Aug 122018


There’s a reason why I chose SHADES OF BLACK as the title of this series many years ago, instead of something like BLACK METAL. It avoids debates about whether the music I choose to highlight is or isn’t that thing, and allows me to roam a bit more widely than I would even if I were just applying my own definition of what belongs in the genre, which in itself would still take us well beyond whirring guitars, blasting drums, and scalding shrieks. It allows me to choose the following collection of excellent new music without thinking too hard about it.


In 2013 the vaunted Australian band Temple Nightside released their debut album, Condemnation. They’ve released one other album since then (along with a couple of splits), in the shape of 2016’s The Hecatomb. Now, rather than releasing a full-length of entirely new material, they’ve re-recorded their debut album — although “re-imagined” is a better word for what they seem to have done. It makes sense that they would also commission new cover art, and they enlisted the abundant talents of Elijah Tamu for that. Continue reading »

Nov 302013

(Our supporter xBenx has compiled a series of guest posts, this being the fourth installment. Each one focuses on a different band that he fears may have been overlooked by the masses, and today the spotlight is on Germany’s Essenz. Click that wonderful cover art to make it larger.)

This is proof that I’m not stuck in the past, as Essenz are one of the more curious troupes I’ve come across in the past few years. Straddling a strange middle ground between black and doom, they erect gigantic foreboding sermons of dread, which crawl, or blast, with an incessant fervour. Both albums are worth hearing, though my preference leans towards the debut (KVIITIIVZ – Beschwörung des Unaussprechlichen) — but don’t rule out the second opus (Mundus Numen), as it has been steadily consuming my being on a regular basis lately.

These platters are best administered through (quality) headphones, so you can block out the outside world’s banal monotony. Though some may say that’s exactly what Essenz sound like. I’ll let you be the judge. Continue reading »