Apr 222021


If extreme metal were a big map pinned to a wall and you got a running start and hurled the contents of a bucket of paint at it, the scattered blots would give you something like the following collection of songs and videos — though one of the splashes lands off the map altogether (I put that one dead center in this playlist, surrounded by everything else).

DÖDSRIT (Netherlands/Sweden)

I’m leading off with “Shallow Graves“, because it so thoroughly swept me off my feet right from the start, thanks to the thrill of its opening riff, the pulse-pounding impact of the racing drums, and the grandeur of the panoramic cascades. The song changes, moving through a variety of rhythms and tempos as well as variations in the riffing that alters the moods, though the vocals are blisteringly intense at all times. Continue reading »

May 222018


Given our usual proclivities at this site, perhaps it’s best to begin by paying attention to the elephant in the room: Roughly 99% of the vocals on Ghostbound’s debut album All Is Phantom are clean. And there’s another elephant standing in our room, too: Metal is only one ingredient in the music, and not even the dominant one. Nevertheless, we’ve agreed to present the full streaming premiere of the record here today despite the fact that it goes well off our usual beaten paths — because it goes off our usual stamping grounds so very well, blazing its own trails in such remarkably vivid and memorable ways.

The band’s name was well-chosen, and so is the album’s title. The music wears its passionate and very human emotions right out on its extravagant, embroidered sleeves, to the point of becoming theatrical at times, but almost none of it sounds completely earthbound. Ghost-bound, indeed it is — edged with angst, shadowed by sorrow, haunted by death. And it’s also beautiful, inspiring,  even joyous. Continue reading »

Dec 022017


We’re rushing toward the end of the year like an out-of-control car speeding toward a precipice. And I find myself getting a similar panicked feeling, as if it will be a world-ending event for a metal writer and I only have four weeks to finish spouting off about 2017 releases, a task made even more daunting by the fact that I’m leaving on a 12-day vacation tomorrow (as explained here), and by the prospect of all the LISTMANIA stuff we will be doing between now and December 31 as well.

Of course, this is a completely irrational feeling. There’s no law which prevents us from continuing to write about 2017 releases after New Year’s Day, and no doubt we will. Nevertheless, I’m still feeling a feverish compulsion to give as much attention as I can to recent releases (and a few forthcoming ones) before “time runs out”. So I’ve crammed music from five bands into this post, without nearly enough time to say what I want about them, and I also have some hopes of finishing a SHADES OF BLACK post for tomorrow before beginning my 12-day hiatus. Don’t know if that will work out or not….


Thanks to a message from Conor O., and then a subsequent e-mail from the Dutch label Hammerheart Records, I learned that after a 22-year hiatus, Inquisitor have returned with a new album, and it’s an explosive resurrection for sure. Continue reading »