Oct 182021


Autokrator is one of those bands whose music I think of as the soundtrack to world-ending calamity. The almost unmitigated savagery and destructive power of this French duo’s death/black/industrial assaults are overpowering, even though their music also exerts a powerful primal appeal — you can become easily intoxicated by their brand of blown-out violence. And so it was more than a little frightening to read the comment by guitarist/bassist Loïc Fontaine that the song we would be premiering today is “probably the most brutal song Autokrator has ever composed and played”.

This song, “DCLXVI“, appears on Autokrator‘s forthcoming fourth album, Persecution, which is set for a November 5 release by Kruyator Productions. As has been true of previous albums, this one again takes historical episodes as its theme. Here, they recount the persecution of Christians during the ancient Roman Empire — under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian, Domitian, and Trajan.

They make clear that “the record has nothing to do with glorifying the barbarity; it rather conjures up the cruel and dreadful sufferings of the victims — be it decapitation, execution, lapidation, damnatio ad bestias, dislocation, imprisonment, or banishment”. That is a harrowing mission, and the music Autokrator has created is equal to the task. Continue reading »

Sep 172021


In part because the deluge of metal has continued unabated this week, and in part because I had a little more time than usual to keep track of what was coming out, I prepared a truly massive round-up of new songs and videos. To make it possible for me to recommend as much as I can, I’ve again resorted to this stripped-down format, choking down my usual verbosity and not taking time to grab all the artwork.

I’ve again alphabetized my giant list by band name and divided it into segments. I’ll get as far as I can with these segments today, and then pick up the rollout tomorrow. In Part 1 I only made it to “C”.

AEON (Sweden)

We begin with a video, and a sorrowful stroll through a cemetery which becomes a harrowing tale told partially in reverse, a tale that increasingly becomes supernatural and horrifying. The explosive and ferocious music is even more intensely harrowing. Prepare to have all your nerve endings ignited, and to chant: GOD ENDS HERE! Continue reading »

Feb 082018


The first two Autokrator albums — the self-titled debut in 2015, and The Obeisance To Authority in 2016 — were senses-shattering experiences. On my own senses, the first album (reviewed here, with an interview) probably had a more stupefying impact, because I didn’t know what was about to hit me. For the second one, I had the good sense to wear body armor and flame-resistant head-gear before listening; but it wasn’t enough. It blew right through me like a howling hurricane.

I’m speaking in a figurative sense, of course, but only barely. The almost unmitigated savagery and destructive power of Autokrator’s death/industrial assaults are overpowering. But the music also exerts a powerful primal appeal; you can become easily intoxicated by this brand of violence. And so, with steeled nerves but with a trembling mix of fear and excitement, I confront the fact that Autokrator are about to unleash hell again.

The band’s new album is Hammer of the Heretics. It will be released on April 10 by Krucyator Productions. It consists of five tracks, including one mind-scarring interlude, and today we present the album-opener, a piece called “Against Flesh and Blood“. Continue reading »

Mar 202016

Nabaath-Common Graves


This is the delayed completion of a three-part post I began early last week, collecting and reviewing mostly new songs, EPs, and albums in the orbit of black metal. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

One benefit of the delay is that I happened across a very recent song that’s the fourth item in this final installment, which includes music from six bands that I’ve been enjoying. Most of what I’ve collected here falls on the “atmospheric” side of the black metal spectrum.


In a previous edition of Shades of Black that appeared the day after Christmas 2015, I wrote about a striking video for a live performance by a band named Nabaath (who are Russian but now based in Ukraine), accompanied by dancer Mariya KarMa. The name of the song was “Iron In Your Throat”, and it’s one of nine on Nabaath’s third album, Common Graves, which was released last fall and is now available in full on Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Apr 162015


Editor’s Note: KevinP and I are sharing this post, even though he doesn’t know he’s having to share it with me. In the first part you’ll find another installment in his “Get To the Point” interview series, in which he puts a handful of questions to Lioc F., the main man behind the multinational industrial/death/drone/doom band Autokrator. And after the interview, I have a few thoughts about Autokrator’s self-titled debut album, which was released digitally earlier this year and is due for physical release by Iron Bonehead on May 29.



K:  Since you are a fairly new band, (formed in 2014) and I know nothing about your origins, please tell us about Autokrator?

L:  Autokrator was born out of the ashes of my former project, N.K.V.D.  I wanted to turn on a death-drone side for years, still with industrial influences, so I created Autokrator. And I recorded the album with musicians I was in connection with. Continue reading »

Mar 052015


Once again, I’m behind in posting round-ups of new music and videos. I have a long list of new things that emerged this week, just not enough time to write about it… because once again my day job has sent me away from home. More about that in a later post today.

But although I can’t write about all the good new things I saw and heard this week right now, I’ll throw a few diverse tracks your way in this post and try to collect more tomorrow.


I’m going to start with the most unlikely of choices for a site like this one — it’s an exception to our inconsistent “rule”.

Eternal Champion are an epic heavy metal band from Austin, Texas, named after a character premise in Michael Moorcock’s fictional universe and featuring an ex-Iron Age vocalist (Jason Tarpey) and Power Trip’s lead guitarist Blake Ibanez. Continue reading »