Mar 052023


I’m roughly 1,900 miles away from my home. I made the trip last Thursday (an excruciating journey packed with delays), something I needed to do for my job. Since then I haven’t had much time to myself, night or day. My comrade Mr. Synn suggested I just take the weekend off from NCS. As he put it, “The world will keep spinning”.

I’m not so sure about that. What if the world is an incredibly detailed simulation running on the substrate of my mind? What if Mr. Synn is, as I have always suspected, a figment of my imagination? What if music has no objective existence unless someone other than its creator hears it?

I may have become too subsumed by a new sci-fi novel I’m reading, which I shouldn’t name because the idea of a simulation is one of its many surprises.

I did take yesterday off from NCS (actually not a lot of choice in that matter). I was very tempted to take today off too, but I do have a little time to myself before beginning the trip back to Seattle, and whatever airline- and weather-related fuck-ups will plague it. So I snagged just a few new songs to recommend, so you don’t think I had a stroke or a Sunday brunch in jail. Continue reading »

Sep 012019


I usually don’t include new songs by the truly “big name” bands in these columns, because anyone who cares about black metal will have already discovered them, and often because there’s better stuff churning deeper in the underground. But I made an exception today, for reasons to be explained, and then moved on from there deeper into subterranean recesses. I’m kind of proud about the way the music flows in this collection. You can decide for yourselves whether, as a playlist, these selections work well together.


The Internet loves “best of” lists, especially in genres of entertainment. If you peruse any of the many web lists of the best black metal of all time it’s inevitable that you will see De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. That release happened 25 years ago, but even if Mayhem had never recorded anything else they probably would have already assured themselves an important place in the history of black metal.

But of course they went on to release four more albums of (it must be said) uneven quality, along with a slew of compilations, live recordings, and other scattered short things, all of which together demonstrate that from humble beginnings Mayhem has mutated into a formidable business enterprise. Continue reading »

Feb 252018


I stared at my long list of recent black metal releases that I found appealing. My eyes drifted further down the list to all the releases and advance tracks from weeks past that I had wanted to say something about, but hadn’t. That daunted feeling that crept into my head like a bad old friend, it locked up my brain. To unlock it, I tried to allow instinct to take over, and speared these five names based on the thought that the flow of the music would provide some interesting twists and turns as you move through them.


Upon encountering this one-man French band’s second EP, Sun, last year, I tried to sum up my reaction in these words: “Onirism isn’t the first band to combine utterly enthralling and transcendently beautiful sounds with the kind of savagery that makes you want to hide under your bed, but holy hell, they do it well.”

Later in the year I revisited Onirism through our premiere of a track from the band’s split with Pure Wrath, and left enthralled again. Continue reading »