Mar 152021


(We present Nathan Ferreira‘s review of the new album by Mare Cognitum from Portland, Oregon. The album wll be released on March 19th by I, Voidhanger Records and Extraconscious Records.)

Honestly, I questioned even writing this review because one thing I prefer to do when I can is to give extra attention and appreciation to bands that go under the radar. But Mare Cognitum needs no introduction to most – they’re one of the defining modern black metal bands of the 2010s, to the point where I now see them mentioned as an influence in the promo blurbs of up-and-coming artists.

Jacob Buczarski, the project’s sole mastermind, runs his own label wherein he curates bands of a similar style and ethos, which itself includes scores of mind-bending music. The guy’s a damn black metal institution at this point, and the album I’m about to review is already sold out on Bandcamp (not on I, Voidhanger’s page, fortunately) weeks before it comes out on March 19th. Do I really need to hype this up any more?

Yes. Yes is the answer to that question. Solar Paroxysm is amazing, even with the high expectations that the previous albums set for it. Continue reading »

Mar 132021


I’m going to indulge myself and let you know what’s recently been going on behind the scenes here at our putrid site before we get to the music below.

As I moaned and bitched about over the last couple of weeks, I have indeed been crushed by a project for my day job. For many days last week I couldn’t do anything but write premieres I had promised to do, and for two of those days I couldn’t even do that. Thankfully, Andy Synn stepped in and did the editing and posting of some things written by others (and by himself) so that the site didn’t go dark.

While consumed by work, I couldn’t even pay much attention to our email or announcements on social media and music-related messages from friends. But the worst part of that project ended yesterday, and I did a little catching up (just a few days’ worth), enough that I made a list of 47 songs and videos to check out (I’m not making that up). Of course I’ve only randomly jumped around in that list. I’ll probably never get to the rest of it, much less everything else that came out while I was missing in action. From that random darting around I picked the following songs and videos. Continue reading »

Mar 082021

Hey everyone, Andy Synn here.

We know we won’t be the only people reeling from today’s announcement but we still think it’s important to say just how saddened we all were to hear about the death of LG Petrov, the infamous, gravel-throated frontman of Entombed.

Both a beloved icon – it’s been gratifying, though still gutting, to see just how many bands and fans, people and publications, from across the scene have been deeply affected by this – and an all-round cool dude, from all accounts, LG’s ragged, instantly-recognisable roar was a huge part of a lot of people’s introduction to Death Metal, and a played a major role in Entombed‘s success down through the years, and his presence will be deeply missed.

So today we’d like to tip our hats and pour one out to a true Death Metal original, and take the chance not just to mourn his passing but to celebrate his life with a few of our favourite musical moments from the man himself.

Continue reading »

Mar 072021


I want to thank those of you who have left comments or sent messages expressing sympathy and support for my current day-job misery. I was also surprised, and admittedly a bit disappointed, that a lot of people checked in on yesterday’s post even though I didn’t have the time to write about any of the music — or even listen to it! So I thought, what the hell, let’s do that again.

This column is usually devoted to black metal, and so I’ve started that way but also diverted from it. But yesterday one of our supporters (rodney) left a comment with some recommendations, and I thought I would include some of those here at the end, because he included some enticing descriptions of the bands and their music. Some of that music would seem to fit SHADES OF BLACK and some might not, which is true of my own choices

I again haven’t listened to any of this. As was true yesterday, I’m gambling, but these all seem like good bets. Continue reading »

Mar 062021


As forecast last weekend, I’m not able to write my usual NCS weekend posts today or tomorrow. The project for my fucking day job has indeed been consuming me. I haven’t listened to any new metal over the last 4 or 5 days other than what I had agreed to premiere. I didn’t even have time to pay close attention to our in-box or use my other typical ways of ferreting out new music so as to add to my list of what to check out later.

However, a few things did jump out at me yesterday — a surprise new album by Krallice (they do love surprising people), a new 20-minute song off the new Majestic Downfall album, and a video for a new track by Grave Miasma from their next album. I would listen to and watch all of that today if I had time, which I don’t. But because I detest letting a day go by without having new music up on the site, I’m installing the streams of these three things below, even though I haven’t checked them out myself. But it’s a good bet they will be worth your time.

