May 242018
 

 

(In this post Andy Synn has combined reviews of new albums by a sextet of bands from both sides of the Atlantic.)

Phew, I’ve been trying to get this particular column written for quite a while now, but a cruel convergence of work, illness, and prepping for this year’s MDF meant that I’ve honestly been struggling to find the time to sit down and put finger to keyboard.

On the plus side, however, this has given me a little bit more time to absorb each album, and will hopefully result in a better overall product, so perhaps I/we shouldn’t complain too much.

Anyway, without further ado, here are six albums, all of them Black Metal, yet all subtly different and differentiated, originating from a variety of different locations around the globe (Greece, Germany, Belgium, Canada, and the USA), which I think are well worth your attention. Continue reading »

Jan 242018
 

 

Because of an event-filled out-of-town trip last weekend I wasn’t able to prepare a SHADES OF BLACK column for Sunday, or anything for Saturday. Fortunately, DGR stepped in with a 3-part SEEN AND HEARD round-up that launched on Saturday and continued through Monday. Now I’m going to do something similar, with this column’s usual focus on black metal. I’ve amassed a substantial collection of new music and a few news items that also interested me. I’ve organized them in alphabetical order and divided the list into three parts, with the goal of posting Parts 2 and 3 tomorrow and Friday.

Of course, in the meantime the odds are that I’ll find something else I’d like to include, which may necessitate screwing up the alphabetized ordering.

ACHERONTAS

I’m beginning Part 1 of this collection with the first of a trio of enticing news items I’ve included here. As announced today by Agonia Records, the Greek occult black metal band Acherontas (whose gear is pictured above) will be releasing a seventh studio album this spring. Yes, it’s true that Acherontas released an album only last year — Amarta अमर्त (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II) — but that’s no reason to be any less excited to receive a new one.

As for why this new one is appearing so quickly on the heels of the last one, the press release we received included this statement by the band: Continue reading »

May 232017
 


Acherontas V. Priest

 

(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three superb 2017 albums by Acherontas (Greece), Dødsengel (Norway), and Hetroertzen (Chile/Sweden), and provides full streams of the music from all three as well.)

When people talk about the background and historical impact of Black Metal, the majority of the praise and prestige is given to the genre’s Norwegian progenitors… and rightly so, as this is, ultimately, where the first seeds were sown.

But focussing entirely on Norway doesn’t tell the whole story. After all, not only is Black Metal these days a worldwide phenomenon, it’s also one with global roots, and, as its influence has spread, different countries and different localities have all given birth to their own particular variants on the style.

The three bands featured here – one from Greece, one from Norway, and one from Chile/Sweden – all epitomise, in their own particular way, the eclectic, exotic, face of Black Metal today, so it only seemed fitting to me to group them all together under one black banner. Continue reading »

May 012017
 

 

This is the second part of a large post I began yesterday (here). It reflects why I chose SHADES OF BLACK as the name for this series many years ago, in that all of the music has connections to the traditions of black metal, but those connections vary, sometimes significantly.

Two of the songs in this post come from forthcoming albums, and one is a stand-alone single, but I picked all the rest from recent albums or EPs. Lacking the time to review most of those full releases, I thought it better (with one exception) to confine myself to specific songs rather than neglect the releases altogether. But they’re all good, and you’ll be able to stream them in their entirety if you like what you hear.

ACHERONTAS

The sixth album by the formidable Greek black metal coven Acherontas is named Amarta अमर्त (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II), and thereby draws a connection to the band’s last album, 2015’s Ma​-​IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification). It includes participation by Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Akhlys, Bestia Arcana) (synths) and Indra (Naer Mataron) (additional guitars). The cover art was created by Karl NE/Nachzehrer (Ex-Nastrond/Shibalba), and W.T.C. Productions plans to release it on Walpurgis Night (May 31st). Continue reading »

Nov 182016
 

acherontas-slidhr-split

 

(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new split by Acherontas from Greece and Slidhr from Ireland.)

A good split-release, such as the Nightbringer/Dødsengel effort Circumambulations of the Solar Inferno, the recent Ur Draugr/Haar tag-team, or any of the multitude of Misery Index splits, can be a great place for a band to explore ideas and themes which – for whatever reason – might not fit as part of a full album or which they simply want to stand on their own, while also allowing them the chance to “share the stage” (as it were) with another act of a similar outlook and ethos.

