Aug 312021

Recommended for fans of: Drudkh, Wolves In The Throne Room, Negură Bunget

While never as (in)famous or flush with accolades and acclaim as their more well-known peers (several of whom I’ve mentioned just above) Netherlands nomads Fluisteraars (“Whisperers”) are very much the connoisseur’s choice when it comes to atmospheric, naturalistic Black Metal which puts a premium on both mood and melody, yet doesn’t skimp on raw energy or riveting intensity in the process.

After producing two albums of immersive atmosphere and brooding fury in quick succession, the group reined in their activities for several years – producing just a short, two-track EP and a lengthy, single-track contribution to a split with Turia in this time – before blooming (pun intended) in their full glory once more with last year’s exceptional Bloem (easily one of the best albums of 2020).

Now operating as a duo, rather than a trio, but still clearly brimming with ideas and momentum, the band have wasted no time capitalising on the excitement and interest generated by their “comeback” (not that they ever entirely went away) and recently released their fourth album, Gegrepen door de Geest der Zielsontluiking, whose stark, simplistic artwork suggests a return to their roots might just be in the cards… but you’ll have to read the rest of the article to find out if that’s true or not.

Continue reading »

Aug 102021


If a blogger like me could pull together roundups of recommended new music on a daily basis, it would be a lot easier to keep my head above the constantly rising musical tides. But sadly I don’t have enough time for that, and so I wind up doing things like this and this as the week ends and the weekend begins. Which is to say that what you’re about to embark on has become a rarity — a roundup early in the week. And this one, again arrangd alphabetically, turns out to be a real roller-coaster ride. Enjoy!


The lead-off item is a new video (with a message) for a song that’s a head-spinner, one that melds barking growls and caustic screams, darting symphonics and scintillating drumwork, feelings of jolting hostility and jittery tension, a jazz-like interlude, and abundant flurries of flickering and fret-leaping guitar. Deep drilling tones give the music a cold, grim, and desolate mood as the song draws to a tragic and haunting end. Continue reading »

Apr 132020


(In this feature our new contributor Mike Johnson spoke with a member of the Dutch duo Fluisteraars (Bob Mollema and Mink Koops), whose new album Bloem is out now via Eisenwald.)


You guys clearly try to recreate a certain type of landscape in your sound. Each album evolving little by little. Translated to English (as I am an inept American) the newest release entitled Bloem means “Flower”. I am curious, as this album seems to be a symbol for this project in general. I feel the album starts furiously in a whir of black metal only to bloom into a more true atmospheric and melodic sound similar to that of a flower. Was this possibly a thought behind the album?

It was not a thought from which we made the album. More an unconscious competent choice that felt logical during the making process. Because if our opening track were in the middle it would not be right for us. The placement of the songs on an album apparently contributes a lot to the concept and that is good proof that music can be very narrative. Thank you for the observation. Continue reading »

Dec 172019


Way back on Saturday morning, at the end of a roundup of new music, I mentioned the risk that there would be no SHADES OF BLACK column the next day, due to the likelihood that I would get hammered at a holiday party Saturday night, rendering my Sunday mind a wasteland. I know myself all too well. But now that my head is clearer (always a relative condition) I picked up what I had hoped to do on Sunday, added a couple of songs I’ve discovered since then, and have assembled this collection, which I hope you will enjoy.


We have enthusiastically covered everything released by this Dutch black metal band from Gelderland, beginning with their 2014 debut album Dromers. We won’t stop now. Their newest release will be a third album entitled Bloem, set for release on February 28th by Eisenwald.

I can imagine the looks of skepticism on some of your grymm visages after having seen those pretty flowers on the album cover, unmarred by words, but don’t turn up your noses until you’ve listened to the first track released from the album (and I’m betting you won’t do that afterward either). Continue reading »

Sep 302018


I struggle with these picks every week, and resolve the struggle in different ways. Sometimes, when I’ve got the time, I double-up the column so I don’t have to leave out quite as many possibilities. I don’t have that kind of time today. And to make the task harder, a lot of the music I wanted to talk about today turns out to be extra time-consuming — full releases, really long songs, many minutes that don’t lend themselves to pithy introductions.

Days like this I’m reminded that the main value of what we do here is “curation” (to use a pretentious term), i.e., the sifting and sorting of music and the selection of what we find appealing and think might be worth the time of people like you. If the writing itself proves to be entertaining, that’s a bonus. Mainly, we just do that to entertain ourselves. Hopefully, the curation alone will carry the day today — my own words are limited to begin with and kind of tail off into tiny dribbles the further you get into this.


