May 252022


(We present DGR‘s review of the second album by the international death metal band Darkened, which will be released on May 27th by Edged Circle Productions.)

Truly, death metal knows no bounds and as the swede-death revivalist trend reaches critical mass so too do the bands reach further and further out. The last few years especially have seen more and more projects popping up as musicians found themselves locked inside, and much like many writers have one good book in them, so too does it seem that every musician has one real fuckin’ caveman hitting rock stupid style death metal disc laying in wait.

Darkened already have an impressive collection of music since their founding in 2018 – we ever premiered one! – and four years later are now on their second album after two EPs and a previous full-length. They cover some serious ground among them, uniting musicians out of the UK, Sweden, and Canada in the latest permutation of chainsaw guitar worship, and the group’s newest album – their sophomore release – The Black Winter seeks to add to that body pile. Continue reading »

Mar 292022


I’m sure some of you noticed that I didn’t post anything at NCS last weekend, neither a new-music roundup on Saturday nor a Shades of Black column on Sunday. I was in my hometown of Austin, Texas, which was only my second departure from Washington since the pandemic began (the other one being a trip to Iceland last fall for Ascension Festival).

No reason to go into details about that trip, other than to say that it was packed with activities that led to late nights and hungover mornings, and I had no time to write anything for this site. I did have a little time to myself on Friday afternoon and used that to check out some new songs and videos. From that I assembled a tentative collection for a Saturday roundup, and even though I couldn’t get that done, I decided to stick with the list for today.

I enjoyed the hell out of all these songs when I first heard them — my kind of ear candy. I hope you’ll have fun with them too.

DARKENED (International)

This group of all-stars put out a hell of a debut album in 2020’s Kingdom of Decay, and early signs are that their new record will also be a rousing a success. Continue reading »

Sep 182020


(Here’s another Friday round-up of new music compiled by Seattle-based NCS contributor Gonzo.)

I, for one, am looking forward to cooler weather.

Not only will cooler temperatures bring about an overdue ending of the wildfires currently making life miserable for the Northwest, but also an ideal environment for listening to your audial brutality of choice.

And while it’s certainly kvlt as fuck to stand in the middle of a Norwegian forest in corpse paint and spiky gauntlets while cranking up the lo-fi black metal, it’s by no means required. Some of this week’s new releases may inspire it, though. Continue reading »

Jul 222020


The term “supergroup” is over-used and sometimes not entirely accurate, but it does come to mind in the case of the multi-national death metal formation Darkened. At a minimum, no one would dispute that the band is rich in experience and with a line-up pedigree that’s immediately impressive. Darkened‘s collective resume certainly played a role in drawing the attention of fans to their 2019 debut EP, Into the Blackness, and then the music on the EP did the rest of the job, proving that the band’s members were earning their accolades all over again and intensifying interest in what they might do next under the Darkened banner.

What they’ve done next is a debut album that will be released by the same label that helped usher that EP into the world — Edged Circle Productions. The imposing title of the full-length is Kingdom of Decay, and it will hit the streets (like a warhead) on September 11th. One electrifying song from the album is already out, and now we’re presenting a second one that’s perhaps even more dynamic and multi-faceted but no less adrenaline-charged. Continue reading »

Aug 062019


I had time last night to check out a bunch of new songs that surfaced in recent days, and from that listening excursion I decided to pick the ones below for a Tuesday playlist. Serendipitously, all the bands have one-word names. However, both their locations and musical styles are diverse. You’ll encounter varieties of old school death metal, black metal, metallic hardcore, and death/crust — and I hope you’ll like all of it, because I sure as hell did.


Metal-Archives lists two long-defunct bands named Darkened, one from Sweden and one from the UK. The Darkened whose music I’ve chosen to begin today’s round-up is obviously neither of those, though the line-up of this new band does include members from Sweden and the UK — as well as the U.S. The band may be new, but those members will be known to many of you through their numerous other projects: Continue reading »