Apr 052019
 

 

NCS isn’t really a “metal news” site, unlike some places that dutifully copy-paste press releases every day, with announcements of new tours, forthcoming releases, line-up changes, etc. About as close as we come are the SEEN AND HEARD posts, but those are devoted almost entirely to streams of new songs and videos, and commentary about them. If the recommended tracks happen to come from records that are on the horizon, we’ll include that info. In other words, the music is the main thing. Trying to keep up with every day’s newsy announcements is just too daunting a task, given the limited time that the NCS slaves have to devote to their slavery.

But here we have both an announcement and new music, which are connected. Normally I would have included both in a SEEN AND HEARD post, but my fucking day job has been slamming me hard this week, and I haven’t had time for one of those round-ups. But I do have just enough time for this before turning to today’s premieres. It concerns both a new EP by the U.S. black/death band Suffering Hour and a U.S. East Coast tour that begins tomorrow, which combines the talents of Suffering Hour and the Icelandic black metal band Sinmara. As you probably know if you’re a regular NCS visitor, both bands are favorites of our putrid site. Continue reading »

Mar 042019
 

 

(On this day, when Icelandic Sinmara have revealed a full stream of their new album in advance of its March 8 release by Ván Records, we present Andy Synn‘s review of the record, along with that stream of all the music.)

For such a (relatively) small, but (undeniably) influential, scene, Icelandic Black Metal seems to already have more than its fair share of disciples and detractors, elitists and evangelists, all ready and willing to monopolise any conversation about the various merits of the bands involved with self-righteous, navel-gazing discussions about who is “true”, who is “false”, and who deserves to be praised or punished for conforming to/transgressing against the unspoken rules of what is, or isn’t, acceptable in Black Metal.

Which is one reason why it’s going to be ever so interesting reading, and hearing, the reactions to Sinmara’s highly-anticipated and long-awaited second album. Continue reading »

Jan 242019
 

 

I’m not going to pretend that this selection of five new songs is well-rounded, or that it’s going to appeal to a broad range of tastes. To borrow a pungent phrase from my friend Andy’s Altarage review yesterday, some of it probably qualifies as war crimes under the Geneva Convention. The most deviant extremists among you will probably lap up all of it; others may pick and choose, or just run for the hills.

If you’re in the mood to get your neck wrecked and don’t care how filthy you have to get, or how mentally traumatized, you’ll probably be fine. Probably.

SINMARA

If there’s a pinnacle in this post, before the descent into increasingly horrifying, visceral, and viscera-strewn trauma, it’s this new song by Sinmara, who are certainly one of the brightest beacons in the rich star-field of Icelandic black metal. However, to be clear, this isn’t easy listening, even for those whose brains have been thoroughly marinated in the poisonous broth of metallic hostility. Continue reading »

Jan 022019
 

 

(On the 21st of December, the Andkristni 2018 festival took place at the Gaukurinn venue in Reykjavik, Iceland, and our Norwegian friend eiterorm made the trip west for it. He was kind enough to share with us the following report, photos, and music streams.)

A few weeks back I saw an online poster for Andkristni 2018, and took notice of the eminent lineup for this one-day festival, with several bands I had never seen live before. A little later, the event came up in a conversation with a friend, and we were both curious about what it would be like to see these bands live. It was then that I thought: “Hey, I have a day of vacation left. I should go to Reykjavík.” And just like that, the decision was made.

Now, I’ve never written a show report before, and I rarely ever read them myself, because they simply don’t interest me. When I mentioned to Islander that I was going to attend Andkristni 2018, however, he asked me if I wanted to write a report for the blog, preferably with some photos from the night. I declined the idea of doing a publishable report, but offered to make a personal summary for him instead. Then several other friends made similar requests, and now look what happened – I ended up writing a full report anyway. (Unfortunately, the photos in the report are mediocre at best, but I didn’t want to experience the concerts through my phone screen and therefore spent little time taking photos.) Continue reading »

Mar 082018
 

 

The third and final edition of Oration Festival began last night in Reykjavik, Iceland. The first night of the festival featured performances (in this order) by NYIÞ, Naðra, Auðn, Asagraum, Sinmara, and Aluk Todolo. A big group of friends and I made it to the venue just as NYIÞ was beginning, and I stayed through Sinmara’s extraordinary set but was too drained of energy by that point to hang in there for Aluk Todolo.

