Jan 122018


(The solo artist behind the Swedish black metal band PanPhage has declared that the new album Jord will be the last Panphage record (for reasons discussed in this interview). It is being released today via Nordvis Produktion, and here we present Norway-based Karina Noctum’s review.)


Panphage is a Black/Folk one-man band from Sweden. Jord, the latest album, and the last one, comes two years after the release of the full-length Storm. The cover picture of Jord is from some Swedish autumnal landscape. The title of the album translates to “soil”. Most of the song titles are related to the soil/earth theme, e.g. (as translated), “Silent mountain ridge”, “Unsown shall the fields grow”, all revolving around heritage and the earth’s cycle of life and death.

The beginning of “Odalmarkerna” (cultivated fields) reminds me a bit of Iron Maiden actually. But as the album develops, the folk elements become more and more blackened. The album has an atmosphere, an old one. Especially the guitar and drum sound bring the ’90s black metal feeling back quite often. The Bergen scene comes definitely to mind here. Continue reading »

Dec 312017


As you can see, I have ambitions… ambitions for a SHADES OF BLACK post that carries over, one that’s both the last SHADES OF BLACK of the old year and the first of the new year. Of course, those ambitions depend on my being able to write Part 2 tomorrow and your ability to read it. Since my New Year’s Eve will probably consist of a quiet evening at home with Ms. Islander and a bottle of champagne, I’ll probably be able to give a decent account of myself come the dawn. I wish I could be more hopeful about you. If you wake up in a pool of your own urine with the taste of vomit in your mouth, please don’t send photos.

I’ve divided my selections this week as follows: In Part 1 I’ve included a few recent EPs and advance tracks from forthcoming albums.  In Part 2 I’ve collected some complete 2017 albums that I’d like to call attention to, not all of which are brand new.

JANUARY 1 UPDATE:  That prediction about New Year’s Eve being a placid, well-behaved time for yours truly turned out to be load of horseshit. The extent of my suffering today is of epic proportions. Part 2 will be delayed until January 2.


I’m indebted to my friend Miloš for recommending this first two-song EP. Entitled Вопль о Земле, it was released via Bandcamp by the Russian black metal band Varnak on December 28th (the cover art is at the top of this post). I processed the Russian lyrics through Google Translate, and although the results are a bit garbled, I found them fascinating — just as I did the music. Continue reading »

Apr 112017


Well, as you can see, I actually did find time to follow up yesterday’s round-up with a second one within 24 hours, even though I was loathe to make any predictions about that. As usual, there is metallic variety within this post, but it’s also fair to say that none of it is for the faint of heart.


Spiritual Bloodshed is the vile new second album by Triumvir Foul from Portland, Oregon, who have now condensed their form back to the band’s original two-person line-up (both members have also been participants in such other projects as Ash Borer and Urzeit). The album will be released by Invictus Productions on June 9. It embellishes a discography that previously consisted of the band’s 2014 demo, An Oath of Blood and Fire, and their self-titled debut album from 2015. Continue reading »