Oct 022019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s enthusiastic review of the new album by Chicago’s Vukari, which was released on October 1st by Vendetta Records.)

Remember some time ago… last week… when I said that 2019 has been a banner year for Death Metal?

Well, I wasn’t wrong. But did you also know it’s been a hell of a year for Black Metal too?

Just scratching the surface of the last nine months or so I can think of albums from (let me just stretch a bit first)…Consummation, Barshasketh, Misþyrming,Sinmara, Enthroned, Idolatry, Vanum, Mephorash, Kampfar, Idolatry, The Negative Bias, Panzerfaust, Mgła, Deadspace, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Neptunian Sun, Advent Sorrow, Blut Aus Nord … and we’ve still got new records from Mayhem, Schammasch, Abigail Williams, Dawn Ray’d, The Great Old Ones, and more, to look forward to.

This week, however, it was the turn of Chicago quartet Vukari to make their case for why their new album deserves to stand alongside the very best Black Metal that 2019 has to offer. Continue reading »

Sep 222019
 

 

You’re probably asking yourself, since I can’t hear you, “Why will there be a second Part to this when there’s already seven bands in Part 1?!?” A good question, and a better one than you know, since there are also seven bands in Part 2.

I do have a reason for channeling such a flood of music from the black realms in this SOB installment, but I’ll save the explanation for Part 2. Sadly, I also realize the risk that this is just too much for most normal people to focus on. But I’m fortified by the suspicion that you’re not normal. I’m also deferring Part 2 to Monday morning, for extra fortification.

P.S. There’s some great cover artwork coming your way in this collection, in addition to the fine music.

P.P.S. Yes, I do know about the surprise release of Blut Aus Nord‘s new album. I had been waiting to post my review until everyone else got the promo. Now everyone can hear it, but I’ll share my own thoughts anyway — probably tomorrow. Continue reading »

Feb 172019
 

 

I think I was overly ambitious about what I thought I could accomplish today. I did enjoy spending time with, and writing about, the music I collected in today’s first post, but that exercise wound up leaving me with too little time to write about all the black metal I’d chosen for today’s SHADES OF BLACK column. Originally conceived as either one giant post or a two-part collection, I’ve had to cut it back: The music of four bands is featured here, instead of eight.

Maybe I’ll find the time to write about the other four in time to do a second SOB post tomorrow before the turbulence of the work week and the resumed flood of more new music inundates me, but that’s tough to predict at this moment. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these four selections as much as I have (two of the bands old favorites, and two are recent discoveries).

SARASTUS

Having spent time with Enter the Necropolis, released on February 8th by the Finnish black metal band Sarastus, I’m feeling foolish for failing to explore the previous releases of this duo (composer and multi-instrumentalist Vardøger and vocalist/lyricist Revenant) — which include a debut demo (I) from 2015 and a debut album (II-Toinen Tuleminen) released in 2016 — because this new album is a real thrill. Continue reading »

Jan 062019
 

 

This is the second part of today’s usual column on black metal, which I began here. The first three bands are old favorites; the next three are new discoveries. The focus is still mainly on new tracks from forthcoming records, but I’ve included one brand new single and a full EP that came out near summer’s end.

With more time, I could easily include a third part, but there’s too much on the table for Monday — and I think you’ll want to be here to discover what happens then.

VUKARI

I first came across this Chicago quartet via their En To Pan EP (which I partially reviewed back in July 2014), thanks to a recommendation by Panopticon’s Austin Lunn. Subsequently, Vukari and Panopticon became label-mates: Vukari’s second album Divination was released by Bindrune Recordings in 2016, and I thought it was stunningly good. It appears that the band are now working on a new album, and on January 3rd they released a demo track from it named “Entire Worlds Encased In Ice“. Continue reading »

May 082016
 

Profanatica-The Curling Flame of Blasphemy

 

As I explained yesterday, I’ve been off my game for yet another week, with less time than usual to collect new music worth hearing. In a (futile) effort to play catch-up, I collected some new things yesterday and a lot more in this post, which is again devoted to metal in a blackened vein.

PROFANATICA

New York’s Profanatica have deep roots in the underground, with a string of short releases beginning in 1990. The band dissolved in about 1992 before releasing an album, but re-formed in 2001, though the first album still wouldn’t appear until 2007. Their fourth album, The Curling Flame of Blasphemy, is now set for release on July 22 by Hells Headbangers, the music prepared by the band’s two core members, drummer/vocalist Paul Ledney and bassist/guitarist John Gelso.

The album’s first track, “Ordained in Bile”, appeared recently, and I really can’t get enough of it. The atmosphere is primitive and predatory, and its primal power owes much to its production (especially the drum tone, which you can feel right in your gut). Continue reading »

Mar 202016
 

Nabaath-Common Graves

 

This is the delayed completion of a three-part post I began early last week, collecting and reviewing mostly new songs, EPs, and albums in the orbit of black metal. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

One benefit of the delay is that I happened across a very recent song that’s the fourth item in this final installment, which includes music from six bands that I’ve been enjoying. Most of what I’ve collected here falls on the “atmospheric” side of the black metal spectrum.

NABAATH

In a previous edition of Shades of Black that appeared the day after Christmas 2015, I wrote about a striking video for a live performance by a band named Nabaath (who are Russian but now based in Ukraine), accompanied by dancer Mariya KarMa. The name of the song was “Iron In Your Throat”, and it’s one of nine on Nabaath’s third album, Common Graves, which was released last fall and is now available in full on Bandcamp. Continue reading »

Jul 262014
 

Happy goddamned Saturday to one and all. I’m in the middle of a mini-vacation with family and friends, which means I’ve spent more time over the last 24 hours making lists of new music to check out than actually listening or writing. But I hate to let a day go by without posting something at NCS (that’s happened on a grand total of 3 days since we started this site in November 2009), so here are a few quick things I’d like to recommend. With luck, I’ll have a few more to bring your way tomorrow.

BLOOD OF KINGU

As previously reported here, the Ukrainian black metal band Blood of Kingu (started by Roman Sayenko of Drudkh) will be releasing their third album via Season of Mist on September 2 in North America (and August 29 everywhere else). The title is Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon. Last month Terrorizer premiered the first advance track from the album — “Enshrined in the Nethermost Lairs Beneath the Oceans” — and a few days ago Metal Underground premiered a second track. Continue reading »