Dec 082019
 

 

There’s so much music here that I have divided this into two parts to make it more easily digestible. There’s a risk I’ll never finish part two. The all-or-nothing strategy might have been better (to be determined).

I will add that there are three bands in this collection that you won’t find on Metal-Archives, which I mention as a hint about the diversity of sounds you have ahead of you.

HAEIRESIS

Saulius Bielskis is a prolific creator, with a half-dozen active bands and solo projects to his name. Haeiresis is one of his principal endeavors, with four EPs, a split, and a 2011 album on the Haeiresis discography. The most recent of the EPs, Emanations, is a three-track effort released on tape on November 11th by an underground Lithuanian label named Ghia. It was developed and finalized at the same time as the 2018 Haeiresis EP, The Bleaking. If you listen to both EPs, it will probably become clear why the two were released separately rather than as a single album-length work. Continue reading »

Dec 012019
 

 

I think I made a mistake. Between Friday and Saturday I spent 6+ hours just listening to new music, at least half of which I devoted to individual tracks publicly released from forthcoming albums. That’s a LOT of individual tracks. Along with discarding things that didn’t grab me, I started excitedly assembling ideas for round-up posts organized around varying themes, and of course added to an already long existing list of ideas for the column you’re reading now.

Why was that a mistake? Because now I’m mentally suffering from the knowledge that there’s no way I’ll have the time to follow through on all the writing schemes I imagined, no way to feature everything I’d like to recommend. Even if I could, it would be too much music and too many words for any normal person to consume over the space of a few days, on top of other music you would be exploring from other sources.

Well, as they say, I made my bed and now I have to lie on it. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s what I chose for today — which is a lot of music, but not nearly enough.

MOTHER AUGUSTA

If you haven’t done whatever you need to do to follow the Chinese label Pest Productions on Bandcamp, you ought to fix that post haste. The releases are stylistically more unpredictable than many labels with a black metal pedigree, and over a lot of years I’ve encountered very few that didn’t do something good for me. A Bandcamp e-mail alert just days ago is how I discovered that Pest had released Fragile, which is the name of the debut album of Mother Augusta. Continue reading »

Nov 252019
 

 

I did warn you this might be late.

I had a hellish time deciding what to include in this week’s column. Usually I manage to squeeze a few black metal selections into SEEN AND HEARD round-ups during the week, which makes the Sunday winnowing a little bit easier (but only a little), and I did some of that in yesterday’s first post.

But lacking the time to prepare any round-ups last week, the options over which I pondered for this column were enormous in number. I did the best I could, though still downcast by my inability to do more — a feeling counter-balanced by how excited I am over what I did choose.

ISRATHOUM

The Portuguese band Israthoum, who have been based in the Netherlands for roughly 20 years, have produced a distinctive and compelling discography that, for myself and many others, makes their every release a “must listen!” event.

Their newest work, an album named Arrows from Below, is enriched by the amazing artwork of Ubertragic Art that you see above. It will be released on Friday the 13th of December by New Era Productions, and last week DECIBEL premiered the first excerpt, a song called “Laetetur Cor”. Continue reading »

Nov 172019
 

 

As promised earlier, Part 2 of today’s column collects music that, for want of a better word, is more demonic than what I chose for Part 1. It also includes music from four obscure bands whose music I had never heard before this past week — mainly because these are their first releases. But before I get to those, I’m beginning with something new from an old favorite.

BLACK ROYAL

I have very fond memories of the 2018 album Lightbringer by the Finnish group Black Royal, and in particular of a song called “The Chosen” that I put on our list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs for that year. I didn’t expect we’d have another album so soon, but that seems to be the case.

Word is, that an album named Firebride will be out on February 14, 2020, via Suicide Records. And on November 1st the band premiered an occult-themed pagan video (here) for an advance track (which has been released as a true single) called “Pagan Saviour“. Continue reading »

Nov 172019
 

 

I have a lot to cover today, not counting a big stack of new albums I might mention by way of excerpts tomorrow, as I did last week, so by way of introduction I’ll say only that I grouped the two sets of songs in these two Parts in a purposeful way. Here, there’s a lot of heart-rending distress to be found (among other things). For the most part, what will come in Part 2 is much more… demonic.

