Sep 232021
 

 

After releasing a debut demo (Red Messenger) in 2017 and a follow-up EP in 2019 (The Great Tribulation), the Canadian melodic death metal band Varius decided to really live the way their name sounds.

For their new EP Concordance (set for release on November 5th), diversity was the strategic goal. Each of the four tracks was primarily written by a different member of the band, and was then worked on by the band as a whole, lending a degree of consistency across the EP while also endeavoring to support the writer’s original vision. The result is that each track reveals different influences, including death metal, thrash, progressive, doom, and classic metal, augmented by some experimental twists.

What we have for you today is one of those four songs, and it’s full of dynamic surprises — a song that’s bombastic and brazen, savage and scintillating, mysterious and magnificent — and its name is “Concordance of the Legionfall“. Continue reading »

Sep 222021
 

As promised, here’s Part 2 of a round-up of new music and videos I began yesterday (here, in case you missed it). I’ll dispense with further introduction and just get right to it….

DAKHMA (Switzerland)

There have been a few Dakhma’s out in the world, but this one is the Swiss blackened death metal band, whose works I once characterized as “foul, filth-ridden, fiery, and ferocious music that channels the feeling of ancient, implacable evil… and utter devotion to its ends. As they say in the trade, not for the faint of heart”.

I chose those words in the context of their 2018 debut album, and now they have a second full-length on the way. Not being faint of heart (at least not when it comes to music), I eagerly partook of the new record’s first advance track — which is the way today’s round-up begins. Continue reading »

Sep 212021
 

 

Even by my own standards I went a little crazy from Friday through Sunday. By my count, the posts I made on those days about new music and videos (including the Shades of Black column on Sunday) included recordings by 29 bands — more than any reasonable human (other than myself, because I’m unreasonable) could possibly have paid close attention to. Even having done that, I already have a huge list of other discoveries that I could begin launching today — but decided instead to scale things back to a somewhat more manageable size.

And so, this is a smaller handful of recommendations. Of course, it’s still eleven bands and divided into two Parts — I’m not going to change my spots that quickly! — but it could have been bigger. For example, though I’m beginning with what I consider “a big name”, in the hope that it will lure people into testing other music they might otherwise overlook, I did omit a few other big names — but you can find new songs and videos from Carcass, Pig Destroyer (covering a Perturbator song), Insomnium, and Full of Hell by clicking those links I just left you.

Part 2 will come tomorrow.

THE LURKING FEAR (Sweden)

This band of Swedish stalwarts, whose line-up includes well-known members of At the Gates, have a second album on the horizon, led by the first song and video I’ve chosen today. On the one hand, it’s a hard-charging assault of pummeling, chainsawing Swe-death mayhem. On the other hand, when the band shift gears a bit, it sounds spooky, and then blares like sirens. If you need a quick fix of adrenaline, this is your prescription. Continue reading »

Sep 182021
 

 

Well, as you can see, despite injuring myself with an excess of alcohol last night I did manage to make it to the end of my alphabet. To do that, I cut away some (but certainly not all) of the black metal I had planned to include (not just here, but in the preceding segment), because I know I will have SHADES OF BLACK tomorrow.

RUDE (US)

It’s been a long time since we had a new release by this California death metal band. I discovered them by witnessing their fantastic set at the 2016 edition of Famine Fest in Portland, and the year after that they released their second album Remnants…. That same year they participated in a live split recording with Coffins, Skeletal Remains, and Carnation, but there’s been nothing else since then. Finally, we’re going to get a new Rude EP, and a track off of it, which premiered at Grizzly Butts, is the first item in this collection. Continue reading »

Sep 182021
 

 

As promised yesterday, I’m continuing to make my way through the metal alphabet, with another slug of songs and videos that I siphoned out of the ongoing flood during the past week. I thought I’d make it to the end of the alphabet today, but now I’m not so sure. The demon alcohol afflicted me last night, and the affliction both caused me to sleep like a hibernating bear and also to wake up in a state of severe brain fog. I’ll just have to see how things go.

