a midnight sun, observed and beckoned by a crowned king of death. The figures flail, spin, and wander aimlessly as the skull-faced lord placidly observes their derangement.

Meanwhile, the members of Majestic Downfall perform a crushing soundtrack steeped in hopelessness and misery, a doomed embroidery of skull-cleaving percussive blows, moaning melodies, and tormented growls. Continue reading »

Jul 102020


We’ve been following the impressive progress of the Swedish black metal band Ov Shadows since its formation in 2016 by former members of Waning, one of whom is also a member of Obitus (a band who’ve also received significant attention at our site over the years). Since that inception Ov Shadows have released a debut EP (Monologues) and a first album (The Darkness Between Stars), both of which demonstrated multi-faceted talents, with music capable of reaching heights of both incendiary violence and heart-swelling grandeur as well as descending into depths of endless suffering.

It has thus been welcome news to learn that Hypnotic Dirge Records will release a second album by these formidable Swedes. The name of the album is I Djävulens Avbild (In the Devil’s Image), with a release date of August 14th. It proves again the power of the band to mount punishing, near-overpowering assaults on the senses while also, true to their name, wrapping the listener in shrouds of darkening shadow. Continue reading »

Jul 102020


The Obscure Sibyl is the debut EP of the Florentine band Oneiric Celephaïs. It begins with a conceptually linked triptych of songs inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and concludes with “Vǫluspá“, named for the first and best-known poem of the Poetic Edda and one of the most important primary sources for the study of Norse mythology. Of those opening three tracks, “The Aeon of Death” is the second. The band explain:

“‘The Aeon of Death‘ is inspired by Lovecraft‘s horror story “The Nameless City”. The descent of the narrator in the un-reverberate blackness of the abyss of the catacombs is an allegory for the katábasis of every Sibyl’s follower, a descent which leads to obscurity, depression and ultimately to death. ‘The Aeon of Death‘ represents the central part of the triptych of the EP: the sinking of man into the abyss gulfs served only to discover sights of woe and doleful shades”.

With a description like that one, you might be expecting an oppressive display of cavernous death/doom. Prepare to be surprised. Continue reading »