New Metal Embassy episode interviews Palestinian metal band

Amir Jacob is the man behind the Palestinian black metal band Zalaam and this episode’s interview with Metal Chris is Amir’s first interview about his band. Amir gives insight into how his environment influences the music of Zalaam and of course we listen to a song by the band at the end of the episode as well.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more).

Metal Embassy – 005 – Zalaam (Palestine)

Siberian black metal band Gloosh interview on Metal Embassy

Happy 4/20 everyone! First I’d like to mention that a few metal shows have been announced and so the DCHM upcoming concert calendar is back in order and you can see it here. Also, the fourth episode of the Metal Embassy podcast is now live and if I’d thought about this with a bit of foresight I’d probably have gotten a stoner band for the interview. Instead I did an interview with George Gabrielyan of the one man black metal band Gloosh that is based out of Siberia, Russia. This interview is my first to use an interpreter and I cannot thank Alexi Khalchenia enough for coming to my studio and doing the translation work. George first turned down the interview because his English is not good enough but he changed his mind when I offered to find an interpreter so this episode would not have been possible without Alexi’s help. This is George’s first interview using an interpreter and my first as well.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). I also made an alternate version of this podcast with the interview entirely in Russian (all English parts edited out) and that is only available on the Metal Embassy Bandcamp page here.

Metal Embassy – 004 – Gloosh (Siberia)

Metal Chris’ favorite black metal albums of 2020

It’s the end of the year so it’s time for my end of year album lists! I’m posting several lists, each for a different subgenre/category, and ordered by release date instead of ranking them. 2020 has been a unique year with unique challenges, to say the least, and I fully expect that to be reflected in my lists. This black metal list is my first of these lists but the doom/stoner list is now live here and you can also find my death metal list here.

ErancnoirBerglicht
Self-released February 7 2020
This Iranian one man band put out a gem of longform atmospheric black metal in early 2020. I found myself getting lost in this album’s four tracks, totaling about 70 minutes of music, many times this year. Other Iranian metal bands From The Vastland and Arsames are more well known but Berglicht proves Erancnoir is worthy of attention too.

Cult of FireMoksha / Nirvana
Released 20 February 2020 by Beyond Eyes
The Czech band Cult of Fire released these two companion albums in February and while double albums can drag on they’ve done a good job of making each one listenable on its own, though I’d argue they do complete each other. A unique band unlike any other out there right now, they use black metal to explore the philosophy and spiritual concepts of Buddhism and Vedic Hinduism (subjects I do not claim to be an expert on) while simultaneously playing totally jamming riffs.

GlooshTimewheel
Self-released 29 February 2020
Gloosh is a one man band based in the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. This debut album offers a Russian take on the Cascadian black metal sound of bands from the Pacific Northwest like Wolves In The Throne Room, Ash Borer, Fauna and others with a heavy focus not on coldness and evil but on nature and solitude. This is a great album to plug some headphones into while taking a walk somewhere outdoors.

Spectral Lore / Mare Cognitum split Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine
Released 13 March 2020 by Entropic Recordings
The Hellenic black metal of Spectral Lore met with the Cascadian black metal of Mare Cognitum to bring us this Astrological themed split from these two excellent one man bands. Each planet in the Solar System is given its own song by one of the two bands and then they both combine on the two songs about Pluto that close out this almost 2 hour long release that somehow goes by too quickly every time I play it.

FeminazgûlNo Dawn For Men
Self-released 17 March 2020
Their debut EP from 2018 was solid but the women of North Carolina based Feminazgûl really stepped it up this year on their first full length, No Dawn For Men. Better songwriting combined with better production have made this band with a novelty name something to be taken seriously.

KaatayraSó Quem Viu o Relâmpago à Sua Direita Sabe
Self-released 1 April 2020
Kaatayra is a one man Brazilian black metal band that uses many folk elements and even instruments to create a sound that seemingly comes straight out of the rainforest. As an acoustic black metal album it certainly isn’t the most brutal release on this list but there’s simply nothing else out there that sounds like this album. Kaatayra released another album in August, Toda História pela Frente, that features electric instruments if you want a little more bite added to that sound.

UnreqvitedEmpathica
Released 22 May 2020 by Northern Silence Productions
Metal Archives doesn’t even consider Unreqvited a metal band but I’m a firm believer that this calming style of atmospheric black metal is another splinter of this diverse subgenre. I’m not sure this album would have appeared on my year end list in any other year but I cannot count the nights that I’ve listened to this album to help me wind down after long stressful days during this pandemic. There’s no lyrics, just vocalized screams, that are somehow perfectly relatable in 2020.

