Aug 132022


This makes three days in a row where I found enough time to compile a roundup of new music and videos. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but it was surely long ago. And not only was I able to do this three days in a row, but time also allowed me to pack an extravagant amount of music into this third compilation.

I also think it’s fair to say that what I picked ranges far and wide — and I’m not just talking about the bands’ global locations. I suppose it’s possible there’s someone out there who won’t find one damn thing to like among these seven songs, but I’d be surprised if that were true.


I don’t usually lead off these collections with an unknown band’s very first published song, but this one dropped my jaw. I became so enthusiastic about such a welcome surprise that I would have been ashamed at myself if I hadn’t put it in the starting position. Continue reading »

May 262020


(So far, Neill Jameson (Krieg, Poison Blood) has shared with us (here and here) two playlists of musical suggestions to help us get through the current plague time, and today he follows those with a third selection.)

I’ve been a little slower than I wanted to be with this third quarantine playlist, slow to the point where the country decided the virus is like black metal and moved on to grind.  Or something like that, I’m probably mixing my irritations up. But much like your desire to hug all the homies “when this is over” these playlists aren’t going away. Well, after the fourth one it will, but let’s suspend disbelief for a minute because these are TRYING TIMES and my inability to get a haircut makes it illegal for me to be in close proximity to a school. Catch-22 though, there’s no kids in there anyway.

Moving on. I think the format to this is pretty much established, especially since I see a few people biting off it, terminology and all, so let’s get into it. Continue reading »

Oct 042017


For various reasons I fell a couple of days behind in scouring the web and our in-box for new music that might be worth hearing. Last night I made an effort to catch up on what I’d missed the last two days. I created a list of links to the song streams that I found, which I thought would be worth checking out. There were more than 30 streams on my list by the time I stopped looking. That’s on top of the dozens that I haven’t yet heard from other recent lists.

This isn’t an uncommon experience. It’s for this very reason that posts like this one are tagged “Random Fucking Music” — because there’s just no methodical or thorough way to keep abreast of everything. And there’s an unavoidable element of randomness in deciding what to check out.

Last night I made my way through about 10 of the tracks on the list, and picked the ones you see here to recommend. That selection, however, isn’t random. I picked these streams because I thought they were very good, and to provide a bit of variety. (I’ve also included one news item near the middle.)


If you’re not already sitting down you probably should before you listen to this first song, because it has the kind of pulverizing punch and drive that can make one wobbly in the knees. Continue reading »

Apr 212015


If you’re new to our site, “Shades of Black” is the name I put on round-ups of recommended new music when everything I’ve found coincidentally happens to have some connection to black metal. As you’re about to find out, my definition of “connection” covers a big swath of territory.

Some of the songs featured in this post come from albums that are already available for streaming in their entirety. I’m mentioning them now because I’m afraid if I defer writing anything until I can listen to the whole album and prepare a review, there’s a chance I won’t write anything at all.


The fact that my tastes in metal are so wide-ranging has good and bad consequences. I think it’s good for the site, because without trying very hard I can contribute variety to the music we feature simply by writing about what I like. It’s bad because I don’t have the kind of depth of knowledge that comes from really immersing myself in just one or two sub-genres. Continue reading »

Apr 122014

This has been one of those weeks where my blog time was severely constricted by both personal and job-related demands. You might have guessed that, based on the complete absence of any “seen and heard” posts since Monday. I didn’t have time to do much more than quickly scan through the interhole each day looking for new song and video premieres and make lists of what I’d like to hear and see when time would permit. This morning, I finally crawled through that list, and found a shitload of new things I really liked.

Because I’m behind, and because I don’t want to fall further behind, I’m taking the wimp’s way out in this post. I’m just going to stitch together a bunch of recommended song and video streams (11 of them) with almost no commentary. It’s a stream dump, and I will bet money you’ll find something to like, almost regardless of your tastes. It’s spring, and metal is in bloom.

Salted within this list are a couple of news items that perked my interest, even though there’s nothing available to hear… yet.

I present this box of chocolates in alphabetical order. There will be another similar collection either later today or tomorrow. Tell me what you like. Leave comments! Continue reading »

Sep 222013

I mentioned in passing on 9/11 that Lustre’s 2013 album Wonder may be the most beautiful record I’ve heard this year. So when I noticed yesterday that Lustre has also contributed to a forthcoming split, I had to investigate.

The split will be jointly released on vinyl next month by I, Voidhanger and ATMF, with cover art by Francesco GemelliLustre’s contribution is a song entitled “Like Flowers of Gold”. Like so much of Wonder, the song casts a hypnotic spell, its seductive melody repeating in an extended loop against a backdrop of deep, groaning tones and ghostly/ghastly whispers. Atmospheric music such as this need not be complex nor instrumentally intricate to be emotionally affecting, but it does need to be well-written, and this Swedish one-man band does have that talent.

The second band on the split are new to me. Austria’s Aus der Transzendenz produced a debut album (Breed of A Dying Sun) last year, and this new song “Vixerunt” appears to be the band’s first new music since then. Where Lustre’s track brings a moonlit, pastoral ambience, “Vixerunt” races like a storm front, yet it is also an atmospheric piece of music. Continue reading »

Sep 112013

Today is the 12th anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers in Manhattan. I don’t like to think about it. Even 12 years later, the memory of watching the whole, horrible spectacle unfold on TV all day is painfully vivid. Unfortunately, it became even more vivid because the TV at my house this morning was tuned to a news channel that replayed, for several hours, the same coverage of the event that it broadcast 12 years ago. I didn’t sit there and watch all of it, just enough to sink my spirits again.

Both before and after 9/11/01, worse things have happened in other countries, and I’ll admit that the emotional trauma I feel in thinking about this tragedy is a product of the fact that it happened in my own country. Tribalism is still very much with us, isn’t it?

Well, I don’t want to dwell on something so morbid (I don’t enjoy thinking about morbid things unless it’s morbid music). I also don’t know that anything good comes from this kind of remembrance; for me, it leads nowhere, it’s not intended to be political in any sense, it’s just an expression of grief, a grief that wells up inside on these anniversaries whether I want it to or not.

The memory, which makes me far more sad than angry, shifted me away from the metal I intended to listen to and moved me to a song by a one-man Swedish black metal band named Lustre, whose 2013 album Wonder (about to be released on the Nordvis label) may be the most beautiful one I’ve heard this year. It’s one of many I should have reviewed before now but haven’t. While I try to re-orient myself to what we usually do at NCS, I leave you with that simple but moving song. It’s name is “Moonlit Meadow”. Continue reading »