Sep 252023

In preparing to write what you’re about to read I finally tried to answer a question I’ve wondered about for years: Where did the Portuguese band Wells Valley get their name?

After spending more time googling than I should have, and even reaching out to the band’s label Lavadome Productions, I still don’t know the answer. It may be a place on a map, a fixed location on the Earth, or a fictional location in a tale, conceived either by the band or some novelist or filmmaker.

I’m still curious, but one thing is quite clear: whatever else Wells Valley may mean, it now represents a landmark for a mysterious and extremely unsettling place the band create in a listener’s mind, and their new album Achamoth is a previously uncharted descent toward that harrowing place that’s unlike most others. Continue reading »

Sep 062019


Music can cause us to move and shake, to throw our heads back in joy or hammer them like ecstatic pistons, caught up in the thrill of being alive. Music also has the capacity to fire the imagination, to cause our minds to spontaneously conceive unbidden images and experiences that never actually happened, to carry us away to places we’ve never visited and that may not actually exist, to create spells that may haunt us for reasons we might not be able to readily identify.

Both kinds of music — the fun kinds and the more profound and mysterious varieties — can stay with us, but the latter often seem to settle in more deeply and to make mental and emotional connections that are longer-lasting. It’s fair to say that the new Wells Valley track we’re presenting today is of that variety, an immersive and spellbinding experience that sends the mind’s eye off into realms of the imagination while also evoking powerful emotions that might not be anywhere near the surface of your feelings when the song begins.

Because “Pleroma” is that kind of experience, it’s entirely fitting that this Portuguese band has presented it through a transfixing video (directed by Guilherme Henriques) that is itself a flight of the imagination, a sequence of surreal visions that sometimes seem to lurk at the edge of reality, reminiscent of sights that sometimes seem familiar but are bent from the normal frames of reference, but sometimes seem utterly alien — and frightening. Continue reading »

Aug 202019


It’s an eclectic mix of sounds that I’ve chosen for today’s round-up; an authoritative but not infallible source doesn’t consider any of them metal. As on other occasions, I’ve benefited from recommendations received from Rennie (starkweather), which are the first two bands in this selection. The first of those, Wells Valley, was already a known quantity to me, though I didn’t know they had a new album set for release. The second one (Indus) was a new discovery, as were the next two, which I learned about in other ways.

Hektik‘s new EP seemed to pair up very well with the recent Indus EP, which is why I’ve put them back-to-back in the middle. The music of Burden Limbs is a different breed of cat altogether, but I’ve found myself hooked on the song I’ve included here, and by the forthcoming EP from which it comes.


In June of this year Black Lion Records released a compilation CD (also available as a name-your-price Bandcamp download here) named Afterlife In Darkness I. It includes songs by 29 bands taken from past and future releases by Black Lion. I should have paid closer attention to it, because one of the five tracks from forthcoming albums on that comp is the new song (“Paragon“) by Wells Valley that I’ve picked to start today’s collection, which is also now streaming on a recently established Bandcamp page for their new album. Continue reading »

Nov 022016



Getting kind of  a late start on today’s post — yes, “post”, in the singular. I got slammed at my day job yesterday afternoon, and today will be no better. I’m now sitting on an airplane after leaving my house at 5 a.m. to start a cross-country trip, and as soon as I finish writing this thing, I’ll have to put my nose to the grindstone again.

Last night I did make my way through a bunch of new music and videos that have appeared since the weekend, and culled from them this collection of goodies.


The mysterious cult of ghouls from Kielce, Poland, are returning with a new album named Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love, which is set for a double-CD release by Hells Headbangers on November 25, 2017, with a triple-LP vinyl version coming later. All that extra physical room is needed because this new immensity is nearly 100 minutes long. Continue reading »