Heavy metal’s fascination with the occult has deep roots and shows no signs of weakening. It is manifested in many ways, not all of which can be reconciled into some philosophically consistent gestalt, running the gamut from sorcery and witchcraft to elaborate schools of satanism, from the Dark Lords of Middle Earth to the horrors conceived by Lovecraft.
To this day, the embracing and channeling of evil cuts broad swaths across metal genres (white magic fell before the power of black magic within heavy metal in its infancy), though how we should understand the concept of “evil” and why it’s such a persistent feature of metal are subjects beyond the scope of this post. The subjects are on my mind simply because they had something to do with why I chose the following five new songs for this round-up, all of which appeared (in many instances without warning) over the last 24 hours.
The first bolt from the blue took the form of the first studio recording by these Kings of the Dead since the release of Paradise Lost in 1991. It’s a single named “Witch’s Game“, which was recorded for inclusion in the forthcoming animated movie The Planet of Doom (more info about that here). The B-side of the single is a live version of “Doomed Planet” as performed at Germany’s Hammer of Doom festival in 2017. As you can see, it comes with stunning cover art by Michael Whelan.