Paysage d’HiverIm Wald
Released 26 June 2020 by Kunsthall Produktionen
Paysage d’Hiver is a Swiss band with a French name that translates to “Winter Landscape” and the name is quite fitting. Their sound is cold, brittle and perfect to listen to while tromping through nature in the middle of a snowstorm, even if only in the mind’s eye. It’s a long album at about 2 hours in length, but the songs here are simply too good to easily get tired of. As a side note, many have noticed the new Taylor Swift album, Folklore, has a strikingly similar cover.

Lamp of MurmuurHeir of Ecliptical Romanticism
Released 2 October 2020 by Death Kvlt Productions
For the trve kvlt purists the debut full length by Olympia, Washington, based Lamp of Murmuur does not disappoint. This album has all the hallmarks of traditional black metal harking back to the Norwegian second wave, but manages to keep the sound fresh and exciting with creative song writing that, while familiar, isn’t derivative enough to make it seem like a direct rip off of anything in particular.

Путь (Pathway) – Юдоль скорби (The Vale of Sorrow)
Released 23 October 2020 by Depths of Void
Путь, pronounced “put,” released this EP in October. Instead of a keyboard, the Russian band features an accordion playing slow, sad melodies that add a somber tone to their songs. Black metal’s Scandinavian roots often give a wintery feel but this release feels like the waning days of October as plant life withers and dies heading into the dark winter months. The track “Cold Spring” was actually written in the early days of the pandemic and is about the isolation felt in locked down “empty cities” across the world.

Metal Chris’ Favorite Black Metal Albums of 2019

It’s the week after Christmas but before New Year’s and everyone has been posting their year end lists. I figured I’d join in the fun this year with a few of my own. This is my black metal list but I also have a death metal list (here) and a doom/stoner (here). I definitely listened to these genres disproportionately the most in 2019. The albums are not ranked so they’re in order of release date. They’re not meant to be “the best albums of the year” but they are my personal favorites of the year, the ones I kept coming back to listen to again and again.

VeldesFlameless
Self released January 4, 2019
Veldes is from Slovenia and their sound is perfect to put on the headphones for a solo walk through the woods. They blend the epicness of bands like Saor with the attachment to nature akin to the Cascadian black metal bands and somehow make it all really catchy and moving at the same time.

Rotting ChristThe Heretics
Released February 15, 2019 by Season Of Mist
One of the earliest and most famous of the Greek black metal bands, Rotting Christ has changed their sound several times over their 30+ year history. These days they blend elements of that classic Hellenic black metal epic sound with gothic and melo black metal elements. Sometimes their albums are far off the mark but The Heretics hit the bullseye with unique and diverse songs. Their local tie in is their rendition of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” which you can hear on the player below.

EllendeLebensnehmer
Released March 29, 2019 by Art of Propaganda
Lukas Gosch is the mastermind and sole member of Ellende, everyone else in this Austrian band is a hired hand. There have been a lot of bands playing the post-black metal sound since Alcest started blending shoegaze with black metal over a decade ago, but while some of these bands have veered far into hipster territory Ellende has managed to keep enough brutality and mournful sorrow in with the atmospheric elements to keep the band firmly in the more black metal than gaze side of the spectrum.

MisþyrmingAlgleymi
Released May 24, 2019 by Norma Evangelium Diaboli
The black metal scene in Iceland is very strong right now and 2019 saw a slew of great releases by bands like Sinmara, Andavald and even a Wormlust / Skáphe collab album, however Algleymi by Misþyrming rises above them all as the island nation’s stand out release in 2019. This album is aggressive and melodic and the songs are diverse and creative so that it warrants multiple playthroughs without becoming boring. Misþyrming translates to “mistreatment” but this album is anything but.

Батюшка (Krzysztof Drabikowski)Панихида
Self-released May 26, 2019
A public schism and ensuing legal battle over the name Batushka have resulted in multiple versions of the Polish band after their debut album, Litourgiya, was released in 2015. Both versions of the band released albums this year but Krysztof Drabikowski showed that while the other version may have better marketing and production, you can’t beat or imitate the feel of his songwriting. Continuing the band’s sound of combining Gregorian monk style chanting with black metal, Панихида is the rightful sophomore album from one of the most unique sounding bands in black metal right now.

Yellow EyesRare Field Ceiling
Released June 28, 2019 by Gilead Media
The only fully American band on this list, Yellow Eyes have a very distinct sound drenched in distortion but with a foundation in melody that is somehow both off putting and infectious at once. The band is from New York City and Rare Field Ceiling‘s sound is perfect listening while wandering a bleak urban landscape. I also have some personal attachments to this album that I won’t get into here, but this is a release that I’m sure I will be enjoying for years to come.

VoidsphereTo Exist | To Breathe
Released July 25, 2019 by Amor Fati Productions
Black metal fans have always loved the genre’s underground collectives such as the Norwegian Inner Circle, Les Légions Noires and the Black Twilight Circle. Voidsphere is my favorite of the ПРАВА КОЛЛЕКТИВ (Prava Kollektiv), a group of bands that have been putting out releases that are dissonant and dark, even by black metal standards. Voidsphere is distinct in that their songs are all lo-fi, very long (around 20 minutes plus), and basically sounds like you’re endlessly falling into a black hole over an eternity.

