Apr 032023

(We’ve just barely breached the walls of April, and so our friend Gonzo makes a timely reappearance with a selection of five albums released in March that made a big impact in his listening.)

Before I get to writing this month’s helping of my choice cuts from last month, I gotta get something out of the way first:

I am still absolutely buzzing from last night’s Death to All show here in Denver.

To see the likes of Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan play music of any kind on stage, in person, is a treat enough by itself, but having them rip through selections from the inimitable Death for almost two hours was an experience that I plan to re-live in perpetuity. Possibly forever. Who knows?

It was an insane spectacle for the eyes as well as the ears, and I’ll get to writing up the entire thing soon enough. If you missed this tour, you have my condolences.

Let’s get to the good stuff from March.

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Feb 042023

Chat Pile – photo by Juliette Boulay

For this Saturday’s roundup I decided to limit myself to single new songs and videos released in just the last few days. The first is in support of a 2022 album, and the rest are advance tracks from records due for release in March or April. I feel pretty confident in saying that I’ll have more to recommend through a Shades of Black column tomorrow, though I haven’t yet decided what to put in it.


Chat Pile probably don’t need more help getting noticed. Last year’s God’s Country popped up on most of the year-end lists assembled by notable mags and sites that get lots of eyeballs on them. But the band’s new video for the song “Tropical Beaches, Inc.” doesn’t have half a million views yet, so that needs some help. Continue reading »

May 072021


The usual insanity of our in-box reached a fever pitch overnight, because it’s another Bandcamp Friday. That fever has been building all week in anticipation of the day, with the typical flood of new music reaching typhoon proportions. I’ve diverted some of that flood into this collection, a baker’s dozen of new songs and videos that range from the dreamy to the decimating, and includes both the re-surfacing of old gods and the emergence of promising new names – but without the usual artwork or my usual wordy reflections. Not everything is available on Bandcamp, but where it is available there, I’ve included links.

Mother’s Day is also on Sunday, but thankfully that doesn’t seem to have added to the torrent of releases. In catch-up mode, I’ll continue recommending more new music that day and on Saturday (if you don’t keep swimming, you drown). By the way, for those of you who don’t live in the U.S., “Mother’s Day” does not stand for Motherfucker’s Day, so most of you won’t have any reason to celebrate.

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Dec 182019

photo by by Kalle Pyyhtinen


(Today Comrade Aleks presents the following interview with Toni Toivonen, vocalist of the Finnish band Hanging Garden, whose name will be well-known to long-term visitors at our site, and whose latest album Into That Good Night was released by Lifeforce Records on November 15th.)

Started fifteen years ago as a melodic death doom band, Hanging Garden from Finland follow their way of metamorphosis from album to album, while keeping a few things inviolable. They have a dominating melancholic mood, through the general melody of their material and their artistic approach to performing their material, and emotional variety based on heavy and cleaner instrumental parts as well as extreme and clean vocals.

Their sixth album Into That Good Night saw the light of day on November 15th through Lifeforce Records, and we can tag it as “melancholic metal” as this term doesn’t imply any strict obligation. But why not try to root out Hanging Garden’s essence with one of its members — here’s the interview with Toni Toivonen (vocals). Continue reading »

Nov 112016

Hanging Garden-Hereafter


(DGR wrote this detailed review of the new EP by Finland’s Hanging Garden.)

I will be the first to admit that I absolutely missed the bus on Hanging Garden’s 2015 release Blackout Whiteout. Not only did I miss the bus on last year’s album, while that bus is likely in another state by now, probably delivering the mail in rural counties on its cross-country trip, I have just now reached the bus stop, blissfully unaware the such an event had even taken place and now standing at the bus stop impatiently tapping my foot and staring in the oncoming direction wondering “just when will that goddamned thing get here….”

