May 282021


I continue to write about this Norwegian hardcore punk band (I’m calling them that here, though as you’ll learn, that’s an overly simplistic genre label) despite the fact that their music just hovers on the edges of what we usually cover here. Why is that?

I suppose part of the attraction is that I was into punk long before I was into metal, and even though (thanks to this blog) extreme metal has almost entirely supplanted punk in my listening, it’s still capable of striking a chord. But that’s not the whole story of why Shevils have grabbed me again, this time with their new album Miracle of the Sun — their best work yet and a marked evolution in their sound.

Though it would probably go too far to call Shevils a “metallic hardcore band”, the punch in their music still has heft behind it, enough to raise welts. And the songs also carry a dark intensity, an emotional fabric woven in multi-faceted ways, and that’s one of the key qualities that also draws me to metal.

Moreover, the songs are so full of hooks they would leave a fisherman envious and greedy. Continue reading »

Jan 302021


I picked a half-dozen songs for today’s round-up, most of which I paid attention to based on friends’ recommendations. It was easy to do that because I was already a fan of every group included here. If you don’t immediately recognize all the names, I’ll forewarn you that there’s a lot of whiplash in this playlist, which is to say that the music diverges sharply from song to song. On the other hand, the variety increases the odds that you’ll find something to like.


I was so excited to find out that Aetherian would be releasing a new song and video yesterday. For a band that only have one EP and one album to their credit since the release of their first single in 2014 we’ve written about them literally a dozen times, including reviews of that EP and album. They earned all that attention because their brand of melodic death metal is so very good. Their melodies (which tend to lean on the melancholy side of things) are beautifully crafted and moving; when they charge hard, they’ll give your pulse rate a swift kick in the ass; and they always seem to have a few surprises up their sleeves as well. Continue reading »

Nov 172015

Shevils-The White Sea


As those of you who follow us regularly probably know, I have a soft spot for Norway’s Shevils, despite the fact that their music is different from the extreme metal onslaughts that have become the (nearly) non-stop soundtrack for my life. And the appeal of the music isn’t something I can describe simply, because the music itself isn’t as simple as it may sometimes seem on the surface. There’s a dichotomy at work, a division among (and sometimes within) the songs, and it has never been more pronounced than in their new album The White Sea.

The album cover (created by Chris Faccone) is populated by fantastical cartoon characters, seemingly at war with themselves somewhere far beyond our solar system. It’s light-hearted and crazy, frenzied and frenetic. And there’s more than a little of that high-energy, off-the-wall sense of aggressive fun in The White Sea. But there’s another side to the album as well, one that shows the band growing and exploring new territories, creating more complex and dissonant sonic landscapes that resonate with a sense of menace and even despair. Continue reading »

Oct 032015



This is a good news, bad news story. The good news is that while I was driving home last night after seeing Bell Witch and Lycus perform in Seattle, I had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful vista in the sky above me, so beautiful that I had to pull over and take this photo with my phone. The bad news is that it was 2:30 a.m. when it happened.

Just in case it’s not clear, that’s waaaaay past my fucking bedtime. So I slept in this morning, and now I’m late getting together a post for this Saturday. I’m also a bit foggy in the head, but not so foggy that I can’t recognize a good song when I hear one. And I’ve actually got three good new songs in this post that I heard this morning, plus one very cool new video — presented in the order in which I heard and saw them. Continue reading »

Sep 082014

I thought I’d pass along a few more recently discovered items before calling it quits for the day. Obviously, I think everything in here is worth your time.


I’m about as peace-loving a soul as you could ever meet, yet much of the music I enjoy is violent. Maybe listening to violent music helps me keep cool most of the rest of the time. But I really don’t listen to violent music for therapeutic purposes — I listen to it because I get off on the power and the energy.

Violence in metal takes many forms. Fistula’s new album Vermin Prolificus (released by To Live A Lie Records) is the kind that just wants to beat you senseless with grotesque sludgy riffs and tear your throat out with raw, shrieking vocal extremity. Continue reading »

Nov 302013

Shevils‘ latest album Lost In Tartarus deftly straddles the line between hardcore abrasiveness and pop-punk hookiness. It delivers 10 mostly short songs that are all irresistibly catchy but backed by enough split-lipped, heavy-booted aggression to feed an appetite for destruction.

It’s almost all one high-energy, blood-pumping, head-nodding romp after another. Most of the tracks are built around punchy, start-stop riffs and compulsive rhythms that are driven home by conjoined bass-and-drum beats that will get your head bobbing. Some (like “Black Eyes” made me want to pogo — if I were young enough to do that without spraining an ankle) and others (like “Timelines”) made me want to bust up some furniture.

There’s a dark, menacing air to “These Walls Are Coming Down”. Corrosive and battering, it benefits from magnetic bass guitar work, which really shines throughout the album but plays a near-starring role on this track. “We Walk on Shattered Glass” ingeniously combines a big, strutting, hooky riff with a piercing, almost spacey guitar lead that comes and goes. Continue reading »

Sep 202013

I found a lot of new music and videos over the last 24 hours that I’d like to throw your way, like a tray of Molotov cocktails with the fuses lit. Really, too many to shoehorn into one “Seen and Heard” post, so we’ll have two. This is the first. As usual, I’ve tried to make up the musical styles so you don’t get too comfortable.


I think it’s safe to say that Kataklysm are back with a vengeance. Two songs from their new album have been released for listening so far, and both of them have reinvigorated my interest in this veteran band. The second one, “Like Animals”, began streaming yesterday and it is indeed a huge, fanged groove monster, the kind of song that compels movement from the top of your pointy heads all the way down to your misshapen feet, while landing some stout blows to your kidneys along the way. Merciless.

If you happened to miss the first song, “Kill the Elite”, you can catch that after the jump, too. Waiting For the End To Come will be released in North America on October 29 and on slightly earlier dates in the UK and Europe, via Nuclear Blast. Continue reading »

Mar 252013

Yesterday I devoted space to four under-the-radar bands with divergent styles of metal that I thought deserved more attention from fans of extreme music. Shining the spotlight on deserving but relatively unheralded bands has consistently been one of this site’s objectives, but my recent day-job death march put me way behind in doing it. So I’m doing it again today, with four more bands unearthed from the underground who have recently released new music. Once again, their musical styles are all over the map.


Shevils are based in Oslo, Norway. They released their debut EP last year under the title Necropolis, and earlier this month they premiered a new song named “We Walk On Shattered Glass”, which will appear on an upcoming album that’s projected for release in the fall of 2013. I took a chance on the song, not knowing anything about the band, and it kicked my ass right up between my shoulder blades. This has made it difficult to sit down, but I’m not complaining.

The new song delivers hardcore vehemence with musical flair, combining skull-pounding grooves, vein-bursting vocals, and a catchy melody that will get stuck in your head. Continue reading »