Jun 162016



There’s a chance that Thrawsunblat will always live, at least in part, in the long shadow cast by the much-beloved Woods of Ypres — or perhaps will always be buoyed by that band’s legacy, depending on how you look at it. Apart from the presence of Woods‘ guitarist Joel Violette, Thrawsunblat also drink from the dark, crystalline wellsprings of melancholy that fed Woods of Ypres’ sublime creations. Yet from the beginning Thrawsunblat have also sought sustenance, and given spiritual sustenance to their listeners, through other musical traditions. The evolution of the band’s sound continues — and reaches a high-water mark — in their new album Metachthonia, which it’s our great pleasure to premiere for you today, one day in advance of its official release.

We are told that “Metachthonia” is an ancient Greek word that means “the age after that of the Earth,” which can be understood as a reference to today’s modern world. In taking that word as the title of this new concept album, Thrawsunblat signify an effort to express a yearning for elements of the natural world, both physical and spiritual, that have been shoved aside by the encroachments of technology and the ant-like scrabbling of human industry. And the result is a wild, beautiful, and inspiring album.

(Take a good look at the album cover — it provides significant clues to what lies within.) Continue reading »

Jun 102016

Zeal and Ardor-Devil Is Fine


I spent the last three days doing some catch-up work on recent premieres and releases from the realms of black metal, and today it’s time to shift gears and begin a series of round-ups of new music from other corners of the underground. My NCS comrade DGR is working on a round-up of his own, but even between the two of us we still won’t succeed in covering everything good that we’ve found over the last two weeks (when our round-ups were scarce).

Having said that, we may still threaten to overwhelm our readers with the volume of what we’re recommending. To give you a chance to catch your breath, I’m dividing my collection of recommendations into at least two parts, with the second one to come tomorrow (Saturday). I’ve also attempted to mix up the styles of music within each of these two parts in the hope of appealing to a broad array of tastes (and keeping you off-balance, of course).


Zeal and Ardor is the name of a music project based in New York City. I’m calling it a “project”, because I have no idea who is behind it, or whether it’s the work of one person or more than one; I’ve searched and can find no background information at all. This mysterious project released a self-titled album in June 2014 that I did not know existed, and in mid-April of this year they released a second one named Devil Is Fine — which is unlike anything I’ve heard before. 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 »

Mar 242013

We’re sitting on a cornucopia of promos for forthcoming releases by relatively high-profile bands such as Amorphis, ArsisChildren of Bodom, The Dillinger Escape PlanFinntrollHeaven Shall Burn, and Hypocrisy. We will be reviewing some of those, and more that I haven’t named. But this morning I felt like exploring new music from more obscure bands whose music I’d never heard. As usual, there’s no rhyme or reason to what I picked.


The obscurity of this two-man Montreal band is likely to be short-lived since they’ve now been signed by Profound Lore. PL plans to release Gevurah’s five-track debut EP Necheshirion (Hebrew for “snake-like”) on May 28. I haven’t yet seen much publicity about this news, but I did find a stream of one song from the EP, “Flesh Bounds Desecrated”.

That song is an unmitigated aural assault of blackened death metal (or deathened black metal). With almost overpowering force, the band deliver a fast-moving wave-front of blasting drums and harrowing guitar and bass licks, with raw mid-range vocals that scrape like sharpened nails on skin. Continue reading »