Jun 022021


(We welcome guest writer Nick Awad, who shares his review of a 2020 black metal split release among Hajduk, Akantha, Nimbifer, and Sørgelig that deserves more attention.)

Though the style of Raw Black Metal is not particularly new, it is currently having a moment. These days, countless bands are emerging from the shadows with ominous promo photos, grainy audio production, and fast-selling physical releases. Depending on who you ask, this is either a golden age or the dumbest thing since the recent OSDM revival. As with most things, there is some validity to either stance. For every worthwhile Raw Black Metal project, there are about a hundred duds. Duds that may check plenty of the grim aesthetic boxes, but offer no real substance. That being said, those aforementioned worthwhile projects are absolute gold. Among those praiseworthy projects is a split released in the late summer of 2020.

Ruins of Humanity is a four-way split full of vicious songwriting and macabre ecstasy. The bands on the release; Hajduk (Bulgaria), Akantha (Greece), Nimbifer (Germany), and Sørgelig (Greece); prove themselves to be an arterial cut above the endless menagerie of aesthetic-obsessed internet vampires. Though the songs on this split do nod to the ideas that precede them, they are far from the soulless riff recitations of a “worship-style” project. They represent a culmination of traditions coupled with modern influence that does not stray from the necessary orthodoxy of the craft of Black Metal. Continue reading »

Apr 072019


This edition of SHADES OF BLACK is different from most, in two respects. First, my paying job (i.e., not NCS) has been crushing me lately, including this weekend, and I don’t have time to accompany what I’ve chosen with my usual impressions and links. Second, there’s not as much music in this post as you might guess from the title of the post. I’ve made the rare decision to include three album announcements at the end of the column even though there’s no music available for streaming yet. I did that because I’m so excited about those announcements.


The first item I’ve chosen is Rotting Christ‘s new video for “In the Name of God“, one of the tracks on their latest album, The Heretics, which was released in mid-February and reviewed here by DGR. As he wrote, The Heretics follows what the band have established as their “blueprint” — a “sort of larger-than-life, titanic paradigm of martial prowess turned black metal.” It doesn’t push the genre or the band’s music forward as much as it represents a summing-up of their career so far, playing to their most familiar strengths. “In the Name of God” is but one example of that. Continue reading »