Sep 202022

Many much-beloved metal albums, both very old and much newer, follow a straight and narrow path, charting a consistent stylistic course and staying in the lane, without much interest shown in the openings that lead off elsewhere into the thorny brambles and dark woods on either side. They work because the bands are so good at what they chose to do, and make their trails wander just enough to keep the eyes and ears of listeners alert.

On the other hand, some bands only seem to have eyes for the paths that twist and turn, the more tangled and unpredictable the better, and they relish the chance to dart off into side-openings whenever the opportunity presents itself. Some of those bands get lost, and lose listeners along the way, but others succeed in making their less-traveled paths more exciting than the straight and narrow.

The Loom of Time‘s new album Grand False Karass is certainly a vivid example of the latter, and an even more surprising one in light of the bamboozling (and dangerous) new adventures it offers by comparison to the band’s debut. Continue reading »

Aug 282022

I had a lot of uninterrupted listening time over the last couple of days. For this column, that proved to be both a blessing and a curse — a blessing because it enabled me to wade through a broad swath of new music, a curse because what I found that I wanted to recommend after a lot of winnowing was still A LOT. So, today’s collection may test your endurance.

Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), there’s a lot of sheer dazzling madness in this collection. I tried to interweave some less insane but still gripping experiences, but it’s nevertheless likely that if you do make your way through everything here, your head will be spinning for a long time after. Today’s music also demonstrates why I called this column “Shades” of black, because there’s not much black metal orthodoxy here.


I was dubious about the idea of starting the column with a new Enslaved song, because they’re rightfully famous and don’t need any help from us, and because I’ve not fallen in love with their more recent releases to the extent I did with earlier ones. But those doubts were in place before I listened to this new single. After hearing it I thought, how can I NOT begin with it? Continue reading »

Nov 262016



I hope you’re having a good Saturday, and that this post will make it even better.

I know we’ve been throwing vast quantities of music your way lately as we try to clear the decks for the coming orgy of year-end-list features, but I still have a lot of metal that I feel the need to recommend. I’ll continue trying to keep abreast of advance tracks from forthcoming albums that sound promising, but what’s really burning a hole in my head are excellent full EPs, splits, and albums that have already been released but that we’ve neglected. The best way I know to deal with that problem is to compile posts like this one, abbreviating my own reviews and letting the music speak mainly for itself.


NihilReich is the eye-opening debut album of an Australian trio named The Loom of Time. It was released in March, though I didn’t listen to it until last month despite the significant praise it received from numerous reviewers. Continue reading »