Nov 112019


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Mayhem, which is out now via Century Media Records.)

Mayhem is one of Black Metal’s most storied names.  They were pioneers — a lot of modern stylistic conventions of black metal are owed to them, and you can hear their influence even today in much of what you listen to.  A lot of my personal favorite black metal is definitely influenced by Mayhem in significant ways, and I’m a huge fan of the band’s diverse yet admittedly hit-or-miss discography.

Although not all of their albums have hit the mark, they’ve never failed to live up to the inherently rebellious ethos of black metal, always trying something different and attempting (sometimes desperately) not to pander to expectations from release to release.  Mayhem have also often displayed a leaning toward more eccentric quirks, and kind of a flare for technical guitar work before a lot of other bands of their era did that.

So it may seem peculiar that my two favorite Mayhem records are Grand Declaration Of War and Esoteric Warfare, both which pursued really weird or chaotic tangents from black metal convention.  Grand Declaration… was almost a spoken-word recording with black metal accompaniment, and Esoteric Warfare seems to explore every extreme metal style in a black metal framework with a lot of interesting noise elements, and it really spoke to me. Continue reading »

Nov 102019



Just a few opening notes:

First, all of the following songs are the first advance tracks from forthcoming albums, The opening four in today’s collection are absolutely wild, and the first three of those put me in mind of the kind of full-throttle, all-enveloping extravagance that often forms the closing movement of a classical symphony.

Second, today I’m just launching immediately into thoughts about the songs I picked, and providing the details about the bands and the releases only after that.

Third, I’m so far behind in mentioning recently released full albums from the black realms that I have in mind another one of these columns tomorrow, which won’t include full reviews of those albums but only teasers. Because that won’t take me as much time, there’s a greater likelihood I’ll be able to follow through. Continue reading »

Nov 092019


Lo and behold, I managed to finish the second part of the round-up of new music I began here yesterday. Not a great shock that I couldn’t finish it yesterday; more shocking that I finished it at all. Hope you enjoy what you’ll find here. Musically, it’s pretty diverse.


I’m not embarrassed to admit that when I first listened to the title song of the debut album by Exulansis, which opens the album, I got a lump in my throat and moistness in the eyes. It’s no secret that I tend to have stronger emotional responses to music (and tend to express them more unabashedly) than many people who are (or pretend to be) music critics, mainly because I think of myself more as an enthusiastic fan than a critic. But this song damn near broke my heart. And it turns out that the song continues to have that effect every time I hear it, which means I have to ration how often I turn back to it (simply forgetting about it isn’t an option). Continue reading »

Nov 082019


After recording and independently releasing three records from 2013 into 2017, the instrumental post-rock band Glories (who live in Birmingham, Alabama) were shaken by the death of guitarist Zachary Cooner. During the heartbroken hiatus that followed, the band’s remaining members — Dallas Kelley, Adam Blevins, and Kyle Posten — wondered how, or whether, to proceed with the project they had created with him. Ultimately, they decided to forge ahead, and the album they wrote became a way of both working through their grief and a tribute to their lost brother.

The name of the album is Distant After, and it will be released on January 24, 2020. In its sensations the music spans an array of changing emotions, but perhaps most of all (in the accurate words of the advance press for the record) “a sense of uplift and triumph following melancholy and struggle”.

Although the album was meant to be heard as one continuous piece, the song we’re presenting today, “Make the Hills Echo“, all by itself seems to capture much of the emotional journey that animates the album as a whole. Its poignancy is unmistakable, but it becomes even more powerful once you know (as you now do) what lies behind it. Continue reading »

Nov 082019


Happy Friday to one and all. Although I continue to be distracted with personal obligations (I’ve become a caregiver to an injured family member, which is something that will persist for at least another month), I found time to do some scattered listening last night and this morning. Even with a lot more listening yet to do, that yielded a cornucopia of good finds, six of which you’ll find below.

The reference to “Part 1” in the post title is more a sign of optimism than a present reality. And if I can get it done at all, it might not arrive until Saturday.


