Jul 062020


Now approaching the end of their first decade of activity, Australia’s Temple Nightside have firmly established themselves as a nightmarish force of nature — though it’s perhaps more accurate to characterize their brand of blackened death metal as a terrorizing radiation of supernatural power. Dense, destructive, and domineering, their music has also seemed to be the stuff of necromantic ritual, a form of arcane pitch-black incantation which draws its eldritch energies from the shedding of blood on a massive scale.

Temple Nightside‘s dedication to crypt-born, blood-freezing death metal punishment has been unflinching over the course of their first three albums and assorted shorter releases, but their music has not remained static. Their forthcoming fourth album reveals further dimensions of sound, though without retreating even one small step from the ferocious forward momentum of their warlike ravages.

That new album, Pillars of Damnation, will be released by Iron Bonehead Productions on August 7th, and the song we’re premiering today — aptly named “Wreathed In Agony” — is a vivid sign of the latest permutations in Temple Nightside‘s decimating evolution. Continue reading »

May 232020


We’re now continuing on with the mega-collection of new songs and videos we began here yesterday, resuming our march through the alphabet beginning with the letter S.

SEROCS (International)

To begin, we’ll throw your brain into a blender set to puree. “Building A Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands” is a brutalizing, electrifying, high-speed carnival ride. The percussive power of the song is punishing, and the vocals (also discharged at high speed) are rabid, while the darting and swirling fretwork is wild and exultant. The guitar soloing is nothing short of spectacular, and propels a song that was already an ecstatic thrill-ride way up into the stratosphere. If the track doesn’t leave you with an ear-to-ear grin, the virus may have mutated and given you facial paralysis. Continue reading »

Aug 122018


There’s a reason why I chose SHADES OF BLACK as the title of this series many years ago, instead of something like BLACK METAL. It avoids debates about whether the music I choose to highlight is or isn’t that thing, and allows me to roam a bit more widely than I would even if I were just applying my own definition of what belongs in the genre, which in itself would still take us well beyond whirring guitars, blasting drums, and scalding shrieks. It allows me to choose the following collection of excellent new music without thinking too hard about it.


In 2013 the vaunted Australian band Temple Nightside released their debut album, Condemnation. They’ve released one other album since then (along with a couple of splits), in the shape of 2016’s The Hecatomb. Now, rather than releasing a full-length of entirely new material, they’ve re-recorded their debut album — although “re-imagined” is a better word for what they seem to have done. It makes sense that they would also commission new cover art, and they enlisted the abundant talents of Elijah Tamu for that. Continue reading »

Jul 022016

Grave Desecrator-Slaughtbbath split


For those of us here in the U.S., today is the beginning of a long weekend in which we celebrate the nation’s independence from another country, which recently declared its own “independence” from Europe and now can’t seem to figure out what to do next. But since we have a couple of presidential candidates here in this country that most people don’t like, I guess we’re having some trouble figuring out what to do next, too.

I nearly decided to take the day off from blogging, not because I’m feeling very “patriotic” but because I’m feeling really lazy. I decided instead to make a feeble compromise with myself: I have a ton of new music I think is worth hearing, but I’m just going to spread a lot of it out for your perusal without any commentary. I feel kind of shitty for doing that, not because you really need my commentary but because I think I owe it to the bands to explain why I think the music is worth hearing. But I guess this is better than doing nothing at all.

Tomorrow we’ll be bringing you an EP premiere and something else, probably another Shades of Black post and/or the first “That’s Metal!” post in months. Unless I continue to indulge my feelings of laziness. Continue reading »

Jun 082016

Nightbringer art


This is the second part of a collection I began yesterday, recommending new song streams and recent album releases from the hallowed realms of black metal. I’ve had a lot of catching up to do after spending most of the last two weeks devoting time to other pursuits, and although I still won’t succeed, I’ve decided to prepare a third installment of this post, collecting a handful of additional song streams and releases. That will probably happen tomorrow, but perhaps today if I have more time than I think I’ll have.


As many of you already know, four tremendously good black metal bands — Thy Darkened Shade, Abigor, Mortuus, and Nightbringer — have joined forces to create an album-length split recording that has been one of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. We began hinting at this release back in January when we premiered an excerpt from Thy Darkened Shade’s offering for the split. Since then, excerpts from each of the other band’s tracks have gradually been revealed. The last one came yesterday when Nightbringer previewed its track, which is named “Tunnels”. Continue reading »

May 162014

I started writing this post last weekend, when the featured songs were fresh out of the blast furnace and had just appeared online, but every day since then has thrown distractions in the way of finishing it. Finally, it is done. I’m afraid there’s nothing in this collection that’s suitable for the faint of heart, but if you’ve become acclimated to ravaging sonic assaults I think you’ll find a lot to like.


I re-ordered the appearance of Temple Desecration since I began writing this post because what started as a feature about a single song is now a review of a two-song 12″ EP, the name of which is Communion Perished. It’s due for release by Germany’s Iron Bonehead Productions on June 27.

Temple Desecration are a blackened death metal band from Poland and their previous output consists of a 2012 demo named Abhorrent Rites, which I’ve not heard. The new release includes two songs — “Ghoul Prayer” and “Apotheosis”. Both of them intertwine passages of rapacious, storming riffs and merciless percussive fusillades with ghastly doom dirges, the guitars and bass drenched in distortion and the bestial vocals reverberating as if recorded in a catacombs. Continue reading »

Apr 122014

This has been one of those weeks where my blog time was severely constricted by both personal and job-related demands. You might have guessed that, based on the complete absence of any “seen and heard” posts since Monday. I didn’t have time to do much more than quickly scan through the interhole each day looking for new song and video premieres and make lists of what I’d like to hear and see when time would permit. This morning, I finally crawled through that list, and found a shitload of new things I really liked.

Because I’m behind, and because I don’t want to fall further behind, I’m taking the wimp’s way out in this post. I’m just going to stitch together a bunch of recommended song and video streams (11 of them) with almost no commentary. It’s a stream dump, and I will bet money you’ll find something to like, almost regardless of your tastes. It’s spring, and metal is in bloom.

Salted within this list are a couple of news items that perked my interest, even though there’s nothing available to hear… yet.

I present this box of chocolates in alphabetical order. There will be another similar collection either later today or tomorrow. Tell me what you like. Leave comments! Continue reading »