May 202019

Every song on Hornwood Fell‘s new album Damno Lumina Nocte is named “Vulnera” — the Latin word for “wound” (accompanied by Roman numerals I – VII) — every one of them a projection of “dark landscapes, discomforts, and open wounds of the society we live in”. Every one of them is a cavalcade of disturbances, a mind-warping amalgam of dissonance and derangement that seems to embody mental fracturing and emotional splintering. It is as if the band found Pandora’s Box, and without hesitation opened it, recording the sounds of all the evils within as they escaped in a mad rush of freakish abandon.

This is not easy listening. The music is persistently abrasive and frequently cacophonous. There are twisted melodic motifs and rhythmic patterns that appear often enough to stitch the songs together, often in physically compulsive ways, but things change unpredictably, and veer so sharply and so often that it’s hard for a listener to maintain any balance — like trying to walk a high tightrope that’s being plucked (rapidly) by giant fingers.

It is also, perhaps perversely, an utterly fascinating experience. There is a mad genius at work within these tracks (two of them, actually), and the songs are so weirdly transfixing that the minutes speed by like starlings in flight. Looking away from these deep, festering wounds turns out to be very difficult. Continue reading »

Oct 092017


I did just post a SHADES OF BLACK column on its usual day (Sunday), and I really do listen to other genres of metal. But as I began collecting music for a SEEN AND HEARD post today I found that half the candidates had some connection to black metal, and therefore decided to collect most of them separately from everything else. With luck, I’ll finish writing about the others in time to post that planned SEEN AND HEARD round-up tomorrow.

By the way, when I say that all of the following tracks have “some connection to black metal”, you’ll find that it’s definitely not the same kind of connection. In short, the music here is quite varied, which is one of the reasons I combined all of it here. And the second item (Funeral Hearse) is an exclusive announcement.


In a 2014 year-end list we posted here, one of our former contributors described this experimental Polish band’s last album Earth Ground this way:  “The use of dissonant guitar with face-cringing noise and vocal assaults layered throughout the space in this album gives a chaotic feel reminiscent of recent Deathspell Omega releases, but with more moments of space and resolution (for better or worse): contemplative and explorative.” Continue reading »