GOAT TORMENT (Belgium)

If you’re not already educated about the kind of music Goat Torment make, one long look at the album art will tell you much of what you need to know. There’s one important piece of imagery missing from the artwork though — massed howitzers and machine-guns firing at will. The song you’re about to hear sounds like a mechanized war zone, one that’s also plagued by frenzied demons, who reach heights of mania in a really stupendous guitar solo. Continue reading »

Sep 172021
 

 

As I explained in the last post, I’ve collected a massive number of new songs and videos that appeared over the last week. I alphabetized them by band name and then divided them into segments. In this installment we pick up with “C” and make it to “G”. More segments tomorrow.

THE CORONA LANTERN (Czech Republic)

It’s always fascinating to learn what The Corona Lantern have gotten up to when they make a new release, and this first song is yet another fascination. Heavy and plundering, it heaves and hammers, with gloom-drenched and narcotic riffs that scrape, claw, and moan in misery, and flickering leads that wail and become a fever of agony. The wide-ranging yet perpetually terrifying vocals will put the hair up on the back of your neck too. Continue reading »

Sep 172021
 

 

In part because the deluge of metal has continued unabated this week, and in part because I had a little more time than usual to keep track of what was coming out, I prepared a truly massive round-up of new songs and videos. To make it possible for me to recommend as much as I can, I’ve again resorted to this stripped-down format, choking down my usual verbosity and not taking time to grab all the artwork.

I’ve again alphabetized my giant list by band name and divided it into segments. I’ll get as far as I can with these segments today, and then pick up the rollout tomorrow. In Part 1 I only made it to “C”.

AEON (Sweden)

We begin with a video, and a sorrowful stroll through a cemetery which becomes a harrowing tale told partially in reverse, a tale that increasingly becomes supernatural and horrifying. The explosive and ferocious music is even more intensely harrowing. Prepare to have all your nerve endings ignited, and to chant: GOD ENDS HERE! Continue reading »

Sep 122021
 

 

Due to me frittering away my time with lazy and inconsequential pursuits, Part 2 of this weekend roundup of new songs and videos is like Part 1 — generally bereft of artwork, the usual links, and my own descriptive commentary. Nonetheless, it does reflect the exercise of my own (possibly addled) judgment about what is worth your time, plus a desire to provide variety.

As explained in Part 1, I alphabetized 16 choices by band name before dividing them into two segments. Here we pick up with “M” and make it to “W”.

MASTODON (U.S.)

I’m getting memories of Crack the Skye from this new Mastodon song, which is a very good thing (at least it is to me). The well-made video is mysterious, and ultimately disturbing. The new album is Hushed and Grim, due for release on October 29th by Reprise Records. Continue reading »

Sep 122021
 

 

Yesterday a combination of factors prevented me from posting the usual Saturday round-up of new songs and videos that appeared during the week. I did spend a big block of time surveying the field and making selections, but by the time I finished doing that it was mid-day and I decided to fuck off instead of beginning to write.

It has become clear to me that I can’t do the usual writing today either, if I’m to have any hope of preparing a SHADES OF BLACK post today. So I’m resorting to the format of just throwing all this stuff at you without artwork, or most of the usual links, or my usual commentary, just a few scattered notes.

But trust me, I did exercise some judgment about what I thought was worth sharing. It’s just that I thought A LOT was worth sharing — 16 songs and videos, to be precise. I alphabetized the collection by band name and then divided it into two parts.

ANOMALIE (Austria)

This is a very welcome return after a four-year hiatus between albums. The new full-length features Nornagest of Belgium’s Enthroned on harsh vocals. The new album, Tranceformation, is coming on November 5th from AOP Records. Continue reading »

Sep 082021
 

 

The usual deluge of new music is already under way this week, but for the most part what I’ve pulled together in this round-up is music that surfaced last week. As I was making my way through a gigantic list of new tracks over the past weekend, I squirreled these away because I thought they’d make a good compilation.

All the music leans hard into death metal, though not without some other ingredients, and the three sensations that come to mind when I think about all of this after the fact are these: Violence, eeriness, and derangement.

THECODONTION (Italy) / VESSEL OF INIQUITY (UK)

To begin I’ve chosen a split released last Friday by Xenoglossy Productions and I, Voidhanger Records. Entitled The Permian​-​Triassic Extinction Event, it includes two tracks by Thecodontion and one long one by Vessel of Iniquity. Thematically, it is based on “the titular Permian-Triassic extinction event (commonly known as ‘The Great Dying’), and life emerging anew afterwards”. To quote further from the introduction on the Bandcamp page: Continue reading »