Apr 072019
 

 

This edition of SHADES OF BLACK is different from most, in two respects. First, my paying job (i.e., not NCS) has been crushing me lately, including this weekend, and I don’t have time to accompany what I’ve chosen with my usual impressions and links. Second, there’s not as much music in this post as you might guess from the title of the post. I’ve made the rare decision to include three album announcements at the end of the column even though there’s no music available for streaming yet. I did that because I’m so excited about those announcements.

ROTTING CHRIST

The first item I’ve chosen is Rotting Christ‘s new video for “In the Name of God“, one of the tracks on their latest album, The Heretics, which was released in mid-February and reviewed here by DGR. As he wrote, The Heretics follows what the band have established as their “blueprint” — a “sort of larger-than-life, titanic paradigm of martial prowess turned black metal.” It doesn’t push the genre or the band’s music forward as much as it represents a summing-up of their career so far, playing to their most familiar strengths. “In the Name of God” is but one example of that. Continue reading »

Feb 152019
 

 

(DGR reviews the new album by the now-larger-than-life Greek black metal band Rotting Christ, which is being released today by Season of Mist.)

If at this point in their career Rotting Christ have decided to be the AC/DC of anti-religious heavy metal then I am all for it, even if it just boils down to me having an easier time explaining why I enjoy the songcraft that the band have been up to for so many years now.

To say that they’ve found a sound would be putting it politely; Rotting Christ not only found a sound, but they also basically defined it and then later let it define them. Especially in more recent years they have basically shifted from being a fire-fueled black metal nightmare into an almost Hollywood-esque war-drums-and-all hybrid of martial rhythms, ’70s prog guitar influences, and the straightforward guitar stomp and lead work that has made them so insanely catchy over the years. The group’s latest disc, The Heretics, is a giant block of that specific sound. Continue reading »

Feb 072019
 

 

As explained in Part 1 of today’s round-up, I feel particularly inundated by new metal this week, far too much for me to cover comprehensively (and I’ve still got a lot of catching-up to do with music that came out before this week). I’m not sure there’s much rhyme or reason to what I chose to write about in this two-part installment. The choices were pretty damned impulsive.

For example, I could have written about the new songs and videos by Allegaeon, Continuum, Kartikeya, Katechon, Latitudes, Nightrage, and Sectioned (to name just a few), but I haven’t — though you can click those hyperlinks and check them out anyway. Here’s what I am writing about:

ROTTING CHRIST

Yesterday the Russian site Satanath (home to Satanath Records) premiered another new song off the new album (The Heretics) by Rotting Christ, which will be released by Season of Mist on February 15th. The name of the song, “Vetry zlye (Ветры злые)“, explains the choice of Satanath for the premiere. But although the song title and some of the lyrics are in Russian, it’s not Sakis Tolis who “fights his way through a maze of Russian phonetics” in the chorus, but guest singer Irina Zybina (vocalist in the Russian folk metal band Грай [Grai]). Continue reading »

Dec 252018
 

 

If today is a holiday for you, we hope you’re enjoying it, regardless of whether it has any ecclesiastical meaning to you. If it’s not a holiday for you, we hope it will be a good day for you, too.

We don’t observe any holidays at NCS, not because we’re against them, but because from our first year the goal was to post something every day of the year, a goal we’ve kept with very rare exceptions. I can’t exactly remember why I set that goal (come on, it was 9 years ago!), but probably because I thought our best chance of getting readers was to be out there on days when there was no competition. Now, we keep doing it out of sheer stubbornness.

Since it is Christmas Day, I thought about exclusively going with metal that has some kind of holiday theme, but with a trio of exceptions at the end of this giant new-music round-up, I tossed that idea out the window, unless you count the introductory music from Rotting Christ. And why wouldn’t you?

ROTTING CHRIST

My NCS colleagues and I seem to be having a disagreement about RC‘s new album The Heretics. One of us, who shall remain unnamed, thinks it’s repetitive and boring, a distillation of the sound of the last three or four albums but lacking in dynamic peaks and troughs. A couple of us (including me) acknowledge that it’s basically Rotting Christ firmly in their established groove, but is nonetheless a whole lot of fun. Continue reading »

Nov 292018
 

 

Last Sunday when I wrote about my imminent two-week vacation I though it was unlikely that I would be able to assemble any new-music round-ups. But for my traveling companions, yesterday was an especially lazy day, and so I found a bit of guilt-free time to explore new music.

Not a lot of time, mind you, and so I didn’t cast a very wide net over everything of interest that had surfaced since the last of these round-ups, nor was I able to choose as many songs as I usually do. But these three struck a strong chord, and I’m happy with the choices.

