Dec 182017


Ekstrophë is the name of an album-length compilation by six black metal bands, some of whom haven’t been heard from in years and some of whom have created outstanding 2017 releases already: Devouring Star (Finland), Flagellant (Sweden), Arfsynd (Sweden), Ibex Angel Order (Netherlands), Dødsengel (Norway), and Chalice of Blood (Sweden). Each band has contributed one song to the album, and they are all tied together with ambient passages created by Norway’s Black Majesty and the Temple of Erythran Current.

Hints about this collaborative effort surfaced earlier in the year, but today we can provide details about its release through Terratur Possessions, as well as a full stream of all the music. Continue reading »

May 232017

Acherontas V. Priest


(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three superb 2017 albums by Acherontas (Greece), Dødsengel (Norway), and Hetroertzen (Chile/Sweden), and provides full streams of the music from all three as well.)

When people talk about the background and historical impact of Black Metal, the majority of the praise and prestige is given to the genre’s Norwegian progenitors… and rightly so, as this is, ultimately, where the first seeds were sown.

But focussing entirely on Norway doesn’t tell the whole story. After all, not only is Black Metal these days a worldwide phenomenon, it’s also one with global roots, and, as its influence has spread, different countries and different localities have all given birth to their own particular variants on the style.

The three bands featured here – one from Greece, one from Norway, and one from Chile/Sweden – all epitomise, in their own particular way, the eclectic, exotic, face of Black Metal today, so it only seemed fitting to me to group them all together under one black banner. Continue reading »

May 092017


Imperator was the third album of Norway’s Dødsengel, but it is the album that will set all expectations for their new record Interequinox. Those who were undaunted by its length and who immersed themselves fully in the wonders of those two and a half hours of music discovered a band who were driven by belief, who honored traditions, but who were also rebels — nonconformists in their art who carved their own magical path in an often rigidly defined domain.

Imperator may unavoidably set the expectations for Interequinox, but if you made the twisting journey through Imperator, then it should come as no surprise to learn that Dødsengel’s sensual left-hand path has led them to altered states of musical expression, though crafted with as much care and spiritual devotion as the esoteric opus that preceded it. Continue reading »

Apr 302017


If you scroll down the posts at our site that have appeared since Friday morning, it will be obvious that I’ve lost what was left of my mind. No sane person would test the patience of even the most devoted listener by throwing so many musical recommendations into the void in such a short space of days. I suppose I ought to give you at least a short break for recovery, and so instead of packing this Sunday’s edition of SHADES OF BLACK with everything I intended to recommend, I’m saving half of it for Monday.

The music in this post consists entirely of music that appeared over the last week, beginning with a new album that deserves a full review — which you’ll have to find elsewhere. What you’ll find here is a stream of the album and some pathetically brief but heartfelt praise. It comes from…


With their first album, Havulinnaan, Havukruunu proved very quickly that they were something special. Two years later, they have produced Kelle surut soi, which was released by Naturmacht Productions on April 29th (yesterday). Anyone who might have worried about a sophomore slump can perish those thoughts — they’ve managed to surmount a debut that was itself spectacular. Continue reading »

Apr 092015


(Andy Synn reports on the second day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos.  For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here, and his report on Day One is at this location.)

If there’s a better way to kick off another day at one of the world’s best metal festivals than by seeing Goatwhore, I’d like to hear it. Big riffs, big spikes, big attitude, the band positively ooze confidence and bleed metal, smashing through their set with almost reckless abandon.

Bassist James Harvey had a bit of a rough night, truth be told, early songs rendering his bass-lines as little more than a barely audible rumble, while snapping a string part way through the set forced the band to play a few songs without him entirely. Still, they persevered like the stalwart soldiers of Satan that they are, and on his eventual return Harvey’s lurching low-end was much more prominent. Continue reading »

May 012013

Life is so chaotic that I have a tendency to seek order in such small ways as finding themes for the collections of music I compile for this site. For this post, the unifying theme is chaos. Go figure.

There’s a lot of music to be streamed in this post, and none of it will leave you any peace.


In celebration of Walpurgisnacht, which was last night, Indiana’s Ptahil released another in their recent series of singles (the last one featured here). In the case of “Puzuzu”, they announced that it was “the completion of a Destruction Ritual dedicated to school & city officials of Steubenville, Ohio for their willing participation and condoning of child molestation/rape & child pornography.” Ptahil didn’t go into details, but it’s not hard to guess what they’re talking about.

Rage flows through “Pazuzu”. It hits like a thousand flails falling on naked flesh in the eye of a vortex. It’s a storm wind of howling guitars and thundering drums with a chorus of the damned and demented roaring and muttering in its midst. Buried within the layers of noise, riveting guitar leads can be heard and rhythms manage to take hold, but in the main, this is pitch-black, take-no-prisoners destructiveness. More killing music from one of my favorite bands. Continue reading »