While I may have missed the bus on Blackout Whiteout, I did not do so with the band’s followup EP Hereafter, thanks in large part due our esteemed editor who has somehow, in between the mountain of premieres and news items he has written about, found a way to send along a note that basically boiled down to, “You need to check this release out. It’s so far in your wheelhouse that it is almost comedic”. Though the edgy, angsty teen rebel in me wants to shout, “You don’t define me! You can’t predict me!”, and go back to wearing all black like all my friends do, I’ve walked the Earth long enough to know when I’ve been pinned down because goddamnit, Hereafter is one of those releases that feels near tailor-made. Continue reading »

Oct 122016



Yes, there are quite a lot of names in the headline of this post, but what follows isn’t quite as daunting as you might think. The first two items consist of news and art for forthcoming releases, but no music yet, and the last two items are just brief teasers of new music. In between I’ve sandwiched four full songs and videos, and I’m quite happy with what I’ve chosen, not only because the music is very good considered in isolation but also because collectively they make for a nice, varied playlist (and the two videos and album covers are quite eye-catching, too). At least it should be nice for people who have eclectic tastes. Here we go….


That’s a hell of a metal album cover up there, isn’t it? It was disclosed yesterday by Italy’s Hour of Penance and Prosthetic Records, who will release the band’s new album Cast the First Stone on January 27, 2017. The cover was created by Gyula Havancsak, whose work we’ve praised before in these pages.

The announcement was accompanied not only by a quote from our site (yay!) but also by the following statement from the band’s vocalist Paolo Pieri concerning the concept of the album, which revolves around the idea that “the injustices suffered during the Crusades and Colonialism do not justify the chain of hate that propagandizes the destruction of the West”: Continue reading »

Aug 312016

Helcaraxe-The Last Battle


I followed a different course in this round-up of new music than I usually do. Instead of focusing almost entirely on new advance tracks from forthcoming releases, this time I’m including three complete new albums or EPs for your listening pleasure, but only writing about one track from each of them. I truly wish I could write stand-alone reviews of those three, and I might still, but they are far too good to risk doing nothing to help spread the word.

I’m also including two new videos for individual songs that appeared within the last 24 hours, both of which I enjoyed. I’ve arranged the order of the music in this compilation in a way designed to keep you off balance, because an unbalanced mind is the devil’s playground. So without further ado, let’s play!


I was greatly surprised to discover that in our nearly 7 years of existence we have never posted anything before about New Jersey’s Helcaraxë. I’ve now added that failing to the list of things for which we’ve scheduled our monthly submission to a vigorous horse-whipping. Even now, only mentioning one song from the band’s amazing new album is pitifully inadequate. Continue reading »

Jan 212014

I’ve been in a state of Seahawks-inspired delirium since Sunday morning. Apart from my own ridiculous heights of excitement, the city I call home as been completely engulfed in a similar type of out-of-body experience. Everyone wants to talk about Sunday’s win and the impending Super Bowl trip, even the people who are still trying to figure out how many innings it takes to complete a football game. You can’t listen to radio or watch any kind of sports-related TV without being engulfed in Seahawks talk (although much of it has consisted of uninformed yammering about Richard Sherman). Some of you have probably found yourselves in a similar environment in past years, but it hasn’t happened here in Seattle in a long, long time.

One result of all this is that I’m way behind on my usual search for metal news and new metal. This morning I did tear myself away from Seahawks mania long enough to check out a few things and put this post together.


If you haven’t heard the 2013 EP by Finland’s Hanging Garden, stop wasting time and go find it. I don’t want to have to tell you twice. I Was A Soldier (Lifeforce records) is worth your 15 minutes, and all the other minutes you’ll spend with it after the first listen. To give you some evidence of why the EP is so worthwhile, allow me to show you a video that premiered today for its final track, “Will You Share This Ending With Me?” Continue reading »

Feb 142013

The last 24 hours brought three new music videos that I thought were worth throwing your way — three quite different forms of metal and three quite different uses of visual accompaniment, but all worth seeing and hearing. The bands are Incantation (U.S.), Hanging Garden (Finland), and Byzantine (U.S.).


This seminal NYDM band’s new album Vanquish in Vengeance, their first in half a decade, was released last fall by Listenable Records.  It has been very well-received, and rightly so. It bears the hallmarks of Incantation’s well-defined morbid, crushing style, but with a crisper, more modernized sound, and it’s packed with varied, well-written songs. The album opener “Invoked Infinity” sets the tone for the album, summoning up atmospherics of the occult and the doomed while also ripping flesh with a storm of razor-edged guitar work.

This morning the band premiered a video for the song that captures the mortuary air of the track — because it was filmed in an actual, decaying, turn-of-the-century funeral home. Here you go: Continue reading »