May 052019
 

 

Like yesterday’s round-up, this SHADES OF BLACK column originally took shape in my head a week ago, but I wasn’t able to post it then. Over the last week (as usual) a lot of new black metal appeared, but my paying job took me out of town and didn’t allow me enough free time to listen to much of it. The week ahead will be similar (a different destination but not much free time).

In this column I’ve combined the music I would have written about last Sunday with just a few new songs I had time to check out this past week. In case you’re wondering, I am aware that Deathspell Omega has disclosed the existence of a new album and has launched the stream of a track from it, and that a lyric video from Abbath‘s new album also surfaced (here) but those are two of many new things I’ve set aside to listen to later so that it doesn’t distract me from getting this column finished!

LVTHN / HÄXENZIJRKELL

I’ve included the music of the Belgian black metal band LVTHN in numerous previous installments of this column, but not since the release of their 2016 debut album Eradication of Nescience, and therefore failed to mention their 2017 EP, The Spider Goddess. That’s well worth checking out if you haven’t already, but today’s focus concerns something even more recent, a new split by LVTHN and the German band Häxenzijrkell (whose music I’ve also written about before). It was released on April 30th, digitally and on 10″ vinyl by Amor Fati (with cover art by Karmazid). Continue reading »

Apr 212019
 

 

To have any hope of finishing Part 2 of today’s column I’ve had to carve off some of the releases I had intended to write about too. Painful decisions to be sure, but between Part 1 and what follows in this Part 2, there’s probably too much music for any normal person to focus on already, and too many threats to your financial solvency if you like all of it well enough to go on a spending spree.

Part 1 was devoted to advance tracks from forthcoming releases (and one new single), but this installment includes complete streams of five new EPs, which ought to be enough to thoroughly burn this Easter to the ground. (Four of them are “name your own price” at Bandcamp.)

DRATNA

In the space of little more than a year, the Northern Ireland one-man black metal band Dratna (which is its creator’s name rendered in a medieval Irish language) has released three EPs of increasing quality and coalescing focus. The first two were Clíodhna and Altar (reviewed here), and the latest is An Cath (The Battle), which was on released April 20th. Continue reading »

Apr 212019
 

 

As you can see, the game plan for this Sunday is to throw more than one installment of this column at you. I’m sticking my neck out because I haven’t started writing Part 2, and will be racing to get it done before I run out of time. In my head, I actually have a line-up for a Part 3 because I’ve found so much black metal over the last week or two that I’d like to recommend, but the odds of getting that done are really intimidating.

For Part 1 I picked advance tracks from forthcoming albums, and one single that will surprise you. For Part 2 I picked some recent full releases.

GARDSGHASTR

We begin with music by a new group composed of known names — Swedish veteran Swartadaupuz of Bekëth Nexëhmü plus Chaos Moon members Alex Poole and Jack and Steven Blackburn, joined by vocalist Glömd. A song from their debut album named “Of Crimson Eyes” debuted in February, and the album’s title track — “Slit Throat Requiem” — surfaced more recently. Continue reading »

Apr 142019
 

 

(Our Norwegian friend eiterorm takes over the SHADES OF BLACK column today while our usual columnist (me) is otherwise preoccupied.)

Islander is overwhelmed with work this weekend and won’t have time to compile the usual Shades of Black. But Shades of Black is the highlight of any casual Sunday, so this time yours truly is compiling the list instead.

DEUS MORTEM

The Polish black metal band Deus Mortem was last featured on No Clean Singing in 2016, with their excellent EP Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead. This year, they will be back with their second full-length release, titled Kosmocide. In fact, the release – which will be carried out by Terratur Possessions and Malignant Voices – is only two weeks away (April 28 marks the date), so prepare yourselves for imminent inflammation. Continue reading »

Apr 072019
 

 

This edition of SHADES OF BLACK is different from most, in two respects. First, my paying job (i.e., not NCS) has been crushing me lately, including this weekend, and I don’t have time to accompany what I’ve chosen with my usual impressions and links. Second, there’s not as much music in this post as you might guess from the title of the post. I’ve made the rare decision to include three album announcements at the end of the column even though there’s no music available for streaming yet. I did that because I’m so excited about those announcements.

