May 312020
 

 

I had grand plans for today’s SHADES OF BLACK, but they were derailed by the amount of time I put into an album premiere earlier today and by what happened across the U.S. yesterday and last night, events that fixated my attention and splintered my concentration on music (and on everything else except for the overflowing of frustration and rage in the nation’s urban streets).

I’m still distracted, but wanted to do something for those of you who might look forward to this Sunday tradition, maybe especially in these incredibly unsettling times. So I singled out one part of what I had originally planned to do, and will now focus only on that part — a new album-length split release by two remarkably talented black metal bands: Almyrkvi from Iceland and The Ruins of Beverast from Germany. It’s worth the sole focus, because I think we have here a record that will find its place on many a year-end list. Continue reading »

Mar 242020
 

 

For reasons I can’t identify, these days I feel compelled to throw as much music your way as I can. I’ve noticed that, contrary to my expectations, this unnerving shut-in phase that most of us are going through has led to a significant increase in daily visits to our site. Maybe people need music more than usual to get through these dark days. Maybe that’s the source of my greater-than-usual compulsion.

Whatever the reason, it seems like you’ll be seeing more and more of these big compilations (with brevity of words) rather than the more typical SEEN AND HEARD posts. I hope I can do another one tomorrow, because I still have a lot I want to recommend.

AEONIAN SORROW (Finland/Greece)

A beautifully contrasting experience from this multinational funeral doom band, the song juxtaposes graceful and ethereal sounds of mist and mysticism and episodes of ravaging heaviness and splintering sorrow, combining the most harrowing roars and haunting feminine singing, creating moods of stately bereavement and wrenching frenzy. A really beautifully executed new video, too. Continue reading »

Apr 152017
 

 

One good thing about Good Friday was that my workplace had a holiday and so I stayed home, and therefore spent some time Friday night working my ears through a list of new metal I made this week instead of getting hammered with my co-workers, which is what usually happens on Fridays after work. As an additional bonus, I felt clear-headed this morning and ready for more listening (though with my head, “clear” is a relative term).

In an effort to keep this Saturday playlist from becoming too bloated, I decided not to write about some things that I figured most of our visitors have probably already discovered. But just in case you missed them, you can use these links to find the full stream of Nightbringer‘s new album at CVLT Nation (which we reviewed here), the first single from Suffocation‘s new album, a new Oranssi Pazuzu EP (Kevät/Värimyrsky), and a new song from the next Impetuous Ritual album.

SLÆGT

As explained in this review, I really, really liked Slægt‘s debut EP, Beautiful and Damned, and I chose one of its electrifying tracks for our list of 2015’s Most Infectious Songs. With an expanded line-up, Slægt have recorded their first album, I Smell Blood, which is slated for release on May 5 by Ván Records. Its name is Domus Mysterium. Continue reading »

Oct 162016
 

cdf-sunday-morning3

 

I started this Sunday morning in Oakland earlier than I would have liked, but it had its compensations. Grabbing coffee and my smokes, I sat for nearly an hour along the Oakland waterfront enjoying the peacefulness of it, with no one else around except a hopeful seagull and a swooping flock of starlings.

Yesterday was not peaceful, but it was electrifying. It was the second day of this year’s edition of California Deathfest. Between a late lunch, a dinner break, and my inability to physically make it to the bitter end, I only caught about two-thirds of the 12 bands on the line-up. And as was true of yesterday’s write-up on Day One, I’m not going to take the time to write reviews of the performances. Instead, here’s what I’ve done: Continue reading »

Aug 082013
 

Here’s the promised second part of today’s effort to catch up on noteworthy new things from the last several days.

SHINING

Sweden’s Shining announced a while back that their next album, 8 ½ – Feberdrömmar I Vaket Tillstånd (scheduled for release by Dark Essence on Sept 23), would feature many guest vocalists, in addition to frontman Niklas Kvarforth of course. As of today, we know who they are, and it’s an interesting list that includes more than a few black metal luminaries:

1. “Terres Des Anonymes” featuring FAMINE of PESTE NOIRE
2. “Szabadulj Meg Önmagadtól” featuring ATTILA CSIHAR of MAYHEM, TORMENTOR
3. “Ett Liv Utan Mening” featuring PEHR LARSSON of ALFAHANNE
4. “Selvdestruktivitetens Emissarie” featuring GAAHL of GOD SEED, WARDRUNA, ex-GORGOROTH
5. “Black Industrial Misery” featuring MANIAC of SKITLIV, ex-MAYHEM
6. “Through Corridors Of Oppression” featuring KVARFORTH

The songs themselves date back to an earlier era in Shining’s life. Original pre-production tracks of the songs were used as the foundation, with the addition of newly recorded bass and guitars as well as keyboards performed by Lars Fredrik Fröslie (Angst Skvadron, Wobbler, Asmegin). Should be worth checking out when it arrives. Continue reading »

Jul 312013
 

By coincidence, I heard new music from three bands last night, right in a row, that had a few things in common: The music is all superb, and it’s all black as hell. I don’t mean to say it’s all black metal, though some of it is. I mean to say that it’s all dark, heavy, and harrowing.

ÆVANGELIST

Little more than a week has passed since I reviewed Ævangelist’s lengthy (and brilliant) contribution to a forthcoming split that will be released in the coming months by Aurora Australis Records. I also mentioned that the band had finished recording a new album, Omen Ex Simulacra, that will be released later this year by Debemur Morti. And lo and behold, yesterday Debemur Morti gave us a precise release date — October 11 — and premiered a song from the album named “Abysscape”. [Update: we also now have a preview of the album art by Andrzej Masianis, which you can see above.]  Interestingly, “Abysscape” is the last song on the album, though it’s the first one being released.

It’s another long one, though in the music of Ævangelist, time is an important ally. “Abysscape” is a dense, bottomless, indigo whirlpool of doom, made for immersion. Immense grinding guitars match up with immense, horrific vocals and stunning drumwork. Alien keyboard melodies call out like the cries of homeless souls. The ravaging music alternately storms and drifts. You look into the void, and “Abysscape” is there, looking back at you. Continue reading »

May 092013
 

The Ruins of Beverast is a one-man project of Alexander von Meilenwald, a German multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who formerly was the drummer of a now-defunct band named Nagelfar and has also been involved with other bands as a live member and session musician. To date, The Ruins of Beverast has released three well-received full-length albums, and a fourth named Blood Vaults (The Blazing Gospel Of Heinrich Kramer) will be released by Ván Records later this year on a date to be announced.

Last month a song from the new album surfaced on YouTube, and I discovered it a few days ago thanks to a message from NCS supporter deckard cain. The song is called “Malefica” and it’s more than 10 minutes long. But despite its length I’ve been listening to it 3-4 times a day since finding it. I can’t remember if I’ve ever listened to this band’s music before, despite having seen rave reviews of previous albums, but this song is completely fantastic.

It begins with echoing electronic pulses, mournful reverberating guitar notes, and a combination of distorted and clean vocals. The weight of the song increases dramatically as massive, distorted guitar chords come in, but the hook doesn’t really get set until organ and guitar take up the core melody and deep, dark, ghastly, harsh vocals enter in. That core melody is absolutely captivating — it continues to wind through the song like a black river, with the instrumentals becoming increasingly intense and heavy. Continue reading »