Sep 172022

Eternal Helcaraxe

Oh shit look what I’ve done. I learned the hard way that I should never call one of these weekend round-ups “Part 1” when Part 2 is still just an idea. Too many times in the past, I never got around to writing Part 2, even when I was damn sure I could. So I vowed to myself I’d stop doing the Parts thing. If I got another Part done, it would just be a surprise instead of the culmination of an announced plan.

You know what makes the situation even riskier (i.e., stupider) today? I have ideas not just for Part 2 but also for Part 3! I could spell out those ideas right now. But there’s  a limit to how dumb I’m willing to be. I’ll just say that if they come to pass they won’t both be a continuation of choices from among fairly recent songs and videos. Continue reading »

Nov 182017


The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley, and sometimes they’re just naturally daft and glazed, which is a good description of myself this morning.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s round-up, I’m now deep in the heart of Texas for a high school reunion tonight, and spent last night catching up with some old friends over a bottle of whisky. I then slept 11 hours, which I don’t think I’ve done since the year of my high school graduation. And so, this Saturday round-up includes fewer items than I had originally planned.


The first Migration Fest (organized by Gilead Media and 20 Buck Spin), which took place in Olympia, Washington, in August 2016 was fantastic. The next one is now set for July 27-29, 2018, at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And this morning the festival announced the first round of confirmed bands: Continue reading »

Sep 272014


As explained here, I’m taking a 10-day hiatus from searching for and writing about new song and video premieres, in order to make time for reviewing some albums I absolutely need to say something about. Before doing that, however, here’s one last batch of new things I found over the last couple of days that I thought were worth sharing.


Germany’s Bethlehem, whose debut album may or may not be responsible for that amorphous genre label “dark metal”, have a new song up for streaming, the name of which is “Ein Kettenwolf greint 13:11-18”. All I really have to say about this depressive ballad is that I’d listen to more rock music if it sounded like this. Warning: clean singing to come…

The song will appear on the band’s sixth album Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (fear of the number 666), which is their first in about five years. It will be released by Prophecy Productions on Oct 10 (Oct 14 in the U.S.) and is available for order here. Continue reading »

Nov 282013

(In this post guest writer DiabolusInMuzaka provides reviews of three recommended albums, with full music streams for each one.)

With the internet providing a platform for even the most obscure Indonesian-black-death-drone-ambient-progressive-neo-folk project (recorded entirely in analog in a cave in mono of course), a lot of music understandably slips by under our metal radars. That, and we’re oversaturated; too many bands to check out, too little time. My aim in this post is to provide a good description of the music offered by the bands here, so that you, as the reader, can judge whether or not this band would be suited to your tastes. Full streams of each album are present in the article, so if anything piques your interest, click play and give it some of your time. You just might find a particularly refreshing drop in the vast, ever-expanding metal ocean. So, without further ado, here is some shit you may have missed in your metal travels.

GorelustReign of Lunacy (PRC Music – reissue; New World Symphony – original pressing)

As the name would imply, Gorelust is death metal. Reign of Lunacy, released originally in 1995, was the Quebec band’s debut and only full-length album. The album is short (clocking in at just under 30 minutes) but absolutely refuses to relent for its entire running time. Being released in 1995, this album presents an interesting form of death metal: it sounds like the missing link between Cryptopsy’s 1996 masterpiece None So Vile and their much more tech-death oriented 1998 beast Whisper Supremacy (it’s worth noting again that this was released in 1995). The production sound is close to Whisper Supremacy as well, which makes sense, as Cryptopsy’s frequent partner-in-crime Pierre Remillard engineered this album. Continue reading »

May 232012

Irish pagan/black metal band Eternal Helcaraxe walk a fine line between the dramatic and the melodramatic on their new album Against All Odds, but for the most part stay on the right side of it. Drawing on Irish mythos and a national identity marked equally by tragedy and a spirit of indomitable resilience, Eternal Helcaraxe have crafted anthems that both tug at the heart strings and rake at the flesh with sharpened swords.

This is not our first exposure to the band. In early 2011, I reviewed their EP, To Whatever End (2010). The distinctive characteristics of the music on that very mature EP are still present on the new album. Even if you lacked access to the lyrics, even if you didn’t know that this is an Irish band, the music itself conveys the obviously heart-felt emotions and principles that inspire Eternal Helcaraxe.

Against All Odds conveys a sense of epic struggle, the will to fight to the death for lost causes, the rising up of subjugated people with weapons in hand — no backing down and no quarter given or taken, ready to fall or to triumph in the service of honor and freedom. Jaded cynics in the audience may start rolling their eyes simply by reading those words, but for those romantics out there, there’s not a single song on this album that will fail to get the blood pumping and the heart soaring. Continue reading »

Feb 092011

J.R.R. Tolkien had a talent for creating evocative names for beings and places in his writings about Middle Earth, and many of those have exerted a magnetic attraction on metal bands. To name a few: Amon Amarth (the Elvish name for Mount Doom), Gorgoroth, Nazgul, Ephel Duath, and Burzum (one of the words written in Black Speech on the One Ring of Sauron).

Helcaraxe is a lesser known place-name, probably due to its appearance in one of Tolkien’s less-frequently read (and posthumously published) works about Middle Earth, The Silmarillion. It doesn’t sound like a hospitable place. Tolkien describes it as a wasteland of bitter cold and grinding ice (we’ll have his full description at the end of this post). And yet it’s the name chosen by Irish black-metal band Eternal Helcaraxe.

Many black-metal bands are drawn to imagery that conveys bitter cold and bleakness, yet the words that came to me as I listened to this band’s wonderful recent release, To Whatever End, were “sweeping”, “soaring”, “anthemic” — and yes, “epic” (my NCS cohort Alexis will try to shoot me for using that word, but a better one isn’t coming to my lazy mind). I just fucking love this music. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »