Nov 082022

As of today listeners now have two tracks to hear from The Secrecy, a striking debut album from the black metal solo project Skála, which is set for a December 9 release on cassette tape (and digitally) by the Eternal Death label.

Why is it striking? Well, as these two songs demonstrate, the music deftly straddles many dividing lines, and frequently does so simultaneously — between abrading harshness and ringing clarity, between mourning and madness, between extreme distress and hopeless dejection, between a yearning for something vital that is vanishing and visions of fading grandeur.

In doing all this the songs are often unsettling to hear, but it’s easy to lose yourself in them, and they’re damned hard to get out of your head. What inspired them? We have this partial answer in the promotional materials: Continue reading »

Oct 162022

Have you had your daily dose of whining and excuse-making? If not, I can remedy that, free of charge.

I went to a baseball playoff game in Seattle last night, except it unexpectedly turned into two games in one, lasting 18 innings. Arriving at the ballpark at 11:30 a.m., my spouse and I left at 7:30 p.m., hungry and tired and not feeling great about the 1-0 loss our team ultimately suffered. So we stayed in Seattle to eat and drink, and after a dreary ferry trip we didn’t make it back to the NCS island HQ until late.

This morning, which started late, I spent a lot more time going through about 400 previously un-read e-mails lodged in the NCS in-box than I did listening to anything. But although the day is now rapidly getting away from me, and my day job is now intruding, I wanted to do something so I wouldn’t pass through yet another Sunday with no Shades of Black. It’s not a lot, obviously, and I made the choices hurriedly (before getting immersed in historical research), but I think you’ll still be well-pleased, even if not thoroughly sated. Continue reading »