Oct 312017


I posted the first two parts of an extra-large SHADES OF BLACK column on Sunday, intending to post the third part yesterday after first arranging all the music in alphabetical order by band name and then dividing the collection into three segments. I obviously didn’t get the final segment finished — mainly because it contains the most music of all three parts, with four complete albums or EPs in addition to a new video.

Perhaps needless to say, I haven’t written in detail everything I’d like to say about all four of the complete releases, but I hope I’ve written enough to lure you into listening for yourself.


On Friday of last week, without much advance fanfare and no musical teasers, Krallice released their seventh album, Loüm. It’s available as a digital download now, and orders can also now be placed for CD and LP editions. It includes lead vocals, lead synths, and lead lyrics throughout the album by Dave Edwardson of Neurosis, as well as painted cover art by Carl Auge. Continue reading »

May 262015


(DGR prepared this review of a show in Sacramento, California on May 11, 2015.)

I’ve often joked about my living in Sacramento as being an unfortunate situation and something of a curse. Sacramento, which could easily be described as a pretend big city and the world’s largest cow town, often within the same breath, is a city that up until the past three years or so would rarely get many touring acts rolling through town. Most of the time, those tours would hit the big cities (you know, the ones they actually care enough to include on a map of California because stuff happens there, unlike us, who get preferential treatment because we are the capitol) and then quickly jet away from the desolate wastelands of this state.

The local scene has always been vibrant but even now, with a whole bunch of venues in town and multiple concerts that likely would have NEVER rolled through before those venues came to Sacramento, I still find myself surprised. Sometimes, the stars align and we even manage to pull off something incredibly insane — like Anaal Nathrakh coming to podunk-ass Sacramento and playing in a venue the size of a large kitchen. Continue reading »

Nov 032013

In the last three days I saw three signing announcements for three bands who kick so much ass that they produce epidemic proportions of asslessness. It finally dawned on my foggy mind that all three signings were with the same label: Willowtip Records, based in the incomparably named borough on the left bank of Connoquenessing Creek — Zelienople, Pennsylvania. The three bands are Nausea, Mithras, and Plague Widow. In case these names are unfamiliar to you, here’s a bit of background along with more details about the new albums that are headed our way — and some music to hear from each band.


An introduction is probably unnecessary in this case, but here goes: Nausea are a seminal SoCal grind band whose earliest demos go back to 1987, yet their only full-length album was 1991’s Crime Against Humanity. They split up in 1994 but reformed in 2001, and they’ve been playing a lot of live shows in the last three years, including Maryland Deathfest and a recent European tour. The current line-up consists of original vocalist/guitarist Oscar Garcia and original drummer Eric Castro, plus two new members: Bassist Alejandro CB (Pounder, Chemical Bitches) and guitarist Leon del Muerte (Murder Construct, ex-Exhumed, Phobia, Impaled, Intronaut).

The new album is entitled Condemned To the System, and Willowtip will be releasing it on January 7, 2014. It will include both new songs and previously unreleased vintage tracks. Continue reading »

Feb 292012

Yesterday we sang the praises of MaxR’s Metal Bandcamp blog as the go-to window into what’s happening in the metal part of Bandcamp’s world. No sooner had we done that than he proved the point again by featuring a three-man Sacramento band called Plague Widow, whose new self-titled EP is now up on Bandcamp.

The band’s name rang a bell that reverberated in my hollow head, and I remembered that DGR (himself a Sacramento denizen) had recommended this band to me  in January. I have a bad habit of forgetting to follow up on music tips if I can’t do it immediately, and that’s what happened with DGR’s tip. But with MaxR’s reminder, I finally dived into Plague Widow’s music.

I’m inclined to presume that any band with the word “plague” in their name is going to be my kind of thing, especially when the cover art is as tasty as that skull-dominant rendering you see at the top of this post. The presumption proved correct.

Despite the fact that the band is very new, having been formed only this past winter by former members of other Sacramento outfits (guitarist Hal Rotter from Slaughterbox and drummer Danny Hynes from Cowboykiller) and vocalist Marc Dickson, Plague Widow have found themselves a winning formula. Continue reading »