Feb 242014

I’ve been following the progress of the Elemental Nightmares project since before it became public, writing about it for the first time in July 2013. It began as an effort to raise money for a subscription series of 13 splits on 7″ vinyl (with digital download options) featuring one exclusive song each by 26 up-and-coming bands from around the world. As the project evolved, the format has changed:

Last Friday, Elemental Nightmares announced that instead of releasing 13 splits with 2 songs per side, they will release 7 splits on 10″ vinyl, with each split containing four songs instead of two. And, because of the new format, there will be 28 bands instead of 26. In addition, as previously announced, Elemental Nightmares is offering the splits for sale on an individual basis, as well as subscriptions to the series as a whole, and the digital-only option is still available.

But the best news is the announcement that the project will happen. To see the names of the original 26 bands and for more info about purchase options, go here. The two new bands will be announced soon.

And finally, Friday also brought the premiere (by Invisible Oranges) of four songs that will appear on the fourth installment of the series, and it’s a damned strong way to start off: The bands are Porta Nigra (Germany), Membaris (Germany), Ashencult (Philadelphia), and Vuyvr (Switzerland). Continue reading »

Sep 182013

Collected here are a large handful of items of interest that I came across today and yesterday while crawling through the underground. The last four items consist of pairings that work. You’ll see what I mean.


German black metal band Endstille, they take no prisoners. They have a new album named Kapitulation 2013 that Season of Mist plans to release in NorthAm on November 12 (November 8 worldwide). I remembered their name somewhat fearfully from the last album, which is now on Bandcamp, so I was interested to hear the new song that debuted today — “The Refined Nation”.

I find it very difficult to be very refined in writing about music like this. In my case, the capacity for careful dissection and articulate analysis go up in a mushroom cloud of obliteration, and Endstille don’t strike me as a band who care terribly much about refined criticism anyway. The song is a black metal detonation that fills the air with shrapnel and the screams of the dismembered (or that may be Endstille’s vocalist, it’s hard to be sure). Continue reading »

May 292013

Anthropic Records is a Philadelphia record label “obsessed with heartbreaking chest crushing noise and doomed psychic soundscapes”. That’s what they say, and I believe it. Yesterday, I discovered via Facebook that they made available a compilation by the name of Anthrosphere IV. It’s free, except it only comes free with a purchase from the Anthropic web store, so I guess it’s only “sorta free”. But I’ll tell you what, at least in my case this doesn’t function as a bonus, but as a main draw.

Anthrosphere IV features 10 tracks by 10 Philadelphia bands, as well as the excellent cover art you see above by Mike Wohlberg, who has done work for the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodom, and The Acacia Strain. All 10 songs are brand new and they were all mastered by Chris Grigg (Woe). I’m only familiar with three of the bands on the line-up, but those three are really fuckin’ good, which made me quite interested in the other seven.

One of those four is Ashencult (the other two being Infiltrator and Sadgiqacea), and in a flash of fortunate coincidence I deduced (okay, I’m guessing) that the Ashencult song, “My Tenth Death”, must be the track that Ashencult contributed to Opus Serpens, the forthcoming vinyl split with Sweden’s Mephorash — whose own contribution we premiered just a bit earlier today (here). Man, “My Tenth Death” is a riveting piece of music, with dark, magnetic riffs that exert their hold from the first seconds and vocals that burn like a napalm storm. Seriously, it’s a great song.

And it’s not the only great song on this release. How do I know? Because all 10 of the tracks on Anthrosphere IV are streaming on Bandcamp. Continue reading »

May 292013

Mephorash are a black metal band from Uppsala, Sweden, with two albums to their credit, both released by Grom Records — Death Awakens (2011) and Chalice of Thagirion (2012). They’re about to add to those accomplishments through a split release with Philadelphia’s excellent Ashencult, entitled Opus Serpens, and today we’re premiering the Mephorash track for the split, “Atramentous Ungod Aspect”. The song features guest vocals by Acherontas V. Priest of the occult multinational band Acherontas. In addition to the music, we bring these words from Mephorash:

“Our hymn is the most deep and profund work Mephorash has done so far.
The song channels a lot of powers and elements never seen in the chalice of Mephorash before.

To help manifest our unrelenting forces we got support from Acherontas V. Priest from the great and powerful black metal band Acherontas.
He has added a lot of movement needed for manifesting the forces this song is providing.
The lyrical work of this song is a personal journey and aspect provided by our brother Endless, who is an important piece and mind in Mephorash.
His work in Mephorash has been the final piece making this song what it is. Achieving what we have been aiming for during the whole journey.
Thanks to all involved and special thanks to Ashencult for this mindblowing collaboration.

Hails from Mephorash.”

Continue reading »

Jul 312012

Here are things I saw and heard today.


I saw a temperature gauge at high noon here in The Emerald City: 63°F. And the sun is shining. All of you poor fuckers who are broiling like burgers on a charcoal grill everywhere east of the Pacific Coast can hate me now, and along about January you can remind me that I made this obnoxious crack at your expense.


I saw that awesomely phantasmagoric piece of artwork up above. It’s by Ken Sarafin of Sarafin Concepts. It’s for a death metal project called Bunch, of which Sarafin seems to be a member — one of many. Here’s this description from the Bunch FB page: “Bunch is a band formed from 28 different members, each playing one note a song. Occasionally during recording, a member might repeat a note several times. If that happens, a break with cookies is required afterwards. Bunch likes cookies.”

There are a bunch of Bunch demo tracks at this location. I picked one to stream after the jump. Continue reading »

Jun 212012

(Credit for all photos in this post: Alyssa Lorenzon.)


(Listen up: BadWolf presents his favorite black metal album of 2012 to date.)

2012 has been a great year for metal so far, can we agree on that? Unlike 2011, several strong acts, veteran and green alike,  took initiative in releasing powerful works of doom and death metal. On the other hand, the black end of the spectrum has yet to blow me away (although rumor has it that Hell’s Headbangers‘ summer lineup will slaughter). Dodecahedron deserves a second look, and the new Abigail Williams collected strong accolades, both here and elsewhere, but other than that I’m drawing a blank.

Rather, I was drawing a blank until Doug Moore of InvisibleOranges referred me to Ashencult. The Philadelphia PA 4-piece outfit released their debut album, Black Flame Gnosis, on May 31 through Bandcamp. I’ve listened through twice today, and it’s giving me the fever (aye aye).

Continue reading »