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Five the Hierophant PR1

Dark Essence Records have set the 22nd September as the release date for “Over Phlegethon”,  the debut full-length album from FIVE THE HIEROPHANT, who recently signed to the Norwegian label, known for its uncanny ability to sniff out promising new talent to add to its roster of established and iconic bands.

With “Over Phlegethon”,  the UK Trio have brought the full weight of their ritualistic soundscapes to bear. It is a dark and devastating album,  imbued with Psychedelic Black Metal, Jazz, Post Metal and Ambient,  all of which, combined with the band’s trademark heavy riffs, drone-like atmospheres and a Black Metal intensity, reveal a sound and atmosphere that is unique to FIVE THE HIEROPHANT.

This uniqueness if further emphasized by the unusual array of instruments used by the band, whose lineup is composed of Chris on drums, temple bells, djembe, shakers and gong, Mitch on  bass and effects, and  महाकाली on guitars, bowed guitars, rag-dung, violin and  grand piano noise.

“Over Phlegethon” was recorded and mixed at Scream Studios in London.  The cover art for the album is a painting entitled “Dust Lickers” by Odd Nerdrum.   Track listing is as follows:

1. Queen over Phlegethon
2. Vampire
3. Seafarer
4. Der Geist der stets Verneint
5. Sepulchre
6. Omen Tree

Five the Hierophant Artwork

More information about FIVE THE HIEROPHANT can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

Five the Hierophant PR

The video for the track “Witch’s Tale” from FIVE THE HIEROPHANT’s self-titled EP can be seen below and at

The self-titled “Five the Hierophant” EP can be heard below and at

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Himmelgemme PR1

Bergen may be known as being at the epicentre of Norwegian Black Metal, but with the help of Karisma Records, it is also fast developing a reputation for  giving birth to some of the most interesting new bands who inhabit the more Progressive side of the music spectrum.

One such band is HIMMELLEGEME,  whose Psychedelic brand of Rock, replete with heavy-hitting riffs, chilling melodies and melancholic lyrics, is influenced by both Blues and Atmospheric Prog Rock, and whose debut full-length album, “Myth of Earth”,  is set for release on Karisma Records on the 6th October.

HIMMELLEGEME’s lineup of Aleksander Vormestrand on guitars and vocals, Hein Alexander Olson on lead guitar, Lauritz Isaksen on keyboards, Erik Alfredsen on bass, and Thord Nordli on drums, spent the past year exploring new sounds and putting the finishing touches on their new material, the result of which is an album that depicts past events not only in the lives of the band members themselves, but also in the lives of others.

Recorded during the fall and winter of 2016 at the Broen Studios in Bergen, and produced by Anders Bjelland (ELECTRIC EYE / HYPERTEXT),  “Myth of Earth” is an album whose sound is otherworldly and timeless.  With artwork by Mina Nornes Westli,  tracklisting for “Myth of Earth is as follows:

1. Natteravn
2. Hjertedød
3. Myth of Earth
4. Breath in the air like fire
5. Kyss mine blodige hender
6. Fish
7. Fallvind

Himmelgemme AlbumArt

HIMMELLEGEME are set to play four dates in Norway, one at the Fjellparkfestivalen in July, and three with VULTURE INDUSTRIES in the Autumn to celebrate the release of  “Myth of Earth.

21 Jul: Fjellparkfestivalen, Flekkefjord
29 Sep: Checkpoint Charlie, Stavanger
30 Sep:  Blå, Oslo
21 Oct:  Flytten, Haugesund

More information about HIMMELLEGEME can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

Himmelgemme PR2

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Norse Black Metallers HELHEIM are set to join Dark Essence Records label-mates TAAKE for a number of dates on the iconic band’s upcoming North American tour.  Whilst HELHEIM will not be joining the tour until the 27th May, GosT is set to be the main support on all but three of the  dates.

Routing as follows:

20 May: El Corazon, Seattle, WA (not Helheim)
21 May:  Star Theater, Portland, OR (not Helheim)
23 May:  The Independent, San Francisco, CA (not Helheim)
24 May: The Regent, Los Angeles, CA (not Helheim)
26 May:  Brick by Brick, San Diego, CA (not Helheim or GosT)
27 May:  Club Red, Mesa, AZ (not GosT)
28 May:  Sister Bar, Albuquerque, NM (not GosT)
29 May:  The Roxy, Denver, CO
31 May:  Triple Rock, Minneapolis, MN
01 June: Reggies, Chicago, IL
02 June: Agora, Cleveland, OH
03 June:  The Loving Touch, Ferndale, MI
04 June: Velvet Underground. Toronto, ON
05 June: Mavericks, Ottawa, ON
06 June: L’Anti Bar & Spectacles, Quebec City, QC
07 June: Théâtre Fairmount, Montreal, QC
08 June: The Middle East, Boston, MA
09 June: The Foundry, Philadelphia, PA
10 June: Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY

With his exciting stage presence and formidable writing skills, founder and frontman Hoest has made sure that, whilst remaining true to TAAKE’s Black Metal roots, he has never allowed the band to become formulaic or mired in the past.  His approach has always been to bring something new and original, and, at times, totally unexpected, to TAAKE’s signature Helnorsk Svartmetall sound. Which has led the band, and Hoest himself, to be regarded as one of the most respected bands and artists in the Norwegian Black Metal scene.

