Nov 132022

Like a lot of people in the Seattle area I made a terrible mistake this morning. I woke up early to watch the Seahawks play what turned out to be a miserable football game in Germany. I’d like to have those 3 hours back. I could have used them for extra sleep, or to make this Sunday column longer.

Looking for a way to begin dispelling a black mood, I checked out just a few very new things, and revisited an album I’ve been enjoying since mid-October, one that well-suits my current depressive mood.

MOEROR (Greece)

My first exposure to Moeror came last year, through their excellent split release with Human Serpent and Kvadrat (enthusiastically reviewed here). Based on that, I intended to travel back to their 2020 debut album The Ghosts of Amour Propre, but never did. Maybe I still will, but there’s something more immediate that’s going to pull with greater urgency, and that’s their forthcoming sophomore album All That We Seem. Continue reading »

Nov 022019


Hope the weekend is treating you right so far, and will continue to do so. As quasi-promised yesterday (when it comes to NCS, most of my promises are quasi) I managed to find time to hurl a few more newly forged chunks of metallic extremity at your head, and made an effort to have them come in differing shapes, even though they’re all heavy and jagged.


In September I included the first advance track from Rattenfänger’s new album (Geisslerlieder) in another one of these round-ups (here), and now there’s another one out in the world. Continue reading »

Aug 282016



With three weeks having passed since the last time I was able to compile a Shades of Black post, I’ve accumulated quite a large collection of songs, EPs, and albums that I’d like to recommend. I’ve ambitiously given this post a “Part 1” moniker, signifying the goal of following this with at least one more collection during the coming week. Of course, this ignores the lesson I’ve tried repeatedly to teach myself, i.e., that part-time metal bloggers should never disclose what they think they are going to do, given the high failure rate. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

I’m starting with music from two Icelandic black metal bands. There seem to be an endless supply of them, and they seem to be never less than good, and often are great. I’m also beginning to suspect that all the line-ups are drawn from the same group of about five people.


Endalok is a new Icelandic band whose debut demo Englaryk will be released on CD by Hellthrasher Productions and on cassette and vinyl by Signal Rex. The identity of the member(s) hasn’t been disclosed, but the quality of the first preview track suggests the presence of a person or people who have some experience, as well as impressive talent. Continue reading »

Oct 312014

The Font of All Human Knowledge tells us that Samhain “is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year” and is celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on 1 November, about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is a liminal time when spirits more easily enter our world, a time of divination rituals and the revisiting of souls of the dead.

In celebration of blessed Samhain I’ve harvested a collection of news and new musical offerings, a bounty large enough to warrant two posts, this being the second (this being the first).


Just in time for Samhain, Indiana’s Ptahil have released an official video for the song “Don’t Drink From the Waters of Lethe” from their 2014 album Born Against, which is available on Bandcamp (here). The song is a fitting choice of this day and a blast to hear, beginning as an ominous processional and then erupting about halfway through into a conflagration of corrosive riffs, frenzied soloing, and pummeling drum beats, as the bestial vocals proclaim a warning. Continue reading »

Oct 052014


On Friday I got a reminder that despite how much my tastes in metal have expanded over the years and how much more deeply into the underground I’ve gone exploring, there are still branches of the cave system I’ve still not discovered. As different as the music in this post is from the range of music I usually patronize, I do like what I’ve found — so I’m sharing it. Both discoveries were spawned by a song premiere we did late last week. Both are strange, though in very different ways.


Three days ago I had the pleasure of premiering (here) a long symphony of pain named “Scour (Parts I and II)” by the band Venowl from their forthcoming split with Cara Neir. Venowl’s music is itself on the periphery of the metal I know best, but at least in their case I was familiar with most of their previous releases. And then two days ago I was introduced for the first time to the music of the UK project Emit, and specifically to a 2012 demo entitled Spectre Music of An Antiquary that’s being reissued in remastered form by Crucial Blast Records. I wrote a mini-review of that album and premiered one of its tracks — “Beneath Carvings Linger” (here).

This in turn led to a conversation online with ][ of Venowl, who unlike me was quite familiar with Emit. He mentioned that the man behind Emit had guested on older material by a band named Vomit Orchestra — another name I had never heard. When I confessed my ignorance, ][ linked me to a new Vomit Orchestra song that really grabbed me, and that’s the first offering in this post. Continue reading »