Oct 152023

After failing to write anything this usual Sunday column for the last two Sundays I was really determined to get one finished this week, and to make it extra-large. But then I had some unexpected family activities this weekend which shoved that plan into the ditch.

Consequently, this column isn’t extra-large, it’s extra-short. Apart from the usual desire to help spread the word about worthy music, I’m mainly doing this (quickly) to avoid three Sundays of failure in a row.


I discovered the music of Sea Mosquito through their 2021 EP, Fire, Magic & Venom (four other EPs and a split had preceded that one). It was just a single 23-minute song. I spilled a lot of words about it here, ending with these:

“The song is absolutely, stunningly, mad. It makes you quiver and dance like a puppet on a string in a hellish theater, manipulated by a team of demon princes. (Given more time, I would come up with a dozen more metaphors, but maybe the song title says all that needs to be said.) It left me wide-eyed and jaw-dropped.”

Continue reading »

Apr 082021


Every year brings debut releases from up-and-coming bands that put a jolt of electricity into hungry fans and fortify the conviction that heavy music is alive and well. That’s already happening in 2021, bolstering those of us who believe that, for whatever reason, metal is in the midst of another Renaissance.

Having said that, we all get just as big a jolt from the return of bands who’ve given us thrills and chills in previous years, and that’s definitely true of the UK group Ninkharsag.

Andy Synn reviewed their 2015 album Blood of Celestial Kings for us, acclaiming it as a proud standard-bearer in the lineage of such bands as Dissection and Absu: “They’re not afraid of a big, bold, brutally effective hook when they come across one, as the nine songs which make up their debut album are positively bursting at the seams with brash, full-throttle riffs and coldly intoxicating melodies… as well as a hefty helping of pure blackened spite and vitriol”. Continue reading »

Aug 302020


I’ll dispense with an introduction to this closing Part of today’s column. The intro to Part 1 was long enough.


Adam O’Day‘s cover art for Lord Almighty‘s forthcoming second album seized my attention before the music did, but man, the first advance track from that album turned out to be even more attention-seizing.

I didn’t know what to expect, in part because I hadn’t paid attention to this Boston group’s 2015 debut album, Paths, and in part because I hadn’t yet read anything about their new full-length, Wither. Later, I read that their base inclination is rooted in black metal, past and present, but that they bring into their music “a love for NWOBHM, sludge, hardcore, blues rock, and more” — all of which is borne out by “Cry of the Earth“. Continue reading »

Sep 182015

Flag of Great Britain


(Following the first part of this two-part series that we posted yesterday, Andy Synn reviews three more albums by British bands.)

So for the second part of this (extremely limited) series, let’s delve into the UK’s too-often-overlooked and underappreciated Black Metal scene, shall we?

Now, much like the Black Metal scene in any country, the real gems of the UK scene are (in my opinion at least) far too often occluded and denied the attention they deserve by the hordes of corpse-painted copycats which clutter the scene like maggots, each one somehow convinced that their particular brand of insipid Satanic bluster makes them a unique and special proposition.

Whether it’s the pasty-faced nerds (replete with appropriately “evil” pseudonyms) whose music sounds more like the soundtrack to a late 90s RPG, or the ramshackle racket put out by the trve-kvlt-elite, who equate a lack of musical talent or identity with “integrity”… there’s just as much opportunity for those without any creative vision to simply ape the sounds of their forebears as there is a chance for those with real vision to express themselves.

And perhaps that’s as it should be. It is, after all, the way of the world. Thankfully, however, there are always going to be those who are simply better than others, diamonds in the rough shining more brightly than those around them could ever hope to.

And so I’ve (hopefully) picked out three of them for you today. Continue reading »

Mar 272015


(Responding to my constricted blog time, our Norwegian friend eiterorm has graciously compiled a round-up of new music and news for your entertainment and edification.)

The winds whispered in my ear that Islander has a lot of news to dig through (and a wife to persuade) before he can resume his passionate blog work. Here’s a guest entry to keep you slightly occupied in the meantime.


Because I decided to do this in alphabetical order, the news about Abbath is first out. Some of you may already know that the members of Immortal have been involved in a legal dispute over the band’s name. Due to musical disagreements, the long-running black metallers and weather forecasters have decided to go separate ways. Apparently, Abbath wanted to continue his career under the old monicker, something the rest of the band wouldn’t allow. Continue reading »

Oct 162014

I’m still more than 2,500 miles from home as a result of the old fucking day job, with precious little time to call my own, but I did take some breaks last night and early this morning, just long enough too explore three short releases that I’ve been meaning to check out. All of them are good, all of them are on Bandcamp, and all of them are either wholly or partly in the realms of black metal.


I can’t remember which of my Facebook friends linked to this two-song EP, but whoever you are, thank you.

Jøtnarr are a three-man group from Colchester, England, and the title of that two-song EP, which is their most recent release (from December 2013), is Divide the Growth and Stone. Last month they were featured as “Band of the Day” at Terrorizer (here), along with an interview by Kez Whelan, and that may have been how my FB friend stumbled upon them. Continue reading »