Nov 222019
 

 

(Today Sentient Ruin Laboratories is releasing the debut album of the multinational black metal entity Decoherence, and to commemorate the occasion we have Andy Synn‘s laudatory review of the record.)

It still never fails to surprise me, although I probably should have learned by now, how conservative and parochial some Black Metal fans can be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that every genre (not just Black Metal) has certain key features, certain boundaries, which define them, but it’s not hard at all to find bands pushing and exploring and expanding these boundaries in a way which still maintains the fundamental essence of the style.

That’s not enough for some people though, especially in Black Metal, where the issue of what is “true” and what is “false” often gets simplified down to “whatever I happen to like is real Black Metal, and whatever I don’t like isn’t”.

Still, even the most obsessive and obdurate of refuseniks will have a hard time denying that Ekpyrosis is one of the best Black Metal albums of the year. Continue reading »

Nov 102019
 


Arkona

 

Just a few opening notes:

First, all of the following songs are the first advance tracks from forthcoming albums, The opening four in today’s collection are absolutely wild, and the first three of those put me in mind of the kind of full-throttle, all-enveloping extravagance that often forms the closing movement of a classical symphony.

Second, today I’m just launching immediately into thoughts about the songs I picked, and providing the details about the bands and the releases only after that.

Third, I’m so far behind in mentioning recently released full albums from the black realms that I have in mind another one of these columns tomorrow, which won’t include full reviews of those albums but only teasers. Because that won’t take me as much time, there’s a greater likelihood I’ll be able to follow through. Continue reading »

Apr 072019
 

 

This edition of SHADES OF BLACK is different from most, in two respects. First, my paying job (i.e., not NCS) has been crushing me lately, including this weekend, and I don’t have time to accompany what I’ve chosen with my usual impressions and links. Second, there’s not as much music in this post as you might guess from the title of the post. I’ve made the rare decision to include three album announcements at the end of the column even though there’s no music available for streaming yet. I did that because I’m so excited about those announcements.

ROTTING CHRIST

The first item I’ve chosen is Rotting Christ‘s new video for “In the Name of God“, one of the tracks on their latest album, The Heretics, which was released in mid-February and reviewed here by DGR. As he wrote, The Heretics follows what the band have established as their “blueprint” — a “sort of larger-than-life, titanic paradigm of martial prowess turned black metal.” It doesn’t push the genre or the band’s music forward as much as it represents a summing-up of their career so far, playing to their most familiar strengths. “In the Name of God” is but one example of that. Continue reading »