Apr 142023


(Comrade Aleks has it right — Затемно (Zatemno) is an out-of-the-ordinary black metal band. Almost everything about the band raises questions, and so Aleks asked many of them in this new interview.)

Russian black metal project Затемно / Zatemno (“After Dark”) appeared in Sergiev Posad in 2011. Back then its members were Vasily Suzdalsky (vocals, guitar, drums, accordion), VVurd (guitar), and Japetus (bass), who left the band in 2018. The accordion is not a typical instrument in this genre, although you might remember two bands that occasionally add it to their arsenal, but Zatemno is an atypical project in itself, even if we’ll leave the accordion behind.

The EP Into The Ashes / Во прах (2016) and the full-length In the Noose / В петле (2019), released by the British label Aesthetic Death, gave many black metal fans something that is now difficult to find – an original concept and non-trivial musical solutions that fit well into the black metal format and ideology without unnecessary antics and pathos. It’s something that’s better to be experienced personally.

Alcoholic delirium as a method of communicating with the other world, the voices of devils pushing for suicide, the gloomy spirit of the Russian hinterland, and black anger were also embodied in Zatemno‘s second album In Hell / В аду (2022). Vasily labels it as “obscurantism and cemetery jazz”, and we had a conversation with him, as I don’t really know what that means. Continue reading »

Apr 302021


This marks the fourth time in five years that we’ve written about the unorthodox, genre-splicing Russian band Cage of Creation. The first time, in 2017, was our review of a record named III, which completed a trilogy of EPs. The second, in 2018, was a discussion of another EP named I Am the Void, which was the commencement of yet another trilogy. And then last year we premiered and reviewed their most recent full-length, Into Nowhere II. The persistent theme of all these written reactions was one of continual fascination with the band’s unbridled experimentation — within the context of songs that were nevertheless so seductive that they were damned difficult to get out of our heads.

The occasion for today’s happy reunion with Cage of Creation is the premiere stream of a new EP entitled I Am the Void II, which will be released on May 16th by Devoted Art Propaganda on 12″ vinyl. As the title suggests, it’s the second part of the new trilogy that began with I Am the Void in 2018, a three-part work that thematically focuses on experiences related to psychoactive explorations. This new EP presents two original works and a cover of Bethlehem’sNexus“. Continue reading »

Apr 282020


We are about to leap with glee off our well-trodden paths, leaving behind us our usual metal extremity, lured away by black magic into a strange (and for us, a largely unfamiliar) realm. The Russian sorcerers who have cast this spell of psychedelic black rock have named themselves Cage of Creation, and their most seductive incantations are now to be found within a new album named Into Nowhere II.

As the album’s title suggests, it is a sequel to their 2016 debut full-length Into Nowhere, the Roman-numeraled songs picking up where the last track of that one left off. And these are indeed masterful sorcerers, like the Pied Piper of Hamlin who will lead us dancing away, never to be seen again, or like Hansel and Gretel’s cannibalistic witch luring us with sweets into the oven, or like the Devil himself who invites us in charismatic commands to cavort around a midnight bonfire whose sulfurous fumes become deliciously aromatic to our bedazzled senses.

The album was first released digitally and on tape earlier this month by NEN Records, but on April 29th it will receive a CD release by Devoted Art Propaganda, which provides the occasion for today’s presentation of a complete album stream. Continue reading »

Feb 212018


I don’t know if I’ll manage to follow through, but my plan for today is to post two round-ups of new music, this one being the first. As the post title suggests, I carved these songs away from the others and pulled them in here because the vocals in each of them aren’t solely of the kind that would suit the (demonstrably porous) rule in our site’s title. That’s right (gasp), there are some clean-sung melodies in these tracks… combined in each song with harsh ones.

Of course, to my ears the tracks have many other things to recommend them or I wouldn’t have asked you to listen. But the varied voices in these tracks are part of what made them stand out to me.


In April of last year I came across and wrote about a song from a two-track demo by a Bay-area band named Ails, whose line-up included two former members of the sorely missed Ludicra — vocalist Laurie Sue Shanaman and guitarist/vocalist Christy Cather — as well as guitarist Sam Abend (Desolation, Abrubt, Scurvy Dogs), drummer Colby Byrn (One In The Chamber, 2084, Aequorea), and bassist Jason Miller (Apocryphon, Cretaceous, Phantom Limbs). At the time, Ails was in the process of mastering their full-length debut and were seeking label support — and they got it, to no surprise of mine or anyone else who heard that demo. Continue reading »

Mar 252017


This is the second part of a collection of short reviews that I began earlier today (here). The idea was to focus on new EP-length releases I had recently discovered and enjoyed, though the ones addressed below are substantial — all of them in the 24-to-26-minute range.


The first release in this collection (III) is the final part of a trilogy of EPs by the Russian trio Cage of Creation. It was released on March 4th. I became enamored of it almost immediately, from the first ringing, scratchy notes, the burly bass line, and the dark chant in the opening track, “Act IX”. Continue reading »