To get your motor running hot and fast before moving into everything else in today’s compilation, I picked a new song and video by Sepultura, which is the one item in this collection that I caught this morning. It sure as fuck got my motor running, and the video is kind of spectacular too. Continue reading »

Nov 082019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Abigail Williams, which will be released by Blood Music on November 15th.)

Patience, as we’re so often told, is a virtue. As, perhaps, is perseverance.

If so, then Abigail Williams mainman Ken Sorceron must be practically a saint at this point, having spent over a decade weathering the slings and arrows of hostile critics and the ignorant public in equal measure.

Thankfully, all this time playing the black sheep of American Black Metal has had a paradoxically freeing effect on the band’s music, allowing it to adapt and evolve at its own pace without being shackled by commercial considerations or concerns for the critical consensus.

And nowhere is this more true than on Walk Beyond the Dark. Continue reading »

Nov 082019


(We present Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by the British doom lords Esoteric, which is being released on November 8th by Season of Mist, along with a complete stream of the album.)

What I love about this band is their ability to take doom to places that have little to do with Black Sabbath. Nothing against Geezer and the boys, but I don’t need a genre of impersonators. I want the kind of sonic despair a band like Esoteric are capable of delivering. Eight years after Paragon of Dissonance, which is pretty much a perfect album. expectations are high. What is a band to do after such an achievement?

In the case of Esoteric, they decide to open the album with an almost 28-minute song. To put this in perspective, that is the length of the entire Reign in Blood album. Granted, Slayer were moving at the speed of punk, and these guys are a slow trudge through the apocalypse. With a song of this length I tend to approach it as if it is a symphonic work, written in movements rather than the compact verse-chorus formula. Continue reading »

Nov 072019


At this site we make strenuous and steadfast efforts to search for appealing new sounds from bands whose names aren’t the ones everyone already knows and who tend to dominate attention at most other locations. The daily flood of new metal is so torrential that the search for unheralded underground gems can sometimes feel exhausting. But all it takes to recharge the batteries is to come across the kind of megawatt thrill delivered by an album like Descendants Of Sodom.

This debut album by the Los Angeles death metal band Infirmity is a very big and very welcome surprise, and we’re delighted to present a full stream of it today, on the verge of its November 9th release by Lost Apparitions Records. Continue reading »

Nov 072019


Three years on from their 2016 debut album Chaostorm, the Turkish marauders in Hellsodomy are storming the gates of civility and innocence once again with a new full-length blast of blackened death/thrash named Morbid Cult. This new scourge of full-throttle ferocity shows the benefit of the band’s prolific live appearances, which have included not only shows in Istanbul but also festival and tour appearances across Europe. The music is razor-sharp in its execution, but blazes with high-octane intensity and lethal intent.

The new album is set for release by Saturnal Records on December 6th, and today we’ve got the premiere of an album track named “Pestilence of Black Blood” which proves the truth of those preceding words but also reveals the band’s talent for creating atmosphere and dynamic momentum at the same time as they’re whipping your pulse-rate into overdrive.. Continue reading »

Nov 072019


(We present DGR’s review of the new third album by the Italian technical death metal band Order Ov Riven Cathedrals, which will be released at the end of this month.)

The last time we checked in with the mysterious duo behind hyperspeed death metal band Order Ov Riven Cathedrals was as recently as last year, with their second full-length album Gobekli Tepe. That album arrived a little under a year after the group’s debut record, The Discontinuity’s Interlude, which is one hell of a creative pace to try and up-keep, and in some ways Gobekli Tepe reflected that, at times feeling like the duo were stretching themselves a little too thin.

That disc sought to expand upon the musical themes found within its predecessor and saw the group’s sound doing so as well, making usage of multiple samples, a myriad of electronics and synths working their way behind the group’s frenetic pace, about fourteen more minutes’ worth of music, and a new-found obsession with nuclear reactions that has become even more obvious with the group’s newest album – this time with a little more time in the hopper, close to a year and a half.

Thermonvclear Scvlptvres Blackness  – a title befitting the Dimmu Borgir school of “three awesome words as album title” method – seeks to pick up right where its predecessor left off and mostly does just that, with the band’s chosen tempo applying not only to their music but apparently to the release schedule as well. Continue reading »