Oct 112018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the brilliant new album by the Finnish black metal band Sargeist, just released by W.T.C. Productions.)

Surprise releases seem to be all the rage these days and, wouldn’t you know it, Finnish Black Metal beasts Sargeist seem to have decided that they want a piece of that action too, so they dropped their long-awaited fifth album via the WTC Bandcamp page late last night.

So I thought that, much as I did with the new Behemoth album (a record whose overall status and impact I’m still pondering), it might be fun to address the release of Unbound with an extra degree of spontaneity by basing this write-up on my early impressions of the album, going track-by-track, now that I’ve had a few chances to listen to it in its entirety. Continue reading »

Apr 092015
 

 

(Andy Synn reports on the second day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos.  For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here, and his report on Day One is at this location.)

If there’s a better way to kick off another day at one of the world’s best metal festivals than by seeing Goatwhore, I’d like to hear it. Big riffs, big spikes, big attitude, the band positively ooze confidence and bleed metal, smashing through their set with almost reckless abandon.

Bassist James Harvey had a bit of a rough night, truth be told, early songs rendering his bass-lines as little more than a barely audible rumble, while snapping a string part way through the set forced the band to play a few songs without him entirely. Still, they persevered like the stalwart soldiers of Satan that they are, and on his eventual return Harvey’s lurching low-end was much more prominent. Continue reading »

Mar 052014
 

I’m headed for the airport again this morning, and then winging my way back to sunny Southern California for my day job, returning to sodden Seattle on Sunday. This will again restrict my blog time. Before leaving, I wanted to share a few recent discoveries.

THANTIFAXATH

This Toronto band, whose three members prefer to remain anonymous, released a self-titled EP in 2011, and now they have a debut full-length on the way. Entitled Sacred White Noise, it’s coming out on April 15th via Dark Descent. Not long ago the band premiered an advance track named “The Bright White Nothing At the End of the Tunnel”.  I’ve been meaning to check it out, and finally did so last night — and I’m in love.

There’s a writhing, dissonant guitar lead that begins almost immediately and then intermittently continues to whip and squirm its way throughout the rest of the song, and once heard it’s hard to forget. But that’s only part of the music’s attraction. The song also includes hammering percussion, scalding riffs, bestial black metal vocals, and a load of other strange but magnetic repeating motifs. Continue reading »

Mar 032014
 

This round-up of news and new music is skewed toward the especially dark, depraved, nihilistc end of the extreme metal spectrum, hence the name “Shades of Black”, even though only two of the bands march under the black metal banner.

LORD MANTIS

Once you’ve seen Jef Whitehead’s cover for the new album by Chicago’s Lord Mantis, you really don’t forget it. I splashed it across the top of our site when it became public about two weeks ago, though back then I hadn’t yet heard any of the music from Death Mask. Now I have, and man, it makes a scarring impression, too.

The song that premiered last Friday is the album’s searing opening track, “Body Choke”. Three things about it stand out. First, there’s the visceral pounding of the rhythm section, with Charlie Fell’s bass and Bill Bumgardner’s drumming interacting like men at work on a demolition project. Second, there are Fell’s vocals, which sound like a man drowning in sulfuric acid. And third, there are the doomed, devastating, degraded riffs; they create a choking, noxious atmosphere.

You will want to headbang. You may also want to open a vein. Continue reading »

Jan 022011
 

As of yesterday, we’d finished rolling out, in no particular order, the first 10 entries on our list of 2010’s most infectious extreme songs. (For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this.) So far, here’s what we’ve got:

Byfrost: “Desire”
Evocation: “Sweet Obsession”
Keep of Kalessin: “Dragon iconography”
Living Sacrifice: “Rules of Engagement”
Kataklysm: “Suicide River”
Kalmah: “Bullets Are Blind”
Finntroll: “Solsagan”
Eluveitie: “Thousandfold”
Coliseum: “Blind In One Eye”
Kvelertak: “Blodtørst”

Today, we’re starting on the next 10. Does that mean we’re stopping at 20? Not necessarily. We’re still futzing with our list. If we had to place a bet today, we’d bet the final list will be closer to 30. Just depends on whether our naturally lazy natures succeed in stopping us from trying to shave the list down to something shorter.

Today’s additions to the list begin to draw us into black-metal territory — but trust us, they’re damned infectious.  Stay with us after the jump as we roll out songs by Demonic Resurrection and Sargeist. Continue reading »

Dec 092010
 

What, did you think we would forget about black metal? No way. How could we put together a tribute to extreme metal from Finland and not (fearfully) bow our horned heads in obeisance to the music of the beast? We just needed a little time to summon up the courage before wading out into that smoking, seething, sulfurous pool that is Finnish black metal.

As regular readers know, we wouldn’t call ourselves black-metal experts. As fans of the genre, we’re relative latecomers, and we’re still discovering bands — not only new ones but also historical icons. But from what we’ve learned in our ongoing education, Finland has definitely made its mark. You know the mark we’re talking about (it begins with a 6 and ends in a 6 and, uh, it has a 6 in the middle).

Today, we’re featuring three long-running bands who seem to be among the best known within kvlt circles (Horna, Beherit, and Impaled Nazarene :)) — even we had heard of them before and even knew some of their music — plus another (Sargeist) who may not be quite so well-known but are very capable of impaling your head on a musical spike. And in a last-minute update, we’ve just got to say something about Behexen.

Once again, we’re indebted to our commenters for their suggestions, and particularly to Johan Huldtgren (Obitus) for bringing Sargeist (and Behexen) to our attention. We know Johan is really waiting for the humppa music, but he’s gonna have to wait a bit longer. Patience, bro. For now, dear unclean readers, inscribe a pentagram on your forehead with fetus blood and listen to what we’ve dug out of the maggot-ridden crypt — it’s quite a varied spectrum of what Finnish black metal has to offer, and the music is awesome.   (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »