Sep 232018
 

 

(While our editor is on vacation this weekend, our ally HGD has generously stepped into the void and gathered the following collection of new black metal to recommend to you.)

Bâ’a

The best part of putting together a collection like this one is being able to discover hidden diamonds in the rough, especially those that appear out of the blue with little warning. The atmospheric black metal band Bâ’a is a prime example of this.

The scant details provided to Black Metal Promotion as a part of the upload of their single “Les Terres de Terreur“, seems to indicate that they hail from France, but there is no information about their membership. The band appears disinclined towards the use of social media as well, with no presence on Facebook or Bandcamp, seemingly preferring to let their music speak for them. After listening to this track, it’s not hard to see why. Continue reading »

Sep 162018
 

 

Unlike most of the music I chose for Part 1 of today’s collection, black metal isn’t the dominant ingredient in everything I’ve included in this second Part, though it always plays a role. I’ve segmented these five choices by design, with some connections I hear between the first two, and some different connections between the last two, and some HelCarpathian Black Metal in the middle.

ULTHAR

Ulthar‘s 2016 debut demo made quite a vivid impression on me, which I likened to “the musical equivalent of rabid wolves in a feeding frenzy”. Of that demo I further wrote: “The focal core of Ulthar’s music is corrosive, distorted, head-ramming, d-beat crust, but they spread out from there, incorporating bestial death bellows and deranged shrieking along with massive, spine-shattering chugs, violent blackened riff swarms, and melodically dismal and alien slower passages”. Continue reading »

Sep 162018
 

 

As you can see, I had enough time yesterday and this morning to pick twice the usual number of selections for this Sunday’s column. Maybe this will make up for the likelihood that there will be no S.O.B. column next week because this SOB will be going on a short vacation next weekend with Ms. Islander and some friends.

Although I had time to assemble a two-part collection this week, that only somewhat eased the agony of picking from among such a massive number of deserving advance tracks and new releases. I wish I could have done more.

CARPE NOCTEM

I christened May 2012 “Iceland Metal Month“, calling attention to a series of posts I wrote which exclusively focused on metal bands from Iceland, a country that I wrote was “starting to seem close to Finland in the ratio of killer metal bands per capita of population”. Now, almost five and a half years later, it no longer seems like a close call, particularly in the genre of black metal. Continue reading »

Sep 092018
 

 

The music I’ve picked for this week’s column is among the shades of black that shade into death metal, or vice-verse, depending on the stylistic ingredients that you think are more dominant. But while “blackened death metal” might be a suitable description for some of this music, that label doesn’t fit all of it, at least as I think most listeners interpret the term.

All but one of the bands in this collection are old favorites of mine who are returning with new music, sometimes after extended absences; one is a new discovery. I’ll add that this weekend has been a busy one for me (busy with non-NCS activities), so I’m hurrying to get this done before I have to turn again to other stuff. Which means I’m having to cut short my usual rhetorical embellishments, and mainly let the music sell itself.

MALTHUSIAN

After two powerful previous releases, the MMXIII demo in 2013 and the stellar 2015 EP Below the Hengiform (which we had the privilege of premiering), the Irish black/death band Malthusian will at last release a full-length this year. Across Deaths is set for release on September 28th by Dark Descent Records and Invictus Productions Continue reading »

Sep 032018
 

 

It’s Labor Day here in the U.S. today, which won’t mean much or anything to half the people who visit our site. For those people, who don’t live here, it’s a holiday designed to celebrate the American labor movement. For me, it’s just another laboring day at NCS, though of course it feels more like fun than work or you can be damned sure I wouldn’t be doing it.

This is the second Part of a column I began yesterday, which I hope you’ll check out if you haven’t, because there’s a lot of good music there as well as here.

YOVEL

Although I mostly focus these columns on new or forthcoming releases, I’m stepping back in time for the first recommendation today. I overlooked this album when it was released on April 1st of this year, but was called back to it through a recent e-mail we received. The first track was seductive; the second track spun the turbine in my head into the red zone. Continue reading »

Sep 022018
 

 

This Sunday’s collection of music validates the title of the series: No two of the songs are very much alike, and they display quite different degrees of “blackening”. If you’re like me, you’ll like all of it; even if you’re not, there’s enough diversity in the music that you’re bound to discover something of interest.