KARG

For more than a decade, Harakiri For the Sky‘s vocalist J.J. has maintained a solo project named Karg, whose discography will soon include a seventh album entitled Trakat. The first single, “Irgendjemand wartet immer“, was released a few days ago. I think it’s best introduced through J.J.‘s comments about the album as a whole: Continue reading »

Nov 122019
 

 

Some of you might remember that in the regular Sunday edition of this feature two days ago I mentioned that I had an idea for quickly highlighting a bunch of new albums that I didn’t want to neglect. I referred to it then as a collection of “teasers”. What I meant by that, as you’re about to see for yourselves, is a strategy that’s less satisfying than writing everything I’d like to say about these albums, but better than by-passing them altogether. What I’ve done is to pick just one song from each release as a jumping-off point, in the hope that you’ll go ahead and jump all the way in without further persuasion.

HELL’S CORONATION

The first album I’d like to highlight is Ritual Chalice of Hateful Blood, the debut full-length by Hell’s Coronation, which was released on October 31st by Godz Ov War Productions. The song I’ve picked as a teaser for the album is “Fullmoon Is the Sinister Light of Providence“, which also happens to be the song that’s set up to stream first at the album’s Bandcamp page, although it comes fourth in the running order. Continue reading »

Nov 102019
 


Arkona

 

Just a few opening notes:

First, all of the following songs are the first advance tracks from forthcoming albums, The opening four in today’s collection are absolutely wild, and the first three of those put me in mind of the kind of full-throttle, all-enveloping extravagance that often forms the closing movement of a classical symphony.

Second, today I’m just launching immediately into thoughts about the songs I picked, and providing the details about the bands and the releases only after that.

Third, I’m so far behind in mentioning recently released full albums from the black realms that I have in mind another one of these columns tomorrow, which won’t include full reviews of those albums but only teasers. Because that won’t take me as much time, there’s a greater likelihood I’ll be able to follow through. Continue reading »

Nov 042019
 

 

This column is a day late, shorter than I’d planned, and written more hurriedly than I would like. Yesterday was full of personal obstacles to working on this, and I’ve got to leave home at an early hour this morning for a one-hour drive to the county courthouse because I’ve been summoned for jury duty. Three cheers for democracy!

It’s unlikely I’ll be put on the jury, but I have a feeling I’ll be stuck in the courthouse all day, which will play havoc with getting anything else done for NCS today other than this post and a premiere/review that I managed to finish last night.

ARKONA

If you’re not a fan of the Polish band Arkona it must be because you’ve never heard their music (even though they’ve been around since ’93) or you just don’t like black metal. I can’t think of a third reason. Their new album (the seventh of their career), Age of Capricorn, is one of my most anticipated releases of this fall/winter. It’s coming out December 13th via Debemur Morti Productions. Continue reading »

Oct 272019
 

 

I would guess that there are more one-person bands in black and blackened death metal than in any other genres of extreme metal. I’m not sure why that is, though I guess it’s in keeping with the lone-wolf, outsider status that second-wave black metal can trace back to its roots.

Of course, there are a lot of mediocre or downright awful one-person projects out there, but some very good ones, too, and you’ll find four of them in today’s collection, along with music from a few more-filled-out groups, who are also very good.

MERDA MUNDI

The first of the one-person projects whose new music I’d like to recommend today is Merda Mundi (“shit of the world” — or maybe “shitty world”), the raw black metal vehicle of the prolific Belgian musician Déhà, whose resume at Metal-Archives includes participation in 19 active bands and previous roles in 17 others, spread across numerous genres, as well as guest/session work on two dozen other releases. The latest output of Merda Mundi is an album aptly named Hatred. Continue reading »

Oct 212019
 

 

Having impulsively decided this past weekend to write about two albums whose releases I had been eagerly anticipating for many months, I felt a temptation to compare them, even though that would be like comparing apples and oranges. Both of them are very good, but the two bands occupy very different niches in the extreme metal underground, and one of them (the creator of the album I reviewed in Part 1 of this post) is constantly re-defining its niche. The other one, Spain’s Teitanblood, hasn’t remained static either, but the changes have been less adventurous. And to be fair, their career is much shorter, with three albums to their name now, compared to more than a dozen for Blut Aus Nord.

Rather than transforming themselves, Teitanblood have just gotten better. In fact, their new album, The Baneful Choir, is their best work yet. And we’d better bask in its savage glories as completely as we can, because if the band follow the pattern they’ve now established, we won’t see another Teitanblood album until 2024. Continue reading »