Jul 242018


Most of us who are devoted to music from the black realms have at least a vague idea of what’s intended by the phrase “atmospheric black metal”. That’s probably not the correct genre description for Somnambulistic Visions, the debut album by the Ukrainian band Dis Orcus, yet the music is so persistently creepy, so cold, so stricken with a feeling of encroaching inhuman horror, that its success in creating a nightmarish, vampiric atmosphere is one of its signal accomplishments. True darkness is to be found here.

The songs are almost entirely mid-paced, the reverberating drums devoted to relatively simple rhythms that are somewhere between rocking and ritualistic. There’s virtually no blasting, no displays of physical excess. The beats are not exactly metronomic — they’re too unpredictable for that, too peppered with short snapping tones and bursts of double-bass rumble or martial tattoos — but they don’t get in the way of the main design of the music, which (as I perceive it) is to freeze the blood and to draw the mind into a hideous hallucination. (At the same time, however, they’re very effective in getting your head moving.) Continue reading »

Jun 172018


I’m well aware that a lot of black metal fans out there are hard to please when it comes to new releases. Some of them, yawning or rolling their eyes, find most current black metal bands too slavishly devoted to what has been done before, re-treading riffs and blasts and particular approaches to production rather than attempting or succeeding in creating music that sounds genuinely creative. Others, gnashing their teeth or choking on their own disgust, find a lot of bands unworthy of the name “black metal”, bastardizing the music to the point of fracturing it or acting the part of charlatans without true spirit or devotion.

I, on the other hand, find it very difficult to compile these Sunday posts because every week I have more to like than I have time to write about what I’ve enjoyed. I have this same problem in other genres of metal. Maybe my tastes are too catholic (small “c”), maybe I’m not sufficiently discerning or demanding. At least I can’t legitimately be accused of dishonesty — I truly like the music I recommend to you. And I try to provide variety in these posts because I’m well aware it won’t all appeal to everyone. If you make only one new discovery that you think is worth your time, then it will have been worth my time. And if not, there’s always next week…. Continue reading »