Jan 272017


Here we are at the 18th Part of this list. Once again, I ran out of time yesterday before I could post a further installment of this series, so I’ve included more songs than usual in this one. To browse through the other songs that have appeared on the list previously, click HERE.

I grouped these four songs together for a couple of reasons. First, they all include elements of black metal to varying degrees, but you probably wouldn’t call any of them “black metal” in any conventional sense. Which leads me to my second point: in addition to being genre-benders, all these artists have blended and bent conventional genres in ways that lead to some very strange and even unsettling results — and the fact that all of these tracks also manage to be addictive is a further testament to their creativity


I assume it comes as no shock that I’m adding a song from The Xun Protectorate to the list. We published not one but two laudatory reviews of the album, along with an interview of Khonsu’s mastermind S. Gronbech. Everyone at our site loved the record. Continue reading »

Dec 272016



Terra Tenebrosa’s new album The Reverses received a lot of attention at our site this year, as it did just about everywhere else in the ghetto of metaldom. We reviewed it not once but twice, the second time in the context of a feature on all of the band’s albums to date. We also had the privilege of bringing you the first full stream of the record, and NCS writer Andy Synn named it one of 2016’s Great Albums. And now, as this year is about to gasp its last breaths, we’re helping to premiere a video for a song from the album — “Where Shadows Have Teeth“.

For those who still may not have explored The Reverses, allow me to quote excerpts from our two reviews:

The Reverses is as heavy, as dense, and as radioactive as a cache of transuranic elements. It’s a visit to a nightmare realm where the shadows have teeth, the surreal musical equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch landscape, a vision of hell, or perhaps the exorcism of hellish visions. It sinks its talons into the twisted nightshades that grow in the darker corners of the human psyche and shakes them until they quiver with fearful and fearsome excitement.”

“From start to finish The Reverses is a mental and physical ordeal that spits in the face of the orthodox, and laughs manically at any suggestion of normality.”

Continue reading »

Nov 302016

Terra Tenebrosa art


(In this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Terra Tenebrosa.)

Recommended for fans of: Blut Aus Nord, Leviathan, Ævangelist

Some bands are easy to categorise. Death Metal. Black Metal. Thrash. You can stick a band in one of these boxes and (generally) have a good impression of the sort of sounds you can expect to hear.

Of course, sometimes the category itself can be a bit nebulous. Metalcore. Nu-Metal. Progressive Metal. These aren’t quite as well-defined, and are frequently used as a catch-all term (often, but not always, with negative connotations) for bands that don’t fit properly in one of the “core” Metal genres (no pun intended).

And then there are bands like Terra Tenebrosa, who seem to willfully defy categorisation altogether.

“Avant-Garde Black Metal” seems to be the closest approximation that most people have settled on for their sound, but even this doesn’t quite capture it. There are elements and undercurrents of everything from gloomy Post-Metal and chaotic Hardcore to pulsing Industrial and droning Ambient music, all wrapped up in a grim shroud of morbid, blackened vibes and horror-movie atmospherics.

Whatever it is, though, it works. Continue reading »

Jun 162016

Terra Tenebrosa-The Reverses


Terra Tenebrosa’s new album The Reverses is home to the kind of music that inspires metaphors and similes. Trying to describe it without resorting to the language of imagery, sensation, and emotion would be inadequate. Its effect is far greater than the sum of its musical parts — even though a multitude of interlocking (and discordant) parts have been joined together to produce what you hear.

The Reverses is as heavy, as dense, and as radioactive as a cache of transuranic elements. It’s a visit to a nightmare realm where the shadows have teeth, the surreal musical equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch landscape, a vision of hell, or perhaps the exorcism of hellish visions. It sinks its talons into the twisted nightshades that grow in the darker corners of the human psyche and shakes them until they quiver with fearful and fearsome excitement. Continue reading »

Jun 052016

Terra Tenebrosa-The Reverses


After the first two albums by Terra Tenebrosa — 2011’s The Tunnels and 2013’s The Purging — the arrival of a new album is like the mysterious appearance of an intricately carved box in a puff of indigo vapor. The strange sigils and runes seem to shimmer of their own accord in the gnarled, leaden wood. What lies within becomes a matter of intrigue. You can be fairly sure that the contents will be dark, disturbing, and otherwise dismissive of genre boundaries, but beyond that it’s difficult to foresee what the alchemical processes of The Cuckoo’s art have rendered.