So, what you’ll find below are thoughts about all the performances except the last one, accompanied by three videos that I made from the side of the stage and an assortment of photos. The dark, blurry, amateurish photos are mine; the really good professional quality ones are by our Seattle pal Tanner Ellison. Continue reading »

Jul 232017
 

 

Listeners who have closely followed Iceland’s burgeoning black metal scene over the last decade know that there has been considerable cross-pollinization among bands in the vanguard of that surging movement. Sinmara is perhaps the best example, with a line-up that includes members of such other groups as Svartidauði, Slidhr, Wormlust, and Almyrkvi. Their 2014 debut album Aphotic Womb (which we had the privilege of premiering) was a gripping display of what such a creative collaboration could produce. Since then, Sinmara have released only one other song, “Ivory Stone”, which appeared on their split with Misþyrming early this year (reviewed here). But Sinmara now return with a new EP, and once again we’re fortunate to host its premiere.

The new EP, consisting of three interconnected songs, is named Within the Weaves of Infinity. It will be released on August 24th by Terratur Possessions on vinyl and CD and by Oration on cassette tape. However, as of today it’s available digitally via Bandcamp. We have the full stream below, along with some impressions of the music and news of a forthcoming Sinmara tour. Continue reading »

Jun 112017
 

 

It’s been three weeks since the last time I compiled music for a Shades of Black post, mainly because I was away from home the last three weekends. To somewhat make up for lost time, I’ve picked recommended new music in a blackened vein from more than a dozen bands and have divided the collection into two parts. Not sure if I’ll get Part 2 posted today or Monday, but most likely the latter.

GRAVEIR / MAR MORTUUM

I decided to start this post with a new split release by the Australian bands Graveir (Brisbane) and Mar Mortuum (Melbourne) so I would have another excuse to prominently feature Jef Whitehead’s artwork for it (I already posted it on our Facebook page yesterday). The music is also very good. Continue reading »

Jan 292017
 

 

I have a large collection of recent releases or advance tracks to recommend, all of them within the ever-widening spectrum of black metal or reflecting to varying degrees the influence of black metal. I’ve divided the collection into two parts. I haven’t written the second one yet, so I’m not sure if I’ll be posting it today or on Monday.

MISÞYRMING

Formed in Reykjavík back in 2013, Misþyrming (Icelandic for “abuse” or “mistreatment“) was originally the solo project of multi-instrumentalist D.G., but eventually expanded into a full band as a result of D.G.’s desire to perform Misþyrming’s music in a live setting. The band shares members with Naðra and Carpe Noctem, and D.G. is also a member of Martröð and Skáphe. Continue reading »

Jan 202016
 

Almyrkvi

 

Almyrkvi ­is the name of a new Icelandic black metal project — the solo work of musician Garðar S Jónsson, who is also a member of the great Icelandic band Sinmara. The debut EP of this new project is entitled Pupil Of The Searing Maelstrom and it will be released in February on CD and 12″ vinyl by Ván Records. Today we bring you the premiere of a song from the EP named “Shrouded In Blinding Light“.

Despite its relatively small population, Iceland is already home to many excellent black metal bands, and this song proves that we must now add one more to that already impressive list. In Icelandic, “Almyrkvi” refers to a solar eclipse, but can also be understood as referring to utter darkness.  The title of “Shrouded In Blinding Light” might seem to foreshadow a divergence from the concept embodied in Almyrkvi’s name, and it is indeed a multi-textured song, one that seems to hint at shining alien vistas lying in wait beyond the crushing darkness of a black hole. Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 

 

Yes, that’s right, in case you missed yesterday’s announcement I’ve resumed the roll-out of our list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs — a scant five months (ugh) after the last installment in the series. If perchance you don’t know what this list is about, you can find an explanation here.

To get this thing started again, I decided to jump into the turbid and turbulent end of a very black pool. Apologies in advance if I happen to kick you in the teeth on the way in.

SINMARA

I’m re-launching this series with songs by two Icelandic bands, the first of which is Sinmara, whose ranks include members from other personal favorites like SvartidauðiWormlust, and Slidhr. The song is “Verminous” and it comes from the band’s 2014 album Aphotic Womb, released last year by Terratur Possessions. Continue reading »