Dec 072022

(Andy Synn dedicates what may be his last review of 2022 to our old friends in Dødsengel)

Let’s face it, I may not be great at predicting what bands are going to become big and successful… but I’m pretty good at predicting which bands are going to become great.

Of course, by the time I discovered Dødsengel they were already great – I might even go so far as to call their titanic 2012 album Imperator a “masterpiece” if only that word hadn’t been bastardised beyond repair – but I’d be lying if I said that a part of me wasn’t always hoping to see them achieve the same level of acclaim and appreciation that bands like Batushka and/or Zeal & Ardor have received in their stead.

That was, honestly, never going to happen though. Dødsengel have always been a little too weird, a little too out-there (despite their increasingly melodic, borderline gothic, tendencies and uncanny vocal charisma) to ever achieve that sort of cross-over success. But that hasn’t stopped them continuing to be great, even if they’ve had to do it in (relative) obscurity.

Continue reading »

Oct 302022

I was able to devote a lot of time to listening to new music this weekend, despite feeling borderline-miserable. One result was a big round-up of new music yesterday. Another result is this over-stuffed column of blackened sounds – advance songs from seven forthcoming albums, some with videos, and one very recent EP.

ARKÆON (Denmark)

Over the last six months or so, I, Voidhanger Records has been announcing new releases in batches. I’ve done my best to call attention to most of them as time has allowed, because (as usual for this label) they are so unconventional and interesting. From the latest batch I’ve picked music from two albums for this column, and the first of those is Parasit, the debut full-length from a veteran Danish trio who call themselves Arkæon. Continue reading »

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 »