Jul 302019
 

 

My usual mission, and it’s usually an obvious one, is to compile these round-ups of new music in a way that presents diversity. When I make my own playlists of music, I prefer to have one track vary (stylistically) from the next to the next to the next. And that’s in the back of my head when I make these SEEN AND HEARD collections; I think of them as playlists of what I would like to listen to, with the added benefit that because the sounds vary, even listeners who have very pronounced preferences might find at least one thing that grabs them, even if they don’t like everything else.

Having said that, what I’ve collected today is particularly all over the place. It starts within the red zone of insanity, and winds up there again, and there are some other zones of insanity in between, zones of very different colors. I don’t expect all of you to like all of this. If you did… well… you would be me, and wouldn’t that be weird? (Obviously, I’ve divided the collection into two Parts, with the second to arrive later today.)

SAMMATH

On this day (July 30) the Dutch black metal band Sammath celebrate their 25th birthday, and they have done that by releasing a stream of the first song from their new album, Across The Rhine Is Only Death, via a DECIBEL premiere. As the name suggests, and as the band explain, the album is “a true tale of death and destruction”, conceptually focused on the final months of World War II when Germany desperately tried to hold the Rhine as its western border. Far from a celebration of war, it represents an effort to summon the horrific annihilation that humanity is capable of inflicting on itself — and this new song is utterly annihilating in its own right. Continue reading »

Mar 312019
 

 

I had decided to limit this week’s column to advance tracks from forthcoming albums, but then couldn’t resist adding a single-song EP that was released on Friday (by that band in the post title with the mile-long name). I’m hoping to do another SHADES OF BLACK round-up devoted to highlighting a few recent albums, but since it’s only an idea right now, I’m not going to call this post Part 1; Part 2 may remain only an idea, depending on how the next 24-48 hours go.

Obviously, I really like everything you’ll find in this collection. Some of the music is so scorching it might leave you with third-degree burns. Other tracks are more atmospheric. And I think you’ll be surprised by some of what you find here as well. So please do give everything a chance.

THIS GIFT IS A CURSE

On their last album, All Hail the Swinelord (2015), This Gift Is A Curse made music that ruthlessly takes you apart and sends what’s left of your mind into a very dark place. It was stupefyingly heavy, implacably savage, and frighteningly eerie. We premiered one song from the album and a video for another song, but I failed to review the whole thing. I’ll have a second chance to do right by this Stockholm band, because they now have another album on the horizon. Continue reading »

May 202018
 

 

Black metal isn’t a two-sided coin — it’s more like a tetraplex. Yet I’m still thinking of the music in Part 2 of today’s SOB column as the other side of the coin from what was in Part 1. The music there was more cerebral, more emotionally complex, often more spiritual and atmospheric… and what’s here is more visceral, more violent, more inclined to take no prisoners. Or at least that’s how I think of the distinctions at a very high level.

I happen to like both “sides” of this “coin”; some may prefer one side to the other. Some, in fact, may recoil as the following selections apply a blowtorch to your eardrums.

BLASPHAMAGOATCHRIST

If you were members of Blasphemy, Goatpenis, and Antichrist, and you decided to join forces, what would you call your collective endeavor? Well, duh, you’d call it Blasphamagoatachrist! I mean, Phemypenisanti was probably already taken. Continue reading »

Dec 272017
 

 

I’m three days late with this week’s edition of SHADES OF BLACK, and still woefully behind in sharing new music in a blackened vein that I’ve discovered over the last month. I’m bound and determined to do at least one more of these features before 2017 is interred in a moldy grave, as long as I’m sufficiently unbound by other distractions.

This particular collection includes one complete new album, advance tracks from two more, some new live videos, and a new single.

EUCLIDEAN

To begin this selection of music, I want to strongly recommend Quod Erat Faciendum, the debut album of the Swiss band Euclidean, which was released on December 21 and came strongly recommended to me by starkweather and by Miloš. Continue reading »

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.

KRALLICE

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 »