Apr 262018


To the millions who wait with bated breath for a new SHADES OF BLACK column each Sunday (okay, just the two of you sulking in the corner), I apologize for being a disappointment last Sunday. By the time I finished writing the two premieres we committed to do for that day, I had run out of time. In an effort to make amends, I decided to prepare what you’re now looking at.

The songs I’ve chosen here aren’t the ones I had planned to feature last Sunday. I’ll get to those, or at least some of them, next Sunday, the Dark Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise. What I have here are a few of the songs I’ve discovered since the past weekend. I’ll warn you, or titillate you in advance, that all of them are intense.


To begin, I’ve chosen “Relationship in Pieces“, the first track to be revealed from Fredagsmys, the new album by the continually evolving, persistently interesting Swedish band Vanhelga. It has been presented through a video that displays the lyrics, in Swedish. Continue reading »

Jul 212017


Do you groan when you see these big round-up posts? Especially when they come three in a row, day after day? Is it too much to process? Do you feel overwhelmed by the volume?

These are what are known as rhetorical questions, i.e., a figure of speech in the form of a question that isn’t intended to elicit an answer, e.g., “Can’t you do anything right?” Right or wrong, too much or too little, on we go… this time with new or newly discovered metal from seven bands.


Fólkvangr Records tells us that “Hate Moon is a Norse-Gael symphonic black metal band hailing from Pennsylvania”, formed by “two Irish American descendants of Norse Vikings” (Tuathail and Tohmar) who have created music that “romanticizes the ancient Celtic world through a soundscape of historical fantasy”. Their debut album is The Imprisoning War, and the first item in today’s round-up is an album track named “Mountain of Death“. Continue reading »

Apr 072017


One month ago we premiered a track from a new EP by a black metal band from Elizabeth, New Jersey, named Galare. That song — “Thy Dying Light” — was both explosive and chilling, unnerving and unpredictable, predatory and poisonous. When the band asked if we would host the premiere of yet another track from the EP, it was an easy yes on this end. This new track is “Echoes of Mystic Solitude“, and we present it in the form of a music video.

The song is… unbalancing… dedicated not only to burning off the flesh from your face but scrambling your thoughts and injecting a dose of fear into your emotional state. And it does this by amalgamating stylistic ingredients in ways that you probably wouldn’t expect from a young band, bending the normal conventions of black metal rather than simply copying them. Continue reading »

Mar 082017


Galare come our way from Elizabeth, New Jersey. They’ve been hard at work on their first EP, and I now have a single from this debut release to share with you, because I like it. It’s name is “Thy Dying Light“.

This is a song that I suspect you’ll want to hear more than once, just to understand what you’ve heard, because it’s unpredictable, and more than a little unnerving. Continue reading »