Oct 132019
 

 

Everything I’ve chosen for today’s column, until you get to the last selection, are songs from forthcoming albums. The last one is a recently released EP. For each selection I decided to dive right into commentary on the music first, and then follow that with the release details. Let me know what you think about the music.

EARTH AND PILLARS

Howling” is 18 1/2 minutes long. It begins with howling. Whether wolves, mad dogs, or madmen, it’s hard to tell.  An ominous but bewitching classical guitar melody swells in reverberating tones, eventually overcoming the howling… and then a (howling) storm breaks open. Continue reading »

Sep 302019
 

 

I can’t think of anything very coherent to say by way of introduction this week, perhaps because the music below has rendered me incoherent. [Correction: more incoherent.] So let’s just go right in:

VOID PRAYER

Void Prayer (previously known as Cave Ritual) are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its members are part of the Black Plague Circle, which also includes Nigrum Ignis Circuli, Deathcircle, Niteris, and Obskuritatem. Their previous releases under the Void Prayer name include a 2014 self-titled demo and a 2017 debut album, Stillbirth From the Psychotic Void, neither of which I’ve heard, but about which I’ve heard good things.

The Signal Rex label will be releasing a new Void Prayer three-track promo tape called L’appel du vide (“the call of the void”), and the first song in this collection is its title track. Continue reading »

Sep 272019
 

 

I did promise there would be a third Part to the SHADES OF BLACK column I began last Sunday. Only thing is, I made the promise three days ago. It’s been one of those weeks.

Since I originally chose the music for what evolved into this Part 3 (choices I made last weekend), a lot more worthy black metal has surfaced, creating some decision-making difficulties. To cut that Gordian knot I just decided to stick with my original choices and add only one thing that emerged this week, which is the first item below. I’ll save everything else for the regular Sunday SOB feature this weekend, and do my best to keep that one from morphing into another multi-part week-long form of musical cell division.

SCHAMMASCH

Perennial NCS favorites Schammasch are following their titanic 2016 album Triangle with a new one named Hearts Of No Light. It’s not as sprawling an album, and undoubtedly will present other signs of change, since that’s been one of the band’s hallmarks as they’ve evolved. I suspect we’ll have a review in the near future, but today the subject is the first “single”, “Rays Like Razors“. Continue reading »

Sep 242019
 

 

Yesterday my compadre Mr. Synn began a review with a few reminders about how we operate NCS. I’ll add an addendum, which is also a corollary or consequence of the points Andy mentioned: We are not a well-oiled machine. Advance planning is virtually non-existent. Chaos rather than order is usually the hallmark of the days.

And so, although I planned to post a seven-band second Part of this week’s SOB column yesterday, it turned out that I bit off almost more than I could chew with yesterday’s posts without even considering another SOB installment. It will come as no surprise that since then new songs from two more bands have appeared that I can’t resist recommending without delay. Since you have ten fingers you can calculate that these would increase the total number of bands in Part 2 to nine, which even I will concede is too many. So, I divided the original (and now swollen) Part 2 into two parts, which means there will now be a Part 3.

However, because planning is not our strong suit, I’m not sure when I’ll finish it, particularly because more exciting new songs will undoubtedly surface between now and then. As always, we’ll just have to take things one day at a time.

OBSEQUIAE

Two of the new songs that appeared since I first conceived this second SOB installment are from the new album by Obsequiae, which I’ve been very eagerly awaiting since learning last year that it was in the works. The new album is The Palms Of Sorrowed Kings, and it will be released on November 22nd by 20 Buck Spin, who may have to be investigated for attempting to corner the market on hot-shit releases this year. Continue reading »

Sep 222019
 

 

You’re probably asking yourself, since I can’t hear you, “Why will there be a second Part to this when there’s already seven bands in Part 1?!?” A good question, and a better one than you know, since there are also seven bands in Part 2.

I do have a reason for channeling such a flood of music from the black realms in this SOB installment, but I’ll save the explanation for Part 2. Sadly, I also realize the risk that this is just too much for most normal people to focus on. But I’m fortified by the suspicion that you’re not normal. I’m also deferring Part 2 to Monday morning, for extra fortification.

P.S. There’s some great cover artwork coming your way in this collection, in addition to the fine music.