ROTTING CHRIST

Season of Mist uses the term “anthemic” to describe the new Rotting Christ song it released yesterday, and so it is — in a way that’s distinctively Rotting Christ. If you’re familiar with their music, you would know it’s them even if no one told you. Continue reading »

Jul 192018
 

 

Continuing where I left off in Part 1 of today’s round-up (and I do plan on yet another round-up tomorrow, by the way), I’ve selected four more tracks that really can’t be grouped in any kind of logical order, and there’s really almost nothing that any of the songs have in common other than their appeal to yours truly. I’ve again kind of up-ended my usual tendency to move from better-known names to lesser-known names.

SCORCHED

This Delaware band is certainly better-known than they used to be, due in part to 20 Buck Spin’s release of Excavated For Evisceration earlier this year, which compiled the band’s non-LP material in one place, but they still need to become a lot better-known because THEY’RE SO GOOD! I have a feeling that will happen when the same label releases their new album on September 28th. Continue reading »

May 012018
 

 

We have a couple of premieres coming later today (what a shock), but I found myself with a little extra time on my hands before we get to those, so I thought I’d package up a few new things that I heard yesterday. The first two come from established bands who are always dependably good. The second two come from new names that should become better known once the songs below get spread around.

ROTTING CHRIST

First up is a pro-shot live video of Rotting Christ performing the title track from their 2013 album Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού. It was filmed on June 30, 2017, during the band’s headlining anniversary concert in Athens. From the looks of this (and of course the sounds), I really wish I’d been able to astrally project myself into that venue. And I think that’s all the introduction this video needs. Enjoy: Continue reading »

Feb 172018
 


Augury – photo by Mélany Champagne

 

I made a resolution last night: I resolved that henceforth I will post no more than two premieres a day, and only one per day if it’s a full album stream. During the week just ended, I posted 14 premieres, and two of those were full albums.

I might not care about the volume if I could be content to write little more than, “Here — listen to this!”, and then just provide the music stream. But where’s the fun in that? Besides the fun, I feel a compulsion to include reviews with the premieres, even if only the bands or labels might pay attention to what I write. Given that mindset, working on a big flood of premieres tends to constrict my ability to do anything else — such as compile round-ups like this one.

Full disclosure: I’ve made resolutions like this one before, and couldn’t stick to them. Did I mention that we’ll have another premiere tomorrow? It’s really good!

Anyway, as you can see, this is a two-part round-up. I decided to collect some older arrivals in this first part, organized alphabetically. My colleague DGR suggested all of them for a newsy post that would have been timely if I’d been able to get it done when he made the suggestions. Maybe some of these will still be news to a few of you despite the delay. They also involve higher profile bands; I’ve got some lesser-known groups for Part 2. Continue reading »

Feb 052018
 

 

(DGR compiled a round-up of new music to launch our Monday at NCS, an eight-song collection that we’ve divided into two parts, with Part Two slated to come very quickly after this first installment.)

 

I’m not going to lie to you all, I’ve been pretty distracted around the NCS office as of late. Usually I’ve unleashed a handful of ridiculous-length reviews by this point, but so far the beginning of 2018 has had your buddy here firmly ensconced in the news trenches, freeing up some of the other folks around here to fully dive into the deep and murky waters of all things underground and unlistenable.

It doesn’t help that I’ve also had tabs open alongside the news haul consisting of album streams from Dagon’s victorious return on Back To The Sea, Bloodshot Dawn’s surprisingly tech-death oriented ReanimationAfgrund’s mean and urgently-now The Dystopian, and even the occasional leap back into 2017 with Ireland’s Weed Priest and their stoner doom throwback; all of which are seeing constant listens and hopefully time to deep-dive in the near future. Shit, there is even a new Apophys disc entitled Devoratis that we covered very briefly but need to dive back into.

Of course, now that all of that has been written down, the news flood will get worse and I’ll get something done just in time to watch the moon finally escape Earth’s gravity and go sailing off into space as we’re devoured by the Sun’s outer layers as it goes red giant.

But enough jokes about things that seem preferable to going outside and facing the world. Let’s get on with the music. Continue reading »

Jan 292018
 

 

(DGR presents the following round-up of new music.)

 

My last appearance with a news roundup was, admittedly, a little ridiculous. I will say, however, that I was not initially aware it had gotten so huge as I just kept adding things that I had noticed we had missed in my vain effort to cover everything I thought the NCS crowd might be interested in.

The nice thing about that method, though, is that the act of doing so with such a large dragnet, combined with the massive three-part Shades Of Black post that went up shortly after, means that we’re able to keep this roundup small, covering just three groups that barely missed the bus when those posts went up. One in particular was released right after the post that was perfect for it went up.

So, we return once again to do a little globe-trotting, skirting around the edges of heavy metal and talking about three more newly released songs that have popped up over the past week and a half. Continue reading »