Apr 122017


We began following Below the Sun in 2014, with the discovery of a video for a song from their then-forthcoming debut album Envoy, and were then fortunate to premiere the album the next year. Envoy took as its inspiration the journey of the Voyager I spacecraft into interstellar vacuum, farther than anything touched by human hand. As we wrote then, “Envoy is a deeply atmospheric, irresistibly immersive work, a cosmic version of funeral doom that’s icy and vast and immensely powerful in its hypnotic appeal”.

At last, this enigmatic band from Krasnoyarsk in Siberian Russia are returning with a new album that bears the name Alien World. It will be released by Temple of Torturous Records on May 26. And on this 12th day of April — which is The International Day of Human Space Flight — we bring you the premiere of a video for one of the new songs: “In Memories“. 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 162015


On a September morning more than 37 years ago, the Voyager 1 spacecraft rose from the Earth on a mission that may have no end. In August 2012 it entered interstellar space, traveling father than anyone, or anything, in human history. Hurtling ahead at a speed of 38,000 mph (61,000 km/h), it passes further beyond our reach with each passing second, pushing forward deeper and deeper into the void.

From their own vantage point in the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberian Russia, an enigmatic band who call themselves Below the Sun have taken the solitary journey of Voyager 1 as their inspiration, crafting a concept album entitled Envoy that stands as their musical introduction to this world. Today we bring you a full stream of this unusual and unusually accomplished debut work, preceded by this review.

Hearing the album, it’s difficult to believe that it’s the first musical output of this quintet. It has the earmarks of people who already know their craft quite well, and perhaps they do — they wear masks and they go by names they weren’t born with (Vacuum, Quasar, Entropy, Lightspeed, Void), so their histories are hidden. And thus the music speaks for itself. Continue reading »

Jun 052014

I will never catch up. So many new songs and videos erupted from the underground while I was doing other things over the last week, but I can’t look backward for long because each new day brings more eruptions. The seismic plates of metal are in constant motion, and the skies are always red with fire and black with ash. So I’ll mix and match between the new and the not-quite-as-new — starting with a song that premiered yesterday.


There are some bands about whom I fear I’ve lost my objectivity. I’m so enthralled by everything they’ve done that I expect nothing less than excellence in whatever comes next. Panopticon is one of those bands. I’ve had not only high expectations for Roads To the North but also no doubt that it would prove to be brilliant.

With that confession, I will say that the first advance track from that new album is… brilliant. The song is “Chase the Grain” and it premiered at Stereogum yesterday. Even before hearing it, I was already in agreement with Stereogum writer Michael Nelson’s pronouncement that Panopticon’s Austin Lunn “is one of the few genuine visionaries in American black metal”. If you need more proof, listen to “Chase the Grain”. Continue reading »