Dec 272021


Few bands on the planet embrace and channel the violent destructiveness of War Metal with as much fanatic fervor as the Kolkata-based band Kapala. Their slaughtering amalgam of death metal and harsh noise seems to be fueled by hate and driven by a disdain for weakness of any kind.

And yet their talents are multi-faceted. There is much more going on within their creations than unapologetic sonic annihilation, and that makes their music fascinating and mind-altering as well as ruinous. It really doesn’t sound like anything else; indeed, linking it with War Metal, as that sub-genre is commonly understood, might be more misleading than descriptive.

Kapala‘s new 22-minute EP Doomsday Requiem is powerful proof of these points. It is indeed ruthlessly destructive and harrowing in its intensity, but its musical craftsmanship is also impressive, revealing nuances and embellishments that link it unmistakably to the ancient legends of the Indian subcontinent. The music creates an atmosphere of mysticism and spiritual possession, capable of inducing perilous trances.

Those qualities — and a panoply of killer riffs and electrifying rhythmic assaults — distinguish the EP from the kind of War Metal that might be cathartic on a first listen but doesn’t lure many people to listen more than once. But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can test out the truth of these statements for yourselves, because today we premiere a full stream of Doomsday Requiem in advance of its release by Dunkelheit Produktionen on the last day of this wretched year. Continue reading »

Nov 062021


Given the usual massive flood of new music this past week, I was hell-bent on getting at least one round-up completed before the weekend — but I failed. I had this lined up for Friday, with all the picks made, but ran out of time before I could finish it.

About these picks: When I made the selection on Friday morning it didn’t turn out at all like I thought it would. I had been building a mental list during the week just based on the band names I added to my monstrous list, most of them at least fairly well-known, but not one of those names is included here.

What happened was that as I started listening, this group just fell into place before I ever got to the names that had affixed themselves to my mental plan. These fell into place because they are all intense assaults on the senses and the emotions, albeit in different ways, until you reach the final track, which helped me partially recover from all the music that preceded it — but that last song still haunts me. Continue reading »

May 222020


You listen to this new split by Chaos Cascade and Kapala and you get the sense that they don’t think the viral plague is acting fast enough. They’ve formed a Contamination Alliance to accelerate the extermination, aided by a conspiracy with Dunkelheit Produktionen who will release this audio warfare on vinyl (July 18) and digitally (May 23rd).

Germany’s Chaos Cascade, ever-prolific, returns to the slaughter grounds after two other splits and an EP also released this year. The Chaos Cascade track on this new split is “Wreak Havoc“, and that’s exactly what it does. Continue reading »

Apr 072019


This edition of SHADES OF BLACK is different from most, in two respects. First, my paying job (i.e., not NCS) has been crushing me lately, including this weekend, and I don’t have time to accompany what I’ve chosen with my usual impressions and links. Second, there’s not as much music in this post as you might guess from the title of the post. I’ve made the rare decision to include three album announcements at the end of the column even though there’s no music available for streaming yet. I did that because I’m so excited about those announcements.


The first item I’ve chosen is Rotting Christ‘s new video for “In the Name of God“, one of the tracks on their latest album, The Heretics, which was released in mid-February and reviewed here by DGR. As he wrote, The Heretics follows what the band have established as their “blueprint” — a “sort of larger-than-life, titanic paradigm of martial prowess turned black metal.” It doesn’t push the genre or the band’s music forward as much as it represents a summing-up of their career so far, playing to their most familiar strengths. “In the Name of God” is but one example of that. Continue reading »