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 »

Jul 072019
 

 

As you can see, I’ve planned a two-part SOB again. I doubt I’ll finish Part 2 in time to post it today, and even if I do, I think I’ll defer it to Monday anyway. With so many new-music round-ups lately, I’m afraid we’re at risk of overloading people already, especially because this Part 1 includes four full releases in addition to the two advance tracks I’ve placed at the beginning (and there are additional complete releases in what I have in mind for Part 2)..

NOCTEM

We’ve been closely following the progress of the Spanish band Noctem since 2011, when they released their second album, Oblivion. Four of us have written about the band over the years since then, amassing 16 different posts about them (including two interviews). Obviously, we are fans. But we have equally been persistently curious about what they would do next.

Noctem’s music has always been a blend of death and black metal, but the sound hasn’t remained stagnant. It might go too far to say there has been a continuous trajectory over time, but in general it seems like in the earlier years they were more death-metal focused, whereas the last album, 2016’s Haeresis, leaned more toward the black metal elements in their sound. Based on the title track from their new album, The Black Consecration, it sounds like they’re leaning even harder in that direction, and have in other ways made shifts in sound from their last record. Continue reading »

Jun 302019
 

 

Man, I have so much new black metal to write about this week (like what else is new?), but not enough time to write about all of it (that’s not new either), in part because of the time I spent on a rare Sunday premiere (which you really should go listen to if you haven’t already), though it’s a shade of black too.

Despite the temptations, I know better than to call this post Part 1. We know what the Scottish bard said about best-laid plans. Better to just see what happens, better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed by another broken promise.

DEADSPACE

When the first song in this collection appeared last week my friend Mr. Synn quipped on FB: “Like Nachtmystium but worried that by doing so you’re in danger of having your canoe stolen and sold for drug money? Well, worry no longer!” Continue reading »

Jun 242019
 

 

Here’s the second Part of the SHADES OF BLACK column I started yesterday. I scurried like a hamster on a wheel to get this finished yesterday, but fell off into a pile of sawdust (or whatever people line their hamster cages with).  I think it’s fair to say that the following selections are defined by musical eclecticism — but you be the judge of that.

DAMIM

I’m beginning this second installment with a new discovery (at least for me), a London-based group named Damim, led by vocalist/guitarist Nathanael Underwood (ex-Akercocke). Damim have a new album named A Fine Game of Nil (excellent title) set for release on June 28th by Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings and Czar of Crickets Productions, and what you’ll find below is a track from the album called “Rising of the Light“. Continue reading »

Jun 232019
 

 

There’s no hope of catching up. The flood of new metal is unrelenting; the torrent certainly did not pause for me while I spent a week in Iceland and then much of the next week trying to get the rest of my life back in order while paying homage to the Iceland experience (and honoring a bunch of premiere commitments I had made before leaving the country). Although I can’t listen to everything that surfaced during those two weeks, much less what had accumulated in the weeks before those, I’m going to attempt a two-part post today, in an effort to cover more rather than less of what I managed to find over the last 48 hours.

Today’s blackened selections are a mix of advance tracks from forthcoming albums, a couple of complete short releases, and a few excerpts from recently released (or re-released) full-lengths. For both Parts, I decided to end them with performances that diverge from the general wildness of everything else.

ARS VENEFICIUM / ULVDALIR

On June 21st Immortal Frost Productions released In Death’s Cold Embrace, a new 7″ vinyl split by two bands whose previous music we’ve praised at NCS. The split is also deserving of praise — and your close attention. Continue reading »

Jun 102019
 

 

I wasn’t able to complete the second Part of this week’s SHADES OF BLACK in time to further despoil the Sabbath with it, but as promised, I have at least used it to begin sending the new work-week deep into the void.

Part 1 consisted of advance tracks from forthcoming albums, but for this one I’ve chosen four complete album-length releases that in all but one case arrived last week. As you’ll discover, there are other marked differences between the selections here and those in Part 1, which is another reason I chose this division.

ANDAVALD

As many of you already know, Fallen Empire Records has permanently ceased activity, but its proprietor has not. Instead, he has joined forces with Mystískaos Records, whose previous releases have included music by Chaos Moon, Entheogen, and Vonlaus. The first three releases of this new collaboration include two of the albums in Part 2 of this week’s black metal column. The first of those is Undir skyggðarhaldi, the debut record by the Icelandic band Andavald. Continue reading »

Jun 092019
 

 

My mind is on Iceland today. Soon my body will be too. Ascension Festival looms ahead this week, set to begin on June 13th in Mosfellbær. Anticipating that event, I’ve drawn a few connections with Iceland in today’s SHADES OF BLACK selections. My selections are numerous enough that I’ve divided them into two Parts. Part 1 includes advance tracks from forthcoming albums. What I have in mind for Part 2 are three or four full releases. If I can’t finish writing Part 2 in time to post it today, you’ll see it first thing Monday morning.

However, I’m doubtful you’ll see a SHADES OF BLACK here next Sunday, which will be the day after Ascension concludes. Maybe I’ll be able to scrawl a few words about the just-concluded festival, but probably won’t be able to prepare another one of these columns. For Part 1 of today’s column, the organizing principle is subjective impressions first, objective info second.

VÁSTÍGR

Despite the imposing wintriness of the cover art, this first song has the ebullient mood of a thronged carnival in full swing. The reverberating notes sparkle and dance, soar and swirl. The music grows more frenzied, ever-bursting with extravagant drumwork, and darkness creeps into the atmosphere even before the manic exuberance briefly abates, and moodiness descends. Continue reading »

May 292019
 

 

(We missed our usual Sunday appointment for the SHADES OF BLACK column, but Andy Synn has stepped in to fill that void with this selection of new releases from the black realms.)

Even though we’ve just come off several days of relative quiet here at NCS (due mostly to a certain Deathfest) we’re already at risk of entering another quiet period as Islander (and various others) gets drawn into the day-to-day running of this year’s edition of Northwest Terror Fest.

However, as luck would have it, I’ve got a massive backlog of artists/albums I’ve been meaning to cover, and so have promised that I’ll deliver something new every day this week so that he doesn’t need to worry about juggling both NCS and NWTF at the same time.

So to kick things off I’ve decided to publish my own version of “Shades of Black” to make up for the lack of one this weekend, featuring short reviews of a bunch of bands, taking in a mix of well-known and (reasonably) obscure names, beginning with… Continue reading »

May 192019
 

 

(NCS reader, commenter, and frequent source of musical recommendations, HGD, has graciously stepped in to prepare this week’s SHADES OF BLACK column, as he has done before, given that our regular columnist (that would be me) is again unable to do so because of interference from the job that pays the bills around here.)

With Islander being swarmed with work over the last few weeks, I felt the need to step up and do my part to relieve his burden, if only a little. I’m pleased to present today’s Shades of Black column and hope all our regular and not so regular readers find something here that warms their blackened hearts. — HGD Continue reading »