Apr 142021


Although there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to the musical parameters of Part 1 of today’s roundup, Part 2 is a little more coherent since it uniformly leans into black metal. However, to suggest that these four songs follow a consistent pattern would be wrong — each one sounds very different from the rest.


My first choice is “Φονικό Φως (Murderous Light)“, which surfaced as a digital single on Bandcamp yesterday. It was originally written for and released as part of Art Against Censorship, a compilation of 36 songs from Greek musicians to protest a law that was intended to target and silence radical political artists.

That comp was released in February of this year as a free download (here), and I managed to overlook it. It obviously includes a ton of music, and most of it is from bands whose names I don’t recognize, so one benefit of Spectral Lore‘s single will be to help draw attention to it. (I’m not surprised to see a Yovel song at the close of the comp.) Continue reading »

Mar 132020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the ambitious new double album created by Mare Cognitum (California) and Spectral Lore (Greece), which is being released today by I, Voidhanger Records and features cover art by Elijah Tamu.)

Call me a glutton for punishment, but not only is this the second double-album I’m reviewing this week, but it’s actually even longer than the first one!

What makes it different (very different, in fact) is that rather than being the product of just one band’s vision, Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine (and that’s the last time I’m going to be typing that in full) is a split-release from two artists, Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum, each of whom contributes a full album’s worth of blistering blackened riffage and eerie, extraterrestrial atmosphere.

But wait, there’s more! Not only is the album arranged very differently to a traditional split – instead of grouping the songs by band they’re arranged (mostly) in an alternating pattern, loosely following the order of the planets in our solar system – but the final two tracks are in fact the result of a collaborative effort designed to fuse the best parts of both artists into one collective whole.

Of course, the problem with shooting for the stars is that there’s a lot that can go wrong out there in the formless void… so the question is, have Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum found a way to boldly go where no band has gone before, or is this one giant leap too far? Continue reading »

Jan 082018


In an effort to catch up with new music that appeared last week (or in some cases that I only discovered last week), I’ve resorted to a two-part OVERFLOWING STREAMS post. And for those who haven’t noticed the format of these posts, they’re a form of personal surrender to the flood of new music. I enjoy writing thoughts about what I want to recommend, but in posts such as this one I just let the music speak for itself because there’s so much to recommend that I don’t have time to blurt out my own reactions.

In the first part of this post I decided to collect only new split releases that I’ve recently found. To be sure, these aren’t the only splits that I’ve discovered recently — some I intend to listen to but haven’t heard yet. These, I’ve at least listened to once and have had positive reactions, and perhaps you will too. The first one is really hot off the presses, since it just appeared over the weekend. Continue reading »

Jun 152017


The Greek band Spectral Lore, a long-time NCS favorite, is probably the best-known musical vehicle of its alter-ego Ayloss, but it’s not the only one. As those who are familiar with Spectral Lore’s releases already know, the musical interests of Ayloss and his methods of expressing them are wide-ranging, and another band named Divine Element is the method through which some of those diverse interests have been channeled. Divine Element’s first album appeared in 2010, and now a new one has finally arrived, bearing the title Thaurachs of Borsu. It’s the source of a song called “Beyond This Sea” that’s the subject of a lyric video we’re premiering today.

Despite the passage of seven years leading to the Divine Element comeback, Ayloss remains in harness with original vocalist Antonis on this new album, which was released last month by I, Voidhanger Records, but this time he has also enlisted the services of drummer extraordinaire Hannes Grossmann (Alkaloid, Blotted Science, ex-Obscura, ex-Necrophagist). Continue reading »

Jan 012017

Partied hard, smiling big.


Happy New Year to one and all. I hope you survived whatever you did last night, intact and with only a modicum of blood loss and brain-cell death. I would tell you in detail what I did but I’m not sure you could stand the excitement. Even I was so drained after both putting down the robot uprising and preventing the savagery of the loris horde’s celebration from overflowing their compound, armed with nothing but a few blow darts, that I was asleep by 10:30, stone cold sober and vomit-free.

I’m beginning the new year at NCS the way I ended the old one (here), by assembling a giant batch of the new music I heard in recent days that I thought would be worth your time, plus one older release I came across only recently.

As a trained medical professional (ha!), I’ll warn you that if you did suffer more than a modicum of blood loss or neuronal cell death, you might want to wait another day before exploring what awaits you below. It won’t help your recovery, and it’s no sane person’s idea of a hangover cure. Damned good metal, though.

