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Katatonia – Dead Air 2LP incoming

KATATONIA PERFORM AN EXTENSIVE AND MAJESTIC SET OF FAN FAVOURITES, CAPTURED DURING THEIR 2020 LOCKDOWN SESSION.

With a somewhat unforeseen global event transpiring this year which resulted in touring being made all but impossible for artists internationally, Katatonia conducted a more intimate ‘lockdown’ show which was streamed live from Studio Grondahl, Stockholm on May 9th. “Dead Air” offers fans a full 88-minute set containing 20 tracks from the band’s extensive and illustrious repertoire to date, with inclusions spanning two decades of dark progressive greatness, and essentially also debuting three of the “City Burials” album tracks in a live setting. 

The tracklisting itself contains a very literal selection of fan favourites overall, having being voted for exclusively by the band’s worldwide fanbase, flawlessly flirting between earlier singles such as metallic anthems ‘My Twin’ & ‘July’, to the stirring emotional grandeur of new song, “Lacquer”. 

The recording, mixing & engineering work was orchestrated by David Castillo, notable for his extensive body of work with Katatonia to date, and the performance itself was professionally filmed by Blackbox Video. 

Behind The Blood live from Dead Air

This version is truly improved from the studio version. Top notch!

Lacquer live from Dead Air

“Lacquer” from “Dead Air” is so bright, so tender, but yet so strong. Album version had an overall electronic feel, that is completely addressed in this excellent version.

Tracklisting

  1. Lethean (06:00)
  2. Teargas (03:17)
  3. Serein (04:47)
  4. Deliberation (03:57)
  5. The Winter Of Our Passing (03:08)
  6. Ghost Of The Sun (04:07)
  7. The Racing Heart (04:26)
  8. Soil`s Song (04:07)
  9. Old Heart Falls (04:25)
  10. Forsaker (04:10)
  11. Tonight`s Music (04:22)
  12. In The White (04:57)
  13. Leaders (04:17)
  14. Lacquer (04:51)
  15. Omerta (03:09)
  16. My Twin (03:38)
  17. Unfurl (04:52)
  18. July (04:48)
  19. Evidence (05:29)
  20. Behind The Blood (05:06)
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Hellenic black metal legends Varathron return with a brilliant live album – “Glorification under The Latin Moon”

“Glorification under The Latin Moon” was recorded in its entirety on August 4th, 2019 in São Paulo (Brazil) during the final show of Varathron‘s 30 Years Of Darkness Tour, the historic setlist boasts some of the bands finest compositions, from 1988 and beyond, most notably including the entirety of classic “His Majesty At The Swamp” from 1993, to most recent songs, taken from the acclaimed “Patriarchs Of Evil” album, which made it to an awful lot of year-end lists in 2018. We took the opportunity to catch up with Hellenic black metal legend Varathron‘s vocalist Stefan Necroabyssious…

Hello Stefan, please tell us about your new great live album “Glorification under The Latin Moon”.

Thank you for your great support to my band. Our first official live album and the whole situation is amazing. That album was recorded in Sao Paulo of Brazil, my second homeland as I said there, because we received so much love, passion and respect for our band. The sound was very good and the passion of the crowd awesome. We played the entire “His Majesty at the Swamp” album and some new tracks. Infernal night – I’ll never forget it!

Sounds amazing! It is great with represses and the live album! We’re wondering, is there possibly some new material round the corner?

Yes, we’re working on new material now! The new album will follow the path of “Patriarchs of Evil”, but even more abysmal and evil. I think it will be very good stuff!

Any other news about Varathron?

I hope the best for the near future and our musical community, and that we can start playing live shows and spread the words of evil… Soon I wish!

/Stefan Necroabyssious

We’re certainly looking forward to the follow-up to the successful “Patriarchs of Evil”. Meanwhile, we will enjoy “Glorification under The Latin Moon” – please check out the legendary “Son of The Moon” below.

Tracklist

A1Cultum Deus Aeternum (Ιntro)
A2Ouroboros Dweller
A3Cassiopeia’s Ode
A4Tenebrous
B1Saturnian Sect
B2His Majesty At The Swamp
B3Son Of The Moon
B4Unholy Funeral
C1Nightly Kingdoms
C2Lustful Father
C3Flowers Of My Youth
C4The River Of My Souls
D1The Tressrising Of Nyarlathotep
D2Genesis Of Apocryphal Desire
D3Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (Outro)
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French black metal label Les Acteurs De l’Ombre Productions added to our catalogue

We welcome the French underground label Les Acteurs De l’Ombre (LADLO) to our rooster. They release some of the finest black metal. We took the chance to catch up with label founder Gérald.

