Jul 082020


For all but the most green of newcomers to the mind-scarring upheavals of blackened death metal warfare, Vassafor truly need no introduction. Their exalted place in that hellish pantheon has already been secured over the last decade and a half. In the well-chosen words of our New Zealand friend Craig Hayes in his review of their last album, the monumental Malediction:

“It’s hard to dismiss the feeling that a demonic presence is lurking when you’re listening to the New Zealand black metal duo. Chiefly because Vassafor cuts through black metal’s artifice to channel some of the most bone-chilling and inhuman music imaginable. Vassafor are virtually unparalleled in the field of ultra-violent psychic and preternatural warfare. Born from the corruption and chaos that underlies humanity, the band’s always maintained they’ve been inspired by genuine occult forces. That’s an entirely believable proposition too.”

Though there is now no need for Vassafor to elevate their reputation, they’ve somehow managed to do that through their new album To the Death, whose title itself is a proclamation that the band have made no compromise in their devotions and remain unflinching and in their iron-fisted embrace of dark and terrifying powers. Rather than retrench, they have set their sights on even higher planes of horrifying extravagance: The album is 66 minutes long and includes such monumental works as the opening 12-minute title track, the ten-minute “Eyrie,” and the 17-minute closer, “Singularity”. What happens in those experiences, and others, prove that if you think by now that you’ve heard all Vassafor have to offer, it’s time to think again. Continue reading »

May 072020


I know I’m damned lucky to still have a job when so many people have been thrown out of work, but the job has been annoyingly intrusive lately. And by “intrusive”, I mean that it unexpectedly interferes with my grand ideas for NCS posts. This post, for example, is grand and gargantuan, but the job that pays me has delayed its appearance and constricted my time to the point that I’ve had to strip away most of the writing I had in mind. I’m cognizant of the likelihood that depriving you of my complete thoughts will cause widespread weeping.

As the title signifies, I decided to make this round-up death-centric — but there are lots of flavors of death metal represented here and different directions being pursued. I might have figured out a good way to order the flow, but didn’t have time to think about that either. So, just be prepared to bounce around.


“Check this steamroller. Nasum-like grind with choppy tech riffs to break things up. Complete barbarian war vocals. From Tunisia. What the hell, Omination, Ayyur, and now this….” Continue reading »

Oct 042017


(New Zealand metal writer Craig Hayes (Six Noises) brings us his review of the new album by NZ’s Vassafor, which will be released on October 13 by Debemur Morti Productions (CD and digital) and on a later date by Iron Bonehead Productions (vinyl and cassette).)

I’m a confirmed atheist. Except when I listen to Vassafor. It’s hard to dismiss the feeling that a demonic presence is lurking when you’re listening to the New Zealand black metal duo. Chiefly because Vassafor cuts through black metal’s artifice to channel some of the most bone-chilling and inhuman music imaginable.

Vassafor are virtually unparalleled in the field of ultra-violent psychic and preternatural warfare. Born from the corruption and chaos that underlies humanity, the band’s always maintained they’ve been inspired by genuine occult forces. That’s an entirely believable proposition too. Especially when confronted with the dark and disturbing realities Vassafor conjure on their much-anticipated new full-length, Malediction. Continue reading »

Sep 282017


Years ago I wrote that New Zealand’s Vassafor is “a force of nature”, and then caught myself — they are a supernatural force. Their music merits what the dictionary tells us about the meaning of that word: a manifestation attributed to forces beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature, the reflection of an order of existence beyond the visible, observable universe.

But “supernatural” may not be exactly the right word either, because it derives from a 15th century Latin term (supernaturalis), which meant “above nature”, in the sense of God-given and divine. And there is no God in this music, no promise of salvation, and certainly no mercy. Instead, the sound of Vassafor channels and embraces our worst fears, and more than that, seems to exult in them. Continue reading »

Aug 012017


In this past Sunday’s regular episode of this feature I explained that I had more new music in a black vein that I wanted to share and expected I would do it on Monday. So, I’m a day late, and with the delay I’ve expanded it a bit. The result is divergent music by seven bands from seven countries, but we begin with a news item.


Today we got some additional information about the new album by Satyricon. As previously reported, it is entitled Deep Calleth Upon Deep and will be released by Napalm Records on September 22. The cover art is an obscure 1898 drawing by the famous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The album has been described by the label as “a wholesale reinvention and a brand new era in SATYRICON history”. And with that titillating pronouncement we also have this statement by frontman Satyr: Continue reading »

Jan 212015

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth


I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.

In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post. Continue reading »

Oct 282014

Here’s part two of a round-up post I began earlier today. Collected here are the best of the new songs and videos that I saw and heard over the last 24 hours.


