May 112021


In the neverending musical combat between catharsis and comfort, byzantine boundary-stretching and banal convention, Cloak of Altering continues to leave no doubt where its allegiances lie. In the band’s eccentric and perpetually experimental maneuvers, it seems dedicated to rooting around in our subconscious in a way that makes it difficult to keep certain things buried that perhaps we’d rather remain hidden, just as it provides a necessary outlet for its creator’s own unsettling and unpredictable impulses.

Yet every new excursion by the band provides a multitude of fascinations, no matter how disorienting they may become, further proof of which is provided in Cloak of Altering‘s new album, Sheathed swords drip with poisonous honey (set for release on June 4th by Brucia Records).

We have the premiere of a song from that album for you today, “The Jesuscraft“. The opening line of our introduction, which is a few paragraphs below, is this: “The song seems diabolically calculated to keep listeners continually off-balance.” Perhaps, then, there is some hilarity to be found in the comment about the song from Cloak of Altering‘s alter ego Mories (the fiendish mind also behind Gnaw Their Tongues, The Sombre, The Night Specter, Hagetisse, and Golden Ashes, among other projects): “The Jesuscraft is the most straightforward song on the album.” Continue reading »

May 132018


There’s a mountain of black music in today’s column — five full releases, the shortest of which is more than 20 minutes long. Moreover, one of those releases is a single song that itself tops 20 minutes in length. I don’t expect everyone to make their way through all of this; tastes do vary, as does the amount of time people are prepared to set aside for the exploration of new music. Recognizing that, I’ve provided previews of the music (at least as I hear it), and in the case of the releases other than the two that consist of long-form monoliths, I’ve selected specific songs that I think provide a good test for whether you’ll like the rest of what’s there.


Eternal Throne is the debut EP by a Swedish black metal band (from Malmö) named Plaguestorm. According to the two labels who are releasing it (Helter Skelter and Blood Harvest), it was recorded in 2015 but is only now being released for the first time due to unspecified “hardships and delays”. Their description of the music peaked my interest:

Eternal Throne, they wrote, “features four tracks in 21 minutes, where all possible aspects of black metal is being mixed into one, big gruesome bowl where everything from the classic guitar leads of Mercyful Fate, and the chaotic mayhem of Katharsis has its righteous place”. Continue reading »

May 012014

Here are three select items I’d like too throw your way from my recent crawls through the interhole and the NCS in-box.


I was motivated to mention this first album by the stunning artwork you see above. The image is a collaboration between Rachel Carns and Nathan Weaver for Celestite, the forthcoming release by Wolves in the Throne Room. In addition to the unveiling of the artwork, the album’s release date was also announced yesterday: July 8, 2014 — which will make it a nice birthday present for yours truly.

I’ve mentioned this album before, but to recap, it has been described as “an instrumental, experimental companion” to the band’s 2011 album Celestial Lineage and as “a deeper excursion into the crystalline synthesizer-driven domains that have long intrigued them.” Here’s the track list: Continue reading »

Nov 082012

Good morning, good afternoon, good night, wherever you are.  It’s morning for me, three time zones east of where I usually am. I’m pressed for time today because of my day job. I’ll be spending several hours trying to extricate those coke-filled balloons from my ass so I can make my delivery and get back on a plane to Seattle. I got them way to far up in there this time, I’m afraid.

But although I’m pressed for time, I did have time to make a quick review of my usual sources and have a few things to pass along to you, in no particular order: Devourment are releasing a new album; System Divide are going home; Weapon the Factory? are disrobing; Abigail Williams are reuniting; and Cloak of Altering is killing me.  Details to follow.


I saw that these grand-daddies of brutal slamming death metal will have a new album out next year on the Relapse label. Relapse released a teaser video for the thing. I’m ready. I’m more than ready. Check it out following the jump. Continue reading »