Dec 092019


In wrestling with how to put impressions of Israthoum’s new album into words, the phrase “dead reckoning” popped into my disoriented mind. As a navigational technique, it’s a method of estimating where you are based on where you began, taking into account variables such as speed and direction over the course of the journey. In some circumstances, it might be the best you can do in determining your present position, but it’s prone to the accumulation of errors, and may leave you not knowing accurately where you are, or how to find your way back.

It’s a very “loose” metaphor, and one that applies more to my efforts to introduce the album stream than to the album itself. Arrows From Below is most definitely a journey — and a harrowing one at that, a journey of hellish upheaval and frightening revelation, both ruinous and numinous — but of course you can easily find your way back to the beginning, and re-trace the journey. On the other hand, from the experience of a listener, that journey is likely to leave you in a very different place emotionally than where you began, and at least in my case, also with only error-prone methods of trying to describe that end-position and what happened over the course of the album to produce the change. Continue reading »

Nov 252019


I did warn you this might be late.

I had a hellish time deciding what to include in this week’s column. Usually I manage to squeeze a few black metal selections into SEEN AND HEARD round-ups during the week, which makes the Sunday winnowing a little bit easier (but only a little), and I did some of that in yesterday’s first post.

But lacking the time to prepare any round-ups last week, the options over which I pondered for this column were enormous in number. I did the best I could, though still downcast by my inability to do more — a feeling counter-balanced by how excited I am over what I did choose.


The Portuguese band Israthoum, who have been based in the Netherlands for roughly 20 years, have produced a distinctive and compelling discography that, for myself and many others, makes their every release a “must listen!” event.

Their newest work, an album named Arrows from Below, is enriched by the amazing artwork of Ubertragic Art that you see above. It will be released on Friday the 13th of December by New Era Productions, and last week DECIBEL premiered the first excerpt, a song called “Laetetur Cor”. Continue reading »

Jul 292017


Israthoum put their mission statement right in the title of their new album — Channeling Death and Devil — and that is what they do.

These are grand, fearsome, and mystical subjects, and Israthoum’s music effectively summons all those qualities through a form of occult, atmospheric black metal that’s intricately plotted and relentlessly dramatic, delivering a changing soundscape that ranges from majestic yet chilling stateliness to maelstroms of shuddering chaos. Grandeur, mysticism, and madness are all made manifest in a stand-out performance.

The album was released just yesterday; this review comes later than I had planned, and now serves only as an extended introduction to the stream you can hear for yourselves at the end of this writing. Continue reading »

Jun 212017


Israthoum was given birth in Portugal in the early ’90s under a different name, apparently conceived by draconic powers, schooled in Qlippothic mysteries, and sharpened as weapons. Relocating to The Netherlands, the band has released two albums to date and a handful of shorter releases. Now, five years after their second album, Israthoum is on the brink of releasing their third full-length (through Altare Productions), bearing the title Channeling Death & Devil. Today we bring you the first single from that album, a track called “Between the Maze and Turmoil“.

It was that second album from 2012 that turned us on to Israthoum’s manifold powers, and our writer Andy Synn praised it in his review with words such as these: Continue reading »

Apr 172015


Antru Kald is the name of the new three-song EP by the Portuguese/Dutch band Israthoum. Ever since discovering their phenomenal 2012 album Black Poison and Shared Wounds, Israthoum has become a favorite of this site, and today we have the privilege of premiering one of the new songs from Antru Kald: “Alleviate, Elevate”.

Antru Kald is a conceptual creation, one that has been gestating for many years, and it was recorded over a multi-year period as well, with help from Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues and Cloak of Altering (whose projects also happen to be favorites of this site). Mories also created the EP’s cover art. Continue reading »

Nov 272014

To those of you who will be celebrating Thanksgiving today, Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes for a deep and restful tryptophan coma (though data show that dining on sea lion kidney would get you a bigger dose of tryptophan than turkey). For those who treat this as just another day, Happy Just Another Day.