More information about TAAKE can be found on the band’s website at or on their Facebook page at

TAAKE’s music can be heard on Bandcamp at

The official video for the track “Nordbundet” from the TAAKE album “Noregs Vaapen” can be seen below and at

Dark Essence Records label-mates HELHEIM, whose vocalist/bassist V’gandr also happens to play in TAAKE, has been acknowledged for over two decades as a Norse Black Metal band in the truest sense, eschewing the “comic book” aspects that plague so many of the bands claiming to belong in that genre.  Through their music and lyrics HELHEIM explore the darker aspects of the North-European pre-Christian culture, and bring a modern interpretation that captures the spirit of the Norse heritage in ways that have eluded both to researchers and archaeologists.  The band’s ninth full-length album “landawarijaR” was released at the beginning of the year, once again to considerable critical acclaim.

More information about HELHEIM can be found on the band’s website at or on Facebook at

HELHEIM’s music can be heard on Bandcamp at

The official video for the track “Baklengs mot intet” from HELHEIM’s 2017 album “landawarijaR” can be seen below and at

The USA’s GOST, is, in founder Baalberith’s own words  “Directed and commanded by another power. The power of darkness, which many people do not believe exists. The power of the Devil. The power of Satan. The power of Baalberith”.  LIttle is known about mask-wearing Baalberith, but his music, which has been described by the zine Spin as “bridging extreme metal with the more synthetic tones of darkwave, dance, and classic horror soundtracks”, makes an interesting addition to the lineup.  GOST’s sophomore full-length “Sans Paradisi” was released on Blood Music in 2016

More information about GOST can be found at

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The official video for “Maleficarum” from GOST’s 2016 album “Non Paradisi” can be seen  below and at

Taake MAY JUNE 2017 USA PR
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Ester Segarra

NIKLAS KVARFORTH, the founder and frontman of Sweden’s SHINING, has never hidden the fact that he has suffered from severe mental problems all his life, something that has impacted his private and public life, both positively and negatively.   His is a struggle with mental illness that affects many individuals on a day to day basis, and it is this that attracted the interest of Art House documentary producer Claudio Marino and his film production company Artax Film.

This interest has resulted in a short documentary about mental illness as seen through the eyes of Niklas Kvarforth.  Titled “Cold Void”,  the documentary  is a personal portrait of the man behind headlines that have included suicide and self-destruction, addiction, bipolar disorder, passion and schizophrenia.  Headlines that have sometimes been true, and sometimes the result of the media’s desire for sensationalism over truth.  And sometimes even the result of detractors who have, often intentionally,  misunderstood SHINING’s ethos and that of its volatile creator.

Marino is quick to point out that “Cold Void” is a film for anyone interested in life stories, and was not made with the intention of pandering to SHINING’s fans.  It is, rather,  very much a personal journey, bringing a much-needed clarity and lack of sensationalism to the subject of Niklas Kvarforth.

Working in the fields of music video and graphic design, Marino is known for his documentary “Blood and Spirit”,  a trilogy about three different artists who live for their art, and who include a Tattoo Artist, an MMA fighter, and a Satanist, in the form of E from WATAIN, a well known figure in the worLd of Black Metal.  It is therefore understandable why he should have chosen Kvarforth as his next subject:

“I’ve known about Niklas and his music for a long time”, commented Marino. ” His story interested me and I wanted to know more about him as a person.  I did some research and we got in contact.  I showed him my documentary trilogy ‘Blood and Spirit’ and he was interested in working with me. We  got along from the start and he proved  to be very cooperative. He was brutally honest,  and never left  any of my questions unanswered”.

“Cold Void” is set for release in the autumn of 2017 in Swedish with English sub-titles, and with music by TREHA SEKTORI. It will be available world-wide in DVD format directly from Artax Film and Shining themselves, as well as via VOD.

