Sep 192021


I got a spike of excitement from a couple of of Bandcamp alerts, only to feel letdown after clicking them. One was for a new Cantique Lepreux release, but none of the songs are streaming there yet. The other was for a new Wormlust release, but there’s no page for it yet, or maybe there was and it got pulled. But it’s just as well, because I already had more to write about for this week’s column than time to write about them.

What you’ll find below are six advance tracks from forthcoming releases and then a pair of full releases that surfaced from the same band within the last couple of days.

OFERMOD (Sweden)

Ofermod wasted no time returning with a new album, just a year after 2020’s Pentagrammaton (which was itself a double album). The new one is entitled Mysterium Iniquitatis, and it  sees the original lineup joined together once again – Belfagor on guitar and vocalist Nebiros (Malign, Mephorash) – with session bass by Magnus “Devo” Andersson (ex-Marduk) and session drums by Calle Larsson. Continue reading »

Sep 122021

After completing the humongous two-part roundup of new songs and videos that I posted earlier today I nearly gave up on the idea of making this regular Sunday column. Just not much gas left in the tank, and the first Seahawks football game of the season is already under way. But I know some people come here on Sundays for this column, and I don’t want to completely disappoint.

So, I did here what I did with those previous roundups — skimping on the artwork and links, and abbreviating my own commentary, in the hope that mainly tossing out the music is better than nothing at all. And so, with apologies to the bands and to people who actually enjoy the usual format, here we go… presented alphabetically by band name.


This first song is a frightening yet entrancing one. It reveals eerie, preternatural keyboards that seem to ring from fracturing heavens, and combines those with viscerally powerful rhythms, terrorizing vocal battalions, and racing storms of searing riffage and rampantly hurtling bass and drums. The effect is nightmarish yet intoxicating, menacingly magisterial and marauding. Continue reading »

Sep 052021


You want to know how the sausage gets made? Okay, I see one hand at the back of the room and that’s all I need even though the rest of you are recoiling.

When I woke up at 4:30 a.m. this morning I had about half a dozen candidates I was considering for this column based on previous listening. But I didn’t stop with that. After feeding the cats, caffeinating myself, and smoking a couple cigarettes, I collected links to more than 20 other possibilities, some of them from tabs I’d opened on my computer during the past week and some I found from crawling through arrivals in the NCS email in-box over the last few days, which I hadn’t perused carefully until yesterday afternoon.

I then copied all those links into the NCS WordPress editor and opened them again at a computer in our house that has shitty wi-fi. The one with a decent internet connection is in the “family room” where the TV is, and my wife was in there catching up on the news (she wakes up ridiculously early too). Even with headphones on, I can’t listen to metal in that room when she’s there. I have to crank up the volume, and her ears are so sensitive that she can hear the sound leaking through the headphones. It annoys her because she can’t stand extreme metal. I strongly prefer that she not be annoyed. Continue reading »

Aug 292021


Time to blacken the christian Sabbath again, as is our want. I decided to be lazy yesterday rather than compile the usual Saturday round-up of new songs and videos, but I did devote some time to browsing blackened metal, including some music that’s been out in the world (but not in my head) for many months, and you’ll find the results below.

I would say there’s a more disturbing and depressive feel to these choices than might usually be the case. I’m not in therapy so I don’t know for sure if this is a reflection of changes in my usually sunny mood, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true. It might just be that the first song took me down that path, and everything else simply fell into place.

DEADSPACE (multinational)

We lamented the split-up of Deadspace when that was announced last year, but celebrated their final album, A Portrait of Sacrificial Scars, as the band’s best work of all. Happily, however, Deadspace have reunited, though I somehow overlooked that announcement, first disclosed in March, until yesterday. I also overlooked that in June the band released a video for a new song named “Moksha“. Continue reading »

Aug 222021


I’m going to dispense with an introduction to today’s column, other than to say that what I’ve chosen is going to give you a strange trip from beginning to end.


I was quite taken by both of this band’s first two releases, a 2016 EP named Cemetery Glow, and a 2017 debut full-length named Nocta, both of which were released by Iron Bonehead. Now there’s another album headed our way, via the band’s new label Debemur Morti Productions. DMP describes the new one in these words:

“Potently blending cinematic Deathrock, ghoulish Doom, heavy Post-Punk and atmospheric Black Metal, Charnel Noir is a hook-ridden exploration of the necromantic Undead which captures the restraint, tension and dark romanticism present in the great canonical Gothic works”. Continue reading »

Aug 152021


For today’s black metal column I’ve included reviews of two EPs, a pair of new videos, and just a sampling of tracks from two recently released albums that I want to recommend even though I don’t have enough time to give them proper reviews. Hope you find something to like.

FIAT NOX (Germany)

I decided to begin today’s collection with a song that will get your pulse racing. Part of that effect derives from the hammering propulsive drive, the wild and sinister fieriness of the riffing, and the scalding savagery of the vocal tirades. But the song is also a thriller because of its dynamism — from the skull-popping beats and infectious yells to the bubbling bass solo and the sweeping melodic blaze behind it. Continue reading »

Aug 092021


As you can see, this is Part 2 of the weekly column I began yesterday. Because I’m hurrying to finish it before turning to the usual Monday flurry of activity at our site, I’ll dispense with any further introduction and get right to the music.


On August 10th this Greek black metal band will commemorate its 20th anniversary of existence by releasing a new album named Suicide and the Rest of Your Kind Will Follow Part II, which arrives a dozen years after Part I. It consists of two long songs, the first of which premiered yesterday at Metal Addicts through a video made by Nikolaos Stavridakis (VisionBlack), which builds upon artwork created by Georgios Gyzis (aka Bacchus of the black metal band Grab). Continue reading »

Aug 082021


After spending a ton of time listening to new songs and writing about many of them in the two enormous roundups I posted on Friday and Saturday I despaired of being able to do very much with this week’s SHADES OF BLACK column. But I got a second wind and became inspired by the varying sounds you’re about to discover.

In this two-part edition the bands whose music I chose include some old personal favorites and some very promising newcomers.  My second wind is dying, so you’ll most likely have to look for Part 2 on Monday.


These Greek black metal luminaries, whose lineup includes members drawn from Varathron, Hail Spirit Noir, Aenaon, Melan Selas, and Agnes Vein, have a new two-track EP headed our way, and the first of the two songs — “Descending to Acheron” — has now surfaced. Continue reading »

Aug 012021


This week I decided to devote the column to four complete new releases, three of them albums and one of them an EP. I found all of them to be tremendously gripping in different ways.


It would go too far to call Hornwood Fell chameleons. They do change their musical colors, but not to match and blend in with some background setting (such as what other bands might be doing). They change to capture colors in their own heads, which seem to move like pools of mercury on a subtly shifting sheet of steel, catching different lights. And it’s not just the sounds that shift and re-form. The themes and inspirations change too. Continue reading »

Jul 252021


Thankfully I was able to finish the second installment of today’s column before having to turn to other things. But I have to make that turn quickly, so I’ll dispense with any further introduction.


I’ve been meaning to write something in support of this extravagant compilation for the last week, ever since the official announcement of it last Monday, and then it occurred to me that putting it in a SHADES OF BLACK column would be the most fitting way to do that anyway.

The name of the compilation is This Wretched Earth. Presented by Snow Wolf Records, it includes tracks by 16 bands from 14 countries across 6 continents, and adds up to almost an hour and a half of music. It includes a number of groups I’ve written about in other editions of this column, as well as a lot of names that are new to me. It also includes a number of exclusive tracks not available anywhere else; I’ve determined that 10 of them aren’t listed on Metal-Archives. Continue reading »