Read that LADLO started as a magazine and concert organizer. Could you elaborate on that and the philosophy and purpose?

“It all started back in 2001, when I decided to create the association LADLO, with two of my friends. At the beginning, it was a webzine for which 50 writers have worked. I had to leave the presidency of the association in 2008 due to a professional transfer, and that is when I requested the creation of the label for the association.

I had this idea in my mind since a few years, but I was lost in the downward spiral of the webzine and the organization of gigs, so I had no time to think about this…

It has been very exciting indeed. Because I always worked for the association as a volunteer, I had no risk of losing money, which allowed me to fully enjoy this new project. Pensées Nocturnes was the solo project of one member of our association that organized gigs : this way, we stayed ‘in family’ so to say – no pressure, only happiness and a burning desire to discover a new universe and meet new persons…

Before, I used to organize gigs all around Paris, among which three annual festivals: Black Metal, Pagan, and Doom Metal for 10 years. The team quickly got bigger; we organized more than 100 shows and more than 500 bands played for us.

Today the label has more than 20 volunteers, and we have no other desire than to have fun and do things the best we can. Making people discover our favorite bands is a main motivation for us.”

French black metal seems relatively big and we also get many orders from France. What do you think about the development of black metal in France?

“I think French scene always generated some interest abroad. It never was a reference, but since black metal was born, it has always offered qualitative bands starting with Mütiilation in 91, Nehëmah in 92 and others. Our bands never really exported themselves, but we got a critical success with a few avant-garde bands such as Blut Aus Nord, and Deathspell Omega, that stood out. While the traditional black metal scene has known its share of great bands, others wanted to try new things, with new inspirations, freeing themselves from their influences and rebelling against conventions. I’d say it’s kind of our trademark: we do what we like, here in France. I think our bands have improved, even if I feel like we were always slow on the uptake. Today, some think we have qualities and follow our flourishing scene very closely. But let’s not be mistaken, French scene remains anecdotal in black metal universe. World is full of so many great bands…”

Thanks a lot Gérald for your words and good luck with everything going forward!

Make sure to visit the homepage of LADLO, and below you’ll find the recently added titles from this fine label…

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Review: Darkenhöld – Arcanes & Sortilèges LP

Darkenhöld – Arcanes & Sortilèges album cover

When ladies and gentlemen speak about France, many think of exclusive wines and the famous French cuisine. Personally, I have come to associate France with something vastly different, namely black metal. The French black metal scene is extremely musically diverse. Darkenhöld certainly contributes to this, by providing their own unique flavour – I would not say it is the type of castle cellar aged, so called ‘sophisticated’ output. No, “Arcanes & Sortilèges” rather offers a taste more energetic, exciting and captivating.

Musically, this is much more positive than the typical black metal album. The music is heavily spiced with power/speed metal herbs. This, combined with all the castles, wizards, wyverns etc moves your mind so you fuckin’ loose it and suddenly, you are a dedicated believer in the fact that you are listening to a completely mad Blind Guardian on anabolic steroids or something. On top of that, you get acoustic guitar parts, drum fills and of course melodic ‘black metal’. Yeah, it’s both crazy and lovely.

Back to the French wine and ‘grub’ – I would love to pop a bottle of Beaujolais with frog legs and snails, and if these delicacies come together with “Arcanes & Sortilèges”, or some other Darkenhöld vinyl, I for sure am truly happy…

Darkenhöld – Arcanes & Sortilèges on Spotify

It is possible to listen to the album on Spotify:

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Three albums by Swedish death/doom veterans In Mourning added

Swedish death and doom veterans In Mourning is a hidden gem for some. We got hold of some limited edition first pressing vinyls, which we wanted to offer to our more death/doom oriented customers.

Spotify playlist

Please, do check out our related Spotify playlist, doom and depressive metal Spotify playlist, to get in the right mood:

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Venom – The Singles 5 x 7″ (special order)

Five classic 7″ singles by black metal pioneers Venom, pressed on limited edition coloured vinyls and rolled into one slick package, now available as special order.

