Sep 252018


A fixation with horror cuts across wide swaths of extreme music like the scythe of the Great Leveler. The most primitive and ineradicable fears of humankind have been given a multitude of frightful shapes, both monstrous and spectral, in varying musical expressions since the earliest days of the heaviest music. This fascination with death, and with what might loom behind that terrible event horizon, or what might lurk even now at the jagged edge between our own dimension and another, continues to animate the creative impulses of numerous groups, but few albums this year have succeeded in channeling such morbid terrors as effectively as Binah’s new album, Phobiate.

In broad strokes, the album is massively heavy, and manages to both freeze the blood and set fire to the nerves. It creates a deep, preternatural atmosphere, suffused with ghastliness and gloom, but also persistently triggers adrenaline surges through ravaging assaults and bouts of irresistibly headbangable barbarism. Continue reading »

Jul 252018


This is the completion of a post I began yesterday, collecting new songs and videos that by coincidence all happened to fall under the vast umbrella of death metal, or were at least close enough in sound or spirit to merit the “DEATH RITUAL” heading of this post. Between yesterday and today, one more track appeared that I couldn’t resist including, and I also decided to begin with a review of a new EP that I should have posted sooner — but better late than never.


Our history with Dire Omen goes back to 2011, when I came across their second promo and wrote it up in the 27th MISCELLANY post (and I’m wondering yet again why I let that series die of neglect). Since then, they’ve released a 2012 EP (Severing Soul From Flesh), a 2014 debut album on the Dark Descent label (Wresting the Revelation of Futility), and now a new EP (also through Dark Descent), Formless Fire Embodied. Obviously, these Canadians from Edmonton haven’t been prolific in their releases, but the care they’ve taken hasn’t been for naught, as you shall see. Continue reading »

May 122014

Vinterbris — drawing by Kim Holm

A lot of music and videos reached my ears and eyes over the weekend and today, and I’ve been collecting the best of what I heard in a series of posts. I guess I could have called all of them “Seen and Heard”, but I labeled the first one today “Videography”, and the next one (to be posted tomorrow) will be “Shades of Black”. Here are the next three goodies:


I first came across this band from Bergen (Norway) last month after discovering that the very talented Norwegian artist Kim Holm had created the cover art for their forthcoming new album, Solace. I found an advance song named “Fathoms”, liked it a lot, and featured it here. (You can listen to another one at Pitchfork, where Kim Kelly spotlighted it.)

Today Vinterbris unveiled a wonderful music video for another new song, “Dysphoria”, which fittingly features Kim Holm’s creation of artwork for the songs on the album. As the band have explained, nothing in this video is sped up or otherwise altered. Continue reading »