In rare cases, such as last year’s unholy alliance between Dragged Into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues, or the much more recent collaboration between Selvans and Downfall of Nur, both of which err closer to the album than the EP side of things, the split release becomes a true amalgam of both bands, giving birth to something wholly unique in the process.

But, however the bands involved choose to approach it, a good split-release is always an opportunity to make a statement, and this new five-track split (3 by the godless Greeks, 2 by the Irish idolaters) from Acherontas and Slidhr makes one very simple statement of intent indeed… we bleed black, and breathe fire, and we will not be denied our due. Continue reading »

May 232016
 

seventh-xul_ep_gatefold.indd

 

Qliphothic Rites of Death has been seething in the underground for many years, like a vein of radioactive ore covered in deep black earth, waiting to be unearthed so that its arcane energies and spectral light could spread and be experienced. This week that will happen, as Iron Bonehead Productions releases this rarity on 7″ vinyl, and today we premiere both of its songs.

Qliphothic Rites of Death, originally recorded in 2010 and circulated then in small quantities, is the lone release of Seventh Xul, a unique collaboration between two luminaries of the Greek black metal scene — vocalist Acherontas V.Priest of Acherontas (and many other projects) and guitarist/bassist N.E.C.R.O of Burial HordesEnshadowed, and other groups — with session drumming by Fotis Benardo (Necromantia, ex-Septicflesh).

In the band’s own words, “The Ayin of Creation and Destruction Forces crowned this effort, and the necromantical vision took form in 2010 only for this release.The band split up immediately, as we felt that this was our only goal from the beginning. A unique release serving that period of wondering & isolation….” Continue reading »

Mar 162015
 

 

(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the month just ended.)

Here we go for round two of Essential Entries. You guessed it – we’re covering February this time. Yeah, yeah, suspense isn’t this guy’s strong point.

January gave us genius like Desolate Shrine and Agos, which is just what was needed to start things off right. How does February measure up? To quote one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time, “Great Scott!” If you don’t get that, I bestow upon you great shame. But yeah, February did bring the noise (no Public Enemy included). Here’s the proof, in no particular order.

A Forest of StarsBeware the Sword You Cannot See

Self-described as a secret society from Victorian-era 1895, A Forest of Stars compose music that’s as intricate and unique as their theming. Black metal with a lot of psychedelic elements is the most basic description, but really, their music is so much more. It’s a continuing story, and their latest chapter is awe-inspiring. Invest the time, as there’s a lot of layers, with the payoff being oh so worth it. Continue reading »

Feb 152015
 

 

This is a round-up of news and new music that I discovered in a long bout of listening and reading yesterday. It happens that all the items in this collection concern black metal, but black metal is a broad spectrum, and it happens that the music you’re about to hear is quite diverse — and all of it very good.

FALSE

This first item is a piece of news, an official announcement of an album that’s been on my personal “most anticipated” list for 2015 since I heard it was being recorded last year. It’s the debut full-length by False from Minneapolis, and it will be released by Gilead Media in the May-June time frame, both as a double-LP and as a CD. The cover art (above) is killer — I’m eager to see what the LP gatefold looks like.

False have only released three songs in their meteoric career — two of them on an untitled EP in 2011 and one on a 2012 split with Barghest (reviewed here). But False are fond of long songs, and so those three add up to almost 45 minutes of music — 45 very intense minutes. Continue reading »

Jan 182015
 

I’m feeling kind of under the weather, thanks for asking. And by “under the weather”, I mean that I got shit-faced last night in Houston, went to bed really late, woke up less than four hours later — hungover as fuck — in order to make a flight back to Seattle, and am now sitting on that airplane gamely fighting waves of nausea with the outcome still too close to call. How’s it going with you?

Apart from not exactly being at the top of my game, I’m also impaired by my inability to easily stream music on this airplane wi-fi, so I haven’t been able to listen to anything new since the plane took off, but in addition to some news items I do have a couple of videos and a song in here that I saw and heard yesterday before getting shit-faced.

Also, I’m thinking about ordering a copy of that book up there. Do you think it would help me the next time I get in my current situation? Continue reading »