Feb 072021
 

 

I’ll be so bold as to say that lovers of black metal, or at least those whose tastes aren’t rigidly hemmed in by convention, are in the midst of a musical Renaissance. I don’t mean to say that every band and every variant are worth our time or our devotion — as in all art, there is wheat and there is chaff to be separated. But there are giant bushelfuls of wheat to fall into!

Sadly, out of the many noteworthy releases I discovered during the last week, the timing of which perhaps had something to do with Bandcamp Friday, I only have time to feature a couple, and I chose these two. Even with just these two, time prevents me from going into great depth about them

MISOTHEIST

I’ve been impatiently waiting for a new Misotheist album ever since coming across a preliminary version of a new song named “Benefactor of Wounds” in the spring of 2019. I had thought that Terratur Possessions would release the album that year, but the year passed, and so did 2020, and we continued to wait — though the debut of the album version of that same song last November did bring with it the news that the album would finally arrive this month. And so it has. In a word, it’s stunning. Continue reading »

Feb 072021
 


Spire

 

These columns are always difficult to put together. There are just so many worthy candidates to choose from. But this weekend seemed even more difficult than usual. In an effort to call attention to as much new music as I could, I’ve made this a two-parter. To get things started, I chose advance tracks from four forthcoming records and sandwiched in a new video for a song we’ve praised before. Part 2 will be devoted to a few complete new releases.

SPIRE (Australia)

First up are a pair of stunning advance tracks from Temple of Khronos, the second album by Australia’s Spire. “Harbinger” is an immediate storm of reality-rending chaos, a conflagration of blasting drums, massed, maniacally swirling guitars, and a choir of vocalists who seem to be in the throes of a mind-scarring out-of-body experience. The intensity will suck the wind from your lungs, but the glimmering, otherworldly melodies, which become stricken with grief and despair when the momentum slows, and the ominous chanting, which adds an element of solemn and haunting grandeur, make the song even more compelling. Continue reading »

Jan 312021
 

 

As promised in Part 1 of this column, Part 2 is devoted to a group of complete new albums that were just released during the last 10 days, most of them unusually unsettling but also fascinating. With apologies to the bands, and maybe to you if you usually bother to read rather than just listen, I’ve resorted to a time-saving strategy of just picking one track from each album to write about in detail, and then adding only the most cursory preview of everything else.

For the first two records I’m again indebted to Rennie (starkweather) for making me aware of them.

MUKA (Croatia)

Patologija Poniznosti is a new EP by this band from Zagreb that just came out today, so I obviously haven’t spent much time with it. But I’ve spent enough time to learn that Muka have become no more merciful than they were on their 2017 EP, Sveta Stoka, which I briefly reviewed here. Continue reading »

Jan 312021
 

 

What you have before you is a selection of advance tracks from forthcoming releases and, at the end, the stream of a new EP. If that weren’t enough to occupy you (and it probably is), I have in mind a second part to this column that includes a bunch of complete new releases, most of which I found stupendously unsettling but also fascinating. Since I haven’t put that Part together yet, I can’t confidently say when you’ll see it, but by tomorrow at the latest.

WESENWILLE (Netherlands)

The first track I’ve picked, “The Descent“, exhibits some favorable developments as compared to this Utrecht duo’s first album, which caught our attention in 2018 and is still worth your time. The new song is a scorcher but also adventurous, creating moods that are dismal and twisted, as well as maniacally glorious and chillingly hallucinatory. The tempos and riffing are in constant flux, while the vocals are perpetually unhinged in their fury. The blazing yet bleak finale is downright breathtaking. Continue reading »

Jan 242021
 

 

I may have bitten off more than you can chew in this collection of recommended black metal. It’s certainly more than I can masticate with adequate words. I’ve started with a collection of individual songs from forthcoming albums by five bands, and then followed that with a complete album and two full EPs. To make this manageable for me, if not for you, for the full releases I’ve only hinted at what you’ll find within them and then left you to browse for yourselves.

SARKRISTA (Germany)

The first song in today’s collection, “The Beast Reborn“, is a teaser for the third album to be released by these Finnish Satanists (who dwell in Germany). It rips and ravages, batters and scampers, but soars in a way that’s both glorious and desperately beleaguered, and the trilling leads channel a heart-felt yearning that might seem at odds with the completely unhinged, flamethrowing vocals. Continue reading »

Jan 172021
 

 

I’ve gone off on a tangent in this week’s column. Nothing here will strike you as conventional black metal, and in many of the songs the black metal ingredients are dwarfed by others (among other things, rock beats dominate over blast-beats). But all this music struck a chord with me (many of them, in fact), and I also thought they made a pretty good playlist all joined together like this.

OTHRS / BURDEN MAN (Australia)

I have Rennie of starkweather to thank for spending time with the songs that are now streaming from this new split named Grievance, two songs by each band.

The first two are from a band named OTHRS, which is a project of Melbourne-based M.R, known for his work in Spire. Here is he joined by vocalist V.S., also a member of Spire as well as Void Stare. Continue reading »

Jan 102021
 

 

I had more time this Sunday morning than I did yesterday to check out new music, focusing as I usually do on the blackened arts. Unfortunately for me, if not for you, I still didn’t have time to write as much as I would like about what I’ve selected for this column. For much of it I resorted to fragmentary impressions rather than more complete reviews, or even complete sentences. But I bet you’ll enjoy the music anyway.

MALIST (Russia)

…blazing and boisterous… thrusting and thunderous… moody, melancholy, and mysterious at times, but mainly explosive and exhilarating (and highly addictive)… Continue reading »

Jan 032021
 

 

Here we are, in this uncertain in-between time, with one foot still in the old year (because it seems to keep moving forward, refusing to let go) and one foot in the new year (which isn’t exactly providing solid ground to stand on). And so it is in the micro-world of extreme metal, when we’re still catching up with late-year releases while looking ahead to what’s coming in 2021. What you’ll find in this blackened round-up is a mix of such things.

NOEN HATER OSS (Norway)

To begin, I’ve chosen two songs that appeared during the last two months of 2020, both of which are part of an album entitled Siste stopp skjærsilden that’s planned for release later this month. The band is Noen Hater Oss from Stavanger, Norway, which began as the solo project of Raum and now also includes vocalist Morloc. Their discography includes a demo and two full-lengths, but they are new to me. Continue reading »

Dec 272020
 

 

Today’s column is a collection of substantial musical mood swings. I didn’t plan it that way, it’s just how it came together. I enjoyed the twists and turns and hope you will too.

INHEIN (Russia)

Suffering for iron-poor blood? Ass dragging like there’s a load of bricks in your stained shorts? Sinking like a stone beneath an endless ocean of listlessness? The first song in this playlist furnishes the remedy for all that, at least for six minutes. Continue reading »

Dec 202020
 

 

Yesterday I bitched about the compression of my NCS time over the last week, so no more bitching today. Besides, I did have a lot of time to myself yesterday and this morning, enough to finish listening to some things I’d begun earlier, and to make some exciting new discoveries. What you’ll find below is a diverse mix of recently released albums and one new EP, along with a couple of advance tracks from forthcoming records and one twist at the end.

SRD (Slovenia)

Not too long ago my Norwegian friend eitororm e-mailed me with some suggestions for this column, one of which was Ogjna prerok, the sophomore album by the Slovenian black metal band Srd. He wrote: “The album is all over the place, with songs and passages with varying quality. In the middle of the album there’s even an accordion tune, which really doesn’t fit. And despite all this, I find myself returning to listen to the album over again. It has certain elements that really stick to my mind. If you listen to this whole album in its entirety, a part of it may just end up on your list of infections”. Continue reading »