Tracklist

SIDE A
1.In League With Satan

SIDE B
2.Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil)

SIDE C
3.Bloodlust

SIDE D
4.In Nomine Satanas

SIDE E
5.Die Hard

SIDE F
6.Acid Queen

SIDE G
7.Warhead

SIDE H
8.Lady Lust

SIDE I
9.Manitou

SIDE J
10. Women

Colours

  • In League With Satan:  40g Solid White Vinyl W/ Classic Black Splatter
  • Bloodlust:  40g Ultra Clear Vinyl W/ Solid Red Splatter
  • Die Hard:  40g Transparent Yellow Vinyl W/ Solid Purple Splatter
  • Warhead:  40g Classic Black Vinyl W/ Solid White Splatter
  • Manitou:  40g Mustard Vinyl W/ Bronze Splatter
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New releases from Nebular Carcoma Records

We have added some new releases from fine Spanish label Nebular Carcoma Records below:

  1. Blood Stronghold – Spectres of Bloodshed LP
  2. Borda’s rope / El-Ahrairah – Split 10″
  3. Negativa – 01 LP
Nebular Carcoma Records

Blood Stronghold – Spectres of Bloodshed LP

This is a really fine piece of underground black metal. I love the sound and the song writing is great. Check it out for yourselves (note that the drum sound is (more) odd in the youtube video than on proper vinyl):

Borda’s rope / El-Ahrairah – Split 10″

Raw lo-fi primitive black metal from USA, sometimes on the border to industrial / noise. Extremely limited and now deleted. Check it out here:

Negativa – 01 LP

Negativa are a prolific and mysterious force hailing from Spain. The entity’s two central figures, multi-instrumentalist DB and vocalist D.R., respectively maintain the well-regarded Délirant (of the Mystískaos cabal) and Atrabilis. Together, as Negativa, do the duo create delirious, tortured, but credibly avant-garde black metal, worming deep within atonality and tension to find bittersweet resolution and maimed ‘n’ malformed melody.

Of the band’s prolific clutch of releases, arguably, Negativa’s 01 is the perfect distillation of their aesthetic, a shocking bolt-from-the-blue originally released in 2014 on super-limited cassette. The soundfield is sharp, almost crystal-clear, but somehow alien and unsettling. Their push & pulse takes on a folding-inward variety of shapes, vortex-like, building ever-denser and -taller walls around the listener. Suffocating yet emitting a paradoxical expanse of space, the four-song spell hypnotizes from there; each body/mind-fold sluices energy and happiness from the spirit, Negativa‘s obsidian metallics growing stronger with each passing, parasitic minute. By the end of 01, that listener is literally rendered a zero, a hollow shell of cursed corporeal garbage.

Seek the beginning of the end with this noble new vinyl edition of Negativa’s 01 and rue its rotten (re)discovery.

Single sided 12″LP limited to 120 copies.

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Black metal act Leviathan (SWE) are back with “Förmörkelse”

Back from the dead, Swedish black metal outfit Leviathan return after 18 (!) years of silence with the followup to their 2002 debut “Far Beyond The Light”. The new LP “Förmörkelse” is written by, and all instruments are played by, Roger “Phycon” Markström. He got some help with prominent guest appearances, by members from Dråpsnatt and Vintersorg. We caught up with Roger to get a comment about the new album…

Leviathan about “Förmörkelse”…

Hello Roger, please tell us about the new album, “Förmörkelse”.

The new album has taken quite some time to be completely finalized and that is really kind of bizarre and weird, but also fascinating… I have for a long time had an urge to continue the ‘Leviathan journey’ and from time to time I was contacted by labels giving lousy offers. I have also ‘from natural causes’ learnt that it is important to be able to trust each other, in the relation between the artist and the label. After finally finding a label to work with, I got up to speed with the writing which was performed by me and me only in utter lonelieness, except for my Gibson guitar. I took my ideas and created promos and then the real recording of the album took place in three different studios in Skellefteå, Sweden.

This all may sound like a walk in the park, but behind this is misery – the album is truly about personal experiences, from the last 18 years, in the form of violence, drugs, alcohol, knives, bloodshed, disgusting perversion and perfect purity – these dark and sometimes tragic happenings constitutes the fundament for “Förmörkelse”, and without them the album wouldn’t exist…

Nebular Carcoma press release

“One of the most cult names before the term “cult” began being bandied about with reckless abandon, Leviathan appeared out of nowhere in 2002 with one album, Far Beyond the Light, and then disappeared forever. Granted, the man behind this Leviathan was no newcomer: one Phycon, who concurrently drummed in Armagedda before their demise and the precursor Volkermord. As such, the breadth of ambition across Förmörkelse was startling if not completely unexpected. So pure, so cold, and yet so brimming with lifeless life – an intentional paradox, perhaps – here did Phycon ably bridge the ’90s wave of black metal which so informed his youth with the yet-to-burst wave beginning at the dawn of the new millennium. It was an invigorating experience for all who heard it, and has since become a collector’s item, released as it was by Shining‘s since-closed Selbstmord Services label.

