END OF AN ERA: Norwegian black metal icon Gaahl has announced his decision to retire from metal music, leaving his new bandmates in God Seed in the lurch and bringing a very definite end to the Gorgoroth vs. Gorgoroth name dispute's legal proceedings of the past year. His decision to end his involvement with God Seed and metal in general stemmed from the fact that "it's just that for me it's not heartfelt anymore, and if it's not heartfelt you shouldn't do it. I could have done it and and achieved something that I myself wouldn't put myself into and that would be wrong. I wouldn't do anything half-hearted." Gaahl has also confirmed that he plans to continue work with his projects Trelldom and Wardruna, and to focus on painting, the style of which he describes as "expressionism, inwards in a way, it's not like it's screaming, it's very whispering. It's not natural, it's difficult to say basically. It's not like I stick in one genre. I have of course other projects going on but of course they will have to be more secretive."

NEW BEGINNINGS: Progressive death/doom/folk metallers Gwynbleidd's much-anticipated debut album, 'Nostalgia,' is set for an Oct. 27 release on BlackCurrant Music. Founded and based in New York, Gwynbleidd is a band whose four members all hail from Poland originally. It is this experience -- leaving one's homeland and relocating halfway across the world -- that served as the original inspiration for Nostalgia. As Gwynbleidd guitarist/vocalist Maciej Kupiszewski explains, "The concept for the album started with the theme of nostalgia -- memories of childhood and places left behind, influenced mainly by the fact that the members of the band all moved from Poland to the States in their early teens. Although the band is based in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the heart of the biggest city in the U.S., the music conveys a yearning toward primeval and pristine wilderness landscapes. We took this theme of nostalgia and developed a whole story around it -- a paradoxical tale of yearning, deceit and treason." 'Nostalgia' showcases Gwynbleidd's signature style, blending elements of progressive metal, black metal, death metal and traditional European folk music. 'Stare Into The Sun,' a track from 'Nostalgia,' is available for streaming on the band's MySpace profile.

STUDIO UPDATE: Norsecore stalwarts Dark Funeral have stopped blasting long enough to provide us with a tantalizing studio update. Guitarist Lord Ahriman commented, "While E.M. Caligula has been busy in the studio this week, writing and recording the vocals for the new album, the rest of us have had a well-deserved break, and spent some time at home with family and friends. Tomorrow [Friday, Aug. 21] the whole band will meet up again at the Abyss studio. And to begin with, we will shoot a video for one of the new tracks! We have found some really sick and suitable locations in the area around the studio. So, besides working on the final stuff for the new record, we will shoot a video between Friday and Sunday. And by the time we are done with the video shoot, we should, hopefully, be ready to begin with the final mix and mastering of our new, yet-untitled masterpiece! During the coming weekend we will also be visited by international journalists and the mighty tattoo artist Carlos Aguilar (Black Shadows Tattoo and Magazine). More detailed info on the new album: Its title, among many other things, will be announced shortly."

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