Sep 272017


The first press release I saw for the debut album of Australia’s Runespell concluded by describing it as a “mesmerizing maelstrom of alternately grim/gorgeous frequencies”, presenting “flickering refractions of times distant and as yet lived, black metal wielded as weapon, totem, and portal simultaneously”. All those sentiments I’ve quoted are accurate, but the one that rang most true is the characterization of the music as a portal into the past.

In one sense that rings true because the music links arms with the venerated traditions of Scandinavian second-wave black metal, but it’s also true in another sense: The music has a mythic atmosphere, one that casts the mind’s eye back into distant centuries, to times (whether imagined or real) that have spawned sagas of warlike defiance and sacrifice, of bloodshed and bereavement, of heroic striving and irredeemable loss. To make your way through this vividly imagined and beautifully rendered album is to become moved, and enthralled.

And we will now give you a chance to make your own way through the album as we premiere a full stream of Unhallowed Blood Oath in advance of its September 29 release by Iron Bonehead Productions. Continue reading »

Jul 302017


I picked advance tracks from three forthcoming albums and two recent EPs for this edition of SHADES OF BLACK and arranged the streams in a way that made sense to me. I had to cut out a few other streams due to the inconvenient encroachment of the rest of my life, so you’ll probably see another one of these collections tomorrow.


In 2015 Grift released a video for a song from the Syner album named “Svältorna“, a song that I included in our list of that year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. It was made by Daniel Blomberg and Grift’s Erik Gärdefors near a small mountain named Kinnekulle in the southwestern Swedish province of Västergötland, and it featured Gärdefors‘ father Dag Gärdefors, whose face alone tells a thousand stories.

Now the same trio have collaborated again (along with Simon Blomberg) on a video for a new Grift song — “Den stora tystnaden”” (“The Great Silence”) — which “follows the red thread” from the video for “Svältorna”. Continue reading »