May 012023

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia” is an actual word. It refers to fear of the number 666 (just as the slightly better known triskaidekaphobia refers to fear of the number 13). We’re not sure that anyone is actually afflicted with that fear as a clinically recognized phobia, but we have many examples of fearful superstitious avoidance of the number.

For example, did you know that there used to be a U.S. Highway 666, so named because it was was the sixth branch off U.S. Highway 66? Did you know that in 1986 researchers found that 23% of all crashes involving injury that occurred in the Shiprock District of New Mexico occurred on a 0.9-mile stretch of Highway 666, and that it eventually became known (of course) as the Devil’s Highway? Perhaps needless to say, the government did away with that name in 2003; it’s now the much duller U.S. 491.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphilia, on the other hand, isn’t a word we’ve been able to find in our googling — other than as the name of a new solo metal project out of the Netherlands. But it’s about damned time someone coined that word, which must mean “fondness of the number 666”. Even if it would take a lot of practice to be able to enunciate it correctly (and we’ll be doing a lot of copy/pasting today), we should hail the conception because it represents basically all of metaldom.

But we’re here to hail the name for another reason, because the debut demo of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphilia that we’re about to premiere is dazzling. Its name is Demo DCLXVI. Can you guess which Arabic numeral is represented by that Roman numeral? Continue reading »

Mar 262023

Here are the rest of the selections I made for this week’s column devoted to black and blackened metal. And because daylight is burning (or it would be if it weren’t hidden behind grey Pacific Northwest clouds, I’ll just get right to the music.

HYL (Italy/Poland)

To lead off I’ve chosen the video for “Endless Illusions“, the latest single from Hyl‘s debut EP, Where Emptiness Is All. I was drawn to it after reading that the band is a collaboration among vocalist Shadow (from Black Altar and Ofermod), guitarist/bassist Rick Costantino (from Schizo and Krigere Wolf), and drummer Krzysztof Klingbein (ex-Vader, Belphegor live). I was also intrigued by the label’s description of the music as “atmospheric black metal, which should appeal to fans of Ruins of Beverast, Vemod or Mgła“. Continue reading »