Jun 142020

Gaerea – photo by Catarina Rocha


Maybe you know about the “Overflowing Streams” format that we use for especially large collections of new music we want to recommend? The idea is to (regretfully) cut back on words and save the time needed to find, download, and upload cover art, and let the music streams mainly speak for themselves. And that’s the format I’ve resorted to for this week’s Shades of Black column, which is mostly a collection of recently released individual songs from forthcoming records.

GAEREA (Portugal)

The meteoric rise of Gaerea continues. In both its sights and its sounds the new video that begins this collection is extremely powerful. The inner pain they express is mutilating. The music is both crushing and explosive, delirious and despairing, sweeping and scathing. For such intense music, it’s also thoroughly immersive… or perhaps it’s better said that this is an emotional vortex that’s hard to escape. Continue reading »

Apr 102020



I wondered whether the words “pandemic” and “pandemonium” were linguistically related. So I did some research.

Pandemic“, a word that originated in the 1660s in reference to disease, means “incident to a whole people or region” and derives from the Late Latin word pandemus, and in turn from the Greek pandemos, meaning to “pertain to all people; public, common” (from pan– “all” and dēmos “people”).

On the other hand, “pandemonium” was coined by John Milton in 1667 in Paradise Lost (though he spelled it “Pandæmonium”) as the name of the palace built in the middle of Hell, “the high capital of Satan and all his peers,” and the abode of all the demons. He built the name from the Greek pan– “all” and the Late Latin daemonium (“evil spirit”), which in turn derived from the Greek daimonion (“inferior divine power”) and daimōn “lesser god”.

So, although pandemics often produce pandemonium, as we’re witnessing, the words aren’t very closely related.

Now that we’re finished with your home-schooling for the day, let’s move on to the musical pandemonium I selected for this round-up. By coincidence, all the music comes from bands who are established favorites of our site. Continue reading »

May 232016



Qliphothic Rites of Death has been seething in the underground for many years, like a vein of radioactive ore covered in deep black earth, waiting to be unearthed so that its arcane energies and spectral light could spread and be experienced. This week that will happen, as Iron Bonehead Productions releases this rarity on 7″ vinyl, and today we premiere both of its songs.

Qliphothic Rites of Death, originally recorded in 2010 and circulated then in small quantities, is the lone release of Seventh Xul, a unique collaboration between two luminaries of the Greek black metal scene — vocalist Acherontas V.Priest of Acherontas (and many other projects) and guitarist/bassist N.E.C.R.O of Burial HordesEnshadowed, and other groups — with session drumming by Fotis Benardo (Necromantia, ex-Septicflesh).

In the band’s own words, “The Ayin of Creation and Destruction Forces crowned this effort, and the necromantical vision took form in 2010 only for this release.The band split up immediately, as we felt that this was our only goal from the beginning. A unique release serving that period of wondering & isolation….” Continue reading »

Jan 102013

One of our first album reviews of 2013 was Andy Synn’s recent complimentary write-up on the new work by Enshadowed, Magic Chaos Psychedelia. With Enshadowed on my mind, I discovered by coincidence that they appeared on a recent split with another Greek band, Burial Hordes (whose discography is listed here). The split was released last October as a vinyl 7″ and on tape by a Greek label named Razorbleed Productions, though they’ve apparently sold out of the tape. Copies of the tapes still seem to be available through NoiseGoat Productions and versions of the 7″ can still be found here.

What caught my attention is that today Razorbleed uploaded both tracks from the split to YouTube. After listening to them, I tracked down the artwork for the split, and my eyes got really big when I found it. As you can see above, the cover kills.

The music kills, too.  I wish that the tracks could be made available digitally. Maybe if we all whine and beg loudly it will happen. Continue reading »

Jan 072013

(We’ve been eagerly awaiting this album for almost one full year, and it’s now on the brink of release. Below, Andy Synn reviews the new work of Enshadowed from Greece — Magic Chaos Psychedelia.)

It always strikes me as funny that there’s such dissension and division between the Black Metal and Death Metal camps. Fans of Death Metal still dismiss Black Metal for not being “brutal” enough, and  devotees of Black Metal dismiss Death Metal… simply because it’s NOT Black Metal. Confusingly, even Blackened Death Metal often seems to have its own specific fanbase, as if its parents are somehow ashamed of this bastard child of extremity.