AsagraumDawn of Infinite Fire
Released September 13, 2019 by Edged Circle Productions
Asagraum is an all female black metal band but don’t let stereotypes fool you, this release is the most aggressive on the list. It isn’t all fury akin to Medea though as there are breaks where the band shows their ability to slow down a bit to build up tension. This adds a needed dynamic contrast to the blasting. Solid riffs and raspy vocals are the standard of this Dutch band.

Blut Aus NordHallucinogen
Released September 20, 2019 by Debemur Morti Productions
The French band Blut Aus Nord is almost like the Neurosis of black metal in that they have a long history of changing their sound over the years yet continue to put out top notch material. With a title like Hallucinogen you might expect something closer to Oranssi Pazuzu’s psychedelic black metal but the album is not that spacey and has more progressive and melodic influences. They are definitely experimenting with some new things here too, for example the song “Mahagma” sounds like Blut Aus Nord’s take on the Batushka chanting sound.

VástígrAura Aeternitatis
Released September 27, 2019 by Avantgarde Music
The second Austrian band on this list, Vástígr has a modern take on melodic black metal without the campy cheese the sub genre is sometimes guilty of. This is Vástígr’s first release but it is quite impressive. The album cover art perfectly captures the cold and isolated sound of Aura Aeternitatis, reminiscent of trodding through the snow on the side of a mountain with the grim reaper hot on your heels. The catchyness and beauty of these songs have kept me coming back.

Dawn Ray’dBehold Sedition Plainsong
Released October 25, 2019 by Prosthetic Records
Dawn Ray’d is a UK based anarchist band with a solid anti-fascism and anti-bigotry stance, something that is unfortunately not common enough in black metal. This is the band’s sophomore release and they’ve taken leaps forward with their songwriting. Their sound blends black metal with folk elements and has a certain primitive rawness to it that ties it all together perfectly.

SchammaschHearts Of No Light
Released November 8, 2019 by Prosthetic Records
This was a late comer this year but wow what a release by Swiss band Schammasch. These songs weave pure darkness in a very dramatic and gripping way. It is never about any specific riff or drum beat but the overall feel of these songs. No matter the tempo they are dripping in tension, apprehension and utter darkness. The dark vibe they have captured here is distinctly black metal in nature and one I will be relistening to well into the next decade.

Behemoth ticket give away

Behemoth at Fillmore Silver Spring

Poland’s masters of the dark arts, Behemoth, return to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, November 2nd, with a killer line up that includes At The Gates and Wolves In The Throne Room. We’re so excited about this show here at DCHM that we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me which of the three bands playing you’re most excited to see. On Wednesday, October 17th at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Live Nation for $29.50 here.

Behemoth just released a new album, I Loved You at Your Darkest, on Nuclear Blast Records this month. Now, after a successful summer performing as one of the support acts for Slayer’s farewell tour in North America, they’re returning to the US for a proper headlining tour. At The Gates is one of the most important bands from the famous Swedish Gothenburg death metal scene. They will probably always be most remembered for their masterpiece album Slaughter of the Soul but they also put out a new album this year, To Drink from the Night Itself. The opening band is probably the most influential US black metal band, Wolves In The Throne Room. They’re from Washington state and are one of the bands that helped make atmospheric black metal popular with a wider audience. Now go check out the videos below by these bands and leave a comment telling me which one you’re most excited to see at the Fillmore Silver Spring on November 2nd!

Behemoth – Wolves ov Siberia

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Wolves In The Throne Room – Born From The Serpent’s Eye

Cradle Of Filth ticket give away

Cradle Of Filth at Baltimore Soundstage

This Friday, April 6th, the infamous Cradle of Filth will be performing at the Baltimore Soundstage! To help get you guys pumped for the show we’re going to give away a pair of tickets to the show to one of you lucky DCHM readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite band or musician from the UK is. Then this Thursday, April 5th at 12pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $30 here.

Cradle of Filth really stepped up their game with the release of their 2015 album Hammer of the Witches. The come back has kept up with their follow up album in 2017, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. If you haven’t listened to the band in many years I highly suggest you check these albums out as they’ve brought the band back to relevancy. Also performing is Jinjer, a Ukrainian band that reminds me of something like a cross between Arch Enemy and Periphery. The opening act is Uncured from New York City. They play a somewhat proggy style of deathcore and should bring some good energy to get the night started. Now check out these videos of all three bands and leave a comment telling me what your favorite band from the UK is!

Cradle of Filth – Heartbreak and Seance

Jinjer – Cloud Factory

Uncured – Opium Den