Feb 172018

Augury – photo by Mélany Champagne


I made a resolution last night: I resolved that henceforth I will post no more than two premieres a day, and only one per day if it’s a full album stream. During the week just ended, I posted 14 premieres, and two of those were full albums.

I might not care about the volume if I could be content to write little more than, “Here — listen to this!”, and then just provide the music stream. But where’s the fun in that? Besides the fun, I feel a compulsion to include reviews with the premieres, even if only the bands or labels might pay attention to what I write. Given that mindset, working on a big flood of premieres tends to constrict my ability to do anything else — such as compile round-ups like this one.

Full disclosure: I’ve made resolutions like this one before, and couldn’t stick to them. Did I mention that we’ll have another premiere tomorrow? It’s really good!

Anyway, as you can see, this is a two-part round-up. I decided to collect some older arrivals in this first part, organized alphabetically. My colleague DGR suggested all of them for a newsy post that would have been timely if I’d been able to get it done when he made the suggestions. Maybe some of these will still be news to a few of you despite the delay. They also involve higher profile bands; I’ve got some lesser-known groups for Part 2. Continue reading »

Jan 242018


Because of an event-filled out-of-town trip last weekend I wasn’t able to prepare a SHADES OF BLACK column for Sunday, or anything for Saturday. Fortunately, DGR stepped in with a 3-part SEEN AND HEARD round-up that launched on Saturday and continued through Monday. Now I’m going to do something similar, with this column’s usual focus on black metal. I’ve amassed a substantial collection of new music and a few news items that also interested me. I’ve organized them in alphabetical order and divided the list into three parts, with the goal of posting Parts 2 and 3 tomorrow and Friday.

Of course, in the meantime the odds are that I’ll find something else I’d like to include, which may necessitate screwing up the alphabetized ordering.


I’m beginning Part 1 of this collection with the first of a trio of enticing news items I’ve included here. As announced today by Agonia Records, the Greek occult black metal band Acherontas (whose gear is pictured above) will be releasing a seventh studio album this spring. Yes, it’s true that Acherontas released an album only last year — Amarta अमर्त (Formulas of Reptilian Unification Part II) — but that’s no reason to be any less excited to receive a new one.

As for why this new one is appearing so quickly on the heels of the last one, the press release we received included this statement by the band: Continue reading »

Jul 122017


I’m showing rare restraint in this round-up. Rather than try to stuff 8-10 new things into one bulging post, which my gluttonous self has a habit of doing, this time I’ve just picked four new things. Following this new, but probably short-lived, format, my plan is to scatter more of these shorter round-ups over the remaining days of this week, too.


Back in May we had the pleasure of premiering an unusual song named “Cocaine Witches & Lysergic Dreams” off the band’s new EP, Codex Narco, which has now been released. The whole EP is as hard to pin down as the song we premiered, and that’s one of its many attractions — the creative and unexpected splicing together of disparate musical elements, along with the strong emotional force of the songs, is a big part of what makes Codex Narco stand out.

One of the tracks on the EP is a cover song, Godhunter’s take on “Walking With A Ghost“, which was originally recorded by Tegan & Sara. I also mentioned that the song would eventually become the subject of a music video made by Mitch Wells from Thou, and that video was finally released yesterday. It’s the first item in this collection. Continue reading »

Jul 022016

Grave Desecrator-Slaughtbbath split


For those of us here in the U.S., today is the beginning of a long weekend in which we celebrate the nation’s independence from another country, which recently declared its own “independence” from Europe and now can’t seem to figure out what to do next. But since we have a couple of presidential candidates here in this country that most people don’t like, I guess we’re having some trouble figuring out what to do next, too.

I nearly decided to take the day off from blogging, not because I’m feeling very “patriotic” but because I’m feeling really lazy. I decided instead to make a feeble compromise with myself: I have a ton of new music I think is worth hearing, but I’m just going to spread a lot of it out for your perusal without any commentary. I feel kind of shitty for doing that, not because you really need my commentary but because I think I owe it to the bands to explain why I think the music is worth hearing. But I guess this is better than doing nothing at all.

Tomorrow we’ll be bringing you an EP premiere and something else, probably another Shades of Black post and/or the first “That’s Metal!” post in months. Unless I continue to indulge my feelings of laziness. Continue reading »

Mar 172016

Drudkh-Hades Almighty split


In the wake of their excellent 2015 album A Furrow Cut Short, Ukraine’s Drudkh have decided to release their next recorded output through a series of split EPs, the first of which will see the band join forces with Norway’s Hades Almighty under the name One Who Walks With the Fog / Pyre Era, Black!. Drudkh‘s contributions to the split consist of two songs — “Golden Horse” and “Fiery Serpent” — and today we bring you a stream of the latter track.