But, just like how Far Beyond the Light appeared literally out of nowhere, so, too, does Leviathan’s comeback with Förmörkelse. Almost picking up right where the debut album left off, after a tense intro does Leviathan-the-man waste no time in establishing a splendorously grim atmosphere, roiling with the rippling physicality which so endeared that debut whilst maintaining a perversely invigorating melancholy. Each of the subsequent nine tracks build both with patience and urgency, each deliriously dark texture taking its time to wrap its black leathery wings around the listener. An ages-old sort of melodicism is intertwined throughout, often draped in haunting / shimmering shades of chorus pedal, which works as ghostly counterpoint to the gnashing pulse so central to the Leviathan aesthetic. And central to that is Phycon’s exquisitely deft and daresay-swinging drum-work, which even shines during the album’s moments of restraint and repose, allowing space and shade to work their magick as Förmörkelse moves on. And, by record’s end, the listener is left with catharsis and climax – so pure, so cold, and yet so vibrant.

Indeed, Leviathan’s brilliance radiates outward through the ages, across decades, and remains just as vital and timeless as when the band began. If it takes nearly another 20 years for the follow-up to Förmörkelse, so be it: we are only richer for experiencing Phycon’s vision when he so chooses to reveal it.”

Taster from the album

Leviathan – “Förmörkelse” track listing

  1. XVII
  2. Avgrundens Återsken
  3. Förmörkelse
  4. Svart
  5. Förbannelsen
  6. Verklighetens Väv
  7. En Tidlös Illvilja
  8. Melankolins Ävja
  9. Babylons Sand
  10. Pestens Sigill
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Aethyrick – mystical witchcraft magick & shadowy atmospheres

With three vinyls out and a fourth on its way we wanted to dig a little bit deeper into this relatively new atmospheric black metal entity, from the land of thousand lakes. Please allow us to present Aethyrick – atmospheric black metal from Finland.

1. The background

What first got you into this genre, and what drives you to create the music you do?

“The answer to both is the fact that black metal manages to awaken sensations and emotions in me in the way that no other genre can. In my early adoloscence I first discovered death metal and groups such as Deicide served to push me in the right direction, but when I heard Cradle of Filth’s debut for the first time, my fate was sealed. Very soon after this Marduk, Emperor, Mayhem and all those classic giants followed and deepened this connection. As cheesy as it sounds, it all changed my life. It swung open the gates to a realm that I had been circling around since my childhood and that instantly became my spiritual home. In a way what I’ve done ever since is about re-living and perpetuating that initial encounter and the effect it had on me on various levels, but it is clear that the spiritual dimension to all this has just been expanding since those teenage years. And here we are, after 25 years, still pacing around in that holy labyrinth without any need to find a way out.”

So does that mean that we can thank Glen Benton of Deicide a little, and maybe their selftitled debut album, for your existence? The starting point for a chain of events to follow…

“Glen Benton and the first two Deicide albums certainly gave a considerable push, but the initial momentum can be credited to Marko Palmén from Evocation for making me aware of death metal in the first place. A bit surprising maybe, but the thing is that our fathers have been friends since childhood and so we visited their family in Sweden quite often when I was a kid. Evocation had just released their debut demo so Marko gave me a copy and expanded my musical horizons quite a bit, hah. I wasn’t entirely sold from the get-go but the thing slowly grew on me and became an access point into this kind of extreme music.”

2. The present

That’s certainly an intriguing childhood story. Let’ s move on from history and musical forebears for now… So, please describe your creative process.

“Not very glamorous or mystical, I can tell you that. When inspiration strikes, it strikes without warning. We don’t invoke it, we don’t bribe or force it, we just obey it when it raises its head from the abyss. Of course the events and forces that kick us forward in this respect are manifold and even obscure to us, but the actual process is not that out of the ordinary. We just sit down and work on new stuff when time, mood and circumstances permit and then proceed to hone things further together until we reach the end result we both can agree upon and which still maintains the original spark that gave rise to it in the first place. We practically never work face to face so it’s down to sending ideas and files back and forth. But I don’t mind this as we do things almost in real-time. It would be another thing if we needed to kick each other frequently to get things forward.”

