Jan 092016

Sarpanitum-Blessed Be My Brothers


Welcome to Part 12 of our continuing list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. To see the other songs I’ve named to the list so far, click this link.

The albums that were the source of today’s two additions were death metal favorites among readers of our site, and I’m a fan of both of them as well. I decided to group them together because one or both of them seemed to appear just about everywhere I looked in perusing year-end lists at other sites and print zines, and because both bands come from the UK and have names that end in TUM.


I wondered whether Sarpanitum’s new album Blessed Be My Brothers would be remembered on year-end lists, given that the album was released way back in February. As noted above, that proved to be a needless concern: the album seems to have appeared everywhere, even on the YE lists of those “big platform” sites whose lists I half-jokingly include in our LISTMANIA series. In this case, all the accolades have been well-deserved — it’s a fantastic album. Continue reading »

Mar 162015


(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the month just ended.)

Here we go for round two of Essential Entries. You guessed it – we’re covering February this time. Yeah, yeah, suspense isn’t this guy’s strong point.

January gave us genius like Desolate Shrine and Agos, which is just what was needed to start things off right. How does February measure up? To quote one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time, “Great Scott!” If you don’t get that, I bestow upon you great shame. But yeah, February did bring the noise (no Public Enemy included). Here’s the proof, in no particular order.

A Forest of StarsBeware the Sword You Cannot See

Self-described as a secret society from Victorian-era 1895, A Forest of Stars compose music that’s as intricate and unique as their theming. Black metal with a lot of psychedelic elements is the most basic description, but really, their music is so much more. It’s a continuing story, and their latest chapter is awe-inspiring. Invest the time, as there’s a lot of layers, with the payoff being oh so worth it. Continue reading »

Feb 182015


(Here we have Austin Weber’s review of the new album by Sarpanitum, from the UK and Japan.)

I often follow new or lesser-known metal bands after hearing flashes of brilliance that hint at possible future growth and evolution. This is exactly the reason I began following Sarpanitum after hearing their 2011 EP Fidelium. It was an interesting effort, but now they’ve moved from hinting at brilliance in spots to displaying brilliance in spades on their second full-length, Blessed Be My Brothers.

If you want a sonic snapshot of what Sarpanitum seem to execute, song after song with ease, imagine a merger between Hate Eternal and Nile that then gets a heavy melodic boost and focus, while surrounded by blackened infusions and enhanced by atmosphere-building moments that add a dual epic/triumphant feel to Blessed Be My Brothers. Continue reading »

Feb 092015


I’m so glad to be back home after three weeks in the bush, by which I mean Delaware. Finally, to sleep in my own bed, in which I woke up once an hour beginning about 2 a.m. and whined, because the time zone change is fuckin’ with me.  In other words, I slept like a baby. But it really is good to be home — although it appears I’m going to have to do this extended travel thing all over again in three weeks, which blows. But I’ll bitch about that more thoroughly when the time comes. For now, let’s discuss happier subjects….


This first item of news really cheered me right up — the marriage between one of my own most fervently anticipated releases of 2015 and one of my favorite artists. As you can see above (and click that image to enlarge it), maestro Paolo Girardi has created the painted cover art for the new album by Seattle’s Bell WitchFour Phantoms. It is beautiful, and I have no doubt that Four Phantoms will also be beautiful, in the way that the pale, cold skin of a bewitching corpse is beautiful. Continue reading »