Aug 182019
 

 

Having chosen to devote so much time to posts about new death metal this weekend I haven’t been able to focus as carefully as I’d like on this week’s SHADES OF BLACK column. If the writing seems more hurried than usual, that’s why. But I didn’t make the selections hurriedly. I’m quite convinced they’re worth your time. Whether you’ll be convinced, only time will tell.

By the way, though I doubt very many people actually noticed, last week I promised a second installment of the column, in a format that I haven’t used very often — and then wasn’t able to follow through. I thought about following through today, with the same bands I’d chosen to use in the un-realized second installment of last week’s column, but haven’t done that after all. Maybe later this week. Only one of the releases I’d chosen last week has made it into this post — and it’s the first one:

NOCTURNAL DEPARTURE

Cathartic Black Rituals, released by Les Fleurs du Mal Productions on August 7th, is the debut album by a trio from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who’ve taken the name Nocturnal Departure. The album stream premiered at CVLT Nation, accompanied by a brief but enthusiastic introduction. My own introduction will also be (regrettably) brief, and enthusiastic. Continue reading »

Aug 112019
 

 

Although you can’t tell from the title of this post, it’s the first part of another two-part installment of this column. I didn’t call this “Part 1” because I dusted off a long-dormant strategy for the second one, which has its own long-dormant Category tag, and I’m using that instead of Part 2. All will become clear when I’m able to finish and post the second segment, hopefully later today but possibly on Monday morning.

Here, I’m beginning with a notable news item and then marching ahead with the music, which includes an EP, a new song and video, and advance tracks from forthcoming releases.

BLUT AUS NORD

Part of the thrill afforded by a new Blut Aus Nord album is the process of discovery, because BAN has rarely followed a straight and steady path from one record to the next, and predicting how their path might twist and turn requires a crystal ball. In the case of their new album, Hallucinogen, Debemur Morti Productions has announced that it “begins a new era,” “ending the cycle of clandestine industrialised dissonance that culminated with previous transmission Deus Salutis Meae and moving skyward into freshly melodic territories of progressive clarity”. Continue reading »

Aug 052019
 

 

I might have bitten off more than I can chew in the concluding installment of this column, which began here yesterday: After opening with one advance track, I’ve included complete streams of four album-length or EP-length releases. There’s also a risk that I’m serving up a platter of blackened metal that’s too heavily laden for most of you to consume. I’ll have to hope that you at least sample everything. You might find one or more prized additions to your music collection.

HAUNTER

As I organized the selections in this second segment of this week’s column, it seemed fitting to begin and end it with the talents of Elijah Tamu. Here at the beginning you see an example of his striking visual art, in the cover of Sacramental Death Qualia, the new album by Texas-based Haunter. At the end, his musical talents will be on display. Continue reading »

Aug 042019
 

 

Writing today’s column was tougher than usual. While listening to my long list of music candidates last night and planning what I would write about, the news about the massacre in El Paso broke. And when I woke up this morning, planning to inhale coffee and begin writing, I was greeted with the reports of what happened in Dayton, Ohio overnight, when 9 more people were executed and more than two dozen were injured. Those tragedies brought the number of mass shootings in the U.S. this year to more than 250 (defined as 4 or more people shot or killed in a single incident, not including the shooter), and the number of deaths in mass shootings to 51.

I guess depression and rage are among the chief emotions channeled through black metal, but these events still didn’t put me in the best frame of mind for this project, despite being wracked by that same mixture of feelings over the last 24 hours. I do have plans for a second installment of new music in this series, but the best I can hope for is to finish it in time for posting on Monday.

UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN

For many of us, Unaussprechlichen Kulten have become one of those bands whose every release is mandatory listening. And so it will be with respect to the fifth album from this Chilean cult, Teufelsbücher, which will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on October 18th. Continue reading »

Jul 292019
 

 

Did you miss Part 1 of this post, delayed by one day from its usual spot in our schedule? Go here if you did. There were four advance tracks from forthcoming records in that Part. Part 2 may take you longer to get through, since it includes three complete albums (in addition to one more advance track). I hope you’ll find everything worth your time.

GOC (Gnosis Oscuridad Caos)

The first two selections in Part 2 came my way from Rennie of starkweather. The first of them is a just-released debut album by a Colombian band called GOC, which seems to be an acronym for Gnosis Oscuridad Caos, which is also the title of the new album. Continue reading »

Jul 292019
 

 

I couldn’t get this post finished in time to occupy its usual place on Sunday. So, as promised yesterday, I’m posting it now to make your Monday more miserable.