ROTTING CHRIST

The first item I’ve chosen is Rotting Christ‘s new video for “In the Name of God“, one of the tracks on their latest album, The Heretics, which was released in mid-February and reviewed here by DGR. As he wrote, The Heretics follows what the band have established as their “blueprint” — a “sort of larger-than-life, titanic paradigm of martial prowess turned black metal.” It doesn’t push the genre or the band’s music forward as much as it represents a summing-up of their career so far, playing to their most familiar strengths. “In the Name of God” is but one example of that. Continue reading »

Mar 312019
 

 

I had decided to limit this week’s column to advance tracks from forthcoming albums, but then couldn’t resist adding a single-song EP that was released on Friday (by that band in the post title with the mile-long name). I’m hoping to do another SHADES OF BLACK round-up devoted to highlighting a few recent albums, but since it’s only an idea right now, I’m not going to call this post Part 1; Part 2 may remain only an idea, depending on how the next 24-48 hours go.

Obviously, I really like everything you’ll find in this collection. Some of the music is so scorching it might leave you with third-degree burns. Other tracks are more atmospheric. And I think you’ll be surprised by some of what you find here as well. So please do give everything a chance.

THIS GIFT IS A CURSE

On their last album, All Hail the Swinelord (2015), This Gift Is A Curse made music that ruthlessly takes you apart and sends what’s left of your mind into a very dark place. It was stupefyingly heavy, implacably savage, and frighteningly eerie. We premiered one song from the album and a video for another song, but I failed to review the whole thing. I’ll have a second chance to do right by this Stockholm band, because they now have another album on the horizon. Continue reading »

Mar 242019
 


Cold Black Suns

 

I’m assuming everyone knows that Darkthrone will be releasing a new album named Old Star through Peaceville Records on May 31st. Fenriz says that he and Ted will be continuing in the style of Arctic Thunder — “BLACK OLD HEAVY METAL with slow thrash, classic doom and slow death metal” — which is just fine by me. The album is available for pre-order HERE.

With that piece of news out of the way, I’m devoting the rest of this post to things we can hear right now.

ENTHRONED

Cold Black Suns is the new album by the almighty Enthroned, their 11th full-length in a career that stretches back a quarter-century. Their new label Season of Mist will release it on June 7th. The first song in today’s collection, “Silent Redemption,” comes from that album and premiered a couple days ago at Ghost Cult Magazine. Continue reading »

Mar 172019
 

 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s round-up, my NCS time is being dramatically squeezed by my fucking day job, which hasn’t given me a break even over this weekend. I’m repeating that here partly because whining is therapeutic and partly to explain why my writing in this Sunday’s column is more truncated than I wish it were. There’s a tremendous amount of music in what I’ve chosen — including three full albums — but it’s one of those situations where I’m only able to provide brief introductions, and hope they’ll be enough to induce you to investigate more deeply on your own.

In organizing this post I’ve alternated those three albums with three shorter works — three songs from forthcoming releases and a two-track EP.

KAATAYRA

Kaatayra is a one-man black metal band from Brasilia, Brazil, whose music (he says) is motivated by overcoming the shame of being human by communing with the green of the land and the life of rivers, and by dreaming — “sonha-se as vidas de ascendentes”. His debut album, No Ruidar da Mata que Mirra, was released on March 11th. Continue reading »

Mar 102019
 

 

The first Part of today’s column focused on individual advance tracks from forthcoming albums. This second Part includes brief reviews of two complete albums. There’s a full stream of the first one included below, and half of the songs from the second one. Both records display the more depressive colors of the black metal spectrum, though they’re more similar in mood than in sound — and both are gripping achievements.

HORCRUX

Released on March 8th, Loss and Grief is the second album by the Dutch black metal band Horcrux, but my own first exposure to their music. Actually, I should say “his music”, because it appears to be a one-person project.

As the album’s title suggests, the music is suffused with shades of gloom, which range from throes of painful turmoil to a kind of dismal, glowering hopelessness, from the tension of despair to the moaning exhalations of bereavement. as well as moments that betray a soulful yearning. Horcrux creates those moods through music that cross-breeds a range of styles — black metal of course, but also doom, sludge, and atmospheric post-metal. Continue reading »

Mar 102019
 

 

I didn’t lose an hour of sleep last night. I just feel less moronic because I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning instead of 3:30 a.m. Thank you Daylight Savings Time.

Of course, I’ll still feel like shit when it hits me around mid-afternoon that I only got 5 1/2 hours of sleep on one of the few nights of the week when I could have gotten 8 or 9. On the other hand, being awake so early does mean that I have extra time for this Sunday column, enough extra time that I can write a two-parter before having to deal with the rest of my life. Hopefully, my moronic misery becomes your savage pleasure.

DEIPHAGO

Deiphago describe their music as “Experimental Hyper-speed Satanic Bestial Metal” — and every word of that is true. As I’ve written before, their music doesn’t sound like anything else you’re likely to find in the realms of black metal or black/death. It viciously shoves us out of our musical comfort zones; it’s likely to leave most listeners bewildered and bedazzled (or at least severely unbalanced). Continue reading »