Nov 062019
 

 

(Andy Synn was fortunate to catch the Nottingham stop on Imperial Triumphant‘s current European tour, with support at the show by Bast and Abduction, and transmitted the following report along with videos of the performances.)

If you’re not at least a little bit concerned about the state of the underground Metal scene in the UK then you’ve not been paying enough attention.

It’s nothing to do with a lack of talent, by any means, as there are innumerable bands out there right now who are all more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the best that the rest of the world has to offer. No, the real concern is a combination of two factors.

First, there’s the ongoing gentrification of our inner cities, with rising rents and rapacious developers continuing to exert crushing pressure on our small-to-mid-sized venues (we’re losing two of my favourites, Temple of Boom in Leeds and The Flapper in Birmingham, very soon), which in turn results in both greater competition for dates between bands as the live circuit contracts and more and more promoters/venues pivot towards courting more profitable, mainstream-friendly fare.

Then there’s the ongoing travesty of Brexit which, regardless of the politics behind it, is going to make it much more difficult for small/medium sized bands to tour the EU, and is likely to also cause problems for foreign bands wanting to tour the UK (where the margin of feasibility, when all costs and logistics are summed up, is often razor-thin).

So please, make sure to support your local promoters and local venues whenever and wherever you can. Because without them gigs like tonight’s extraordinary experience just wouldn’t be possible. Continue reading »

Mar 282019
 

 

Abduction is a one-man UK black metal band whose ravaging debut album To Further Dreams of Failure we reviewed (in part) in March 2017. The band also released an album last year, A Crown of Curses, and now this UK ravager already has a third one geared up for release tomorrow — March 29th — via Inferna Profundus Records. All Pain As Penance is the name of the new one, and we have a full stream of it for you today.

Infinite Ancient Hexes” was the first track made available for streaming a few weeks ago. It seized attention immediately. On that track, as on all the others, A|V handles everything except drums, which were performed by session member EG. His drumming on that first song to be revealed from the album is powerful, driving the pace in a plundering fury while delivering neck-cracking fills along the way. Meanwhile, the riffing creates a dismal and poisonous atmosphere, a thick, desolating miasma of sound, parsed by chiming chords that are still moody but also hypnotic, and by an incendiary solo.

It made for an absolutely explosive, irresistibly head-moving herald for this album, notwithstanding the music’s aura of pestilence and wretchedness. It rocks as well as ravages, and it’s easy to get addicted to it very quickly. But there is so much more to come from this album following that opener. Continue reading »

Mar 042019
 

 

Abduction is a one-man UK black metal band whose ravaging debut album To Further Dreams of Failure we reviewed (in part) in March 2017. The band also released an album last year, A Crown of Curses, and now they’ve already got a third one geared up for release on March 29th via Inferna Profundus Records.

All Pain As Penance is the name of the new one, and “Infinite Ancient Hexes” was the first track made available for streaming a couple of weeks ago. It seized attention immediately. On that track, as on all the others, A|V handles everything except drums, which were performed by session member EG. His drumming on that first song to be revealed from the album is physically powerful, driving the pace in a plundering fury while delivering neck-cracking fills along the way. Meanwhile, the riffing creates a dismal and poisonous atmosphere, a thick, desolating miasma of sound, parsed by chiming chords that are still moody but also hypnotic, and by an incendiary solo.

It made for an absolutely explosive, irresistibly head-moving herald for this album, notwithstanding the music’s aura of pestilence and wretchedness. It rocks as well as ravages, and it’s easy to get addicted to it very quickly. But there is so much more to come from this album, and now it’s our pleasure to present a second excerpt, a song called “Prayer For Electrocution“. Continue reading »

Feb 242019
 

 

This week I’ve chosen advance tracks from three forthcoming albums, two tracks from a recent split, and one complete album that’s just been made available for streaming in advance of a March 1 release (and it’s one of the best of the year so far). And with that, let’s just go right into the music.

KULL

Bal-Sagoth won’t need an introduction for many of you, but for others, it was a UK band conceived in 1989 by Byron Roberts in an attempt to form what he called “a sublimely symphonic black/death metal band swathed in a concept of dark fantasy & science fiction, inspired by the celebrated style of the grand pulp horror and fantasy literature of the 1930’s”.

He was eventually joined by the brothers Chris and Jonny Maudling to form the core songwriting group, and Bal-Sagoth released their first demo in 1993. They followed that with six albums, three on Cacophonous Records and three on Nuclear Blast. The last of those was The Chthonic Chronicles in 2006. Continue reading »

Mar 232017
 

 

As you can see, I have been a busy blogger — but a tardy one. On Monday night I moved through a lot of news and new music, all of which I came across solely from the Monday arrivals in our in-box and my own surveillance of Facebook. I selected these items to recommend, intending to post this on Tuesday, but my fucking day job prevented me from finishing it in time and since then other things have gotten in the way.

At least I resisted the temptation to make this longer by including more things I’ve discovered since Monday night. I’ll pull together some of those for another round-up as soon as I can.

After the first two bands in this collection (who are among my favorites), all the rest are new discoveries for me, making their first appearance at NCS.

VALLENFYRE

On Monday, Century Media announced that it will release a new album by Vallenfyre on June 2nd. The name of the album is Fear Those Who Fear Him. Continue reading »

Oct 232016
 

Schammasch

 

This Sunday’s edition of Shades of Black is quite large, but I nevertheless decided not to divide it into two parts for fear that I’d get diverted by something and never finish Part 2.

The first two items are new videos for songs from previously released albums. The next three are new songs from forthcoming albums. And the last three items are all songs from releases that have been out for a while but that I only discovered recently.

SCHAMMASCH

Andy Synn wrote a special three-part review (collected here) for Triangle, the new album by Schammasch, calling it “a true triumph of ambition and creativity”: “[A]ny listener who embraces the experience of Triangle on its own terms, with their eyes, their ears, and their mind open to the spiritual signals it transmits, will find their decision rewarded ten-fold.” Continue reading »