Feb 122019


As you can see, I decided to really load up today’s installment of the list, with four songs instead of two or three, and I also decided to lean into black metal for this one. I also thought these songs fit together in a way that would make for a good playlist, in addition to each of them being deserving presences on this list. As a bonus, two of these songs were performed at the Fire In the Mountains festival last summer outside Jackson, Wyoming, and I’ve included quality video of both of those, thanks to (((unartig))), as well as the album tracks.

To check out the previous installments of this still-expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


Without advance fanfare, or any preceding reviews, last April Panopticon released the extraordinary double-album The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (I and II), one half devoted to atmospheric metal and the other half focused on Americana (though the division isn’t a rigid one, with some bleed-over going both ways). Austin Lunn shared the album with me in advance of its release, and I wrote a review, holding onto it (at his request) until the release date — and then I never posted it.

I felt that I owed the music something better than the words I’d cobbled together, which struck me as more emotional and stream-of-conscious in their ramblings than they should have been. And then, with the music out in the world, I just never got back to the drawing board in the hope of crafting a better homage. Continue reading »

Jul 082018


With their 2017 album Хиус, the Siberian Russian band Neverending Winter displayed their wide-ranging talents in startling fashion. As their name suggests, long and frigid winters may have inspired their creations, but they found grace and beauty, as well as darkness and tumult, in their conditions. As I explained in a very wordy review, it was one of the most vibrant and dazzling albums I encountered last year, one with a wonderful, organic sense of flow that moved through differing shades of darkness and light, and ranged from loud, barbarically aggressive attacks to soft and completely mesmerizing interludes. And while the music often exploded with primal, surging energy, it was also often quite intricate, revealing a level of technical skill that was impressive.

Early this year, Neverending Winter followed Хиус with a new EP named Сеногной. It consists of three songs of increasing length, beginning with “Новый рассвет (New Dawn)“, a two-and-a-half minute track, continuing with the four-minute song “Frost leash“, and ending with “Сеногной (Senognoy)“, which nearly reaches eight minutes. Once again, the music flows and evolves; once again, Neverending Winter manage to successfully braid together differing strains of black metal (both savage and atmospheric) and crust punk in a way that makes the EP a riveting listen from start to finish. Continue reading »

Jul 152017


I’m sure it’s obvious to most people who visit us, and perhaps painfully obvious, that I listen to a lot of music, flitting like a hummingbird amidst the fecund and constantly flowering garden of metal in search of nectar, nightshades, and sharp thorns. And although dark new delights never seem far away, some of them are so arresting that they freeze me in my flight, locked into the embrace of what I’m hearing. That was the effect of Хиус (Heeus), the new album by Neverending Winter, which is being released today.

The album is so creative and so captivating that it caused me to reflect again on the happenstance of location as it affects the global reach of a band or an album.

Neverending Winter are located in Tomsk in Siberian Russia. They lack the visibility that a substantial label or professional PR representation might provide. Because of their remote location and low public profile, it’s unlikely they would be able to mount tours across Europe, much less North America, and that in turn will likely make it even more difficult for them to attract the backing of organizations that could help expand the global reach of their music — although I have no idea whether they even have such ambitions. Continue reading »

Jul 102017


Though laid low by an injury over the past week, I recovered well enough this weekend to do lots of catching up on what I missed. I suppose that’s obvious, given how much music I recommended in the Saturday and Sunday NCS posts, but I’m not finished. Here are recommended songs from seven more bands (I ran out of gas before posting these blackened offerings in their usual place on Sunday).

Some of the music in this post comes from full albums or EPs that have already been released, and with one exception I’ve only sampled a few tracks from each of those so far — but I like what I’ve heard. So, rather than risk not mentioning them at all, I’ve selected one song from each of those full releases to include here. The rest are advance tracks from forthcoming albums.


This Spanish black metal band from Valencia released their first demo in 1997, and on July 1 the French label Egregor Records released the group’s fourth album, Disciples of Venomous Death. The track I selected to begin this collection of music appears third in the running order and its name is “Exsanguination Smell” Continue reading »

May 162017


Due in part to yet another mini-vacation this past weekend, an entire week has passed since the last time I was able to compile a round-up of new songs and videos, though my comrade DGR helped fill that gap with a compilation of notable death metal yesterday. As a consequence of so many days passing, I have a massive list of new things I’d like to recommend.

Confronted with such a daunting task, I just gave in to impulse, which is par for the course. And today’s impulse was to focus only on some of new music I heard for the first time today — which means that massive list is no shorter than it was before I started writing this post. With luck, I’ll have time during the balance of this week to do some picking and choosing from it for another edition of SEEN AND HEARD.


As previously reported here, the Swedish black metal band Svartsyn have a new album named In Death that’s scheduled for release by Agonia Records on June 9th. The first single, which I wrote about in that earlier post, was a stunner named “Seven Headed Snake“, and this morning brought a second track — “Black Thrones of Death“. It’s left me even more excited about this new album. Continue reading »

Dec 312015



I had intended to post most of the new music in this collection on Sunday, hot on the heels of Saturday’s Shades of Black post. However, I was distracted by the sound of a passing car, chased it for a few blocks, and then forgot what I had been thinking by the time I found my way home (I also blame those squirrels for not stopping so I could lick them). Other distractions have materialized since then, including the death of Lemmy Kilmister.

On the bright side, I discovered more excellent new songs as the days have passed since Sunday; in fact, I heard the first three in this collection only after the weekend. The result is a rather humongous assembly of music, but please don’t let the quantity deter you from wading hip-deep into it, because there are a lot of gems to follow. And besides, it’s my last round-up of new music for 2015!

I really do hope you’ll like everything here as much as I have, and I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve too. As is often the case with these Shades of Black posts, I want to thank my Serbian friend “M” for linking me to much of what you’re about to hear. Continue reading »