We’re not planning a lot of posts today, just the premiere we launched a bit earlier and this round-up of new sightings and hearings from my interhole excursions over the last 24 hours. Here we go…


In mid-October we reported that Poland’s Hate will be releasing a new album named Crusade: Zero on January 15, 2015, via Napalm Records. I was excited about that news even before hearing a note of the music. Now that I have heard many notes, I’m even more eager for the album. You shall hear those same notes in this teaser reel, which excerpts parts of several new songs: Continue reading »

Nov 052014


In my daily searches for news and new music that I think would be worth your time, sometimes I come across so many exciting new discoveries that it feels like the flood gates have been opened, or that I’ve opened Pandora’s box thinking that it was my underwear drawer, or that a pack of wolves have materialized in my skull and started devouring its meager contents.

That happened over the last 24 hours. I found so many new things worth recommending that I’ve split this round-up into two posts. By chance, many of them all involve the same label — Daemon Worship Productions — so I’m collecting those in this first post.  More info about all the releases discussed below and related merch can be found here.


Our last mention of Israthoum on the site occurred almost two years ago when Andy Synn reviewed the band’s second album, Black Poison and Shared Wounds. That is now being followed by a new Israthoum split with the Swedish black metal band Chalice of Blood, which was originally announced at the beginning of this year. Like that preceding album, the split is adorned with spectacular artwork by Held (Ubertragic Art).  (Click the image to view a larger version.) Continue reading »

Dec 132012

(Earlier this year we featured the venomous, eye-catching artwork by an artist named Held for the new album by Israthoum.  Today, Andy Synn reviews the music.)

Sometimes you decide to check out a band based on a whim, with little more than a few rumours or pinches of information to go on. Such was the case with Israthoum’s new album Black Poison and Shared Wounds. Knowing little about the band (originating in Portugal, and now residing in The Netherlands) it was the evocative title and album art that really drew me in to checking out this album. Remember people – album art is important, and it’s important that it reflects the music within.

The album in question delivers a heavy dose of ritualistic, immortal power, draped in a corpse-shroud of suppurating sedition, blood, and bile. Serrated and raw, without being rusty, sharp and scything, without being overly polished, it retains a heavy layer of grime and grit without losing its edge.

The vocals are a strangled howl, rising and falling in pitch-black despair, reeking of torment and degradation. They bleed darkness and filth, without attempting to sound self-consciously ‘evil’; instead, they thrash wildly and without constraint, wounded and hungry. The guitars hack and hammer with gritty determination, at times forging off at a tangent of bi-polar melody/dissonance, while beneath it all the drums wreak absolute havoc in a furious display of frenzied blasting and stalking, predatory groove. Continue reading »

May 182012

I spent last evening in Tacoma witnessing a momentous event in the life of a friend and then celebrating it with her and her family. Had a blast, but between that and day-job shit, I didn’t make much headway on reviews I’ve been trying to write. I did have time to latch on to a few new songs that struck a chord, and they’re in this post. Also, on the way out of Tacoma back to Seattle, I saw something that sent me on a nostalgia trip — more on that at the end of this post. But first, I bring you Hell.


I latched onto this band (or they latched on to me) almost entirely as a result of that eye-catching album cover you see above. It’s for their second full-length release, Black Poison and Shared Wounds, which is out now on Daemon Worship Productions (the same label/distro that’s handling the U.S. release of the new album by Iceland’s Svartidauði that I wrote about two days ago.

Israthoum was originally created in Portugal during the early 90’s, but its members relocated to The Netherlands around 1998. The three current members are, shall we say, devoted followers of The Left Hand Path. All three of them also interchangeably play bass and guitars on the album (one of them also plays the drums), and all three share vocal duties.

Daemon Worship have put two songs from the album on SoundCloud — “The Unravelling Traveller” and “The Presence, The Baying”. The music is scathing — definitely not for the faint of heart. But beneath the surface veil of blasting and rending there lurks an almost avant-garde layer of complexity that reminded me in some ways of Deathspell Omega, and I found the melodies crouching in the dark corners of my head long after the music stopped. Continue reading »