Jun 142022


This weekly column is two days removed from its usual Sunday spot. I had picked the music and was all ready to begin writing on Sunday morning, and then remembered I had agreed to do a premiere that day and then go on an excursion with my wife. And then there was a neighborhood picnic I’d also forgotten about, which went on into the night. Monday brought a different set of obstacles. So, we’re two days late.

Anyway, what I’ve picked for this Shades of Black column is a mix of one advance track and three complete records, including an EP that’s 3 1/2 years old but just hit my radar recently (and shorted it out).


Theriomorph is a solo project of P.E. Packain (aka Vainaya), best known for his solo work in the now-defunct Cornigr and as a key instrumental performer and songwriter in Adaestuo. Earlier this year I frothed at the mouth about a preview track from Theriomorph‘s debut album Diabolical Bloodswords, and last Friday it emerged in full bloom (via Terratur Possessions). Continue reading »

Feb 162020


6-6-6. With more NCS time available to me over the last few days than usual, I’ve managed to feature the new music of six bands on each of the last three days. Surely some hellish reward will soon arrive at my door.

For this column I’m beginning and ending with complete streams of recently released debut albums. In between you’ll find advance tracks from forthcoming records, two of them from old favorites of mine and two from new discoveries. I’m very high on everything included here, and have already added tracks from all six bands to my list of candidates for 2020’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.


The Russian band Black Flux made a wise choice in setting the third track on their debut album, Black Stream, to play first at the album’s Bandcamp page. That track, “Пепельные Кубки (Ashen Goblets)“, lofts grand waves of slow-moving melody and glimmering ethereal tonalities over hurtling drums and truly vicious vocals. In addition, the band erupt in flurries of savage, electrifying riffage, while transforming the mood of those grand, cascading symphonic melodies into an increasingly tormented sensation that seems to writhe in agony. Through it all, vibrant bass lines rise and fall. The power of the sound is tremendous, as is the music’s emotional impact, which is wrenching. Continue reading »