Sounds like the process is working. A generic question, but what are your opinions about black metal anno 2020?

“A lot of utter shit or too neutral stuff out there, that’s for sure, but I’m not one of those who label it all unworthy of any attention. Quite the opposite actually as I tend to keep both my mind and eyes open in case there’s a new release that might sweep me off my feet. Of course that’s a rare thing to occur and most of the albums released these days just pass me by, but there have been many exceptions to this too and this is what keeps me optimistic about this genre’s future as well.”

Are there any relatively recent releases or bands to emerge, that you could praise and hail, as positive exceptions?

“The most recent one is Lifvsleda’s debut album Det besegrade lifvet. I know it’s not their first release, but for some reason or another I never checked them out before. I’m glad I did now as it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in a while. Another example is Faidra’s Six Voices Inside, what an awesome release of mid-tempo black metal that is, simple in form and rich in atmosphere.”

Some seriously great recommendations there, I notice that both are Swedish. Also, the Finnish black metal scene is getting more attention it seems, what are your views on the Finnish scene, bands, labels etc?

“Is it? I think it’s been getting quite a lot of attention at least since the turn of the millennium. But I might be a bit biased here, so don’t take that as a god-given truth. I personally feel there’s a satisfying level of integrity amongst the people involved in our country’s scene, by which I mean that the spiritual element is genuinely present and not just glued on for the sake of appearance. Naturally this doesn’t apply to everyone, not even to the majority, but considering that generally people are what they are I think the situation in Finland is something that can be applauded.”

I believe it is getting appreciation at least, or maybe I am spending my time in a ‘Finnish black metal filter bubble’ 🙂 Your last album, “Gnosis”, was released earlier this year. Please tell us more about it.

“Gnosis is the middle chapter in our album trilogy that started out with Praxis a year before. Musically it continues on the same path as the debut, but I feel that our way of expression has evolved quite a lot between those two albums. The core idea is still the same but somehow the atmosphere has reached new heights – and this I say without putting down the debut which I still enjoy immensely. Lyric-wise the themes revolve around divine knowledge gained through magical praxes, but this is of course a rather broad concept so the actual content of the lyrics is quite varied. None of these albums is a concept album in the strict sense of the word but each poem on them is closely tied to the title of the album.”

I completely agree and I would say, at least most days, that “Gnosis” is a step forward. Regarding magical praxes and Chumbley, would you like elaborate on the subject? 

“This is a topic that could easily grow into an interview of its own, but I’ll keep it brief now. Even if I’m a bit over-simplifying things here, the Sabbatic Craft tradition, in the form initially brought into life by Chumbley, is essentially traditional witchcraft with high magical motives. We both have found our place under the large wings of this particular tradition, and this is actually the biggest factor behind the birth of Aethyrick. In my experience it’s very hard to find other musicians that not only share musical preferences but that walk the exact same esoteric path as you do, so in our case this band was pretty much written in the stars. Aethyrick explores both musically and lyrically our relation to this current and functions both as a mirror of revelation and a diary of things done and learnt upon this path that has once chosen us.”

“Gnosis” in its full…

3. The future

Your musical direction indicates that you seem stable with your sound, what’s next for you guys?

“Next step is to wait for our third album, Apotheosis, to arrive from the pressing plant. Should be out by the end of this year, but we shall see how it goes. Sounds a bit fast, I know, but we didn’t feel any need to stall this just for the sake of not having two full-lengths released the same year. We won’t be making this a habit, though. With this album trilogy things progressed surprisingly efficiently and we’ve just gone with the flow and let everything happen freely. There will be album number four from Aethyrick as we’re slowly working on new songs, but there will be a bit longer pause this time. Or not, who the hell knows!”

That is an impressive productivity, yet with supreme quality. Is it somewhat correct to assume that the forthcoming third album, “Apotheosis”, will continue in basically the same vein as “Praxis” and “Gnosis”? 

“Yes, Apotheosis is clothed in the same raiments as the two albums before it, but I would say the overall feeling is even more star-embracing than on Gnosis. At least that’s how I see it as I think it’s a bit more majestic than its predecessors – and by this I don’t mean an increase in the keyboard department but rather the general feeling of the tracks as a whole…”

That sounds very interesting indeed. With that said, we look forward to the third album in the trilogy and thank you for the interview.

4. Links

Solstice Cycle vinyl outer sleeve backshot
Vinyl backshot from the ripping demo compilation “Solstice Cycle”