Aug 212018


We’re so spoiled, those of us with a taste for the bitter, biting salts and the boiling acidity of black metal. We lift the old vintages to our lips, and the new ones; we feel the sting of sulphur in our nostrils and see the pale beckoning hands or the charging cavalries of death in our minds; we might feel transported to nether dimensions that seem poised to swallow and sever us without a backward glance of regret. Satiety can lead to cynicism for some, and even for the never-sated but not easily impressed among the rest of us, we do tend to greet new black metal with the same demand that became the motto of Missouri: Forget the rhetoric, you’ve got to show me.

The PR rhetoric around Ulven’s new album was that it would be “based on the worship of death and reaching beyond the shadows of the deep abyss”, and that as compared to Ulven’s first album, the sounds of this new one — Death Rites Upon A Winged Crusade — “have shifted and morphed to become an entirely new and unholy creature.” Okay, I thought, show me. And Ulven did.

And now we’ll show you, too. There’s a full stream of the album at the end of this post; the album will be released on August 24th by Fólkvangr Records on tape and CD, with a vinyl edition coming from Death Kvlt Productions. Continue reading »

Jul 222018


Our friend HGD handled Part 1 of today’s SHADES OF BLACK installment, and he made some excellent picks that coincidentally were on my list, too, but his efforts gave me the time to focus on a few more.


The French one-man band Baume released a debut album named Les Années Décapitées in March, which I would have missed but for a recent recommendation from a trusted source. You can guess from the album’s cover art that this isn’t going to be the kind of black metal that brings Les Légions Noires to mind, and in fact black metal is only one of the ingredients that flow through the music that Juif Gaetan has created. Continue reading »

Jun 262017


Yesterday, in the first part of this week’s SHADES OF BLACK, I recommended five recently released albums and throttled my tendency to put my own impressions into words. In this concluding part I opened the throttle, sort of. The music of nine bands is included here, ranging from individual advance tracks or singles to full albums or EPs. I know it’s a lot, but you’re men and women of steel, you can handle it… probably.


Most of us here were enormous fans of this German black metal band’s last album from 2015, Stellar. My friend Andy went so far as to call it in his review “a near-perfect snapshot of the genre. Its power and its potential. Both what it is, and what it can be.” And on August 25 we’ll have another album from this band, one entitled Finisterre. Continue reading »