May 192019


(NCS reader, commenter, and frequent source of musical recommendations, HGD, has graciously stepped in to prepare this week’s SHADES OF BLACK column, as he has done before, given that our regular columnist (that would be me) is again unable to do so because of interference from the job that pays the bills around here.)

With Islander being swarmed with work over the last few weeks, I felt the need to step up and do my part to relieve his burden, if only a little. I’m pleased to present today’s Shades of Black column and hope all our regular and not so regular readers find something here that warms their blackened hearts. — HGD Continue reading »

Aug 082018


(Today we have a rare weekday edition of SHADES OF BLACK for you, and once again we’re turning the column over to NCS supporter HGD, who has selected some black gems for your listening pleasure.)

While there’s not necessarily any real stylistic theme to these releases (as they all cover different aspects of black metal), there is an thread of finality that runs through all of them.


The first item in this list is a new song from Nidarosian black metallers One Tail One Head. They announced recently that they would be relasing a debut album, Worlds Open, Worlds Collide, through Terratur Possessions on October 5. More importantly, this will also be the only full-length released by the band, as they have decided to go their separate ways after their upcoming European tour, with a performance in their hometown of Trondheim in December being their last. Continue reading »

Jul 222018


EDITOR’S NOTE:  Roughly one week ago NCS patron HGD, who has been kind enough to send us recommendations of new music from time to time in the past, prepared a SEEN AND HEARD round-up of new music that we happily presented along with his own introductory comments. And today we’re doing it again, but this time HGD’s recommendations fall within the focus of our Sunday SHADES OF BLACK posts. Once again, the words of introduction are his. We’ll have a second SHADES OF BLACK post a bit later today.


Archemoron (translated as “beginning of death” from Ancient Greek) are a black metal band from Athens, Greece. They formed in 1999 as a thrash/heavy metal band under the name Ancestor before changing their style and eventually their name in 2008. Their third album, Year of the Harvester, was released on June 20 through Bowels of Noise. Continue reading »

Jul 162018


Editor’s Note: NCS patron HGD, who has been kind enough to send us recommendations of new music in the past, prepared the following round-up of new music, which we’re presenting here with his own introductory comments, and with our thanks. As he wrote, “The overarching theme here is death metal of the old school variety, but having said that there are still significant differences from song to song.”


Deicide are the highest profile group amongst the bunch included here so it’s best to start with them. NCS has already covered the announcement of their new album Overtures of Blasphemy, due out September 14 on Century Media. The first single from that album, “Excommunicated“, was released last Friday. Continue reading »

Jul 112018


On Monday of this week I began a two-part collection of music whose title was intended to have a dual meaning. Some of the music I chose was recognizably death/doom metal. Other tracks had very little to do with death metal, yet death loomed large in their atmosphere, even envisioning the extinction of all human life.

In this concluding part of the post, doom is still (in widely differing degrees) a through-line in the music, and visions of extinction still uncoil in the mind as the sounds flow through it. But as in Part 1, there’s considerable variety in the music.

I’m indebted to HGD, a faithful reader and a frequent source of recommendations, for urging the last three of these selections upon us, and for allowing me to use his own words as brief introductions to the streams. But we’ll begin with one choice of my own.


Eterno, the new three-track EP by this Italian band presents enormous contrasts of sound and mood. It is usually slow, and as heavy as anything I’ve heard this year — heavy enough to shatter granite boulders as if they were tiny brittle pine cones leached of moisture by the sun… massive, mountainous, megalithic music, and equally immense in the scale of its bleakness. Continue reading »