By the way, even though I can’t do more than this today, it would be great if you used the Comments to flag any other new music that would be good uses of listening time. And of course, feel free to let us know what you think about the following streams if you get a chance to hear them. Continue reading »

Feb 272021


This past week we had fewer posts per day than usual, and it saddens me to say this will continue for the next two weeks. The reason is that I’m in the midst of a project for my fucking day job that’s crushing my NCS time. I mean, you can’t build an electrodynamic particle accelerator without some concentrated effort.

I’ve still made commitments to host song and album premieres on many days between now and the end of this project on the Ideas of March, but even that’s going to stop during the final days of the effort. Apart from writing the premieres and passing my hand over what other people write before posting their stuff, I’m really not going to have time for anything else. This weekend is therefore kind of a last hurrah for round-ups for a while.

For this collection I’ve ignored bigger names and stayed pretty deep underground, and you’ll see that the music connects with my current dark moods. I’ve deferred the black metal until tomorrow’s column.


I decided to begin with the most recent of the discoveries I’ve collected here, a single released just yesterday that was brought to my attention overnight by Rennie (starkweather). Continue reading »

Feb 232021


(In this review Andy Synn turns his attention to the new album by Illinois-based Pan-Amerikan Native Front, which was released earlier this month.)

The more I think about Black Metal (and, trust me, I spend a lot of time thinking about Black Metal) the more it occurs to me just what an astounding paradox the genre is.

Founded by a bunch of no-good Norwegian punks (though if you called them “punks” to their faces you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the response) whose back-story has since been retold and mythologised almost beyond recognition, Black Metal was originally just one big “fuck you” to the rest of the world, a purposefully introverted and isolationist rejection of ideas such as popularity, normality, and musicianship.

And yet, somehow, despite this – or, perhaps, because of this – it’s gone on to become not only a global phenomenon, but one of the most artistically adventurous and progressive genres in all of Metal.

How did this happen? Well, for me, it’s the underlying primitivism of Black Metal which makes it such an unexpectedly universal musical language.

Whether they knew it or not, those crazy kids somehow managed to tap into something truly primal and innately human with those ramshackle early recordings, something which connected with people all around the world and which they could then use as the foundation of their own art, and as a way to tell their own stories.

Stories like Little Turtle’s War. Continue reading »

Feb 202021


There’s always a kind of random quality about these weekend round-ups, mainly because what I choose to investigate in my listening is itself a very random process. This one may be more random than most because I jumped around in my listening list to make sure I included some groups I knew nothing about, and wound up picking some of those for the last four items in the following collection. I also decided to throw you a big curveball at the end.


I easily could have saved this first song for tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column, but it put such a thrill in me when I first heard it this morning that it would have pained me too wait. It’s such a glorious bonfire of sound, a racing whirl of exultant harmonized riffing, scorching vocals, and jet-speed drumming (which occasionally shifts gears). There’s a brief (and unnecessary) interlude in the middle, and then we’re right back in the midst of this brilliant spinning pillar of fire. Ironically, the name of the song is “Frigid and Spellbound“. Continue reading »

Feb 172021


What follows is a collection of new songs and videos that different people messaged me about today, plus a few I had noticed in preceding days. With apologies to anyone who might care, I unfortunately don’t have the time to provide as many stumbling brilliant verbal descriptions of the music as I usually do, but nevertheless hope you enjoy all the sounds, as I have.

GOJIRA (France)

Born For One Thing“: feverish tumult with slightly industrialized grooves, trademark atonal pounding, and gripping rhythmic interplay, plus eerie melodic accents… definitely in their comfort zone, and very good…. Continue reading »

Feb 132021


Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all (a day early, as Mr. Synn reminds me), including those of you who’ve had all the romance beaten out of you by life’s misfortunes. With black hearts and wilted flowers, I bring you the following musical gifts, some of them nastier than rabid wolves, some of them as beautiful as an alabaster corpse, some of them wilder and more destructive than a cyclone.

I started the day as usual, venturing onto my outdoor deck, bleary-eyed and clutching coffee, yearning for a couple of smokes. What greeted me was the sight of the forest around our island home blanketed in about five inches of snow that had fallen overnight, quiet, grey, and cold. The next thing that greeted me on my phone was a message that gave me the way to launch this round-up.


The message waiting for me on my phone as I smoked and caffeinated was from my Norwegian friend eiterorm. He wrote: “Can you please do a review so that this album cover is the header image for the blog?  There is so much going on in that artwork, but my favorite thing is obviously the five-nipple pentagram chain”. I replied: “Your wish is my command.” Continue reading »