Jan 192020
 

 

Five individual tracks. That’s what I’ve combined into this first installment of our usual Sunday expedition into the black realms. The second Part includes a few complete records, recently released, that I’d like to recommend. I haven’t written it yet, and may not finish it in time to post it today. Astonishingly, I have some other activities planned, and they may push Part 2 into Monday.

DARK FORTRESS

Last week brought another advance track from Spectres Of The Old World, the eighth album by Germany’s Dark Fortress. I’ve already provided some background details about the album when writing about a previous single, “Pulling At Threads” (here), and won’t repeat it. That previous song, although quite welcome, was a very short one for Dark Fortress, ending abruptly and without offering much in the way of unorthodox, progressive, or challenging permutations, which is what we’ve come to expect from the band as they’ve evolved. So, what of the new one, “Isa“? Continue reading »

Jan 142020
 

 

Apologies for not posting a SHADES OF BLACK on Sunday, where it belongs. For reasons related to my day job I had to go to Texas for a long weekend, and spent a big part Sunday getting back to Seattle. While in Texas I had time to pick what I wanted to write about, but not enough time to do the writing. And then Sunday night my home lost power and internet access due to a snowfall, with the problems lasting well into mid-day on Monday, so that trashed my plans to post this yesterday.

In the meantime, of course, a lot more black metal has surfaced, and I decided to include just one of those new songs along with the ones I originally picked for Sunday.

MEDICO PESTE

God Knows Why” is the one new song I decided to add. It debuted today along with a fascinating but NSFW video. The song is off the new album by the Polish black metal band Medico Peste, whose music is also fascinating and not safe for work, or for just about anyplace else. Continue reading »

Jan 052020
 

 

Welcome to another edition of this column, the first of the roaring ’20s. I’m a bit late getting this one finished, so I’ll dispense with any further introductory words and just go right to the music.

LURKER OF CHALICE

When I see the phrase “cult album”, it often seems to refer to something only about five people ever heard, and isn’t all that good. But sometimes it means the kind of thing that made an out-sized impact by a band that then simply disappeared. Lurker of Chalice‘s self-titled album, released in 2005, is one of those. It was that project’s only full-length, and nothing more came after it, but it is vividly remembered by many listeners to this day, more than 15 years later.

Now, there will be another Lurker of Chalice album, though it may not be exactly what people were hoping for. Continue reading »

Dec 292019
 

 

Just three days left, including this one, before time consigns 2019 to the history books. Although we’re spending more and more time looking ahead to the records that will be released in 2020, we’re not finished with our reflections about metal in 2019. We will have more year-end lists from NCS writers and guests to share with you throughout the coming week, as well as the launch of our Most Infectious Song list, and at least Mr. Synn and I still plan to review some 2019 releases we haven’t gotten around to yet.

I’m doing some of that in today’s column. I picked three advance tracks to recommend from forthcoming 2020 albums, but the other three items are albums or EPs released this year, one of them as far back as August, which already seems like an eon ago. Hope you like all of it.

MALOKARPATAN

I’m a bit late getting to this first track, which debuted 10 days ago. That surprised even me, because I’ve been a fascinated follower of Malokarpatan from the beginning. The song is the first one revealed from this Slovakian band’s third album, Krupinské ohne. Its conceptual nature has been described by guitarist Adam as follows: Continue reading »

Dec 252019
 

 

My time is running short, so I’ll dispense with any further introduction beyond what I included in Part 1 earlier today.

ZIFIR

The next song in this two-part collection is “Empire of Worms“, off a new album by the Istanbul-based black metal band Zifir. Entitled Demoniac Ethics, the new full-length is accompanied by the artwork of one of my favorite dark-art creators, Vergvoktre, and it will be released by Duplicate Records on January 24th. The track premiered about one week ago at Decibel. One other track from the album (“Chants for Execution“) surfaced around Thanksgiving, and I’ve included that stream as well. Continue reading »

Dec 252019
 

 

“Confrontation is expected, it doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas”. That’s a quote from a 28-year-old restaurant worker in the midst of a crowd exchanging insults with police today in Hong Kong, where protests continue without regard to the holiday. But when I saw that line in an article this morning it seemed a fitting introduction to this column too. We’re not shutting down either, so get ready for a lot of confrontational metal to blacken this holiday (divided into two parts).

SARGEIST

This is a rare SHADES OF BLACK in which every band here, in both Parts, is one I’ve written about before. And they’re here again because they’re all damned good. Of them all, Sargeist is the most venerable and venerated. Now 20 years into their career, and still led with venom and vigor by Shatraug, Sargeist gave us a new album last year, but decided to drop a new EP just yesterday. It caught me by surprise, and what a good surprise it is. Continue reading »

Dec 222019
 

 

Welcome to the second Part of this week’s foray into black and blackened metal. I’m hurrying to get this done, so I’ll dispense with any further introduction — other than to encourage you to check out the music in Part 1 (here) if you haven’t already.

CULT OF ERINYES

I’ve been following and writing about this Belgian band since just before the release of their second album in 2013 (Blessed Extinction), but I’ve fallen down on the job since I failed to yell at you in advance about the impending release of their latest album Æstivation (which now features the prolific Déhà as a full band member, along with members of Wolvennest and LVTHN). But now the album is out — having been released just yesterday by Amor Fati Productions. The benefit of my foot-dragging is that (after a bit of yelling from me) you can dive right into the entire record on your own without delay. Continue reading »

Dec 222019
 

 

You can tell from the title of this post that I have ambitions for putting a lot of black/blackened metal in front of you today. As I explained in yesterday’s post, the torrent of new music hasn’t let up just because we’re on the brink of the holiday season and the turnover from 2019 to 2020. So I’m trying to make the most of this weekend for round-ups of new music before the new week makes me focus again on LISTMANIA and premieres.

DEEMTEE

Did you miss Deemtee’s debut album when it was released last June? If you did, and you’re also a fan of such bands as Deathspell Omega, Oranssi Pazuzu, Valborg, Blut Aus Nord, and Ved Buens Ende, it’s well worth carving out some of your year-end time to check it out. We premiered a full stream of Flawed Synchronization With Reality, and I’ll excerpt only these words from the very wordy review which accompanied that: Continue reading »

Dec 172019
 

 

Way back on Saturday morning, at the end of a roundup of new music, I mentioned the risk that there would be no SHADES OF BLACK column the next day, due to the likelihood that I would get hammered at a holiday party Saturday night, rendering my Sunday mind a wasteland. I know myself all too well. But now that my head is clearer (always a relative condition) I picked up what I had hoped to do on Sunday, added a couple of songs I’ve discovered since then, and have assembled this collection, which I hope you will enjoy.

FLUISTERAARS

We have enthusiastically covered everything released by this Dutch black metal band from Gelderland, beginning with their 2014 debut album Dromers. We won’t stop now. Their newest release will be a third album entitled Bloem, set for release on February 28th by Eisenwald.

I can imagine the looks of skepticism on some of your grymm visages after having seen those pretty flowers on the album cover, unmarred by words, but don’t turn up your noses until you’ve listened to the first track released from the album (and I’m betting you won’t do that afterward either). Continue reading »

Dec 082019
 

 

Hallelujah! I managed to finish Part 2 of today’s column. Whether you finish listening to all the music is a different question, because between Part 1 and this installment there’s quite a lot to be absorbed. Hopefully you’ll discover something (or several somethings) worth the effort.

AARDLING

I mentioned at the outset that today’s collection would include bands whose names you won’t find at Metal-Archives, and Aardling‘s debut album Transmit To A Distance is one of them — not that this bothers me, nor should it bother you. Continue reading »