My friend eiterorm found Groza’s new album on Friday, said it was obviously inspired by Mgła, and expressed completely certainty that I would like it, judging from our common tastes in metal. “So make sure this one gets top priority. ;-]”, he wrote. So I did, and my friend was right — this is really good. Continue reading »

Oct 022016



We didn’t have an actual music post yesterday, so I’ve doubled up on this Sunday’s Shades of Black installment. In Part 1 I’ve selected three new songs, the first of which comes with a video, plus a full stream of a new demo. I’ll post Part 2 later today after I’ve finished writing it, barring a meteor strike on my house or an armed insurrection in the loris compound.


The British black metal band Eastern Front released their third album Empire (via Cacophonous Records) two days ago. Since their last album, 2014’s Descent Into Genocide, they’ve had a change of vocalists, with frontwoman Marder replacing frontman Nagant. On the official release date, the band also debuted a video for the third track on Empire, “The Fire Consumes“. Continue reading »

Sep 062015



(Leperkahn rejoins us with a round-up of new songs that have struck a chord.)

We cover a lot of stuff here at NCS. Hell, I can barely keep up with it myself. However, even more goes on in the wide world of metal than the busy staff could ever hope to cover (and normally, I’m too lazy to move my arse and actually put fingers to keyboard). Alas, here are a few tracks that I’ve been really hyped up on, though sadly lack of time has prevented us from giving them proper coverage.


Early last year BadWolf published a review of Dutch black metal band Fluisteraars’s debut album Dromers. That review was my introduction to the band, and my, what an introduction it was – three extended tracks of harrowing, melodic lo-fi black metal (and I’ll be damned if “De Doornen” didn’t stick in my head like one of Frankenstein’s bolt things). “De Doornen” ended up earning a spot in the Most Infectious Songs list for 2014, and also ended up on my year-end list.

Luckily for us, Fluisteraars have returned, with a new album entitled Luwte (apparently Dutch for “Lee”, though I’m not sure what that could signify) due out on Eisenton on September 25th. At the Bandcamp page for the album a track is currently streaming, an eleven-and-a-half song entitled “Stille Wateren” (“Still Waters” – three quarters of college-level German prepared me to figure that one out without the services of Google Translate). The track is anything but still in its first half, however, as Fluisteraars have unleashed another torrent of scathing melodic BM riffs, shifting from one to the other seamlessly, all punctuated by some soul-cleaving rasps on the vocal front and drums that are evidently try to stir up a tsunami. Continue reading »

Dec 242014


Welcome to Part 1 of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the other songs as we add them to the list, go here.

As was the case last year, I’m starting the rollout of this list before finishing the selection. Between the list of candidates I built for myself over the course of this year and the songs recommended by our staff and our readers (here), I have more than 700 tracks to choose from. I’ve listened to most of them at least once, but the selection process isn’t finished. It will be a work in progress — all the way up until I make myself stop.

Which means, as was true last year, that I have no idea how many songs will be on the list. Last year’s list consisted of 73 songs. I’m going to try really hard to make this year’s list shorter — but who knows? All I really know is that this thing isn’t going to write itself. If I don’t start it now, The Ides of March will arrive before I finish it. Continue reading »

Jan 312014

(BadWolf reviews the debut album by a Dutch black metal trio known as Fluisteraars, which was released a few days ago by Eisenwald.)

I’ve lived through ups and downs with lo-fi long-form black metal. On the one hand, the millennial USBM style, particularly the work of Krieg and the Lurker of Chalice record, made powerful inroads for black metal into my musical library. I’m also an absolute sucker for anything resembling the ten-plus-minute Tolkien worship of Summoning. On the other hand, I was never all about the blown-out Burzum style, and I prefer crusty Darkthrone to their earlier stuff (though I’ve been spinning that Ravishing Grimness quite a bit in this icy, polar weather). So imagine my surprise when an old-style euro black metal release, by Dutch trio Fluisteraars, comes across my desk and usurps my Behemoth listening. What I found has made the perfect companion to my past few days of sub-zero drives into the office.

Dromers, the first Fluisteraars record, consists of three extended tracks—in fact, the promo listed the songs in the style of an LP, with “De Doornen” taking up all of side A, and “Kudeddier” and “Wortels Van Angst” taking up side B. Add to the mix a folksy, almost Enslaved riff style, and a super-creepy cover, and I was hooked. Continue reading »