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 »

Apr 072015
 

Svartidauði

 (Andy Synn took in the sights and sounds of the Inferno Festival on April 1-4, 2015, in Oslo, Norway, and this is the first of a multi-part report about his experience. Andy took the photos as well.)

Once again last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend Inferno Festival in Oslo, which this year is celebrating its 15th Anniversary, with a frankly flabbergasting line-up of bands that could almost have been hand-picked for yours truly, including some of my absolute favourites as well as a number of bands I’ve been dying to see live.

For those of you who are unaware, the Wednesday night always serves as a pre-festival “Club Night” and kick-off party, with a variety of different bands playing at different locations scattered around in relatively close proximity to the main venue. With the right pass (which, thankfully, included my fancy pink “Press” wristband) you can wander freely between the different places, picking and choosing what artists you want to see.

I decided (for reasons which will become clear) to focus my activities around the new Vulkan arena, and particularly the smaller Pokalen bar down in the lower level… Continue reading »

Oct 212014
 

I really, really, really want to go to Eistnaflug, and not simply because I can then say I’ve been to a festival named “flying testicles”. I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a long time, and I’m wanting to visit even more now that the festival organizers have announced the three newest additions to the line-up:

Behemoth
Kontinuum
Sinmara

This brings the number of confirmed bands to 15, and the lineup just keeps getting better and better. Continue reading »

Aug 282014
 

 

Right about now, as this article is being posted on our site, Iceland’s Sinmara will be revealing the contents of their new album Aphotic Womb at an official listening party at the Beyond the Gates festival in Bergen, Norway, where the band will also be performing live tonight along with an impressive list of other extreme metal bands. But even if you’re unable to teleport yourself to Garage Bergen to hear the album, we’re hosting our own listening party right here through our U.S. premiere of Aphotic Womb.

Sinmara (formerly known as Chao) now includes members of other impressive Icelandic bands — WormlustSvartidauði, and Rebirth of Nefast — and I’ve written enthusiastically about each of the songs from the album that have premiered to date:

The squalling dissonance of the riffs, the extremely creative drum rhythms, the extraterrestrial atmosphere of the melody, the sheer vehemence of the acid-spray vocals — all of that combines to make “Verminous” a song that’s both utterly unnerving and utterly riveting. And the album’s title track is an otherworldly flowering of poisonous thorns, shrouded in a miasma of tremolo chords, serpentine leads, thrumming bass notes, and fantastic drum work that you can feel in your spine. Continue reading »

Jul 092014
 

For your entertainment and edification I bring you a small group of news items and new music that I enjoyed over the last 24 hours. All of them involve especially enticing pieces of album art that you may view as larger images by clicking on them.

DECAPITATED

Thanks to a tip from my friend Vonlughlio, I just saw the news that the sixth album by Poland’s Decapitated will be released by Nuclear Blast and Mystic Production (Poland) on September 26, 2014. It was recorded, as usual, at Hertz Studio in Białystok, Poland, by the Wiesławski brothers. The album cover was created by Polish artist Lukasz Jaszak, who also made the cover of the band’s last album, Carnival Is Forever.

This announcement was accompanied by a statement from Vogg (Waclaw Kieltyka) that the new music is “totally crushing and huge” and that Blood Mantra is “the most heavy and mature album” the band have ever recorded.

Such statements must always be taken with a grain of salt, but even if the album is only “about the same level of crushing and huge” as what Decapitated have delivered in the past, sign me the fuck up.

https://www.facebook.com/decapitated Continue reading »