P.P.S. Yes, I do know about the surprise release of Blut Aus Nord‘s new album. I had been waiting to post my review until everyone else got the promo. Now everyone can hear it, but I’ll share my own thoughts anyway — probably tomorrow. Continue reading »

Sep 162019
 

 

As promised in Part 1 of this week’s somewhat delayed edition of this column, the music I’ve selected for Part 2 consists of recordings by bands who are new discoveries for me, for which I’ll credit two regular sources of new discoveries. But before we get to the music, I have an exciting announcement to share, which occurred just today.

KRATER

I didn’t jump into Krater’s creations until their third album, 2016’s Urere, but that instantly made me a fan, so much so that I felt compelled to share today’s announcement of their new album even though I don’t yet have any song streams to present. The opportunity to put Misanthropic-Art‘s creepy creation for the album’s cover at the top of our page was an added inducement. Continue reading »

Sep 162019
 

 

I was in Utah over the weekend for my job and didn’t have a lot of free time. I did have enough time to do some listening and make these selections, but not enough to finish this column and post it in its usual place on Sunday before I had to go to the airport for the trip back to Seattle.

As you can see, there will be a second Part later today. For this first Part I’ve chosen songs that mark the return of  bands whose previous work we’ve praised and promoted. The second Part includes a number of new discoveries.

THE DEATHTRIP

My tumble into the music of The Deathtrip began in July 2016 when Neill Jameson included these words about the band’s 2014 debut album Deep Drone Master in an NCS post about black metal:

The Deathtrip is an Aldrahn project (who you should know from Dødheimsgard amongst others). Two demos that were primitive and degenerate as hell were enough to keep my interest, but the realization of the building blocks they represented which came together on this release is startling and welcome. Aldrahn has always had one of the greatest voices in black metal and it has felt like far too long since it’s been heard. Hopefully this is a project that will continue and grow.” Continue reading »

Sep 022019
 

 

HA!  Surprised you, didn’t I? I already posted a SHADES OF BLACK column in its usual place yesterday, and I didn’t hint that there would be a second column this week. Or at least I didn’t give any hints yesterday. I did hint last Sunday (a week ago) that I had a second Part in the works. I just didn’t get it finished before the hectic weekdays began. But this is that second Part which I had planned 8 days ago. That makes the music a bit dated, but no worse the wear for that.

I’ll also wish a Happy Labor Day to those of you in the U.S. and Canada who are enjoying the holiday. You gotta love a holiday that celebrates labor by giving people an excuse not to work.

FERALIA

On August 11th the Italian black metal band Feralia released their first single, “Conception“, which was also the first excerpt from their album, Helios Manifesto. The album is described as “a concept that runs through the mystical / initiatory path of man as ‘god’ of himself, using sometimes Aleister Crowley and thelemic extracts to explain with images an esoteric and initiation mood”. On this album the trio of Italian musicians are accompanied by Tibor Kati (Negura Bunget, Sur Austru) as the lead singer. Continue reading »

Sep 012019
 

 

I usually don’t include new songs by the truly “big name” bands in these columns, because anyone who cares about black metal will have already discovered them, and often because there’s better stuff churning deeper in the underground. But I made an exception today, for reasons to be explained, and then moved on from there deeper into subterranean recesses. I’m kind of proud about the way the music flows in this collection. You can decide for yourselves whether, as a playlist, these selections work well together.

MAYHEM

The Internet loves “best of” lists, especially in genres of entertainment. If you peruse any of the many web lists of the best black metal of all time it’s inevitable that you will see De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. That release happened 25 years ago, but even if Mayhem had never recorded anything else they probably would have already assured themselves an important place in the history of black metal.

But of course they went on to release four more albums of (it must be said) uneven quality, along with a slew of compilations, live recordings, and other scattered short things, all of which together demonstrate that from humble beginnings Mayhem has mutated into a formidable business enterprise. Continue reading »

Aug 252019
 

 

Yesterday some of you saw a skeletal version of this post because I hit “Publish” instead of “Save” and didn’t realize what I’d done until Andy Synn pointed it out hours later. By the time of my bone-headed goof I had picked the songs I wanted to write about and had uploaded artwork, added the usual links, put in the html codes for the music streams, and copy-pasted info about the releases from press releases, Bandcamp pages, or YouTube streams — but hadn’t actually written anything of my own about the music.

That’s the same process I follow every time I prepare one of these collections. Usually I don’t stop there, but I’m still on vacation and had some carousing to do, so I deferred the writing. Actually, I had already begun the carousing, which is most likely why I hit “Publish” instead of “Save”.

Anyway, hope you like the music I picked for today’s SOB. I’ve made selections for a second installment of the column, but don’t know if I’ll get that finished before the carousing begins again. Continue reading »