Sep 182022
 

To save time (yours and mine), I’ll dispense with the usual windy introduction and say only that some of the choices I made this week stretch the admittedly elastic musical bounds of this column, and eventually wind up completely outside them… but that doesn’t happen right away, as you’ll soon see.

GEVURAH (Canada)

Gevurah probably need no introduction to our visitors, or to anyone else who wants to feel consumed by fire when listening to black metal. As I’ve observed both in the case of their 2016 debut album Hallelujah! (which we premiered and reviewed here) and their 2018 EP Sulphur Soul (discussed here), Gevurah are devoted to the fierce power of chaos, and the unrelenting intensity of their music can be overwhelming. Based on the first song from their forthcoming second album, they’ve not moderated their stance. Continue reading »

Sep 112022
 


Ciemra

 

I had visitors from Atlanta yesterday (not Atlantis – those friends have a longer swim), and that visit included a trip to the ballpark to watch the Mariners beat the Braves. I didn’t gloat too much, and my friends were pretty stoic in accepting their home team’s loss, since their team won the first game of the series the night before.

However, by the time I made it back to my island home and got to bed, the clock had struck midnight. And by the time I woke up this morning to view another sunrise dismally cloaked in wildfire smoke, a big chunk of the early day was already gone. And then I remembered an imminent outing my spouse had planned. So there’s really not much time to give this column.

I thought about not writing anything, but didn’t want to foment anxiety among the throngs who might worry that my house had been struck by a meteor or ruined by a long-awaited reappearance of the Great Old Ones. Continue reading »

Sep 042022
 

For this Sunday’s column I’ve included three complete releases and one from a forthcoming album. I venture to say that you’ll find the first two releases formidably frightening and the third one more head-hooking and heart-exploding, while the advance track is an amalgam that’s fiery, feral, and defiant.

ADAESTUO (International)

I’ve written with admiration about all three of Adaestuo’s previous releases — the 2016 debut EP Tacent Semitae and the band’s two albums, Krew za krew (2018) and Manalan virrat (2020). So there was no chance I wouldn’t make the dive into Purge of the Night Cloak, a new EP they released just last week, but which seems to consist of recordings conceived in 2016 and first made in 2020. They describe it as an effort “to bring the intrepid beholder into a more Faustian Gnosis”. Continue reading »

Aug 282022
 

I had a lot of uninterrupted listening time over the last couple of days. For this column, that proved to be both a blessing and a curse — a blessing because it enabled me to wade through a broad swath of new music, a curse because what I found that I wanted to recommend after a lot of winnowing was still A LOT. So, today’s collection may test your endurance.

Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), there’s a lot of sheer dazzling madness in this collection. I tried to interweave some less insane but still gripping experiences, but it’s nevertheless likely that if you do make your way through everything here, your head will be spinning for a long time after. Today’s music also demonstrates why I called this column “Shades” of black, because there’s not much black metal orthodoxy here.

ENSLAVED (Norway)

I was dubious about the idea of starting the column with a new Enslaved song, because they’re rightfully famous and don’t need any help from us, and because I’ve not fallen in love with their more recent releases to the extent I did with earlier ones. But those doubts were in place before I listened to this new single. After hearing it I thought, how can I NOT begin with it? Continue reading »

Aug 142022
 

After three days of cruising along with lots of time to devote to NCS I ran into a wall. The demands of my fucking day job are unpredictable and weekends aren’t any more sacrosanct than they are at this site. So I had to work yesterday and this morning. You just never know when people will urgently need a delivery of toilet paper.

I finally did manage to squeeze in some listening and some writing for this weekly column, just so it wouldn’t completely go missing, but it’s shorter and more hurried than I wanted it to be.

SIGH (Japan)

To begin, we have a video for the song “Satsui” from the forthcoming 12th album by the remarkable (and long-lived) Japanese band Sigh. It’s the kind of song that’s capable of hooking people damned hard and damned fast. Continue reading »

Aug 072022
 

Someday I’ll finally learn the lesson that predicting in print what I’m going to do at NCS from one day to the next is stupid. On Friday I put together a roundup of new music that I described as a way to lessen the load for the roundup I was going to compile for Saturday. And then of course I wrote nothing on Saturday.

