Aug 182023

It’s been a very long time since I was able to compile roundups of new music three days in a row, but lo and behold I have done so, mainly due to the absence of any premieres on our calendar for today. Barring some unforeseeable calamity I’ll add a fourth one in a row tomorrow in the usual Saturday Seen and Heard spot.


To spice up the musical fall, and just in time for Samhain, Malokarpatan will release a new album named Vertumnus Caesar through Invictus Productions (EU) and The Ajna Offensive (NorthAm) on October 27.

We never really know what devils will come out to play when this band records something new, and that’s probably not entirely clear from listening to the first single from the album, which just surfaced. But that’s all we have so far, so what does it show us? Continue reading »

Aug 202021


(The subject of this very extensive and engaging new interview by Comrade Aleks is Adam S., the lyricist and chief songwriter of the distinctive Slovak metal band Malokarpatan, though he also discusses another personal project with an album in the works.)

If you haven’t heard any of Malokarpatan’s albums, I bet you know about them anyway – no one could skip over the eye-catching artworks of Stridžie dni (2015), Nordkarpatenland (2017), and Krupinské ohne (2020). Slovakian pagan traditions shine through these authentic covers, and as you might surmise, the guys write their lyrics in their mother tongue. You’ll find translations easily enough, for example at Metal-Archives, and should find them if you’re searching for new poetic discoveries.

But probably we should start with the curious fact that Malokarpatan perform an authentic (again authentic!) mix of reckless yet tricky, non-trivial, heavy and black metal. Heathen energy, the pounding pulse of the wild, and a haunted atmosphere complete a sonic canvases filled with details and nuances…

I’ve found Malokarpatan in my “need-to-interview” list, and though their last record Krupinské ohne saw the light of day nearly one year ago, I believe you don’t need to wait for another official release to talk with a band you like and respect. I’m grateful to Malokarpatan ideologist and chief song-writer Adam S. for this deep and entertaining interview. Continue reading »

Dec 292019


Just three days left, including this one, before time consigns 2019 to the history books. Although we’re spending more and more time looking ahead to the records that will be released in 2020, we’re not finished with our reflections about metal in 2019. We will have more year-end lists from NCS writers and guests to share with you throughout the coming week, as well as the launch of our Most Infectious Song list, and at least Mr. Synn and I still plan to review some 2019 releases we haven’t gotten around to yet.

I’m doing some of that in today’s column. I picked three advance tracks to recommend from forthcoming 2020 albums, but the other three items are albums or EPs released this year, one of them as far back as August, which already seems like an eon ago. Hope you like all of it.


I’m a bit late getting to this first track, which debuted 10 days ago. That surprised even me, because I’ve been a fascinated follower of Malokarpatan from the beginning. The song is the first one revealed from this Slovakian band’s third album, Krupinské ohne. Its conceptual nature has been described by guitarist Adam as follows: Continue reading »

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.


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.


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.


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 five 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.


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



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.


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 »