May 162019


I was chatting with DGR recently (yes, we do in fact keep in touch outside of the site) and we both agreed that we’ve now reached that point of the year (and it comes every year) where our list of potential/possible reviews has become so massive and unwieldy that we’re just going to have to cut our losses, accept that some of the stuff we’d dearly love to write about isn’t going to get covered, and focus instead on doing our best for those artists/albums which we do get a chance to write about.

So, in that spirit, here are three new albums, one from an old favourite, one from a current favourite, and one from a potential new favourite, all of whom are well worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. Continue reading »

Feb 072019


This week has been ridiculous. With the exception of the year-end holiday season, when releases slow down a bit, every week now brings a flood of new music from metal bands and labels, but this week seems to be turning into a typhoon. With most of Thursday (as I write this) and all of Friday still to come, it’s only going to get worse/better. So once again, I’m resorting to a two-part round-up.

But even with a two-part collection I’m still not going to be able to comprehensively cover the (rising) waterfront. I’ve still had to make some choices, and so in Part 2, in addition to the usual write-ups, I’m just going to link you to additional streams of music that I’m not writing about in more detail. I’m doing that then instead of now, because I haven’t yet figured out where to draw that line.


Two days ago, via Loudwire, Misery Index released a lyric video for another new track off their forthcoming album Rituals of Power. As the band explain: “‘The Choir Invisible‘ is a euphemism for the dead, or those who have passed on. In the context of this song, it is an anthem of the dispossessed and the hopeless. Many across the world exist in an ‘in-between’ state that is often ignored and/or washed over because they lack the power and voice to plead their case as human beings. The song takes up this theme and tells it from the somber view of those who risk their lives, board ships and cross oceans in order to find a better life.” Continue reading »

Jan 252018


Another day, another edition of our Most Infectious Song list, with a trio of black metal tracks and a song that might be a bit of a cheat.


With their 2015 debut album, As All Light Leaves Her, Australia’s Advent Sorrow made a beneficial change in their sound. As Andy Synn wrote in his review, they “shed the symphonic grandeur that permeated their debut EP in favour of an all-round darker and more desperate form of borderline DSBM-style sonic despair… resulting in an album of bleak, harrowing melody and torturous metallic agony that errs closer to the sound of Infestus or early Shining than it does the more dramatic Dimmu Borgir-isms with which the band first made their name”. Continue reading »

Sep 262017


Alcohol poisoning prevented me from writing about everything I wanted to write about in my last SHADES OF BLACK post two days ago. With that demon temporarily in submission, I’m now able to write about seven more musical demons in a blackened vein (and if you’ve been paying attention, I’ve added a couple of bands to this continuation beyond those I forecast on Sunday).

Regrettably, I’ve had to resort to a tactic I’ve used before. There are four albums or EPs included in this group of seven, but because I don’t have the time to write full reviews I’ve only commented on one track from each of those, but provided streams of the complete releases so you can explore further if I you like the tracks I’ve highlighted.


Aldrahn (Björn Dencker Gjerde) is a name of historical significance in the annals of Norwegian black metal through his work during the ’90s in Dødheimsgard and Zyklon-B, as well as his contributions to Thorns and more recently The Deathtrip. Urarv (“Ancient Heritage”) is his most recent endeavor, originally conceived in 2003 during his stay in a mental institution and now finally flowering in thorns through a debut album named Aurum (released on September 17 by Svart Records), in which Aldrahn is joined by bassist Sturt and drummer Trish (whose work in Asagraum I’ve written about previously). Continue reading »

Dec 282015

Altars of Grief Side B


Welcome to Part 5 of our list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs for this year, as selected by me and only me from the massive list of candidates received from numerous sources, as well as my own notes haphazardly created as the year rolled along. To learn about the selection criteria and to discover the songs that have already been named to the list, go HERE.

For each of the first four installments in this series I included three songs, grouped together because they seemed to go well together. And I’ve done the same thing with this installment, though beginning tomorrow I plan to drop down to two songs per post.


In June we had the pleasure of premiering for you a fantastic track named “In Dying Light” by the Canadian band Altars of Grief. It appeared on a split release entitled Of Ash and Dying Light that also included excellent tracks by the band Nachtterror. I’ve been a huge fan of the song ever since and never had any doubt about including it on this list. Continue reading »

Aug 212015

Advent Sorrow-As All Light Leaves her


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Advent Sorrow from Perth, Australia.)

Every so often a band you like makes an unexpected shift in sound, transforming that “like” into outright “love”. And that’s precisely what Advent Sorrow have done with their new album, As All Light Leaves Her, shedding the symphonic grandeur that permeated their debut EP in favour of an all-round darker and more desperate form of borderline DSBM-style sonic despair.

It’s not a complete paradigm shift, of course, as this extra layer of grim(e) was already apparent on Like a Moth to a Flame, the stand-alone single they released last year. But As All Light Leaves Her takes things a step further into the murk and mire, resulting in an album of bleak, harrowing melody and torturous metallic agony that errs closer to the sound of Infestus or early Shining than it does the more dramatic Dimmu Borgir-isms with which the band first made their name. Continue reading »

May 112015


If you made it through all four of my weekend round-ups, or just touched down on the fourth one, then you saw that I still didn’t exhaust all the new music I wanted to recommend. What I saved for this post is a handful of new songs from the realm of black metal. But as you may have figured out from previous installments of Shades of Black, I do my best to include a variety of sounds. “Black Metal” has become a big tent that includes a lot of diversity within its shadowy confines.


My NCS comrade Andy Synn recommended the first song to me, which comes in the form of a video, though it took me nearly a week to finally listen to it. I shouldn’t have waited. Continue reading »

Nov 222013

For reasons I won’t bore you with, over the last 24 hours I haven’t been able to devote my usual efforts to scouring the world of metal for new sightings and hearings. However, with a little help via links from friends, I did compile the following brief round-up of items that are very much worth mentioning.


The first item is at the top of this post. It’s the cover, released today, for the next album by KampfarDjevelmakt, which appears to mean “devilpower” in Norwegian. This is noteworthy for two reasons: First, because Kampfar chose a painting by the masterful Zdzisław Beksiński for the cover art. And second, because Kampfar is an excellent band, and whatever they do next will be worth hearing.  Continue reading »