May 062018
 

 

There’s a lot of new music in this week’s SHADES OF BLACK, which I suppose isn’t all that unusual. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of time for me to write about it, in part because of time spent on a rare Sunday premiere (which also comes from black subterranean realms) and in part because I have other plans for today that will separate me from the computer; I hope I don’t experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

I’ll begin with streams of two fantastic new albums and follow those with four individual songs from forthcoming releases, one of which is paired with an outstanding video.

URFAUST

Maybe it’s not too soon to proclaim the emergence of a trend. Like an unusually high number of other occurrences this year, the august Dutch band Urfaust launched their new (fifth) album with no warning, no advance promotion, no opportunities for scurrilous scribblers to review it before release. This happened on Friday, and although I’ve only managed to listen to The Constellatory Practice once since then, my impulse is to proclaim it a triumph. Continue reading »

Aug 252016
 

Neill Jameson

 

(Neill Jameson (Krieg) joins us again with another compilation of recommended music, this time focusing on some metal releases that don’t easily fit into established genre definitions. To check out the other playlists Neill has brought us, they’re collected here.) 

Listening to the new Urfaust that’s coming out shortly really got me to thinking a bit, which doesn’t happen too often. The subject of the hamster wheel turning in my head was bands that fall outside of a specific subgenre but are still in the metal realm. Outsider metal I suppose. Bands that are still just as dark and carry the same emotional weight but can’t be stuck inside “black” or “death” metal strictly, probably in academic “nerd” terms or whatever you’re calling them in the comments section of popular metal sites you claim not to read. Anyway, a few of them came to mind which I wanted to share, so I’m sitting in my office writing this as a proper way to avoid reality for a bit, much like these bands are also a proper way to accomplish the same thing. Continue reading »

Jul 132016
 

Near-Our Sun

 

This is the delayed second part of a two-part collection of blackened metal that I began (here) on Sunday. The sharp-eyed among you will notice that I now have music from six bands instead of the four that I said would be included in this second installment. I actually wanted to add many more than two, but that would have caused the same problem that led me to split up Sunday’s post, so I’ll save them for another day.

This collection includes four full albums or EPs for which I haven’t written the kind of complete reviews that they deserve or that you might prefer. As usual, I’m squeezed for time. But please don’t mistake my meager write-ups for lack of enthusiasm — I’m very high on everything included here and hope you’ll explore all of them.

NEAR

Once again I must thank my overseas comrade Miloš for sending me links to the first two releases in this collection. The first of them is an album named Own Sun by the Italian band Near, which was released last week by De Tenebrarum Principio, a faction of ATMF. This is Near’s second album, following 2010’s The Opening of the Primordial Whirl. (The cover art bears the title “Our Sun”, but the ATMF Bandcamp page identifies Own Sun as the title.) Continue reading »

Feb 022016
 

a beautiful vintage mirror

 

(Comrade Aleks is back, and brings with him a snake, or rather an interview with Snake McRuffkin, vocalist of the Dutch band The Spirit Cabinet, whose members come from other well-respected extreme bands and whose debut album appeared last August.)

Can you imagine that could happen if you gathered in one rehearsal place a guitarist from a black/thrash band (Zwartketterij), a drummer from a doom metal band (Hooded Priest), a bass player from a black metal band (Cirith Gorgor), and a vocalist from another black metal band (Urfaust)? Okay, here’s the answer – bloody impressive heavy doom metal with influences from all the above-mentioned bands and damned good dark lyrics on spiritualistic topics.

The Spirit Cabinet consists of four members – Erich Vilsmeier, Cromwell Fleedwood, Johnny Hällström, and Snake McRuffkin — who came to an understanding of what they wanted, and their first full-length record Hystero Epileptic Possessed was born in a pretty natural way just a year after they gathered for the first time.

It saw the light with the help of Ván Records, and I feel myself inspired and enlightened enough to bring the Word of The Spirit Cabinet further to those who thirst for knowledge and some mental pabulum. During a midnight séance Snake McRuffkin shared his experience of playing in this band. Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 

 

This is a collection of recent music I heard over the last 24 hours that I want to recommend. As the post title suggests, the music is loosely connected by elements of black metal — and I do mean “loosely”, especially in the case of the first song.

URFAUST

I first learned of the Dutch two-man band Urfaust when our long-time supporter Utmu wrote about them in a guest post two years ago, a post I would commend to people who are new to Urfaust. Even today, I’ve still only dabbled in the band’s previous recordings, but enough to recognize that their approach to black metal is highly distinctive.

More than four years have passed since their last album, but Germany’s Ván Records is now poised to release a new 12″ vinyl EP from the band. Entitled Apparitions, it features painted artwork by ThornyThoughts Artwork. Continue reading »

Jan 112013
 

Awesome artwork by Michiel Eikenaar

(In this post, guest writer Utmu sheds some light on underground bands who deserve a higher profile.)

I’ve been listening to some bands lately and I really like them. I also wanted to write another article, so I just decided to combine the two. I don’t know how obscure these bands are, although the music they make is great and they should be recognized for that.

The first two are bands who may be well-known in certain circles, but to anyone who merely scratches the surface of those circles (like I often do with different scenes) I think they’re more obscure. Again, I don’t really know how well-known these bands are, so don’t hold me to the “this band doesn’t get enough attention” mentality. I enjoy them and I don’t hear about them often. The third section in this article is about a creative band from my region who I think should get way more recognition than they seem to get.

URFAUST

Here’s a band that’s been on my radar for a while. Ever since Invisible Oranges released that mix-tape containing Aosoth and Infestus, I’ve remembered Urfaust because they have a really unique sound, and more recently I’ve put time into really listening to their music — it was a great decision to do so. Continue reading »