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 »

Dec 082019
 

 

There’s so much music here that I have divided this into two parts to make it more easily digestible. There’s a risk I’ll never finish part two. The all-or-nothing strategy might have been better (to be determined).

I will add that there are three bands in this collection that you won’t find on Metal-Archives, which I mention as a hint about the diversity of sounds you have ahead of you.

HAEIRESIS

Saulius Bielskis is a prolific creator, with a half-dozen active bands and solo projects to his name. Haeiresis is one of his principal endeavors, with four EPs, a split, and a 2011 album on the Haeiresis discography. The most recent of the EPs, Emanations, is a three-track effort released on tape on November 11th by an underground Lithuanian label named Ghia. It was developed and finalized at the same time as the 2018 Haeiresis EP, The Bleaking. If you listen to both EPs, it will probably become clear why the two were released separately rather than as a single album-length work. Continue reading »

Dec 012019
 

 

I think I made a mistake. Between Friday and Saturday I spent 6+ hours just listening to new music, at least half of which I devoted to individual tracks publicly released from forthcoming albums. That’s a LOT of individual tracks. Along with discarding things that didn’t grab me, I started excitedly assembling ideas for round-up posts organized around varying themes, and of course added to an already long existing list of ideas for the column you’re reading now.

Why was that a mistake? Because now I’m mentally suffering from the knowledge that there’s no way I’ll have the time to follow through on all the writing schemes I imagined, no way to feature everything I’d like to recommend. Even if I could, it would be too much music and too many words for any normal person to consume over the space of a few days, on top of other music you would be exploring from other sources.

Well, as they say, I made my bed and now I have to lie on it. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s what I chose for today — which is a lot of music, but not nearly enough.

MOTHER AUGUSTA

If you haven’t done whatever you need to do to follow the Chinese label Pest Productions on Bandcamp, you ought to fix that post haste. The releases are stylistically more unpredictable than many labels with a black metal pedigree, and over a lot of years I’ve encountered very few that didn’t do something good for me. A Bandcamp e-mail alert just days ago is how I discovered that Pest had released Fragile, which is the name of the debut album of Mother Augusta. Continue reading »

Nov 252019
 

 

I did warn you this might be late.

I had a hellish time deciding what to include in this week’s column. Usually I manage to squeeze a few black metal selections into SEEN AND HEARD round-ups during the week, which makes the Sunday winnowing a little bit easier (but only a little), and I did some of that in yesterday’s first post.

But lacking the time to prepare any round-ups last week, the options over which I pondered for this column were enormous in number. I did the best I could, though still downcast by my inability to do more — a feeling counter-balanced by how excited I am over what I did choose.

ISRATHOUM

The Portuguese band Israthoum, who have been based in the Netherlands for roughly 20 years, have produced a distinctive and compelling discography that, for myself and many others, makes their every release a “must listen!” event.

Their newest work, an album named Arrows from Below, is enriched by the amazing artwork of Ubertragic Art that you see above. It will be released on Friday the 13th of December by New Era Productions, and last week DECIBEL premiered the first excerpt, a song called “Laetetur Cor”. Continue reading »

Nov 172019
 

 

As promised earlier, Part 2 of today’s column collects music that, for want of a better word, is more demonic than what I chose for Part 1. It also includes music from four obscure bands whose music I had never heard before this past week — mainly because these are their first releases. But before I get to those, I’m beginning with something new from an old favorite.

BLACK ROYAL

I have very fond memories of the 2018 album Lightbringer by the Finnish group Black Royal, and in particular of a song called “The Chosen” that I put on our list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs for that year. I didn’t expect we’d have another album so soon, but that seems to be the case.

Word is, that an album named Firebride will be out on February 14, 2020, via Suicide Records. And on November 1st the band premiered an occult-themed pagan video (here) for an advance track (which has been released as a true single) called “Pagan Saviour“. Continue reading »

Nov 172019
 

 

I have a lot to cover today, not counting a big stack of new albums I might mention by way of excerpts tomorrow, as I did last week, so by way of introduction I’ll say only that I grouped the two sets of songs in these two Parts in a purposeful way. Here, there’s a lot of heart-rending distress to be found (among other things). For the most part, what will come in Part 2 is much more… demonic.

KARG

For more than a decade, Harakiri For the Sky‘s vocalist J.J. has maintained a solo project named Karg, whose discography will soon include a seventh album entitled Trakat. The first single, “Irgendjemand wartet immer“, was released a few days ago. I think it’s best introduced through J.J.‘s comments about the album as a whole: Continue reading »

Nov 122019
 

 

Some of you might remember that in the regular Sunday edition of this feature two days ago I mentioned that I had an idea for quickly highlighting a bunch of new albums that I didn’t want to neglect. I referred to it then as a collection of “teasers”. What I meant by that, as you’re about to see for yourselves, is a strategy that’s less satisfying than writing everything I’d like to say about these albums, but better than by-passing them altogether. What I’ve done is to pick just one song from each release as a jumping-off point, in the hope that you’ll go ahead and jump all the way in without further persuasion.

HELL’S CORONATION

The first album I’d like to highlight is Ritual Chalice of Hateful Blood, the debut full-length by Hell’s Coronation, which was released on October 31st by Godz Ov War Productions. The song I’ve picked as a teaser for the album is “Fullmoon Is the Sinister Light of Providence“, which also happens to be the song that’s set up to stream first at the album’s Bandcamp page, although it comes fourth in the running order. Continue reading »