Jan 272015


We have the great pleasure of premiering for you a full stream of an extended split release by four very talented northeastern U.S. bands, an album-length work entitled Northeastern Hymns that has quickly become one of my favorite releases of 2015.

Three of the bands — Obsidian Tongue, In Human Form, and Infera Bruo — make their homes in Massachusetts, while the fourth — Autolatry — hail from Connecticut. In each case, these long songs mark the bands’ first recorded output since albums that appeared in 2013. In each case, there is a connection to the genre of black metal, but other musical elements are more dominant. And together, they provide a tremendously multi-faceted and tremendously engaging array of musical creativity and instrumental talent. Continue reading »

Jul 242013

I’m still in catch-up mode on new things I haven’t been able to write about over the last few days. So, despite the fact that I already posted one round-up today, here’s another one, collecting three recommended new videos and one new song. As usual, the music is quite diverse.


On October 27 of last year Devin Townsend put on a tour-de-force live musical retrospective at The Roundhouse in London, which he called “The Retinal Circus”. Our own Andy Synn was there and wrote an evocative review, which we illustrated with photos and video clips. The performance was recorded for later release on both DVD and Blu-ray (via InsideOut Music).

Almost one week ago, DT released a clip from the DVD, the performance of “Grace” that closed the show (but for the encore), but I missed it until this morning. If you’ve seen any of the video clips of the show that previously surfaced, then you know this was a visual extravaganza. But the DVD excerpt of “Grace” is a taste of the pro-shot, multi-cam rendition that the DVD will deliver, and it’s awesome.

I’ve loved this song from the first time I heard it, and I got chills all over again when it transitioned from Anneke Van Giersbergen’s opening vocals into the hevy. I got more chills later. Is it too emo for me to say that? Well fuck it, I’m just being honest. The video is next.

Continue reading »

May 232013

“American Black Metal” probably isn’t a valid genre label. There are too many variations in the music created by American bands who have been using, to greater or lesser degrees, the traditional elements of black metal. In fact, newer bands such as CastevetCormorant, deafheaven, KralliceNachtmystium, Oak Pantheon, Panopticon, VHÖL, and Woe probably have more differences in their approaches than they do common characteristics. In fact, I wouldn’t fight you if you argued that a few of those outfits I just mentioned shouldn’t be called black metal bands at all.

But despite the fact that no common set of traits makes it possible to anoint “American Black Metal” as a discrete genre, the term does suggest (at least to me) an approach to black metal that both pushes the boundaries associated with first- and second-wave Scandinavian bands and pulls inside those boundaries musical ideas from other metal genres, and sometimes from outside metal altogether. It’s that creative, genre-bending approach that makes bands such as those listed above so interesting.

And now I have another band whose name needs to be added to that list: Autolatry. To be clear, I don’t mean that this Connecticut group is just another example of a band who use the traditional tropes of black metal along with a lot of other musical influences. I mean they’re so damned good they deserve to be talked about in the same breath with those other excellent bands. Continue reading »

Jul 092012

(Note: this review will be today’s only NCS post, because of Blog Break.)

Autolatry is a black metal band from eastern Connecticut whose music is devoted to stories about the New England wilderness and New England history. In late 2010, they released a debut album entitled The Hill, which I haven’t heard. And then in February of this year they released the subject of this review, an EP called Of the Land. Both releases can be downloaded on Bandcamp (here) with a “name your price” option.

Given the lyrical themes of Autolatry’s music, the title of this most recent EP, the names of the four songs it includes, and even the cover art, you might assume that Autolatry is some kind of New England version of Agalloch — but for the most part you would be wrong. Though you might pick out a bit of Agalloch influence here and there, the four songs on Of the Land turn out to be a surprising mix of styles, with no two songs quite alike.

The opener, “Mountain”, leaps forward immediately with maniacal drumming and a rapidly moving blast-front of ripping guitar chords. Sulfurous vocals howl malignantly and a trilling lead guitar spins a melody through the maelstrom. There’s a hard-driving, instrumental-only scorcher of a finish to the song that will get your head nodding, too.

“Oak” sets the hook from the start, with dense, chiming guitars and a super-catchy bass line. In addition to a cascading tide of tremolo melody, the song includes a relatively subdued melodic interlude that features a duet of acoustic and electric guitar with a Spanish flair (or at least that’s what jumped to my mind). Overall, it’s a rolling, rocking track that’s infectious as hell. Continue reading »