Feb 282022


In normal times I would have posted this column yesterday, but I decided to devote yesterday to playlists of Ukrainian metal, which I hope you’ll explore (here and here) if you haven’t yet.

For this week’s black metal column I picked a variety of new songs and videos from among what I listened to in recent days, plus one big curveball of an album at the end that’s more than 18 months old.

THE SPIRIT (Germany)

To launch the column I picked the second single (with a video) to be released from this German band’s new album, Of Clarity and Galactic Structures. The new one, “Celestial Fire“, was preceded by the title track, which I’ve already written about here. True to its name, the new song blazes. Continue reading »

Feb 272017


(Wil Cifer wrote this review of the long-awaited new album by Norway’s Slagmaur.)

This band from Norway have found their own dark path to stomp down with a grandiosity that elevates them over many of their peers.

They often find themselves chugging into more death-metal-like waters while holding the guitar textures with enough darkness to earn them the label of blackened death metal. At the end of the day, sub-genres be damned, it’s clear these songs are crafted with the understanding that no matter how heavy you are, the songs have to come first. Continue reading »

Jan 262017


The gestation of Thill Smitts Terror continues, but now we have a birth date: On March 30, 2017, Osmose Productions will release this new album conceived by the twisted imaginations within Slagmaur. We have for you today streams of three songs to disturb your peace of mind.

Thill Smitts Terror is the third album by these masked Norwegians, separated from its next-oldest sibling Von Rov Shelter by roughly six and a half years. Almost three years have now passed since I first began writing about the album. My intrigue began in the summer of 2014, when I came across pre-production versions of two songs, “The Drummer of Tedworth” and “Werewolf”, and promptly wrote about them. Two years after that, versions of two more songs appeared — “Kom Igjen Norge” and “Bestemor Sang Djevelord” — and I wrote about them, too.

Those tracks have disappeared from the place where they were once available for streaming, and what we have now are the finished album versions of three of those four tracks — “Drummer of Tedworth“, “Werewolf“, and “Bestemor Sang Djevelord“. Continue reading »

Jun 152016

Opeth 2016-photo by Stuart Wood
Photo by Stuart Wood

This is Part 2 of a round-up of newly discovered things that I began earlier today (here). As expected, between posting Part 1 and getting ready to post Part 2, I spied more developments that happened this morning and have added them (the first two items are in that category, as is the last).

I nearly didn’t add the first two news items because I thought that, by now, everyone who had any interest in the bands — Opeth and Insomnium — would have learned about the news already. Those names are so big that there was probably even a news flash in The Wall Street Journal. And then I thought that adding the announcements might help ease the day for those people who are afraid that metal will run out of things to argue about before the year ends. To them I say, don’t worry, Opeth and Insomnium are releasing new albums.


Yes, Opeth will be releasing a new album late this year (named Sorceress) on a new label, Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Actually, it seems to be a partnership between Nuclear Blast and Opeth’s own imprint, Moderbolaget Records, which I believe is Swedish for “your arguing sounds like a motorboat”.

The press release we received characterized Opeth as “always an unstoppable force for uniqueness amid a sea of generic swill”. Beyond that, it provided no real clues about the musical direction of the new album or how it will distinguish itself from all the generic swill with which the rest of us are forced to feed ourselves in between Opeth releases. Continue reading »

Jul 082014

This is a collection of news and new music I discovered last night and this morning. When I use the “Shades of Black” title, it doesn’t always mean that everything in the post will be black metal, but it does today. On the other hand, most of the music in this post isn’t likely to conform to any preconceptions that most casual listeners may have about the sound of black metal. If one were to construct a bell curve of the genre, almost everything in here would be out on the edges.


Austria’s Abigor have finished recording their tenth studio album, entitled Leitmotif Luzifer — The 7 Temptations of Man. It will be released by Avantgarde Music on July 11. Despite Abigor’s long history, I’ve never listened to any of their previous releases from start to finish, and I’m not even certain I’ve ever listened to any individual songs. So this new album will be my first proper introduction to the band — and from what I’ve heard so far, it will be a very happy meeting.

Abigor have created a Bandcamp page on which they’ve uploaded two different teaser tracks, each of which contains excerpts from songs on the new album. They emphasize on that page that “no synthetic elements have been used” in the recording of the album — “the guitars are completely free of any effects, neither reverb nor any special effects edit were allowed to touch the string instruments on this album”, and “for vocals only reverb and delay has been used, no pitch or chorus or any other effect stained the purity and directness”.

The teaser clips collectively include nearly 18 minutes of music, though no complete songs. To say the least, the music displayed by these teasers is esoteric and eccentric, but it’s also fascinating and rich in its diversity. Continue reading »