Oct 242021


As promised, this is Part 2 of the column I began here earlier today. It includes reviews and streams of two recently released albums, a track from a forthcoming debut full-length, and a very promising two-song demo.


In the summer of this year I premiered a song and video for this next album of atmospheric black metal (which is self-titled though it’s the band’s third full-length). Sometimes that’s the best I can do to help spread the word about a new release, but for this one I felt I should do something more.

At eight tracks and an hour of total music, Sol Sistere provides a lot to take in. More than merely the accumulated length, the music itself provides a wide-ranging experience. At their heights of intensity, the songs deliver jaw-dropping panoramas of sweeping, soaring, incendiary magnificence, with an emotional impact equal to the colossal sonic impact. The moods are often wrenching, manifesting anguish in shattering ways (the vocals alone are relentlessly shattering). Even when the breathtaking typhoons of sound soften, sorrow usually reigns. Continue reading »

Jul 292021


Today we’re sharing the premiere of a lyric video for “Nothofagus“, a new song from the eagerly awaited third album by the Chilean atmospheric black metal band Sol Sistere. The album, which shares the band’s name, will be released on October 15th by the Cult of Parthenope label.

As you will discover, the music is stunning, though this should come as no surprise to those who have already experienced the band’s past works. It was inspired, the group tell us, by “the unique connection with nature that is generated in the ancestral forests of austral Patagonia”. The song describes, as they say, “the constant exploration of consciousness in the context of life among these primeval forests. It is also an ode to the millenary trees of the southernmost part of the planet that preceded us and will most likely outlive us”. Continue reading »

May 042019


I did listen to these songs on a Saturday, but it wasn’t this Saturday. It was a week ago while I was in Houston, but for reasons I explained last weekend I didn’t have either the time or a clear enough head to write anything. And then, as forecast, my day job prevented me from doing anything more than write premieres last week.

So here we are, 10 days since the last round-up of new music I posted. Do I try to catch up with all the new stuff that’s come out over the last week, or just go with what I would have done last weekend if I’d had the time? I decided on the latter plan, because it will probably take me the rest of the day just to figure out what I missed. Maybe some of what’s below will be new to you anyway.


There are some old favorites among the bands I chose for this round-up, beginning with the veteran Kansas City collective, Ares KingdomChuck Keller (guitar), Mike Miller (drums), and Alex Blume (bass, vocals). Their fourth album, By the Light of Their Destruction, will be released on May 15th (CD and vinyl) by Nuclear War Now! Productions, and the song below is a track named “Eighteen Degrees Beneath“. Continue reading »

Feb 102019

photo by Jørn Veberg


The conditions were correct for frostbitten music yesterday, when the Seattle area received more snow in 24 hours than it usually gets in a year. Granted, it was a laughably small amount by the standards of people who live in truly wintry climes (8 inches at the airport, and greater or lesser amounts around the area), but enough to paralyze the region and knock out the power (and internet service) in the forest where I live from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We’re obviously not really set up to deal with snow very well.

The absence of power and net access put a crimp in my usual Saturday surveying of new black metal; I spent more time feeding the wood-burning stove to stay warm. I did catch up a bit this morning, but also relied on listening I’d done during last week before the weather turned hostile. There’s enough here to justify dividing the group into two parts. But I’m kind of hurrying through the words since more snow is expected today, and I’ve got to make preparations.

Part 1 consists of advance tracks from three forthcoming albums. Part 2 is devoted to recent full releases.


The presence of Gaahl (Kristian Espedal) at the front of this formation will guarantee attention for their debut album, GastiR – Ghosts Invited. But for that recording he had some impressive talent around him, too — Ole Walaunet (The Batallion, God Seed, Grimfist), Frode Kilvik (Krakow, Aeternus), and Kevin Kvåle (Horizon Ablaze). Continue reading »

May 212016

Sol Sistere-Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum


Over the last week I’ve accumulated a long list of new advance tracks and recent releases that I’d like to recommend. As usual, it’s too much stuff for me to cover completely or in depth. What I’m planning to do is make two collections for this weekend, focusing on black (and blackened) metal, and then compile some additional releases for a Seen and Heard post on Monday. So here’s the first part of a two-part Shades of Black post; the second one will appear tomorrow.


Sol Sistere are a Chilean melodic/atmospheric black metal band composed of veteran members from other groups. Their debut album Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum (which follows a 2014 EP on the Pest Productions label) is set for CD release on June 6 by Hammerheart Records, but a digital version of the album has recently become available for download on the label’s Bandcamp page.

Hammerheart describes the music as a “combination of past elements such as Dissection, Vinterland and Dawn, completed by influences of today” — referring to such bands as Altar of Plagues, Drudkh, and Wodensthrone. These are all worthy reference points, and pretty accurate ones as well (though there’s also a noticeable post-metal ingredient in play as well). This album was intriguing on a first listen and my affections for it have only grown stronger with repeat spins. (The album cover by Misanthropic-Art is also fantastic.) Continue reading »