Oct 172021

Hemelbestormer 2021 – photo by Istvan Bruggen

Greetings earthlings. It is reportedly the 42nd anniversary of the publication of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — not the 40th, not the 50th, but the only anniversary that matters, and you know why, don’t you?

Today we resume hitchhiking through the galaxy of black and blackened metal, with occasional detours. Please follow along, and don’t forget to bring your towel. (I may have a second installment of SHADES OF BLACK for you later today, but am not positive, and so I haven’t called this Part 1.)


I must confess that the anniversary of Hitchhiker’s Guide may have had something to do with why I chose the first three songs in today’s collection, though this opening trio of tracks isn’t nearly as light-hearted as that book. Moreover, thoughts of traveling through the dangers of space also had something to do with why I decided to open with a long a track that’s much more post-metal than it is a spawn of the black arts. I also just think the song and video are so damned captivating that I didn’t want to delay putting them before you. Continue reading »

Nov 302015

Awe artwork


(Here’s KevinP’s list of favorite releases during the month of November.)

Last month this column was posted on October 28th, three days before the end of the month. I had a reader and then a friend of mine on Facebook ask me how I could create my list when the month didn’t even ended yet (since there were a plethora of releases due on October 30th).  So I realized maybe what I thought was common knowledge (advance promos) wasn’t as common as I thought?  For instance, as I type this now, I already have four albums on my iPhone that are due in February.

One of the perks for this labor of love we do here is getting to hear albums from a few weeks to many months prior to release. Record labels and PR companies know websites/magazines need lead time to prepare stuff. As flattering as it may be for some to think so, I would not be able to hear an album on the release date (say October 30th), make an accurate assessment of it, write a column, send it off to Islander, and get it posted the same day.

And now for a few housekeeping items before we get to this month’s releases.  This is the first year I’ve done a monthly column. I will still be doing a Best of 2015 list, but will have that ready in early January as to give it some separation from December’s releases.  You’re the Best Around, Nothing’s Gonna Keep You Down will be ready next week (where I go over all the OTHER best stuff of the year). Continue reading »

Oct 272015

Otargos-Xeno Kaos


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the French band Otargos.)

Full disclosure: I’ve been a big fan of this band for a long time now (although, curiously, I don’t think I’d seen them live until this year’s edition of Incineration Festival), and have loyally followed them as they’ve transitioned, slowly but surely, from the more overt blackness of their early years, to the denser, more Death-tinged sound which they now wield.

Yet whilst their new album, Xeno Kaos, most definitely (even defiantly) continues this progression away from the realms of Black Metal, it also simultaneously takes both a step forwards and a step backwards from its predecessor, dropping the thrashier edge found on Apex Terror whilst making more room for a grimly oppressive Industrial undercurrent reminiscent of 2010’s No God, No Satan.

This clanking, industrialised soundscaping is nothing new to the band, obviously, but the way it’s deployed here alongside the steadily more Death Metal-leaning metallicisms that the band have made their stock-in-trade puts me strongly in mind of Norwegian extremists Zyklon (or perhaps their cousins in Myrkskog).

So, if you’re a fan of either of those bands (or simply a long-time Otargos fan curious as to where the band’s more deathly ambitions have taken them) then read on! Continue reading »

Sep 162015

Otargos-Xeno Kaos


This is the somewhat delayed second part of a round-up I began this morning. The earlier edition featured new videos and songs from some of metal’s bigger names. The music in this one comes from more underground sources, and not all of it is brand new, though all of it is newly discovered by your humble editor. And of course all of it is recommended for your ears.


In his review, Andy Synn summed up the last album by the French band Otargos (2013’s Apex Terror) as music “both utterly devastating and virulently infectious, a truly unique and lethal strain of post-human black metal” — “a visceral, gut-wrenching experience, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality”.

Otargos have now completed a new album named Xeno Kaos that will be released by Kaotoxin Records on November 13. The label recently unveiled a song from the album named “Dominatrix”, and it’s a potent concoction of reptilian melodic grace and unrestrained ferocity. I’m still trying to close my mouth after hearing the drumwork on this song, and I also need to look for a couple of teeth that got knocked out. Probably need a tourniquet too. Continue reading »

May 162015


(Our man Andy Synn was lucky enough to attend the second annual Incineration Festival in the UK and turns in this report, with videos.)

Let me preface this review with a quick round of thanks to the people who made the festival, and my presence there, possible.

My main thanks go out to Daniel of London Metal Monthly (for whom I also write on a semi-regular basis these days) for arranging my press pass and feeding my ever-expanding ego (though at no point did I have to utter the immortal words “do you know who I am?”… which was a shame).

I also want to thank Steve and Stephen for dealing with the masses of people queuing for wristbands and for sorting my access on the day itself, as well as for all their work behind the scenes in booking the bands, venues, crew, and everything else that must have gone into a mammoth undertaking.

However, they, along with Nimai, are only the names I know of the people who were involved. For an undertaking this big – one that’s only in its second year no less – there must have been a host of other helpers and organisers working alongside them. And although I don’t know their names, I thank them as well. Continue reading »

Sep 252013

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Otargos, which is out now in Europe on Listenable Records and is scheduled for release in North America on November 5.)

France really is in the middle of something of a metal renaissance (“rebirth” all you non-bilinguals) right now. And I’m not just talking about the steady rise of artists like Alcest and Gojira (or their many imitators). No, I’m talking about some of the seriously nasty underground filth and fury that our Gallic cousins have been pumping out over the last several years.

In particular, 2013 has seen (or will see) the arrival of three truly phenomenal records from the French death/black metal scene – the sickening brutality of “Profane” by Svart Crown, the sneering bombast of Glorior Belli’s Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls (which I believe one of my brethren will be reviewing shortly), and this, the inhuman, predatory malice of Apex Terror. Continue reading »

Jan 122012

Season of Mist released the most recent album of French black metal band OtargosNo God No Satan — back in 2010. The band is working on new music now, but only within the last two weeks relased an official music video for a song called “Worship Industrialized” from No God No Satan. It’s definitely not something that uses the more traditional black metal motifs.

The music doesn’t start until about the 1:45 mark. Before that, you hear narration of a story, while watching pictures of a desolate, volcanic landscape (filmed in Sicily). The story is about Earth in a post-apocalyptic time when a new religious cult has arisen, one with ironic roots.

After the music begins, the members of Otargos eventually seem to represent forces of freedom capable of stripping away the delusions of the new cult, though they, too, appear to be survivors of the apocalypse that destroyed civilization. The visuals have an epileptic quality, which apparently was the result of a simultaneous multicam capture when the song performance was filmed.

Those visuals and the music go well together, because the music is blistering and vicious — but man, it’s also got a massive beat that’s catchy as fuck. This is the only song I’ve heard from No God No Satan, but it’s enough to send me exploring what else that album has to offer. And congrats to Federico Anastasi (Undeci | Decimi) and his team on a cool video. Watch it after the jump. Continue reading »