Jun 202023

At the end of April this year the Indian black metal band Démonos released their astounding debut album Anno Daemonium. Over the space of two consecutive Shades of Black columns we attempted to review it, in stages that aligned with the unfolding of the album’s tracks. Experiencing it that way created increasing surprises that were difficult to sum up. The path through the album is not a straight and narrow one. As we wrote in the second phase of the review:

“That trip sometimes feels like being caged with a feral beast and no way out. At other times it feels like someone slipped acid under your tongue without your knowing until it kicked in. At still other times, you might feel teleported into a burial ground as a piano plays a hopeless lament, with the wails of mourners in the background, or into a sonic aurora borealis that glitters and drifts in wondrous colors while the bass throbs.”

And all that happens in just the second song, “Vesper Evocation“, which further includes the solemn tones of a church organ at the end.

We spent several substantial paragraphs here attempting to describe the experience of the three-part opening track “Magma Stigmata“, and there are still five more to come after those two. With each one, Démonos manages to bring in something you haven’t heard in the preceding tracks, both vocally and instrumentally, and in their moods. In other words, there are surprises galore, some of them like sorcery, some of them frightening, some of them spellbinding, some of them ugly, none of them dull.

Today we have the chance to further highlight the album’s third song, “Your Ascension is a Mere Illusion“, thanks to a fascinating video for it that we’re now premiering. The song itself is fascinating, in both its inspiration and its effects on the listener. Here is what Démonos says about its subject: Continue reading »

Apr 302023

Even on Sunday mornings my paying work can rear its ugly head and steal away my time (world leaders looking for advice on how to clean up the shit they’ve made tend to be impatient). This happened to me today. The result is a more abbreviated roundup of blackened tonalities than I had hoped for, but I’m still enamored of all of it. You’ll see that it’s all pretty adventurous as well.

IFRYT (Poland)

Doom metal bands don’t have a monopoly on 10-minute tracks. Sometimes black metal bands make them too, especially when the bands are inspired by a bushel-full of music from well beyond the traditional boundaries of black metal, as Ifryt clearly is.

After releasing an 11-minute demo on Christmas Eve, 2017, this Polish solo project (the creator is Bartosz “Kuna” Mokr) now has a record named Płuca (“Lungs”) set for release on May 12th via Godz Ov War Productions. The first song to be revealed is the 10-minute “Straszne Rzeczy” (“Terrible Things”). It’s so utterly wild that if I had any sense (which I don’t), I wouldn’t even attempt to describe it. Continue reading »

Apr 232023

I probably went way overboard with yesterday’s 11-band roundup of new songs and videos. I could have done the same today, but decided to show a little restraint. There’s still a lot of music to be found below, with two complete EPs as well as two advance songs from forthcoming albums.

I’m also happy with the way this came together, because in very different ways (some more adventurous than others) all the music is head-spinning.

DIONE (Poland)

The debut EP of the solo black metal project Dione seemed to appear out of nowhere when it was released yesterday. No previous releases under that name, though M-A does point to its creator’s previous involvement in a few other projects (which themselves don’t have many releases to their credit). This just makes the appeal of the four songs on Cosmosphere even more startling. Continue reading »

Jan 282017

Morta Skuld

It seems that some lessons can’t be learned no matter how many times they’re taught. A case in point: Once again, I’m now recovering from alcohol poisoning, probably not severe enough to require hospitalization but debilitating enough that even typing hurts and coherent thought is a goal that’s out of reach.

Fortunately, I picked the following songs and videos yesterday, before severely damaging my coherence with an end-of-the-work-week blowout last night. If you find more mistakes than usual in what I’ve written today, you’ll know why.


The first item in this collection blind-sided me without warning yesterday, though I probably just wasn’t paying attention as carefully as I should have. The news is that Milwaukee-based Morta Skuld have returned with a new album. Entitled Wounds Deeper Than Time, it will be released by Peaceville Records on February 17 and it follows the band’s comeback EP Serving Two Masters (2014). Like the EP, it includes cover art by Patrick Kachellek: Continue reading »

Oct 072016



The debut EP of the Indian black metal band Démonos is fascinating. It doesn’t fit neatly into any of the usual pigeonholes of black metal. There are common threads that link the songs together, but each of the songs is also quite distinct from the others. Making your way through all four tracks from start to finish proves to be an enthralling and immersive experience — and it’s a trip we hope you’ll take with us as we premiere a full stream of From Sacred To Profane.

It’s tempting to attach adjectives like “avant-garde” and “progressive” to the music, in part because the EP is so varied, unpredictable, and instrumentally imaginative. It plumbs dark depths, with an often solemn and even depressive air, but the songs are also infectious when you first hear them and memorable in their aftermath. Continue reading »