Dec 052022

I discovered the Spanish black metal band Ouija last year, thanks to their EP Selenophile Impia, which left me moonstruck (as I wrote in a review here). That was not Ouija‘s first recording. In fact, they released their first album in 1997 and a second one in 2013. From those dates you can deduce that Ouija don’t hurry things, and so their forthcoming third album comes nine years after the second one, though it follows fairly quickly on the heels of that fantastic 2021 EP.

The title of the third album is Fathomless Hysteros and its release date is December 26th. Arriving on that particular date, so late in the year, it will elude the attention of year-end list makers, and maybe many other listeners. That would be a tragic outcome — for listeners — because this album is a triumphant achievement, one of the best this writer has heard in 2022, and one that shows all signs of becoming a long-lasting favorite. I’ll try to explain why. Continue reading »

Nov 192022


It’s lamentable how little music I’ve written about today. Last night I engaged in an old tradition I’ve rarely observed since covid began marauding in March 2020, i.e., drinking in person with co-workers I usually see only on computer screens. I’m out of practice, and so forgot where the off-switch was, leading to… too damned much drinking.

On my ferry ride home I was thinking about how I would begin today’s column, knowing that I had about three-dozen links to new songs and videos I’d selected out of what I noticed over the last week, and knowing I’d never make it through all that. Fueled by whisky, I wrote this:

Imagine yourself seated across a table from a wizard, or rather what seems like a wavering mirage of a table, alternately expansive and as narrow as a rat’s tail. He buries his hands in a bowl of spiky glittering baubles and throws them at your face. Pleased with your wide eyes and the rivulets of blood coursing down your face, he chortles and beams. The pain and the exhilaration, now you feel alive!, he proclaims. And then black tentacles begin to sprout from his robes and writhe in your direction.

Reading that this morning through eyes almost pasted shut by the goo of sleep, I wonder how the hell that metaphor sprung to mind. The spiky baubles represented all the new songs and videos, I know that much, but the rest of it? The ways of whisky can be mysterious….

Anyway, I don’t feel so great this morning, and the day is rapidly flying by, so what follows is all I’ve been able to accomplish. Maybe these songs will leave you wide-eyed and bloodied. One can only hope. Continue reading »

Jul 252021


Thankfully I was able to finish the second installment of today’s column before having to turn to other things. But I have to make that turn quickly, so I’ll dispense with any further introduction.


I’ve been meaning to write something in support of this extravagant compilation for the last week, ever since the official announcement of it last Monday, and then it occurred to me that putting it in a SHADES OF BLACK column would be the most fitting way to do that anyway.

The name of the compilation is This Wretched Earth. Presented by Snow Wolf Records, it includes tracks by 16 bands from 14 countries across 6 continents, and adds up to almost an hour and a half of music. It includes a number of groups I’ve written about in other editions of this column, as well as a lot of names that are new to me. It also includes a number of exclusive tracks not available anywhere else; I’ve determined that 10 of them aren’t listed on Metal-Archives. Continue reading »