Aug 022021


As you may have gathered from my two weekend posts, I spent a lot of time listening to new metal over the last 48 hours. I watched videos for new songs too, and have collected five of those here, which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did.

ISKANDR (Netherlands)

This first video is a fascinating collage of images, with credit for the film going to Teresa Elizabeth Lobos. The music by Iskandr is equally fascinating. It’s the sound of a sinister dream, an embroidery of acoustic chords and ringing guitars, of gritty gargoyle snarls and flesh-flensing screams, of shimmering synths and eerie, mercurial arpeggios. It includes a slower and spellbinding break near the end that features choral vocals and a feeling of rising, ominous grandeur. Continue reading »

Jul 312021


I know I often sound like a broken record, but this is yet another Saturday following a week in which I fell way behind in listening to new music, other than what we premiered and bits and pieces of albums that other NCS scribblers wrote about. I spent hours this morning adding to my listening list and then only scant time darting around that list with the headphones on. Here’s what I landed on that I wanted to share… with a lot more listening lined up for this afternoon.


This first song, “Okeanos“, is such an intense squall of sound in all ways, from the brazen and mutating discordance of the riffing to the relentlessly riotous drumming, the bone-smashing impact of the grooves, and the stunning voracity of the vocals. Not so much like crouching indoors during a hurricane and more like charging outside in the midst of it. Continue reading »

Jul 272021


(We’ve previously published (here and here) two installments of a “dirty black summer” playlist compiled and written by Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood), and now we’re happy that he’s followed that with a third set of recommendations for your summer listening, presented below.)

I hadn’t really planned on revisiting this series quite so soon but there were a few releases I missed last time and a few coming up that I wanted to shed a little light on, so here we are. There’s a few gloomier bits and some hints of the upcoming autumn in here which should help those of you who get a pumpkin spiced hard-on right after the Fourth of July get a bit of a fix in. Continue reading »

Jul 242021


Those of us in the metal trade know that Friday’s have become a dumping ground, or a deluge from above, or a flood tide… pick your metaphor for a day when a ton of new songs and videos drop. Yesterday was in that vein. With help from some other NCS slaves I made a giant list, and did a freestyle kick through it. Found a lot to like, and decided to grab a baker’s dozen of tracks for your entertainment, all of which happened to arrive with videos.

In terms of verbiage, I’m just going to ejaculate my immediate visceral reactions without fully formed sentences or consistent punctuation. Unless I just keep quiet I don’t know how else to manage commentary on so many songs and films, and of course keeping quiet would be sheer torture for moi.

ABORTED (Belgium)

A creepy, horror-drenched intro opens the book on a jolting and blazing calamity that soon goes berserk… despite its title, the song doesn’t really drag you to hell, it fires you into hell with a howitzer… and all the devils are there, ready to rip and ruin… but also to reveal the sweeping, bombastic glory of their awful domain…. Continue reading »

Jul 222021


Prepare to have your head spun all the way around and your pulse galvanized like stepping on a live power line, because we’re premiering a new single by Protosequence that’s being released today by Lacerated Enemy Records.

This new track, “Baroness Pt 1: A Falling Knife“, is the first to appear from a new album and follows up the band’s 2020 EP, A Blunt Description of Something Obscene, which we also had the pleasure of premiering. And if you happen to be newcomers to what these Canadian wizards do, an excerpt from what we wrote with that premiere might still serve as a viable introduction:

Protosequence have created a genuine musical spectacle, a fusion of tech-death and progressive metal that manages to be both jaw-dropping and beguiling, both head-spinning and bone-smashing. It creates pyrotechnic displays of breath-taking instrumental agility that often seem completely deranged or utterly alien, accompanied by bestial vocal ferocity, but it also seduces the listener with elements of mesmerizing melody. And around every corner (of which there are many in these labyrinthine compositions), a new surprise awaits.” Continue reading »

Jul 212021


This is one of those days when we risk overwhelming even the most voracious listeners who visit our site. I’ve already posted a round-up of blackened metal and a full album stream, but can’t resist using some unexpected free time to pull together another collection. This one is rife with videos, most of them accompanying advance tracks from forthcoming releases, but there’s another full album stream in the mix as well. There’s a lot of stylistic variety in the mix too.


