Nov 122020


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the German band Beltez, which was released on October 30th by Avantgarde Music.)

What is it about the German Black Metal scene which makes it such a hive of activity and vitality?

Far from the cliched, mechanistic precision which so many still hold as their primary preconception of the country, in my experience it’s awash with bands as emotive and progressive as they are corrosive and aggressive, from the creative complexity of Bethlehem to the ever-evolving darkness of Ultha, from the introverted intensity and extroverted extremity of Infestus and Imha Tarikat to the keening catharsis of Der Weg Einer Freiheit and the gloomy grimness of Farsot… and beyond.

With their last album, 2017’s Exiled, Punished… Rejected, Cologne quintet Beltez took their listeners on an emotional roller-coaster of pitch-black fury and white-hot anguish, which firmly put their name on the map.

But, as good as that record was, A Grey Chill and a Whisper is another beast entirely, one which finds the band expanding their creative vision, adding new shades to their emotional palette and new shapes to their mental architecture, and stretching their skills and their songwriting like never before. Continue reading »

Feb 262018


The fifth edition of Culthe Fest will take place on March 31, 2018, in the city of Münster, Germany. When the festival’s organizers invited us to help spread the word about the event as a co-sponsor, the answer was a no-brainer, based on one glance at the line-up. Feast your eyes upon these names:


With only one exception, these are all bands whose music we’ve enthusiastically praised at our site — and the one exception (Vyre) are a band we’ve happily discovered for the first time as a result of their confirmed appearance at Culthe Fest 2018. So it wasn’t a difficult decision to lend our own putrid name to the event. The difficulty is that we’re far away from Münster and haven’t yet gotten the teleporter operational, because this would be a hell of a show to attend in person. If you can be there, you damned well should! Continue reading »

Jul 042017


This is the delayed completion of a collection of metal from blackened realms that I began on Sunday. As usual, I’ve added a few items to it that came to my attention during that delay.

I’m impaired in my ability to write as much as I would like about the music because of a headache that has battered me today, most likely the result of a battering I gave myself two nights ago when I bounced my head against concrete and put an inches-long gash in my scalp. The less said about the causes, the better. Oddly, when I saw a doctor yesterday to get the wound tended to, I had no headache or other obvious signs of a concussion. But I guess headaches can come on later, and get worse, as mine has.

Anyway, I would like to express my feelings about the music more fully, but I’ve decided not to delay the completion of this post any more.


To begin, I have a news item. This is a statement that appeared today on the Facebook page of Enslaved, which I’ll provide without comment, other than the echo of the squeeeeee sound I made when first reading it:

*** Update from the studio: Mix and mastering of our 14th studio album is now finished! ***

It is accomplished! We have finished the recording process of our 14th full-length and in the renowned Fascination Street Studios, Jens Bogren polished this new raw diamond with his mixing and mastering skills. Continue reading »