We reported last month that after the passage of four years since Sweden’s The Crown released their comeback album Doomsday King, which Andy Synn praised in one of his earliest posts for our site as “a masterpiece of wild fury and calculated aggression, blurring the lines between razor-sharp thrash and full-speed death metal”, they will be returning in January with their eighth album, Death Is Not Dead.

Century Media has also just released a 7″ vinyl single from the band that includes one of the new songs — “Headhunter” — plus the band’s cover of “Unfit Earth” by Napalm Death. And yesterday the band unveiled a music video for “Headhunter”. Continue reading »

May 092014

I see photos of New Zealand showing beautiful mountains and valleys, pristine beaches and sapphire waters, and I’m pretty convinced they’re all photoshopped. How could a place which looks like that produce the kind of music on display in the new split LP by the NZ bands Vassafor and Sinistrous Diabolus? Surely the true face of the land resembles Mordor under the grip of Sauron. And all the sheep have been dismembered and consumed, raw.

Vassafor’s side of the split consists of two long tracks, an original song named “Ossuary in Darkness” and a cover of “Son of the Moon” by the Greek black metal band Varathon. Sinistrous Diabolus dominates their entire side with a 21-minute monster named “Aeon Tenebris – Aeo Lacrimis”. Each side features separate cover art.


I first came upon Vassafor in 2012 after release of their debut album, Obsidian Codex (reviewing two tracks from the album here), and have been following them ever since, though their history reaches much further back in time. Apart from a live in-studio recording that became available about a year ago (discussed here), their songs on the split represent their first new work since that debut full-length.

Vassafor occupy the 15 minutes of “Ossuary in Darkness” with a study in contrasts, moving back and forth after a grim overture between passages of oppressive doom-driven dirge and segments of racing, ravaging assault with claws and fangs fully exposed. The slower moments are sometimes drenched in a fog of poisonous riffs, sometimes accented by the groaning of ominous chords and funereal notes, sometimes laced with minor-key, hornet-swarm tremolo melodies. They sound like hymns to the denial of life. Continue reading »

May 012013

Life is so chaotic that I have a tendency to seek order in such small ways as finding themes for the collections of music I compile for this site. For this post, the unifying theme is chaos. Go figure.

There’s a lot of music to be streamed in this post, and none of it will leave you any peace.


In celebration of Walpurgisnacht, which was last night, Indiana’s Ptahil released another in their recent series of singles (the last one featured here). In the case of “Puzuzu”, they announced that it was “the completion of a Destruction Ritual dedicated to school & city officials of Steubenville, Ohio for their willing participation and condoning of child molestation/rape & child pornography.” Ptahil didn’t go into details, but it’s not hard to guess what they’re talking about.

Rage flows through “Pazuzu”. It hits like a thousand flails falling on naked flesh in the eye of a vortex. It’s a storm wind of howling guitars and thundering drums with a chorus of the damned and demented roaring and muttering in its midst. Buried within the layers of noise, riveting guitar leads can be heard and rhythms manage to take hold, but in the main, this is pitch-black, take-no-prisoners destructiveness. More killing music from one of my favorite bands. Continue reading »

Oct 282012

Here’s a smattering of powerful music and eye-catching album art I heard and saw yesterday that helped make a wet, gray, cold Seattle day more tolerable — despite the fact that all of the music displays the results of blackening.  But I still want my summer back.


I was snooping around the Dark Descent web site looking for news about a release I’ve been expecting. While I was there I spied the two album covers you see at the top of the post. I knew little about the bands, but I thought the album covers were very cool. If you click on them, you’ll see larger versions.

The one on the left is for an album entitled Elegy of the Archeonaut, which collects selected tracks by an Auckland, NZ band named Vassafor. The album will be released at the end of this month and includes music from Vassafor’s early releases as well as unreleased versions of songs and covers. Coincidentally, one of those covers is Vassafor’s version of Beherit’s “Beast of Damnation”, which was also covered by Beyond Mortal Dreams in their excellent EP that I reviewed earlier this week. The killer album cover was created by Aaron Aziel, who’s also from Auckland.

I learned that Vassafor released an album earlier this year named Obsidian Codex, and I found two tracks from it on Soundcloud, both of which can be downloaded for free HERE. More about those after the jump.

The art on the right is for a forthcoming, self-titled debut album by a Toronto blackened death metal band named Paroxsihzem. It’s also scheduled for release by Dark Descent at the end of the month. I haven’t yet found who created the artwork. The artwork was created by the band’s vocalist, Krag. Intrigued by the artwork, I found a Paroxsihzem track called “Nausea” for streaming on Bandcamp. Continue reading »