Aug 102023

We invite you into The Astral Gloom, as today we pull back the veil between worlds and allow you to gain entry. But pay careful attention to those chosen words: Deep shadows lie in wait, but things move within them that aren’t the living things which might lurk around you in a midnight stroll through the woods or dimly lit urban canyons. Chilling dangers await, as well as chilling wonders, and little of it seems to have an earthly origin.

We’re speaking of the forthcoming second album by the international collective known as The Rite, a band first spawned in 2017 through the collaboration of (Black Oath) and Ustumallagam (Denial of God) and now fully fleshed out to include drummer War D. (Morbus Grave), and guitarists Gabriel (Black Oath, Morbus Grave) and M. Desecrator (VomitVulva, Funest).

In listening to the new album it’s easy to fall into the kind of fumbling poetic reveries you saw in the first paragraph above, and a few more of them will follow in our introduction to the full album stream we’re presenting below on the eve of its release by Iron Bonehead. In much more mundane terms, you can expect an alchemical interaction of black metal, old-school doom, and (for want of a better term) “classic heavy metal”, equally prominent in nightmare atmospherics and imperious head-moving heaviness.

There’s also a cover of “Naked When You Come” by The Lollipops. More on that later. Continue reading »

Mar 222020


I’m still working my way through that list of 80 potentially interesting new songs and full releases that I mentioned in Part 1 of this big round-up. Of course, not all of those 80 are going to pass my smell test, and I couldn’t write about all of them even if they did. But there’s still a lot I want to recommend, and so with the exception of the first item below, I’ll just be offering brief impressions along with the streams.

If all goes as planned, there will be a Part 3 tomorrow. A SHADES OF BLACK column will follow this one today, whenever I finish writing it.


From 1989 to 1994 Winter released only one demo tape (Hour of Doom), one album (Into Darkness), and one EP (Eternal Frost), and nothing since then. But those recordings were enough to cement their place in the history of extreme metal and to become the jumping-off point for countless other bands in the doom and sludge genres for the last 30 years. And thus when Svart Records announced weeks ago that it would be releasing an album by a band it characterized as “a long-awaited continuation of what Winter would have been”, I sat up and paid attention. Continue reading »