The wreckage of that plan was the result of embarrassing misbehavior on Friday night, so it would be even more stupid for me to share details. Last night’s misbehavior was less ruinous, so I was able to get this usual Sunday column finished. It’s not as extensive as I’d hoped it would be, but at least not another complete failure.

I’ll forecast for you that in choosing the following tracks, I wandered well off the usual beaten paths.

ISKANDR (Netherlands)

In the early fall of last year I had the pleasure of premiering what was then the third full-length by this formidable Dutch duo. Looking back on what I wrote, I was a bit dumbfounded by how many words I spilled by way of introduction. Continue reading »

Jul 242022
 


“Dracula’s castle” by Daniele Serra

I’m afraid I have no time to set the stage today with introductory comments, other than to fore-warn you that the moods of today’s selections are intensely dark and packed with pain. Paradoxically, the intensity may make you feel terrifyingly alive and perversely spellbound.

ABIGORUM (Georgia/Germany)

In 2021 Abigorum released their latest album, Vergessene Stille. On that record, the band had been reduced to the size of a duo, combining the talents of Russian musician Aleksey Korolyov (who now lives in Georgia) and German guitarist/vocalist Tino Thiele (from Wulfgar and Metamorph).

In the lead-in to that album we premiered a song named “Erhebt eure mit Blut gefüllten Hörner“, which managed to create an experience that was both hypnotizing and nightmarish, both hauntingly seductive and terrorizing. It was not alone in those respects, as we’ve been reminded by a new video for another song off that album. Continue reading »

Jul 172022
 

 

As you could already deduce from the previous two posts at this site, in recent days I found more than the usual amount of time I could devote to new music. My day job left me alone, or I ignored it, and I shrugged off household chores too. Baseball presented the only serious competition, because a certain team in the Pacific Northwest is on a historic winning streak (and I hope I didn’t just jinx them by mentioning that).

Focusing on black metal for purposes of this column, I settled on one dazzling album, a collection of quite varied “singles” from forthcoming records, and a new video. You’ll also find poetry.

SCARCITY (U.S.)

Scarcity‘s new album Aveilut (a Hebrew word for mourning) is difficult to describe. In part because it’s a single 45-minute composition, and in part because the trip maneuvers and whipsaws us through a spectacular labyrinth, it defies efforts to explain that “this happens, and then that happens, and then this other thing happens”. How tedious that would be, despite the hope that mapping the album would make it easier to comprehend.

Trying to pick out signal moments as illustrations of the music wouldn’t work very well either, because there are so many, and because they dramatically diverge from each other. Continue reading »

Jul 122022
 

 

In the dozen years of this site’s existence we’ve had fewer than a dozen days (including weekends and holidays) when we posted nothing new. Yesterday was one of those. I’ll spare you the excuses, which were numerous, but I still felt guilty about it. So I’m trying to make up for that void today.

In gazing upon my long list of songs I wanted to recommend, it occurred to me that most of them were variations of black and blackened metal, so I decided to focus on those and leave other genre variants for another day.

There’s a lot here, all of them tracks from forthcoming releases, and so I’ve truncated the introductions and mostly omitted the usual artwork. I begin with bigger names and then drift into more obscure ones. Continue reading »

Jul 102022
 

 

This edition of our usual Sunday column is long-delayed. The last one was on June 19th. I made choices to write about on June 26th but then didn’t have time to do it that day, after pulling together a gigantic “Overflowing Streams” round-up to make up for the one I didn’t do on the day before. And then the Sunday after that, July 3rd, I was helping with the immediate aftermath of Northwest Terror Fest, including some celebrating with the rest of the festival volunteers.

What to do today? I was tempted to just write about the choices I originally made for June 26th, but I felt the itch of trying to stay focused on the newest of the new, an itch that’s ever-present and immune to treatment. So I kind of split the difference, with a couple of choices from two weeks ago and one more recent pick.

INEXORUM (U.S.)

I had the pleasure of seeing Carl Sk performing with Obsequiae at the afore-mentioned Northwest Terror Fest. It was a reminder of what a great band that is, but also a reminder that I had failed to help spread the word about the new album from Carl‘s band Inexorum. That album, Equinox Vigil, was one of my picks for that June 26th installment of this column that never got off the ground, but it would be shameful of me to let any more time go by without urging you to hear it if you haven’t. Continue reading »