Oct 112020
 

 

Many of us have learned the hard way that it’s prudent to keep both eyes on the horizon, looking ahead in case something’s coming that will tear our heads off. Might give us enough time to dodge and only lose an arm. Good peripheral vision is also a plus. Not every peril is straight ahead. These days especially, self-preservation seems like a full-time job. Hard to know what’s coming next, but whatever it is, it probably won’t be good.

I tend to keep my eyes on the horizon when it comes to music too, albeit for different reasons. Something might be coming that will try to tear my head off, but I usually welcome that with open arms. For reasons I’ve never been able to adequately explain, I also welcome music of hopelessness and pain, of poison and the preternatural.

I wasn’t able to write this column the last two Sundays. In the meantime, the music has piled up like drifts of black snow at my back. I’ve missed recommending a lot, but decided the easiest way forward was to look at what’s coming over the horizon, eyes ahead as usual. That made the selection process a little easier, but to make up for lost time I decided to make this post a two-parter. Continue reading »

Aug 132020
 


Krallice

 

(Andy Synn wrote the following compilation of reviews.)

It seems to me that, over the years, the constant cascade of new albums has swollen into a never-ending, unrelenting, flood, to the point where it often feels like we’re almost drowning in new releases.

The only way to cope, I’ve found, is to simply accept that you’re not going to be able to cover everything. There’s just not enough hours in the day to properly preview, review, analyse, and criticise, all of it, especially if you also want to try and maintain some general standards of quality and insight (which, let’s be honest, isn’t necessarily a concern for everyone…).

That being said, a bit of catch-up coverage never goes amiss, which is why I’m dedicating today’s article to four artists who each dropped their newest record – in one case with little prior warning – last Friday. Continue reading »

Jan 132019
 

 

In this second Part of this Sunday’s SHADES OF BLACK column I’ve changed course away from the predominantly atmospheric and sometimes folk-inflected music that dominated Part 1 in moody, mystical, and magnificent strains of sound. The selections in this Part are less easily categorized with broad brush strokes, but I guess I’d venture to say they are mainly more “muscular” and savage than what you’ll find in Part 1.

BLODHEMN

I’ve been deplorably late in catching up to the third album by this one-man band based in the black metal hot-bed of Bergen, Norway, but under persistent prodding by my Norwegian friend eiterorm, I finally have. That third album, Mot Ein Evig Ruin, will be released on February 16th by the Dutch label Soulseller Records, and now there are two tracks out in the world — “Dra Te’ Helvete“, which surfaced in October, and more recently “Det Gjekk Ein Faen“. Continue reading »

Jul 012018
 

 

The black metal band Imha Tarikat, based in Germany, vaulted onto our radar screens last year with a debut EP named Kenoboros (reviewed here). Released by Terratur Possessions, it was a four-song collection of unusual emotional power and unmistakably authentic passion. Since then, Imha Tarikat’s sole creator Ruhsuz Cellât has been joined on drums by a second member who goes by the name Prowler, and together they’ve recorded a debut album, Kara Ihlas.

The music of Kenoboros would have been reason enough to become excited about what this full-length might hold in store, but the album’s fantastic cover art by Cold Poison is exciting all by itself, and it also seems to be an entirely fitting visual representation of both the sound of the music and its inspirations — at least so far as we can tell based on the album track we’re presenting today, the name of which is “Akan Sir“. Continue reading »

Feb 122017
 

 

I tend to go overboard with the volume of music in these Shades of Black posts, but this one includes even more minutes of listening than usual. In this one you’ll find streams of two full albums, three full EPs, one single, and advance tracks from two forthcoming releases. And lots of my words, of course. In the middle, I’ve also spliced one very exciting piece of news.

Due to the size of this post, I’ve divided it into two parts. Part 2 is almost finished, but because of the volume of music here in Part 1 and in yesterday’s post, I think I’ll wait until first thing tomorrow to unveil it.

HETROERTZEN

Hetroertzen is a Chilean band now based in Sweden. I first discovered them through the music on their last album, 2014’s Ain Soph Aur (which I reviewed at length here). Their new album, Uprising of the Fallen, is now set for release by their new label Listenable Records on February 24. Continue reading »