A video teaser for “Cold Void” can be seen below and at 

More information about Artax Film can be found at  Anyone interested in endorsement or sponsorship opportunities related to “Cold Void”, or would like to work on translations into other languages,  please contact

Cold Void Kvarforth Poster

SHINING will head to North America for a headlining 18-date tour starting on the 5th May, supported by REVENGE and WOLVHAMMER.  Routing as follows:

May 05: Sparta Inn,  Baltimore, MD
May 06: Championship Bar, Trenton, NJ
May 07: L’Anti Bar & Spectacles,  Quebec City, QC
May 08: Theatre Fairmount, Montreal, QC
May 09: The Garrison,  Toronto, ON
May 10: Harpos Detroit, MI
May 11:  Reggies, Chicago, IL
May 12: The Riot Room,  Kansas City, MI
May 14: The Shredder,  Boise, ID
May 15: The Red Room Ultra Bar, Vancouver (without Revenge)
May 16: Studio Seven,  Seattle, WA
May 17: Tonic Lounge,  Portland, OR
May 18: Oakland Metro Opera House,  Oakland, CA
May 19: Adrenaline Sports Bar and Grill,  Las Vegas, NV
May 20: Complex,  Los Angeles, CA
May 21: Joe’s Grotto,  Phoenix, AZ
May 23: Grizzly Hall,  Austin, TX
May 24: The Rail Club, Fort Worth, TX

More  information about SHINING website at   or on Facebook at

SHINING releases and merchandise, including exclusive limited edition items not available elsewhere, can be found at

The official video for the track “Vilja & Drömfrom”  SHINING’s album  “IX – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends” can be seen below and at

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Ragnarok PR1

Following on from their successful joint tour in October of last year, Norwegian veterans RAGNAROK have once again teamed up with Slovenia’s CVINGER for part two of the “Psychopathology” Tour, which this time ranges further  East through Europe to bring fans a Black Metal package that also includes France’s INFINITYUM and Ireland’s AETERNUM VALE .  Routing for the “Psychopathology” Tour, named after RAGNAROK’s eight full-length album which was released on Agonia Records last year, is as follows:

19.05: Skullcrusher, Dresden (DE)
20.05: Red & Black,  Chorzow (PL)
21.05: Hydrozagadka ,  Warsaw (PL)
23.05: Blue Hell,  Budapest (HU)
24.05: Majestic Music Club,  Bratislava (SK)
25.05: Nova Chmelnice, Prague (CZ)
26.05: From Hell, Erfurt (DE)
27.05: Backstage,  Munich (DE)
28.05: Blackland,  Berlin (DE)

Ragnarok European Tour 2017

There is currently an open spot for an opening band on the tour, and anyone interested is welcome to contact or for more information.

With well over two decades on the Black Metal scene, RAGNAROK has undergone its fair share of lineup changes, with the one constant being Jontho,  the band’s founder, and one of Norway’s most recognisable and iconic drummers.   So it was with some surprise when Jontho traded in his drumsticks for a mic and took over as the band’s vocalist.  A change that has been greeted with much support and approval from RAGNAROK’s army of fans.  Aside from Jontho on vocals, the band’s lineup includes long-standing guitarist Bolverk (IMAGES AT TWILIGHT) and drummer Daniel Minge (DAUDEN), with session bassists Viti (IMAGES AT TWILIGHT, HINSIDIG) and Rammr (JORDSKIPSTYRANN), who will be joining the band for this tour, alternating duties.

More information about RAGNAROK can be found on the band’s Facebook page at  or on their  website at


A  video for the track ” Dominance and Submission” from  RAGNAROK’s full-length album “Psychopathology” can be seen below and at

The entire album can be heard below and on BandCamp at

Eleven tracks spanning over two decades of RAGNAROK’s career can be heard below and at

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Norwegian Black Metallers SARKOM, whose fourth full-length album “Anti-Cosmic Art”  was released on Dark Essence Records at the end of last year, have today revealed a video of a track from the album.  Produced and directed by Andreas Luggen Martinussen , Edited by Kolbjørn Voll Hjelmerud and with music and lyrics by SARKOM founder and frontman E. Unsgaard, the video for the track “Seen through the eyes of a pedophile priest” can be seen below and on YouTube at 

Dealing, without a doubt,  about a controversial subject, Unsgaard had this to say about the track itself and the video:

“I got the idea for this song after seeing the documentary “Deliver Us From Evil”.  Pedophilia is something most people despise and don’t want to talk about, but it’s a deadly serious theme as these predators actually live amongst us.  I did some research and the lyrics are based on how I would interpret the mind and thoughts of a pedophile.  As for the video itself, it turned out pretty much as I had envisioned it, and I am very satisfied with the result.  More so because it gave us the chance to work with a professional team with extensive experience gained in TV production.  They also seemed to enjoy doing something different as working on this kind of music/video project was something new to them.  I mean, the last TV production they worked on was “Paradise Hotel”…

SARKOM is set to appear at Inferno Festival in Oslo for the Dark Essence Label night which will take place at Blå on Wednesday 12th April.  For their appearance the band will  play a special set which will include songs that have rarely, or never, been played live.  Additionally, the set will feature a guest appearance from BEASTCRAFT’s Sorath Northgrove.