The new album is named The Reverses and it will be released on June 17 (June 22 in North America) by Debemur Morti. The significance of the title and its connection to the albums that preceded it have yet to be revealed. What has been revealed so far is a lyric video for a song called “The End Is Mine To Ride”, and today we’re helping to share a stream of a second track, “Ghost At the End of The Rope”. 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 »

Apr 222016

Terra Tenebrosa-The Reverses


Well, this has been another one of those weeks when I was so busy with premieres and assorted personal nuisances that I wasn’t able to compile as many round-ups of new songs as I would have liked. As usual, that means I’m now drowning in things that I think are worth recommending — too many to fit into one post.

So, I’ve done what I usually do in such situations: made the selections on a pretty random basis and tried to restrict my own verbosity and let the music speak for itself. I’ll compile some more discoveries for a post this weekend.

Before getting into the music, I’ll start with one news item that peaked my interest.


Yesterday Debemur Morti Productions announced the projected release of a new album by the unorthodox and fascinating Swedish entity known as Terra Tenebrosa. The new album is named The Reverses and it includes the participation of some impressive guests: Jonas A Holmberg (This Gift Is A Curse), Alex Stjernfeldt (The Moth Gatherer), MkM (Antaeus), and Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord). Continue reading »

Mar 112014

I have a lot of new discoveries from the preceding 24 hours that I want to share with you today in between the two premieres we have scheduled. I’ve divided them into two of these “Seen and Heard” posts. In this first one I tried to mix things up. Some of what’s here isn’t metal, but it’s all good.


As I previously reported in these pages, Agonia Records will be releasing the 10th studio album by Belgium’s Enthroned on April 15. The title is Sovereigns, and it’s now available for pre-order at this location. Earlier, I featured the first advance track from the album (“Of Feathers and Flames”), and today Noisey premiered another one — “Of Shrines and Sovereigns”. This one is ravaging and rapacious, but it also includes  a somber interlude, something similar to Gregorian chant that transforms into a black metal processional, and it really makes the song.

Enthroned’s Facebook page can be accessed through this link. Here’s the new track: Continue reading »

Jun 102012

Lately I’ve been writing posts in which I collect new music, album art, and metal news items that I’ve seen recently which I think are worth sharing. I keep saying it’s not going to become a regular kind of series, but I might as well stop fooling myself. I still need to find a title for them. Today I’m trying out a couple of ideas I got from Kazz (with my addition of some Demilich-style parentheses) and Phro. I’ve got some more reader suggestions I might try out the next time I do this.


I saw that Egyptian death-metal band Scarab have revealed the artwork, tracklist, and title for their next album — Serpents of the Nile. The artwork (above) is by an Egyptian artist who calls himself Bombest, (Mohamed El Sherbieny). and I think he did an awesome job with this, don’t you? Actually, the album cover is only a part of a larger piece, which you can see after the jump.

I discovered Scarab back in July 2010 when I put together a series on metal from North Africa, and wrote this post about them, focusing on their superb last album, Blinding the Masses. It reminded me of bands like BehemothImmolation, and Italy’s Hour of Penance, but with a marked use of oriental melodies in the riffs.

Along with details about the new album, Scarab also premiered the title track two days ago. “Serpents of the Nile” still calls to mind those bands I mentioned above, and it’s an excellent song. It proves all over again that this is a band who deserve to become more widely known internationally. Continue reading »

Jan 062012

We first made the acquaintance of Mickael André in the early days of this blog when we developed a fascination for the French metal band of which he is the bassist — Eryn Non Dae.. I counted, and we’ve posted about them seven times since 2010, most recently here. The band’s own description of their music is one I would endorse: “Complex and brutal structures, black and apocalyptic moods, an obscure music where dissonant compositions carry an in-your-face, aggressive vocal style… A trip into the depths of the soul.”

I asked Mika if he would share with us a list of the metal he enjoyed most during 2011, and he responded with a list, which I’ll come to eventually. But this post also gives me an excuse to feature music from the many projects in which Mika is involved. Eryn Non Dae. is only one of those projects, though it’s Mika’s main one. The latest news from END. is very sweet news indeed — they are now beginning to record their second album. Their 2009 Metal Blade release, Hydra Lernaïa, was a remarkable debut, and I’m really curious to hear what the band will come up with next.

But END. is not Mika André’s only musical project. He’s also the guitarist for an instrumental band called Nojia (that’s their photo at the top of this post), who recently released a fascinating debut album called Solarchitect. (available here).

The album starts with a 6-minute overture and then proceeds through four long songs, ranging from 11 to 18 minutes in duration. It was recorded live, with all the musicians performing together in the studio — and when you hear the range and complexity of the music, you’ll appreciate even more what that means. I’ve embedded a music player later in this post that will stream the entire album — listening is an intense, mesmerizing experience. Continue reading »