Oct 052023

September 16th was the last time I was able to assemble one of these roundups of new music and videos, partly due to my missing four days at the site while attending a recent wedding in California. Needless to say, the backlog of new music that interests me swelled to enormous proportions in the interim.

In deciding what to recommend today I defaulted to the most recent releases. Prowling back through everything of interest that emerged over the last three weeks was just too daunting a task, which tends to be Sisyphean even when I’m not missing in action. Hope you get a kick (in the ass or head) from what I chose.


Morne’s 40-minute new album plays out across only four songs, which tells you that they’re all substantial in length. One of those premiered this week, along with a very good video, and when I heard it the first time I felt both emotionally and physically crushed. Of course, therefore, I liked it immediately. Here’s what Morne‘s Polish-born guitarist/vocalist Miłosz Gassan said about it: Continue reading »

Aug 242023

(Andy Synn gazes into the abyss once more via the medium of the new album from Blut Aus Nord)

Why, you might ask, am I reviewing the new Blut Aus Nord album?

After all, you can already hear it for yourselves in full here, or simply wait until its official release tomorrow and form your own opinions.

Perhaps it’s because I just like to hear the (proverbial) sound of my own voice as I share my opinions online.

Perhaps it’s because I feel like I have something of interest to offer in my analysis that might help illuminate the album a little more.

Or perhaps it’s because, after listening to Disharmonium – Nahab so many times over the last few weeks this is the only way to purge these horrific visions from my mind.

Continue reading »

Jul 182023


Today is the 199th day of 2023. On this day in history, among many other instances of idiocy and abuse, the First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility and Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf. It’s also the birthday of Nelson Mandela, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Hunter Thompson, Vin Diesel, Geno Suarez of the Seattle Mariners, and maybe you, as well as the death-day of Caravaggio, Jane Austen, Benito Juarez, Machine Gun Kelley, and hopefully not you.

It also happens to be a rare weekday when I had time to pull together a roundup of recommended new songs and videos, which has nothing to do with commemoration of any of the preceding events. There’s so much here that I’ve throttled my usual descriptive verbosity (Satan knows there’s more than enough hot air in the atmosphere today already) and left aside some of the cover art until I can upload it later today. (Presented alphabetically by band name, which led to some interesting juxtapositions).

BAXAXAXA (Germany)

Prepare for: low-end rumbling and thrumming plus grim vibrating riffage, immense jolting chugs and ethereal gothic synths, dragging tones of agony and fanatical serrated-edge yells. The experience is menacing and morbid, feral and ferocious, infernal and infectious…. Continue reading »

Jun 132023

In part, this roundup of new songs and videos (plus a recent EP and two complete new albums) is an effort to make up in part for the absence of Shades of Black two days ago, when an unexpected intervention by my fucking day job de-railed my plans. So, there’s blackened metal here, but not exclusively so. I do think that despite the considerable stylistic variation within the collection, it’s all mind-bending in different ways.


The last time I mentioned the news of Blut Aus Nord‘s new album Disharmonium – Nahab I had artwork to share, but no music. Now I have music, but wouldn’t have had it for a Shades of Black column two days ago because the song was just released over the last 24 hours. Continue reading »

Jun 042023

I won’t repeat everything I wrote here yesterday about why I’ve fallen behind in my usual attempts to keep up with newly released music (you’re welcome). Suffice to say, for this column I followed the same blunt-instrument, cutting-the-Gordian-knot strategy as I did yesterday.


At the risk of being accused of clickbaiting, or at least bait-and-switch, I’m starting with a piece of welcome news — but it isn’t accompanied by music.

The news is that on August 25th Debemur Morti Productions will release the second part of Blut Aus Nord‘s Disharmonium album series — Disharmonium – Nahab — accompanied by the chilling cover art of Polish artist Maciej Kamuda. That’s an earlier date than a previously announced calendar spot in September. Continue reading »

May 172022

(Andy Synn gazes into the undreamable abyss of the new album from Blut Aus Nord)

Call me an elitist if you will (though I think my track record would prove otherwise), but it’s both amusing and exasperating in equal measure to see people whose knowledge and awareness of Black Metal is… let’s say, limited… suddenly acting like an authority on the genre simply because their favourite rock star decided they wanted to dabble a little.

