Apr 072024

Last week I came across a verse from American poet and novelist Charles Bukowski that begins this way: “our public hell creates a / private hell and / there is no hell / except on / earth.”

Hell is a realm that exists in human imagination and belief too — a place in parallel to earthly existence or what comes after life. That is one way it exists on earth, even if it has no other existence, in addition to the public and private hells Bukowski wrote about — the hells that human beings make for others and for themselves.

I’m thinking about all these hells today, the realms of demons and the realms of human depravity and anguish, because I happened upon a sequence of new black metal songs and videos that I can only think of as hellish in one or more of those ways. Those songs fill up a lot of today’s collection.

But I only quoted part of Bukowski‘s verse. After positing that there is no hell except on earth he wrote: Continue reading »

Nov 292021

Somehow civilization didn’t collapse yesterday when I failed to post the usual Sunday SHADES OF BLACK column, though it did leave a black hole in our site for the day. I had plans for most of the day outside the house that took me away from my computer, and I unexpectedly slept in, so didn’t have time to get it done before departing.

My tentative selections for the column as of yesterday were extensive, which also contributed to my inability to get it done. I thought about cutting back the size of the column today, in an effort to make sure I got it done without further delay, but decided to hell with that. So here it is in all its humongous, twisting and turning, glory, though with only compact commentary — and divided into two Parts, with the second Part projected for tomorrow.


Dissociative Visions/Mystískaos sent out messages over the Thanksgiving holiday announcing four new releases, accompanied by music premieres. Three of those are targeted for release in February, but Hässlig‘s debut album is out now in full. Well, it’s called a full-length, but it falls just shy of 19 minutes across 8 tracks. Its name is Guillotine, and that turns out to be an evocative description; it drops, and heads will roll. Continue reading »