This first track came as a big surprise (at least to me). It turns out that Bastarður is the crust punk project of Sólstafir singer/guitarist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, drawing upon the influence of such bands as Entombed, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Motörhead, and Disfear.

He made Bastarður’s debut album, Satan’s Loss of Son, with drummer Birgir Jónsson (Dimma), and the album also includes guest vocals by Marc Grewe (Morgoth, Insidious Disease) and Prmordial’s Alan Averill, as well as guest guitar leads and soloing by Ragnar Zolberg (who has performed live bass for Sólstafir) and Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson from Skálmöld, among others. Continue reading »

Jul 212021


On Friday of this week, July 23rd, Testimony Records will release Hades Unleashed, the third full-length of the titanically powerful German death metal band Temple of Dread. It is everything that its title promises — as hellish, as electrifying, and as explosive an album as you’re likely to encounter in the realms of death metal this year.

The band’s two previous albums, Blood Craving Mantras and World Sacrifice, were damned good, but the songwriting on this new record still shows big steps forward, with even greater dynamics of tempo and mood, but without stinting on the hell-raising, bone-smashing power of the band’s attack or the astonishing insanity of the vocals. Continue reading »

Jul 172021


This may be the only NCS post of the weekend, and even this one is hurried. I have a work meeting this morning. There’s also a celebration planned for tonight that I have to prepare for. What the hell kind of party requires hours of preparation? One that involves speech-making. But it’s still a party, and has all the earmarks of one that’s going to keep me up past midnight, which means a very late awakening on Sunday and some unpredictable degree of mental incapacitation, which is why there may not be a SHADES OF BLACK column tomorrow.

As for today’s metal roundup: I posted a big one yesterday exclusively devoted to new songs with videos, but big as it was it still didn’t exhaust all the good new tracks that surfaced over the last week. And of course it didn’t include the usual Friday flood of new song reveals. A few of my NCS comrades made sure I didn’t overlook what that Friday flood flung up on the beach, and I’ve included a few of their suggestions as well as a few of my own picks that I left out of that video-only roundup yesterday. Coincidentally all the songs included here also came with videos, hence the title of this post.

What’s missing today, for the most part, is my own commentary. I’ll give you a minute to dab the tears from your eyes… and then on we go…. Continue reading »

Jul 162021


As you can see, I had time enough yesterday to make my way through a lot of music that surfaced over the last week or so, and found a lot to like — even more than you’ll see here, because I decided to devote this round-up exclusively to songs with videos and leave the others for another time. The visual approaches are quite wide-ranging and so is the music. I decided to set them out in alphabetical order by band name, and that coincidentally turned out to make for an interesting sonic sequence.

Get popcorn, or whatever else you like to chew on while glued to a screen, and perhaps a preferred intoxicant, then sit back and get ruined or rapt or both.


Benighted teamed up with Metal Injection for the premiere of a lyric video for a new digital single, “A Personified Evil,” which includes guest vocals by Francesco Paoli from Fleshgod Apocalypse. As if the song weren’t slaughtering enough without him. Continue reading »

Jul 152021


Last month we had the pleasure of premiering a mind-blowing song off the new album by the Ukrainian technical death metal band Brilliant Coldness, and today we’re premiering another extraordinary adventure from the album, a song named “Phantasm” that will be released as a single on July 16th. And although we’ll later repeat some of the background info we provided in our first premiere, what we’re going to do now is jump straight to the music.

Brilliant Coldness are the kind of band who don’t waste time. It’s as if there’s a timer ticking down and they’re going to explode if they don’t eject the music as fast as they can and without delay. And so “Phantasm” immediately discharges wild, cavorting riffage that feverishly needles at the listener’s mind over bullet-spitting drumwork and equally febrile and fantastical bass escapades. Continue reading »