Don’t get me wrong, I actively welcome new blood, new voices, new ideas – the last thing I want is for the genre, or any genre, to become creatively stagnant – but maybe try and actively learn something about the scene, and all the bands who’ve been actively innovating within it over the years, before making wild, misinformed declarations that make you sound like an ignorant jackass?

Also, let’s face it, a lot of the time when people say “best” they really just mean “most accessible”, and while “accessible” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad” (I can give you umpteen examples of bands who actively got better once they started producing their more “accessible” material) it’s also worth pointing out that just because something is easy (or easier) to listen to that doesn’t necessarily make it good either.

This album, however, is most definitely not an easy listen… but, then, anything this good rarely comes easy.

Continue reading »

Mar 202022


As you can see, I have ambitions for a two-part SOB this Sunday. Part 1 is obviously done, so I can confidently state that it includes singles and advance tracks from forthcoming albums. My plan for Part 2 is to recommend a collection of complete albums that have recently been released, albeit without proper reviews. Let’s get to it:


Blut Aus Nord‘s mastermind Vindsval has characterized his creations under that name as a “process of perpetual regeneration”. In introducing BAN‘s last album Hallucinogen, he observed: “Music is a fascinating quest without end… and it would be a mess to express the same range of emotions, a mess to remain frozen in the same aesthetic, the same energy, a mess to compose and release the same thing again and again… and again.” Continue reading »

Jan 242020


I usually try to group songs together in these installments in a way that makes sense at least to me, sometimes grouping by genre but in other ways as well. Today, however, the music is a little more “all over the map”. All three songs come from albums I love (and I think are pretty uniformly liked by my NCS comrades too), and I just want to make sure I honored the music before running up against the end-time for this list. You can find everything that preceded these three tracks here.


Part of the thrill afforded by a new Blut Aus Nord album is the process of discovery, because BAN has rarely followed a straight and steady path from one record to the next, and predicting how their path might twist and turn requires a crystal ball. The music is, as Vindsval has said himself, a “process of perpetual regeneration”. In the case of their new album, Hallucinogen (which I reviewed here), BAN turned to psychedelia, which they transformed through reformulation into a new aesthetic. Continue reading »

Oct 202019


For this week’s column I impulsively decided to write about two very different albums I’ve been looking forward to for a big part of the year. Why was the decision impulsive, you may ask?

Well, I’ve been sitting with the first one (by Blut Aus Nord) for months, and begin scribbling thoughts long ago, planning to time a review close to the release date — but some asshole leaked it and forced the label to release it prematurely. I then indefinitely deferred completing my review, knowing that fans of the band would already be well aware of its existence, and wondering what the point of a review would be if everyone could already freely listen to it and form their own impressions.

The second one (by Teitanblood) was hinted at back in the spring, officially announced on September 17th, and released late last week with no preview tracks. We received an advance copy of the album only a day or two before the release. Again, I wondered what the point would be in writing about it. Like the first band, the second one has a large and loyal following who would be well aware of the album’s existence and would be able to listen to it on their own.

And then I impulsively decided to stop over-thinking things. There are reasons to express opinions other than the goal of promoting music you enjoy, even if you don’t succeed in bringing even one new listener to the music. It seems that some people are interested in what we think even if they already have their own opinions. There is also pleasure (as well as agony) to be found in trying to explain why appealing music is appealing. And in the end, it also becomes payment of a debt of gratitude for experiences that make life richer. Continue reading »

Aug 112019


Although you can’t tell from the title of this post, it’s the first part of another two-part installment of this column. I didn’t call this “Part 1” because I dusted off a long-dormant strategy for the second one, which has its own long-dormant Category tag, and I’m using that instead of Part 2. All will become clear when I’m able to finish and post the second segment, hopefully later today but possibly on Monday morning.

Here, I’m beginning with a notable news item and then marching ahead with the music, which includes an EP, a new song and video, and advance tracks from forthcoming releases.


Part of the thrill afforded by a new Blut Aus Nord album is the process of discovery, because BAN has rarely followed a straight and steady path from one record to the next, and predicting how their path might twist and turn requires a crystal ball. In the case of their new album, Hallucinogen, Debemur Morti Productions has announced that it “begins a new era,” “ending the cycle of clandestine industrialised dissonance that culminated with previous transmission Deus Salutis Meae and moving skyward into freshly melodic territories of progressive clarity”. Continue reading »