Aug 302019


We’ve been following the creations of the Spanish avant-garde black metal band Mystagos (formerly known as Chains Ov Beleth) with great interest since discovering the first two advance tracks from the band’s 2017 debut album Ho Anthropos Tes Anomias. Ultimately, we reviewed and premiered a full stream of that remarkable and multi-faceted musical tale of metaphysical divination. We also reviewed the fascinating follow-on EP by Mystagos, 2018’s Pvrvsha, which presented a changing patchwork of sensations that ranged from the harrowing to the surreal, though there was really almost nothing about the music that seemed commonplace or grounded in what we perceive as reality.

Now Mystagos has completed a new album named Azoth, which will be released on September 30th by the Spanish label BlackSeed Productions. Offered the opportunity to premiere a track from Azoth, we leaped at the chance. The new song “Ritual” is the one we bring you today. Continue reading »

Feb 102018


It will come as no surprise to anyone who has visited us more than once that I enjoy doing premieres of new music. Sometimes, however, I lose my head: For example, over the last two days we did eight of them. I believe in the worth of each one of those, but they shoved everything else out of the way, including this post, which I started writing last Wednesday and couldn’t finish.

Posting this on Saturday runs it right up against the usual spot for this SHADES OF BLACK series on Sunday, but so be it. I’ll still post another one of these installments tomorrow, and then try to figure out how to catch up on Monday with everything else I’ve neglected over the last two days.


In December we premiered a song from a then-forthcoming EP named Pvrvsha by the Spanish black metal band Mystagos. That song alone (“Drowning In the Sea of Unconsciousness”) was enough to land the EP on my own “most anticipated” list for the early months of 2018. And on February 1, Pvrvsha was released by BlackSeed Productions. It’s available now through Bandcamp, and if you haven’t heard it, you really should give it your full attention. Continue reading »

Dec 282017


Roughly three months we premiered a remarkable debut album named Ho Anthropos Tes Anomias by the Spanish band Mystagos, which was subsequently released by Clandestine Faith. In an accompanying review, I wrote about the way in which spiritual inspiration and distinctive musical talent had come together in an unusually successful way: “The music itself has an otherworldly and occult resonance, channeling the exploration of dark mysteries, the exaltation of sinister forces, and the delirium of madness”.

Given the rare appeal of that album, we were excited to learn that Mystagos has prepared a new collection of songs, an EP entitled Pvrvsha, which is projected for release on February 1, 2018, by BlackSeed Productions., with great cover art by Opposition Artworks. It includes three black metal songs and four dark ambient songs, and today we have the good fortune to bring you the premiere of one of the black metal tracks: “Drowning In the Sea of Unconsciousness“. Continue reading »

Oct 082017


All music is connected to some kind of inspiration, from the most mundane (and even deplorable) to the most sublime. Some songs are the result of nothing more than cynical calculations intended to draw ears like clickbait draws eyes. Others seem like efforts to express (and perhaps exorcise) strongly felt emotions, either positive or negative. And still others can be understood as genuine efforts to channel a spiritual experience, or to create a medium for spiritual experience by others.

Of course, even when the inspiration for music is something commonplace and uninteresting, the music itself can still be appealing. And conversely, even when the inspiration is a blinding revelation, the music can nevertheless be colorless or even unlistenable. There’s no necessary correlation between the two, because songwriting talent and performance skill count for a lot. But when spiritual inspiration and distinctive musical talent come together, the results can be remarkable, as you will soon discover.

Ho Anthropos Tes Anomias is the debut album of Mystagos, and it will be released by the U.S. label Clandestine Faith on October 12. The album becomes available for pre-order today, to coincide with the label’s launch of a new web site, and we’re launching a full stream of the album today as well. Continue reading »

Feb 082017


Those of you impeccably tasteful metal aficionados who follow my Shades of Black posts know that I was too incapacitated to get one done for last Sunday. So I’m doing one now, although none of the songs collected here was included in what I planned to write about for last Sunday. I discovered all of these since then. I do still plan to complete the write-up I had originally conceived, perhaps later this week or at least for this coming Sunday.


Yesterday, I was reminded about a German label named Einheit Produktionen by seeing their release schedule for the spring. I would have discovered these plans sooner if I’d been paying closer attention to our daily e-mail flood.

In April, Einheit will be discharging the self-titled debut album of a German black metal band named Ferndal, whose influences are described by Einheit as “reaching from Darkthrone to Windir, from Beethoven to Arvo Pärt and from baroque grace to romantic melancholy, within a veil of pure black metal aggression”. Is it any wonder I paused in my scurrying to have a listen to the first teaser of music? Continue reading »