As you can see, there will be a second Part of what I’ve pulled together this week. But the odds are I won’t finish it in time to post it today, and you’ll see it tomorrow instead.

A FOREST OF STARS

The first single from A Forest of Stars‘ new album (“Precipice Pirouette”) was a glorious extravagance, a 10 1/2-minute pageant capable of carrying the listener away like a leaf in a gale. I said so, and so it must be true. And now we have a second single, with the delightfully loony yet carefully calculated title “Decomposing Deity Dance Hall“. Continue reading »

Aug 262018
 

 

The thick blanket of smoke that’s fallen over the part of Wyoming where I’m currently vacationing has diminished the attractiveness of outdoor activity, and that in turn led me to do what I usually do on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings — listen to recent offerings of music from the darkest realms.

Strong winds seem to be creating some clearing in the noxious fog from burning forests, so I probably won’t be writing a second part for this column, though I have more than enough new songs and full releases to justify it. I’ll have to content myself with the following five selections.

MEPHORASH

Last week brought us the second single from the fourth album, Shem Ha Mephorash, by the Swedish band Mephorash. The first single, “777: Third Woe“, was released way back in November of 2017, and it prompted me to marvel at its pitch-black devotion — music that was reverential, grandiose, and fearsome in its conjuring of majestic and sinister power (and also quite memorable). Continue reading »

Aug 192018
 

 

This weekend I had the time to double the size of the usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK column. And while I recognize the risks of recommending more music than you’ll have time to check out, I do hope you’ll explore the excellent selections I included in Part 1, as well as what I’ve picked for Part 2. As in the earlier installment, I’ve again included two full recent releases and advance samples of music from two others that are set for release this fall.

ULTHA

I somehow missed the original 2015 release of the debut album (Pain Cleanses Every Doubt) by this enormously talented German band, but rectified the oversight when the album was reissued by Translation Loss in April 2016, helping to spread the word through an interview of the band and a stream of one of the songs from that fine debut. And since then I’ve been following their activities closely, writing about their 2016 EP, Dismal Ruins; their 2016 split with Morast (a tribute to Bathory); their 2017 live recording, Woe Over Roadburn; their 2017 split with Paramnesia; and their 2018 EP Dismal Ruins Pt II. Meanwhile, Andy Synn reviewed their 2016 album Converging Sins.

In other words, as prolific as Ultha have been, we’ve devoted attention to everything they’ve done so far. Why stop now? Continue reading »

Aug 192018
 

 

You nay have noticed that we had no WAXING LYRICAL post yesterday, given that Mr. Synn was otherwise occupied. Rather than attempt to cobble together a Saturday post myself, I decided instead to get a head start on what will become a two-part SHADES OF BLACK for today, with new music from four bands in this part and four more in Part 2. In this one, I’ve picked two recent full releases and advance tracks from two other albums.

VOLKOLUN

Path Through The Mist is a new EP by Volkolun (Волколунь) from Belgorod, Russia, who released a debut album (Only Trees Remember Centuries) five years ago. Though I haven’t heard the album, and therefore had no inkling what might be coming, the EP knocked me over from the first time I heard it. Continue reading »

Aug 122018
 

 

There’s a reason why I chose SHADES OF BLACK as the title of this series many years ago, instead of something like BLACK METAL. It avoids debates about whether the music I choose to highlight is or isn’t that thing, and allows me to roam a bit more widely than I would even if I were just applying my own definition of what belongs in the genre, which in itself would still take us well beyond whirring guitars, blasting drums, and scalding shrieks. It allows me to choose the following collection of excellent new music without thinking too hard about it.

TEMPLE NIGHTSIDE

In 2013 the vaunted Australian band Temple Nightside released their debut album, Condemnation. They’ve released one other album since then (along with a couple of splits), in the shape of 2016’s The Hecatomb. Now, rather than releasing a full-length of entirely new material, they’ve re-recorded their debut album — although “re-imagined” is a better word for what they seem to have done. It makes sense that they would also commission new cover art, and they enlisted the abundant talents of Elijah Tamu for that. Continue reading »