Nov 202022

My head is clearer today than it was yesterday morning, but this column, although not exactly short, is still shorter than I’d like due to a planned mid-morning rendezvous with friends. Because time is racing away, I’ll cut this introduction off at the knees and just forewarn you that the word of the day is “whiplash”.

AZAGHAL (Finland)

As these blasphemous and terrorizing Fiuns approach the quarter-century mark in their career they’ve readied a new album named Alttarimme on Luista Tehty (“our altar is made of bone”), and the first advance song from it is the one I’ve chosen as a beginning today. It turns out to be a multi-faceted piece of music, and one that passes almost too quickly. Continue reading »

Mar 022017


(Andy Synn reviews the wonderful new album by Violet Cold.)

The phenomenon of the “one-man Black Metal band” is certainly an interesting one.

On the one hand it really does mean that the band’s music will always be the product of a singular creative voice, and often results in said band maintaining a highly prolific writing/recording schedule, as there’s no need to arrange multiple schedules or to balance the writing process among a number of competing ideas.

But just because you CAN string together some hissy riffs, programmed blastbeats, and low-fi vocals about hating the world into a semblance of a song, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD, and just because you *love* Black Metal it doesn’t mean that you have anything original or interesting to offer the genre.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some truly phenomenal examples out there of solitary artists who possess the necessary vision and distinctive voice to stand out from the pack – such as Leviathan, Infestus, and The Clearing Path, to name but a few – but, by and large, the relative ease with which anyone can put together their own “one-man Black Metal band” has led to a glut of mediocre albums and EPs which do little more than recycle the same old sounds and the same old stories.

And then… there’s Violet Cold. Continue reading »

May 222016

Sxuperion-Cosmic Void


I continue my efforts to char your weekend to a crisp with this second part of a two-part post I started yesterday, collecting music in a blackened vein that I’d like to recommend. This collection is heavy on blackened death metal rather than unadulterated black metal, with a couple of other twists and turns thrown in. Yesterday’s offerings were mostly on the melodic side of the extremity scale. We’ll eventually get to something like that today, but not until the end. In the meantime, prepare for some monstrous, apocalyptic experiences.


I discovered Sxuperion only this past January through the band’s split release with a Nebraska black metal band named Verräter (discussed here), although Sxuperion had preceded that split with two full-length albums and an array of shorter releases. For those who might not be familiar with Sxuperion, it’s the solo project of the drummer (Matthew) for two other excellent bands, Valdur and Weverin. Continue reading »

Jan 312016

LVTHN-Eradication of Nescience


This is a rather super-sized edition of Shades of Black, collecting new and recently discovered music in a blackened vein. But believe me, this could have been much bigger still, because I’m sitting on a ton of other releases I’d like to include. I’ll put them in the fridge so they don’t spoil and defrost them later (though of course they’ll never completely de-frost).


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of this Belgian band’s previous releases, and have managed to write about most of them (collected behind this link). And before I get to a brand new LVTHN song, I’ll mention that the band have recently made their 2014 compilation release The Grand Uncreation available for “name your price” download on Bandcamp (here). Continue reading »

Jun 052015


The last of these MISCELLANY posts was more than three months ago. I’ve obviously done a piss-poor job getting the series on anything like a regular schedule. Of course, I would be foolish at this point to predict when No. 75 will happen. Let’s just get on with it, shall we?

I think we probably need a reminder about how the MISCELLANY experiment works:  I randomly pick bands whose music I’ve never heard before (usually bands whose names I’ve only discovered recently) and I listen to only one or two songs, usually from their most recent releases. I write my immediate impressions of what I’ve heard, and then I stream the music so you can make up your own minds. Unlike everything else we post at this site, I don’t know what the music will sound like in advance, or whether I’ll like it.


My first selection comes from a four-man band named Palinopsia from Poultney, Vermont. They wrote yesterday to call our attention to their first EP, entitled Murmurs From the Well Nothing More, which was released on June 3. The EP is on Bandcamp, and the song that’s set to begin streaming there is the EP’s second track, “Silt”. Continue reading »