I’ll also mention that because this post takes the place of my usual Sunday Shades of Black feature, the music is mainly in a blackened vein, though not entirely. Continue reading »

Jan 072016

Spectral Lore-GnosisSpectral Lore-Voyager


We again invited Ayloss, the man behind the Greek band Spectral Lore, to share with us his list of favorite 2015 releases. As expected, it’s a wide-ranging and distinctive collection of music, much like the music of Spectral Lore itself.

Speaking of the music of Spectral Lore, 2015 saw the release of two experimental EPs (the covers of which are above) — Gnosis and Voyager — and the third of those planned releases is expected later this month. And now, here is the list and the comments of Ayloss about the music:


A Forest of Stars-Beware the Sword

A Forest of Stars – Beware the Sword You Cannot See

This band has gone far. I admit that while I was intrigued by their first two albums (actually even before, anyone remember their old first website?), Ι found something missing in them, maybe a bit more solid song-writing to hold together the long compositions and high lyrical concepts. Well, enter “Drawing Down the Rain”, possibly the best song I’ve heard in this year, a song which seems to contain everything I like the most in music. When you kick-start your album like that, you just can’t fail and Beware… holds many other shining gems as well. A vast, ambitious, multi-faceted album, the surface of which after numerous listens I feel I’ve only scraped. Continue reading »

Dec 172015

Akhenaten - Incantations Through the Gates of Irkalla


(Here’s the last of KevinP’s monthly selections for 2015, naming his Top 5 favorite albums released or scheduled for release during December.)

Since I’ve had plenty of time with this month’s releases to formulate my list, along with the fact that things start to get slow once Xmas week arrives, you’re getting this a little earlier than normal.  Also, my Top 25 Albums and Top 5 EP’s of the Year will be posted the first week of January.  Nothing else profound to say, so let’s get on with it. Continue reading »

Aug 262015

Spectral Lore-Gnosis


The remarkable one-man Greek band Spectral Lore has recorded a new EP named Gnosis that will be mastered by Colin Marston (Krallice, Gorguts) and released around November by the tasteful I, Voidhanger label.

Though Spectral Lore calls Gnosis an EP, it will be close to 40 minutes in length. It is the second of at least three EPs that Spectral Lore has planned for 2015, the first one being Voyager, which was released in May (and there may be a fourth before the year draws to a close). Continue reading »

Dec 212014


I suppose this post could be considered Part 2 of a collection I began yesterday (here). It’s a big selection of music I discovered over the last couple of days that in widely varying degrees incorporate elements of black and death metal into the sound. And I do mean “widely varying” — no two of these bands sound alike, but I hope you’ll agree they all sound good.


LVTHN is a Belgian black metal band with three short releases to its credit, all of them appearing in 2014. The first one, Adversarialism, I reviewed here. The next two of those releases came this month — a four-song EP entitled The Grand Uncreation (which includes a cover of a Katharsis song) and a split with Lluvia entitled Illuminantes Tenebrae. Both are worthy of separate reviews, but I’m so pressed for time that I’m afraid I’ll never write them. I decided this short comment is better than nothing.

In a nutshell, these five new LVTHN songs are potent examples of bestial black art — torrential hailstorms of knife-edged riffs undergirded by the distant rumble of percussion and pierced by flesh-rending vocals, with waves of dark, dramatic melody moving through the music like the migration of leviathans. It’s gripping, galvanizing, ravaging music, with just enough well-placed breaks in the onslaught to prevent total sensory overload.  And the Katharsis cover is obliterating. Continue reading »

Dec 032014


(Near the end of every year your humble editor humbly invites selected musicians to contribute lists of their favorite releases as part of our year-end Listmania series. This year I asked Ayloss, the man behind Spectral Lore from Greece and the creator of one of my favorite releases of 2014 (reviewed here), to share his recommendations — because I had a strong feeling it would be very interesting, and so it is.)


I don’t usually listen to a lot of music in the year it comes out, as not having the free time I used to have, I prefer to wait until the mediocre stuff gets weeded out and the good remains. When Islander asked me to compile a 2014 list, I realized that my selection was without much character, most likely the exact same stuff you’ll see in many other lists for this year. So I took this as an opportunity to dive back into the underground and do some research.

Yet, I still feel like I haven’t listened to enough music for this year, so this is absolutely not a “best of” list, just some albums that I can certainly attest to being great. In the spirit of discovery, I will mention the “top” stuff below (absolutely check them out if you haven’t already) and then proceed to talk about the stuff that deserves more exposure. Continue reading »