I divided this into two parts, which gives me more time to finish it and might also make all the music easier to digest. There IS a lot to digest here — taking these two Parts together, you’ll find five advance tracks and three full albums.

KEYS OF ORTHANC

I missed this Quebec black metal band’s 2018 debut album, Dush agh Golnauk. Their second one, A Battle in the Dark Lands of the Eye…, will be coming out via Naturmacht Productions on August 31st. The cover art alone — a creation by Canadian artist Ted Nasmith called “The Shadow of Sauron” — is so fantastic that checking out the music was an irresistible choice. (Nasmith’s cover art for this band’s debut album — here — is also fantastic, but I must not have seen it.)

Ted Nasmith is a noted illustrator of Tolkein’s works, and Keys of Orthanc have similarly based their work on Tolkein’s tales; Orthanc itself, for example, is the name of Saruman’s black tower in The Lord of the Rings. Naturmacht describes their new album as one that’s “all about the war of man and orc, between light and darkness in the gloomy lands of Mordor”. Continue reading »

Jul 212019
 

 

I feel like I should apologize. I know that I’ve chosen a mountainous amount of music to recommend this week, more than any of you are likely to make time for today. Maybe (hopefully) you will bookmark  this page and return to it periodically as the week rolls on until you’ve at least sampled everything here. You might find something you’ll remember for months to come, and perhaps longer. And that, of course, is the reason why I stuffed this week’s column full to bursting, because I felt so strongly about all these releases that I couldn’t force myself to leave any of them on the cutting room floor.

I will also just get the credits out of the way in advance, because this is another collection of music I found as a result of recommendations by others. Most of those came from Rennie (starkweather), and one from Miloš; the two of them regularly complicate my choices for these columns, and other round-ups of new music as well. To justify my own existence I did find the first selection below on my own, and the last one (though I had help even there).

FINSTERFORST

I would have been thrilled by the prospect of a new Finsterforst album, but am even more thrilled because of the two song excerpts that are now out in the world. They’re just excerpts, I guess because the full tracks are lengthy. “Fluch des Seins” is 11 minutes long, and “Ecce Homo” is… wait for it… 36 1/2 minutes long. Continue reading »

Jul 162019
 

 

This is a rare mid-week edition of a column that usually appears on Sunday. This didn’t happen by design. I was trying to select some new songs for a SEEN AND HEARD post, and by chance it happened that three of them — these three — were shades of black metal. So I decided to collect them today, and try again tomorrow for a cross-genre round-up under the SEEN AND HEARD banner.

NIGHTFELL

A Sanity Deranged is the third album by Portland’s Nightfell, a duo (Tim Call and Todd Burdette) whose music I’ve enjoyed from the beginning. It will be released on Friday the Thirteenth of September by 20 Buck Spin (who are having another great year of releases), and the first song in today’s selection is from that new album. Continue reading »

Jul 142019
 

 

I’m in the midst of a two-day outdoor event with co-workers and other friends that happens every summer. It tends to leave me very little time for NCS, and that has proven true again this year. I also failed to ask someone else to take over SHADES OF BLACK for this Sunday.

But I didn’t want to have a complete blackout of the site today, which might leave some of our visitors wondering if some disaster had befallen us, or if that Manhattan power outage had decided to leap the continent and send us into a different kind of darkness than what usually descends in these weekly columns. So I have one song to share with you, and unfortunately only one. As it happens, a notice of it arrived in our in-box only this morning. Lacking the time to listen to any other candidates on my list, I took a chance and listened only to this one. If it had not been good, we might have had a total blackout. Continue reading »

Jul 092019
 

 

This is the second Part of the weekly column I began (here) in its usual Sunday slot. I had intended to finish it in time for posting yesterday, but that obviously didn’t work out. Since I ran out of time before I could complete it on Monday, the inevitable happened — it grew larger overnight. On the other hand, Father Time is still being a hoarder of his gifts, so I’m still hurrying, and must try to be sparing with my verbiage.

TENEBRAE IN PERPETUUM

A decade after the last album by Tenebrae In Perpetuum, its sole creator (Atratus) is returning with a new album, aided by drummer Chimsicrin (of Gorrch). Named Anorexia Obscura, it will be released by Debemur Morti on August 30, and the first advance track — “Dissonanze mentali” — is how I’ve decided to begin today’s collection. Continue reading »