Dec 062019


Unholy Path“, the song we’re premiering through a lyric video from the debut album of Sweden’s Night Crowned, is a veritable tapestry of sound, and a sumptuous feast for the senses and the imagination. Through its richly embroidered and dynamically changing contours the music is mystical and marauding, sweepingly grand and physically jolting, brooding and bombastic. It summons visions of unearthly magnificence as well as chaotic savagery. It hammers the skull and lunges for the throat with teeth bared, and it’s also spellbinding.

That’s a lot to accomplish in a single song, particularly when all the changes are so well-integrated into a cohesive experience. It’s more than one might expect from a relatively new band, but less surprising when you realize that the members of Night Crowned, combined, have been playing metal for well over 60 years, with over 15 albums in their collective catalogue through participation in such other groups as Dark Funeral, Nightrage, and Cipher System.

This new album, Impius Viam, follows the band’s 2018 debut EP, Humanity Will Echo Out (for which we premiered a great song called “Nocturnal Pulse”), and it will be released on February 28th by a new label founded by ex-Nuclear Blast veterans called Noble Demon. Which makes sense, because “Unholy Path” is a noble demon of a song. Continue reading »

Sep 182018


The night holds unmistakable allure for this Swedish band, whose name is Night Crowned and whose song “Nocturnal Pulse” we’re premiering today. But while feelings of isolation and gloom, and of the chilling presence of hungering shapes shifting in the darkness, come through in this intense new song, the music is also vibrantly and viciously explosive, like the incandescence of meteors (or wraiths) rushing through cold midnight skies.

Nocturnal Pulse” is one of three tracks on Night Crown‘s debut EP, Humanity Will Echo Out, which will be released on November 30 by Black Lion Records. But while Night Crowned may be a new formation, its line-up includes current and previous members of The Crown, Dark Funeral, Nightrage, and Cipher System, with a combined catalogue of more than 20 albums to their credit, and thus this new record is far from a fledgling flight — which will quickly become apparent as you listen. Continue reading »

Aug 262018


The thick blanket of smoke that’s fallen over the part of Wyoming where I’m currently vacationing has diminished the attractiveness of outdoor activity, and that in turn led me to do what I usually do on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings — listen to recent offerings of music from the darkest realms.

Strong winds seem to be creating some clearing in the noxious fog from burning forests, so I probably won’t be writing a second part for this column, though I have more than enough new songs and full releases to justify it. I’ll have to content myself with the following five selections.


Last week brought us the second single from the fourth album, Shem Ha Mephorash, by the Swedish band Mephorash. The first single, “777: Third Woe“, was released way back in November of 2017, and it prompted me to marvel at its pitch-black devotion — music that was reverential, grandiose, and fearsome in its conjuring of majestic and sinister power (and also quite memorable). Continue reading »