Feb 242019
 

 

This week I’ve chosen advance tracks from three forthcoming albums, two tracks from a recent split, and one complete album that’s just been made available for streaming in advance of a March 1 release (and it’s one of the best of the year so far). And with that, let’s just go right into the music.

KULL

Bal-Sagoth won’t need an introduction for many of you, but for others, it was a UK band conceived in 1989 by Byron Roberts in an attempt to form what he called “a sublimely symphonic black/death metal band swathed in a concept of dark fantasy & science fiction, inspired by the celebrated style of the grand pulp horror and fantasy literature of the 1930’s”.

He was eventually joined by the brothers Chris and Jonny Maudling to form the core songwriting group, and Bal-Sagoth released their first demo in 1993. They followed that with six albums, three on Cacophonous Records and three on Nuclear Blast. The last of those was The Chthonic Chronicles in 2006. Continue reading »

Jul 012018
 

 

This is Part 2 of a post that I began earlier today. As in the first installment, I’m including a group of complete new releases with only brief introductory impressions rather than full reviews. More words would make me feel better, but maybe the words I had time to write will be sufficient inducement for you to explore further on your own.

The surprising new release by Malokarpatan made me feel like I’d entered haunted woods or subterranean caverns populated by creatures that the Brothers Grimm would recognize, and the next two entries in this post pulled me into greater depths of horror — to the point that I felt I had to shake off those shivering sensations in order to face the rest of the day. You’ll see how I did that.

MALOKARPATAN

Perhaps there was some kind of advance notice that the Slovakian band Malokarpatan, who most definitely march (and scamper fiendishly) to the beat of their own drummer, would be releasing a new EP today, but if so, I missed it. My first notice came via a Bandcamp e-mail alert today. What I found was as weird as I’ve come to expect — but the shapes of the band’s strange proclivities never seem to be predictable. Continue reading »

Sep 102017
 

 

As you can see, I have music from 10 bands from the blackened realms in this post. I thought about dividing it into two parts to make it more easily digestible, posting the first 5 as soon as I finished writing about them and then beginning on the second 5. But then I remembered what happened last weekend, when the rest of life intruded and I didn’t finish Part 2 before the typhoon of Monday made landfall. So I forced myself to defer posting this collection until I had completed all of it. Though I guess I could have divided it then. Oh well.

Doesn’t mean you have to consume all of this at once. You can pretend there’s a dividing line after Witchcraft Sadomizer and come back later… just don’t forget, or let the rest of life get in the way.

VERGE

Finland’s Verge are fascinating on many levels. Wholly apart from the evolution of their music into increasingly distinctive shapes, the lyrics of their songs are also engrossing and thought-provoking, though in their unsettling poetry you must be prepared to experience despair and hopelessness in a search for self-becoming that seems perpetually elusive, always challenged and usually defeated by our own wretched flaws and misunderstandings. Continue reading »

Jul 232017
 

 

Another Sunday, another edition of SHADES OF BLACK, and this time I’ve chosen advance tracks by six bands from forthcoming releases. Two of those releases are reissues of earlier works, but the bands were new to me despite the existence of those earlier efforts, and perhaps they’ll be new to you as well.

MALOKARPATAN

In the fall of 2015 the Slovakian band Malokarpatan released their debut album Stridžie dni (“the witching days”), which turned out to be one of the biggest and best surprises of that year, even though I didn’t tumble to it until early 2016. With lyrics written in a local dialect, the album was based on the grotesque myths and folklore of Western Slovakia, based on “rural witchcraft, drunkenness and also national pride.” As I wrote then: Continue reading »

Feb 072016
 

Nordjevel-ST

 

Once again I’ve collected newly discovered music that could be considered shades and phases of black metal. Unfortunately, on this Sunday I’m pressed for time, and so, with apologies to the bands (who are probably the only people who might actually read my drivel instead of skipping right to the streams), I’m going to have to truncate my review commentary. Somehow, you’ll have to take in the music without me detailing for you what you’re hearing.

NORDJEVEL

I’m not sure how Nordjevel eluded my hawklike gaze. Their self-titled debut album has already been released by Osmose Productions, with several song streams preceding it, yet I only found out about the band and the album a few days ago. Continue reading »