Other Dark Essence Records bands scheduled for the event are SLEGEST, HAIL SPIRIT NOIR and SULPHUR.

SARKOM will also be appearing at the Dark Easter Metal Meeting in Munich, Germany, on the 15th April.

More information about SARKOM can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

Dark Essence Records released SARKOM’s third full-length album “Doomsday Elite” in both CD and Digital formats in 2013,  followed by the release of  the band’s two earlier albums – 2006’s “Aggravation of Mind” and 2008’s “Bestial Supremacy” in Digital format.  All three albums are available from, and can be heard at,

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Sweden’s ALFAHANNE have debuted another track from their upcoming album “Det Nya Svarta”, which is due out on Indie Recordings on the 7th April.  The track,” Satans verser”, which features KAMPFAR frontman Dolk on guest vocals, can be heard at the following:

Lords of Metal (NL)
Crank it Up (SW)
Kaaoszine (FI)
Metalhammer (IT)
Friedhof Magazine (ES)
United Rock Nations (FR)

According to the band the track itself “has so many meanings depending on who is doing the listening. But the first and obvious layer is about raising children in a world that is totally fucked up. Should you lock your doors and just protect them from what’s going on? Or stand up and speak your satanic verses?”

“Satans verser” is available for streaming  or downloading at

Recorded at the Dödskult studio by Alfahanne’s Pehr Skjoldhammer and Mixed and mastered by Stamos Koliousis, “Det Nya Svarta” follows the ALFAHANNE tradition of including some high profile artists making guest appearances.  Artists which in the past have included  TAAKE’s Hoest, SHINING’s Niklas Kvarforth, HELHEIM’s V’gandr,  KVELERTAK frontman Erlend Hjelvik, Spellgoth from HORNA and TURMION KÄTILÖT, and Nattfursth from SORHIN, not just on their first two albums, but also live on stage

Guests making an appearance on “Det Nya Svarta” include KAMPFAR’s Dolk, David Lindh from YVONNE AND BRODER DANIEL,  Sanrabb from GEHENNA and Nadine Skjoldhammer.  With artwork by the Trine + Kim Design Studio, tracklisting for “Det Nya Svarta” is as follows:

1. Satans verser (with Dolk from KAMPFAR)
2. Stigmata
3. Avgrundsgravitation (with David Lindh from YVONNE & BRODER DANIEL)
4. Klubb 27
5. Mitt mörker är mörkare än ditt (with Nadine Skjoldhammer)
6. Dödsmaskin (with Sanrabb from GEHENNA)
7. Även en hund har sin dag
8. Svarta får
9. Det nya svarta


The previously debuted track , ” Avgrundsgravitation”,  which features guest vocals by  DAVID LINDH of SOOT & FLOOD, YVONNE and  BRODER DANIEL can be heard below and at

Formed in Eskilstuna in 2010,  the self-styled “Alfapokalyptic Rockers” burst onto the scene with energy, exuberance , and an impressive swagger, which, coupled with a fan-friendly attitude quickly earned them respect,  and an ever-increasing, and dedicated, following.  ALFAHANNE’s debut full-length album “Alfapokalyps” appeared on Dark Essence Records in 2014 and  was followed by “Blod Eld Alfa” in 2015.

The band’s lineup of Pehr Skjoldhammer on Vocals and Guitar, Fredrik Sööberg on Guitars, Niklas Åström on Drums and Jimmy Wiberg on Bass,  have a couple of decades of experience under their belts in bands like VINTERLAND and early MAZE OF TORMENT.  Together they have created a sound that mixes Black Metal with Classic Rock and Punk, and good old Rock n Roll that is unmistakably ALFAHANNE’s.

Frontman Skjoldhammer recently explained that with their third full-length album ALFAHANNE are continuing  to explore the dark side of mankind: Alfahanne’s lyrics are very personal and have many layers of dirt. Once you dig deeper into them you find many truths as I see them.  Alfahanne will never lean to the left or to the right or write about political issues. The only political issue that is close to our hearts is equal rights but the flipside of that same coin is that we think everyone is equally…. Equally useless.” 

“Det Nya Svarta” is now available to pre-order in CD and Vinyl formats from–alfahanne and in Digital format from

More information about ALFAHANNE can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

The video for the track  “Slutdestination Eskilstuna”,  from ALFAHANNE’s 2015 album “Blod Eld Alfa”, which features SHINING’s Niklas Kvarforth on guest vocals, can be seen below and at

Alfahanne 6 Photo by Jorn Veberg

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