Apr 162023

Moribund Mantras

Humans continue sending cameras into the deepest waters on Earth and continue seeing strange creatures that live there. If those creatures have minds, they may be thinking we should mind our own goddamned business, especially the two snailfish that were physically caught in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench last September at a depth of 8.022 meters (just under five miles below sea level). Even the snailfish that were only videoed at a depth of 8,336 meters, making them the deepest fish ever captured on film, might have felt annoyed. (The film was released earlier this month, reported here.)

But the snailfish aren’t the deepest sea creatures discovered so far. There’s an octopus that’s been found at an estimated 9,800 meters below sea level in the Marianas Trench. And the deepest part of the Marianas Trench measured so far (the deepest surveyed point of all the Earth’s oceans) is 10,971 meters (6.817 miles) below the water’s surface. There’s probably life down there too — we just don’t yet have the technology to go look.

Why the hell am I sharing this info here? It’s because I’ve been thinking about the allure of oddities (for want of a better term). Life-forms found at depths once thought unsurvivable bear resemblances to creatures that dwell far closer to the surface, but their appearance has been twisted in unusual and often frightening ways as they adapted through evolution in their epochal descents. Their strange fascinations lead us to keep searching for them, and to attempt to comprehend how they have survived.

Some (but not all) of today’s music bears resemblances to more familiar forms of black and blackened metal, but it is also twisted into unusual and sometimes frightening shapes. Searching for such oddities is one of our pastimes, because the results can be fascinating. (The risk of operating in a blog where there’s no one telling you what to do is that it permits strained analogies that consume a lot of space.) Continue reading »

Feb 112023

I had a fairly quiet Friday night, with just enough spirits over dinner to get loose but not enough to feel wrecked and disjointed this morning. Kept making my way through the first season of “Poker Face“, which is enormously entertaining through episode 4, and then another chunk of pages in the latest Murderbot novel, which I’m forcing myself to ration since I’ll be so morose when I have to wait for the next one.

Anyway, thanks for asking about my Friday night. Pretty sure that’s what those whispers were in my head. But now to drown out all whispers with a few more things I got into this morning. Yesterday’s roundup was heavy on the death metal, so I decided to branch out a bit today, while saving most (but not all) of the black stuff ’til tomorrow.


Well, as I said, I didn’t save all the black stuff for tomorrow. This first song was just too good a way to wake people the fuck up. It’s a head-spinning amalgam of symphonic grandiosity, bizarro-world guitar convulsions (with a few bracing gallops and insectile quiverings in the mix), full-throttle madhouse drumwork, bunker-busting grooves, and macabre vocals that stretch far to find so many ways to be ugly. Continue reading »

Nov 292022

Lo and behold, even though we’re two days past the Thanksgiving break my fucking day job is still mostly leaving me alone, so I’ve got time for a quick round-up of new songs and videos this Tuesday. Given the song I picked as the opener, it’s an outlier from my usual proclivities, but don’t worry, it gets a lot more subterranean after that, and then ends with a rebellious song that qualifies as a well-earned exception to our rule about singing.


A good argument could be made that Metallica is the biggest name in metal, and therefore a name very unlikely to appear at this site, where we tend to focus our attention on bands who need (and deserve) more exposure. Even just listening to their new song “Lux Æterna” wasn’t high on my list of things to do. It felt like I’d just be joining a surging crowd of lemmings and wondering just how big a cliff I’d be falling off of.

And then I began to see comments from assorted friends on social media who aren’t given to mindless fawning, even though, unlike me, they spent their formative years listening to Metallica during the band’s best years. One of them thought Metallica were channeling Motörhead. Another wrote that it sounded like a lost Diamond Head cover from Garage Inc. But everyone seemed to be liking it, even if maybe it was pushing slightly different buttons from person to person. So, I gave in and gave the song a shot. Continue reading »