We are told that Drudkh‘s principal creative force Roman Sayenko drew his lyrical inspiration for the songs from the poetry of Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Svidzins’kyi (1885-1941), “who was murdered by the Soviets after years of censorship and repression”. Continue reading »

Apr 212015


Just a couple of quick notes before I sign off for today:


I’ve already said my piece (here) about Four Phantoms, the new album by Seattle’s Bell Witch. In a nutshell:

Four Phantoms will dismantle your defenses, reduce your bulwarks against the bad days to a pool of molten slag, leave your vulnerabilities exposed, and touch those raw places you try to hide. How it can do this and yet leave you feeling transcendent is a wondrous mystery. Continue reading »

Feb 242015


On April 20, Season of Mist will release the first new album by Ukrainian black metal band Drudkh since 2012’s Eternal Turn of the Wheel. The name of the new album is A Furrow Cut Short, and today we have the pleasure of bringing you its first advance track — “Till Foreign Ground Shall Cover Eyes”.

The music races, but within the vibrating whirl of guitars and the bolting rhythms, huge waves of dramatic melody move like tides, slow and powerful. The pulsating bass notes, rapid-fire drum munitions, and wild, predatory howls get the blood pumping, but the non-stop intensity of the auditory assault only enhances the passion and staying power of the fiery, tremolo-driven melody. It’s an exhilarating cascade of black metal potency, both ferocious in the moment and memorable in the aftermath. Continue reading »

Mar 022014

I’m still catching up on news, new music, and video premieres that I didn’t have time to write about late last week while I was on the road for my day job. In addition to what I pulled together yesterday, I’ve got the following four items to recommend.


Khonsu is the Norwegian band started by multi-instrumentalist S. Grønbech. We wrote about Khonsu frequently in 2012 during the run-up to release of their debut album Anomalia (which was reviewed here by Andy Synn). On Anomalia, Grønbech was joined by his brother Arnt (aka Obsidian Claw, guitarist/keyboardist for Keep of Kalessin) as well as Keep of Kalessin’s vocalist Thebon. I hadn’t heard much about Khonsu since then, but last weekend brought a flood of news — and yesterday brought a new song and video.

The news is that Khonsu will release a new full-length album this fall, and a new EP entitled Traveller will be released for download on March 22. Beginning yesterday, and on each Saturday through that release date, Khonsu will add new songs from the EP for streaming on YouTube. There are five in total, including new versions of two KoK songs originally released in 2003 (“Traveller” and “Ix”), a cover of “Army of Me” by Bjørk, and a purely electronic version of “The Malady” from Anomalia. But the first song released yesterday through a music video is a new one that will appear on the forthcoming album: “Visions of Nehaya”. Continue reading »

Feb 212012

About one month ago, I posted a feature about the first song to premier from the new album by the reclusive Ukrainian band Drudkh, from their next album, Eternal Turn of the Wheel. Drudkh was a cult band whose music I had never thoroughly explored despite the fact that the few tracks I’d stumbled across over time were amazingly good. But listening to that first song from the new album — “When the Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls” — convinced me that the new album would be one to watch for.

Today, that conviction solidified even more. With an introduction by Brandon Stosuy, Pitchfork debuted a second song from the album called “Farewell To Autumn’s Sorrowful Birds”. The song title fits with the overall concept of the album — a five song collection that focuses on the four seasons.

The first song dramatically captured the transition from harvest time through fall and into the withering bleakness of winter. This new song is another fine piece of music. The first segment is slow and sorrowful but filled with pagan power and solemn beauty. After a brief interlude of relative quiet, the music surges in a blast of blackened power, yet still carries a memorable melody. Continue reading »

Jan 232012

In 2003 a Ukrainian black metal band called Drudkh (the Sanskrit word for “wood”) released their debut album, Forgotten Lands. One of the long songs on the album was called “Eternal Turn of the Wheel”. Nine years later, Season of Mist is about to release Drudkh’s ninth album — Eternal Turn of the Wheel.

I’ve not heard much of Drudkh’s music — a song here, a song there, including a great (long) track called “Skies At Our Feet” from the Estrangement album that I featured in an NCS post about a year and a half ago and another great song called “Furrows of Gods ” from the Blood In Our Wells album, which Johan Huldtgren put on his list of the best 10 albums of the last 10 years in this guest post.

Late last week, NPR premiered a song from the new album, one called “When Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls”. Season of Mist described the song this way: “”When the Gods Leave Their Emerald Halls” witnesses Ukrainian Black Metal heroes musically returning to their dark roots. Taken from the album “Eternal Turn of the Wheel”, which represents the ancient pagan cycle of the seasons, this track portrays the blue skies and Ukraine’s golden fields being harvested. The wheel turns to the twilight of autumn and leaves wither from emerald green to fiery red and blazing yellow gold before crumbling to the black and brown of winter…”

Unfortunately, the NPR page no longer includes the audio stream, but the song has surfaced on YouTube. And it’s quite a song. Continue reading »