Thankfully though, we have bands like Enshadowed. They aren’t “Blackened Death Metal” – the purest Black Metal fire runs through their veins – yet they somehow manage simultaneously to be both blacker than black, and deader than death. That’s one of the things that makes the band so interesting – without meaning to, they’ve become a chameleonic entity, one that appears different depending on where you’re looking from. Continue reading »

Sep 132012

Yeah, I decided to go back to the “Seen and Heard” title for these morning round-ups. I know Phro will be disappointed that I didn’t go with his latest suggestion — “A Nice, Hot Cup of Morning Cum” — but I worried that not everyone would find that as appetizing as he does. Though maybe a dash of nutmeg on top would help. Regardless of the title, the idea is the same: things I saw and heard yesterday that I thought were worth passing on.


Valdur are a three-man band from Mammoth Lakes, California, who I first came across (and wrote about) more than two years ago following release of their excellent second album, Raven God Amongst Us. Yesterday I learned that Valdur have finished writing their new album and will begin recording it on November 12. I also learned that earlier this summer they self-released a limited two-song EP entitled The Hammer Pit, which consists of “rough version” of two new songs.

I was curious to hear The Hammer Pit, since I know that this past spring a new vocalist/guitarist (“Samuel”) joined the band, and his work is reflected on the new EP. I was able to find a Bandcamp page where Valdur are streaming one of the EP’s tracks — “Conjuring the Fire Plagues” — and it’s available for a “name your price” download. It’s a damned killer of a song. Continue reading »

Mar 252012

This three-man black metal band from Greece is blowing my mind and not even leaving the tiniest scraps of tissue behind.

I discovered Enshadowed for the first time in January because I saw that fantastic album cover up there, and I promptly included them in this feature. The artwork — created by the band’s guitarist N.E.C.R.O and an unidentified friend who did the design for the Lucifer figure — is for the band’s third album and their first on the reliable Pulverised label: Magic Chaos Psychedelia.

The title of the album (which was recorded by Fotis Benardo of Septic Flesh) is descriptively accurate, at least based on a song called “Inner Psy-Trip” that was released for streaming yesterday. It swarms like demon hornets, it blasts like anti-aircraft armament, it shrieks like a black cloud of wraiths, it crawls with reptilian menace, it lurches like a damaged golem, it thunders like an orcish army on the march.

The tempo changes constantly, the guitars alternately buzz and chime, the music attacks voraciously but also reverberates with grim, even funereal melodies. It starts with teeth bared and ends with slow piano keys over an electronic drone. Fascinating song. Listen after the jump. Continue reading »

Feb 042012

January ended four days ago, so it’s past time for our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. I have to confess that this list is even more spotty and sporadically assembled than usual — which is saying something. Various distractions prevented me from keeping a sharp eye out for news about new releases, so I have no doubt this list is incomplete.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, we probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. For example, on this list you won’t see such notable releases as the forthcoming albums from Meshuggah, Enthroned, Unleashed, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Asphyx, Naglfar, or Autopsy, because we’ve mentioned them elsewhere. Or at least I think we did.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Jan 202012

We hardly ever actually “plan” anything around here.  Impulse is in the driver’s seat most of the time.  But sometimes a pattern develops despite the absence of design, and this week our content has been heavier than usual with videos and album art. Yesterday I saw even more eye-catching artwork for forthcoming albums, so I’m collecting them here (along with some music, of course).


This long-running avant-garde Norwegian band is one I learned about through readers on this site back in the early days of NCS. What with all the clean singing, I didn’t immediately love the music, but I’ve developed an appreciation for what they do, and so I’m interested in the new studio album they recorded with Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (OpethParadise LostKatatonia) in Örebro, Sweden. The album is titled Urd and will be released on March 26 in Europe and March 27 in North America via Century Media Records.

The eye-catching album art was designed by Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco, who did the cover for this band’s previous Universal album. He has also created album art for many other bands, some of which we’ve featured here, including BelphegorEinherjer, Dimmu Borgir, The Faceless, Noctem, and Keep of Kalessin.

The cover for Urd captures the look and feel of a Nordic wood carving. More info about the design and the album can be found on a post at Borknagar’s official site, here. As for the clean singing, the new album will feature three pretty talented vocalists working together – Vintersorg, Lars Nedland, and ICS Vortex. One of the heavier tracks from the band’s last album comes right after the jump. Continue reading »