Apr 022017


I didn’t damage myself too badly last night, only moderately, and so I was able to prepare this selection of music that I thought was worth recommending. I’m beginning with songs from forthcoming albums by four bands and concluding with two recent EPs.

Much of the music in this collection isn’t strictly black metal, but has enough kinship to the genre that I can justify including it. Hope you find some things to like.


In another one of these SHADES OF BLACK posts last month I reported that Prosthetic Records would be releasing the debut album Strike Mortal Soil by Vancouver, BC’s Wormwitch on May 12. At that point I didn’t have any music to share with you, but now I do. Continue reading »

Feb 212017


Sundays are the days usually reserved for SHADES OF BLACK posts, but by coincidence most of the new songs I discovered yesterday that I thought I’d include in a round-up were in a black vein. So I’ve collected those here, and I’ll defer the others to a SEEN AND HEARD post tomorrow.

I really like the music of all four of these bands and hope you will, too. The first three items below are advance tracks from forthcoming releases and the last one is a new demo the band wrote us about.


I’ve been following this Chicago band since May of 2013, when I scribbled some enthusiastic thoughts about their 2012 demo, Fated By Will and Iron. In February 2015 I loosed another flood of enthusiastic verbiage about their third album The Furrows of Tradition (along with a track premiere). And then last year I gushed about one of FIN’s songs for a split with the Austrian band Totale Vernichtung — which still hasn’t been released yet. Continue reading »

Mar 162016

Plebeian Grandstand-False Highs True Lows


Greetings and welcome to Part 2 of a three-part post in which I’ve collected recent songs, EPs, and albums in a blackened vein that I’ve been enjoying and think you might enjoy, too. For the music in Part 1, go here. I’ll post Part 3 later today or tomorrow, depending on how life goes.


We last paid attention to the French band Plebeian Grandstand when Austin Weber reviewed their second album Lowgazers in 2014. They now have a new one named False Highs, True Lows (great name), which will be released on April 29 by Throatruiner Records (LP and CD) and Basement Apes (CD).

I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that you forget the conceptions you may have formed if you heard Lowgazers, but this new album is really something else, to be approached with fresh ears. Continue reading »

Apr 142015


One of the most marvelous things about music, of any kind, is that it’s an inherently interactive experience. No two people will hear music in exactly the same way, because what we hear is necessarily influenced by who we are, by our own life experiences, by the turn of our own imaginations, by the entire complex of ingredients that make up our own unique identities. And what we hear may not be entirely consonant with what the creators of the music were feeling or intended when they made the music.

There’s a reason why I’m starting this post with those thoughts, and I’ll come back to it at the end. But for now, let me tell you some other things about the new (third) album by Chicago’s FINThe Furrows of Tradition — and about the song from the album that we’re premiering today: “Bliss Apparition of Sunlight”.

Some black metal albums are rightly described as icy cold. The Furrows of Tradition is hot-blooded. It’s a boiling inferno, overheated to the point of running a life-threatening fever. To mix my metaphors (which I have a tendency to do when carried away by an album), it’s a rip-roaring black metal hurricane that rushes by with torrential speed and power and leaves you breathless in its wake. Continue reading »

May 202013

In the spring of 2012 a four-man Chicago black metal band named FIN self-released a demo album entitled Fated By Will and Iron. The album is now going to get the attention it deserves because it’s scheduled for an official label release on June 11 by Disorder Recordings, a relatively new imprint established by Jeff Wilson, guitarist for Chrome Waves, Wolvhammer, and formerly Nachtmystium. In this post, we’ve got a review of the album and a song stream of the title track.

At a very high level, FIN combine a variety of styles, mixing them to varying degrees within each song and transitioning from one to the next in a way that gives the music vibrancy. One of those strains (perhaps best exemplified in “Guilty of War Crimes”) is a bestial, warlike assault that’s in keeping with the martial themes of the song titles. Distorted, swarming tremolo riffs mix with thunderous double-bass, crashing cymbals, and a seething acid-bath of vocal expression to unleash a holocaust of hellfire. During these passages, listening is like being caught in a hurricane.

There are rarely any genuinely subdued moments on the album, but FIN do shake things up by transitioning within songs into squalling chord progressions and thumping drum rhythms. In these decelerated “black ‘n’ roll” segments, guitarist M.K. delivers some juicy riffs (still distorted and still vibrating with unholy energy), and heads will bang. Continue reading »