Apr 092023

Pieter Bruegel – “The Fall of the Rebel Angels”

Today is Easter Sunday, this year falling in the midst of Passover and Ramadan — a Holy Trifecta! To all “people of faith” out there reflecting on messages of hope, tolerance, liberation from oppression, the needs of the less fortunate, and visions of a more just world based on equality and dignity of the individual, we wish you well.

For those more focused on imposing your beliefs on others and abusing those who won’t submit, as predecessors of your kind have done for millennia, seems like you’ve lost your way. In more ways than one today, because people like that aren’t likely to land on this site anyway except by mistake (e.g., searching for “no spring cleaning”).

With that out of the way, we’re not observing any ancient commandments or rituals today, especially those that claim divine inspiration, just my own Sunday tradition of uplifting musical rebellion in some of its blackest expressions, including those who find Hell is where their heart is. Continue reading »

Feb 152023

I’m very happy about all the music in this mid-week roundup. I’m also very happy about the way it all lines up.

A big part of the fun of doing these collections is not just finding new songs and videos that I think are worth recommending, but also choosing the ones that either flow together well or instead ricochet off each other in unexpected ways. There’s a little bit of both strategies in what I chose for today, but mainly this roundup is designed to quickly elevate your adrenaline and then keep it surging. Lots of good cover art today as well.


I searched out the first time we wrote about Thuldandra at this site. It was in June 2010, when NCS was barely seven months old. The occasion was an extensive review of the band’s 2010 debut album Fallen Angel’s Dominion, in which I included an extensive discussion of the band’s back-story, with notes about the C.S. Lewis space trilogy that was the source of their name. It was evident even then that they held the potential of becoming the truest heirs of Dissection. Continue reading »

Apr 042021


I explained yesterday that I’m on a weekend vacation. I also wrote that I wasn’t sure if I would prepare this usual Sunday column. Obviously, I have.

But because I’m really trying to make as much room as I can for rest and relaxation (which in my case is like making room for self-mutilation), I’ve limited myself to things I can quickly and impulsively react to — just a scattering of advance tracks and one stand-alone video. It was even easier for me to make these selections because all of them are by bands in whom I already had complete confidence.

I’ve also been listening to some albums this weekend that have also seized my attention. Depending on how the day goes, I might have a second installment devoted to those. Continue reading »

Jan 312020


Ossaert is a new one-person Dutch band, hailing from the river-wreathed city of Zwolle in northeastern Netherlands. The band’s first full-length, which also includes the work of session drummer W., is named Bedehuis, and it will be released on February 14th by Argento Records. The four songs on the album (which total 35 minutes of music despite the small number of tracks) don’t have names, only numbers.

I came across the opener, “I“, on Bandcamp before listening to the album as a whole, and wasted no time writing about it in one of our weekly SHADES OF BLACK columns. The song saturates the senses, delivering full-throttle drumming, rapidly gouging riffs, insanely flickering leads, febrile bass lines, and a rich array of harsh and clean vocals, which collectively become astonishing. Near the middle, a new riff appears which conjoins feelings of bleakness and grandeur, and becomes magnetically attractive.

The song attacks and it soars, and its intensity is unrelenting. I found it tremendously exciting — maybe “breathtaking” is a better word. And so when we were given the opportunity to premiere another track from Bedehuis, that was an easy “Yes!” Continue reading »

Jan 142020


Apologies for not posting a SHADES OF BLACK on Sunday, where it belongs. For reasons related to my day job I had to go to Texas for a long weekend, and spent a big part Sunday getting back to Seattle. While in Texas I had time to pick what I wanted to write about, but not enough time to do the writing. And then Sunday night my home lost power and internet access due to a snowfall, with the problems lasting well into mid-day on Monday, so that trashed my plans to post this yesterday.

In the meantime, of course, a lot more black metal has surfaced, and I decided to include just one of those new songs along with the ones I originally picked for Sunday.


God Knows Why” is the one new song I decided to add. It debuted today along with a fascinating but NSFW video. The song is off the new album by the Polish black metal band Medico Peste, whose music is also fascinating and not safe for work, or for just about anyplace else. Continue reading »